Traditional dance, music mark Seasons of India
VEENU PURI VERMANI
More than 600 people turned up for Seasons of India, a
cultural celebration of music and dance, at the Poway
Center for Performing Arts, in Poway, California, March 13.
The evening’s chief guest was Dr Suresh Subramani, senior vice chancellor, University of California-San Diego. The
San Diego Indian American Society, the organizers, felicitated Subramani for his accomplishments in academics
and research. Dr M C Madhavan, SDIAS president, presented him with a golden shawl (or pon aadai in Tamil).
The fundraiser garnered about $6,000 from ticket sales
and event sponsorships for the Mahatma Gandhi Trust
Fund, which gives scholarships to deserving high school
The program started with Floating with the Clouds, a
contemporary rendition of Kathak, in which the performers were suitably clad in white and sky blue outfits. Another
Kathak performance, Dance of the Seasons, put together by
P P Vaidyanathan, followed.
“This event showcases Indian culture and its diversity.
The event also brings some of San Diego’s talented dance
choreographers together and offers a stage to show-off
their talents to the local community,” said organizer and
event director Ram Seshan.
Basant Pallavi, which followed, was an Odissi dance in
Performers at the Seasons of India festival in Poway, California
which Raag Basant was depicted kinesthetically through
eye movement, posture and footwork. The dance picked up
pace over time, building up to a crescendo. The next dance,
Tippani, also a quick-paced one, was built around the
Sambelu, used to grind spices in the harvest season. The
dance involves a beating of the floor with wooden mallets
to relieve the tedium of the work.
Maayadantha Male Bantanna, a celebration of rain, was
based on a well-known folk song from Karnataka while the
Sufi Kathak was an ode to the rich culture of Avadh.
Other dances included Kavadi Chindu, based on a Tamil
folk song in praise of Lord Muruga; Dance of the Peacocks,
on the bird’s greeting of the rain; and Spell of Spring, based
on Rabindranath Tagore’s compositions.
The Phag Dance had women in red, orange, blue and
green ghagra cholis perform the dance that Haryanvi farm-
ers perform in February in the quiet period between sow-
ing and harvesting the crop.
The Indian National Overseas
Congress paid homage to K
Karunakaran, the former
chief minister of Kerala, who
died recently, during a meeting and memorial service.
Speakers noted his contributions in a political career
spanning more than six
The memorial service
opened with a special prayer
by Guru Dileep of the Yoga
School. Dr Surinder
Malhotra, the INOC president; Thomas T Oommen;
Leela Maret; Dr Najma
Sultana; Jacob Koshy;
Gulshan Malhotra; Tina Shah; Diljinder Singh
and J S Chandan were part of the ceremonial
lighting of the lamp before the decorated portrait of Karunakaran.
Oomen read a special message from K Muraleedharan,
Karunakaran’s son, former
president of the Kerala
Pradesh Congress Committee.
Karunakaran as the architect
of modern Kerala. Karunakaran, he said, held a special
place in the hearts of non-resident Indians because he
played a big role in getting the
Cochin airport built.
Oommen called for the
authorities to name the airport after Karunakaran.
Other speakers included
Malhotra, Sultana, the INOC
vice president; Thomas
Koshy; John C Varghese;
Joseph Kuriapuram; Tina Shah; Alex Vilanilam
Koshy; and Ratna Bhalla.
Leela Maret welcomed the gathering, while
Jacob Koshy proposed the vote of thanks.
Grandparents’ association closes
The Association of Grandparents of Indian Immigrants, a nonprofit service
committed to providing audiovisual material to children of Indian immigrants, is shutting down. The organization’s audiovisual content is being
handed over to any nonprofit group that serves children of Indian immigrants.
The association was started by three Baltimore professors and led by
Kanai Mukherjee, better known as Grandpa. Much of the material – stories
and pictures generated by the team – drew from Amar Chitra Katha, a highly popular comic book series from India. Starting with very rudimentary
technology in 1988, the productions became improved over time, thanks to
support from the younger generation.
Mukherjee, who turns 85 this year, and Dr Bibha Mukherjee, a retired
professor of geography who was known as Grandma and who died in 2007,
invested a lot of effort in the organization. Bibha Mukherjee is credited with
writing all the scripts used in AGII productions. AGII has produced 50
DVDs with nearly 300 inspirational stories since its inception.
In her memory, AGII is giving away all its ISO images and mpeg 2 movies
of its entire DVD and story collection to nonprofit institutions serving the
children of Indian immigrants. To transfer the images, the organization
needs to be first provided a portable hard drive of at least 500 GB capacity.
Contact Kanai Mukherjee ( email@example.com) for details. The free service ends July 4. He is working to have all the material available at a lower
resolution on the association Web site ( agiivideo.com).