Millennium Post

Dispatches from Charleville

Officer trainees at the Academy celebrated India Day giving homage to India’s sprawling diversity and spirit of unity that stitches it, writes Pradeep Kumar Dwivedi

The grounds, foyers and halls of Charleville were abuzz with sounds, sights and culinary delights from across the country during the two-day annual festival of diversity in India known as India Day. It was celebrated by Officer Trainees of 94th Foundation course in a befitting manner on November 22 and 23. This time, officers from Myanmar and Maldives also joined the celebrations with their dances and group songs.

Officer trainees were divided zone-wise, based on the state of their domicile and they were asked to present the various facets of culture and lifestyle of people in their respective zones. Each zone was assigned a place in the Academy for decoration so as to showcase the culture of their zone.

The celebration began with a curtain raiser event held at Karamshila Foyer in which each region was asked to present vignettes from their region in a span of nine minutes. The presentations started with the North zone team who chose themes like Rap culture from Delhi, Bhangra from Punjab, Pahari dances from Uttarakhand and Himachal and finally, dresses from the vale of Kashmir. The event moved on to the south zone which put up the Yakshagana and Veeragase from Karnataka, Mohiniattam from Kerala, Thappatam from Tamil Nandi and Telugu Talli from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The event then witnessed a unique performance from visiting civil servants of Maldives and Myanmar. The East zone chose to showcase festivals of eastern India, especially those which drew their inspiration from the Ganga and Brahmaputra. The Ganga Arti was followed Chhath, a popular festival from Bihar and Jharkhand and the Namami Brahmaputra from Assam. Finally, the Ganga Sagar mela was shown as the culmination of both Brahmaputra and Ganga in the Bay of Bengal. The Muharram procession remembering the fight against injustice was also a salient feature of this amalgam.

The West Zone consisting of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa and Union Territories of Daman and Diu chose one dance each. Their performance began with famous drum beating of Nasik and comprised- Lawani, Garba, Bhagoriya and Koli besides the tribal dances of Rajasthan. Dinner on the first day was served by North and West zone in Officer's Mess.

Jashn-e-India began with the procession of each zone starting from the Academy gate to the Director's lawn. Officer Trainees and Faculty wore their ethnic dresses, in a display reminiscent of the fancy dress pageants in school. The procession started with the West zone escorting the Director for the Ganapati Arti which was performed with aplomb. Officers also chanted the Bhajans of Vitthal by Gyaneshwar and Tukaram with few trainees dressed in the attire of these famous saints. Madhya Pradesh culture was showcased with Bhagoriya festival, Gangour procession and Kacchi Ghodi. Badhai dresses were also worn by some Officer Trainees. Rajasthan was represented by Kalbelia dance and the traditional Marwari and Jodhpuri attire. Following them was the North zone with Kashmiri drapes, Punjabi Bhangra, Haryanvi Dhoti and Kurta, Pahari Cap and western swag of Delhi. Following them was the east zone with famous Ganga -Jamni tahzeeb. This zone incorporated Durga Visarjan, Sindoor Khela that happens during Durga Visarjan, a Bengali marriage and Braj Holi from Uttar Pradesh which was played with flowers. And then, there was the Rath yatra of Lord Jagannath from Odisha. The South zone formed the rear guard of the procession with folk dances such as Kavadi, Kunita, Bagada, Telugu Talli, Silambam, Dappu and Dolu from all five states of South together with the folk culture of Bhutan.

After an elaborate lunch was hosted by the East and South zone at officer's mess, officer trainees started their final rehearsals before the main event in Sampoornanand which started sharp at 6 pm in the presence of the Director and the officers of MCTP-Phase IV and their families.

The West zone started the proceedings with a performance woven around a love story which transcends the boundaries of caste, region, language and ethnicity. Ganesh Vandana was followed by Malhari and Ghoomar. Then came the very romantic sways of Goan dance, a Garba based nuptial and finally the wedding song from Rajasthan. Madhya Pradesh also made its presence felt with a Badhai dance.

Following this, there was the South zone which started with Tamil folk mix of Kalakattam, Oliyattam and Kommi. Telugu element was presented by Telangana folk song. Kerala Fusion dance, Dollu Konita, Pull Konita and Okku Dollu were presented with professional vigour! This eclectic mix of south Indian and western music received a standing ovation and then, the evening moved on to the East zone. East India presented Maring war dance of Manipur Nagas, a fusion of Kathak and Odissi from Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, UNESCO listed Chhau dance from West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha and Qawwali from Lucknow.

India Day truly presented the 'spirit of India' which resides in the belief of unity through diversity and colours of different regions, tribes, languages but under one tri-colour. This famous couplet of Firaq summarises the essence of Hindustan:

"Sar-zamin-e-hind par aqvam-e-alam ke 'firaq' Qafile baste gaye hindostāñ banta gaya" From across the world, Came many a caravan But they dropped anchor to make a complete Hindustan!

Views expressed are strictly personal

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