A silver harvest festival

AVBM Marks 25 Years with Cultural Extravaganza During Pongal Festivities
25th Anniversary celebrations of AVBM Vyapar Sahayog Kendra held at DG Vaishnav college.
25th Anniversary celebrations of AVBM Vyapar Sahayog Kendra held at DG Vaishnav college.(Photo | D Sampathkumar, EPS)

CHENNAI: The city was prepping itself for the Pongal festivities over the weekend. Meanwhile, Shri Aditya Vikram Birla Memorial Vyapar Sahayog Kendra (AVBM), a non-profit organisation, commemorated its foundation day. Stepping into its 25th year of successful operations, the trust, incepted in 1999 in the city, organised ‘Samarpanam’, a dedication to the services they had provided throughout the years, on Sunday. Amid a vibrant display of unity, culture, and philanthropy, the celebration of the state’s harvest festival brought colours of joy to the attendees, thereby adding a tinge of cultural bonding and warmth to the celebrations.

As the dawn broke, vibrant kolams adorned the grounds of Dwaraka Doss Goverdhan Doss Vaishnav College, while fresh yellow and orange marigolds, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of traditional drums, welcomed guests at the entrance. Festivities commenced with aarti and abhishekam that took place at the temple premises, with priests invoking the God’s blessings through vedic chants. This marked the beginning of cultural performances, starting with a Tamil folk dance featuring eight girls draped in vibrant green saris, harmonising with the surrounding greenery. Dancing to the beats of ‘Pongal-o-Pongal’ and followed by silambam performances, the event paraded the rich traditions of the state. Attendees embraced the celebrations by donning traditional attire, adding a cultural flair to the festive ambiance.

The day continued with inauguration and felicitation ceremonies, where the board members were honoured by chief guests Rajashree Birla of the Aditya Birla Group, Rampalji Soni, and others. Ashok Kumar Mundhra, secretary of DDGD Vaishnav College, while addressing the gathering, said, “We never make the needy come to us; we always go to them with help.” The event, which took place in the college auditorium, had a Bharatanatyam performance by Surbhi, a disciple of renowned dancer Urmila Sathyanarayanan, who enticed the audience with her grace and finesse.

Rajashree Birla being felicitated by the dignitaries on the dais | D Sampathkumar
Rajashree Birla being felicitated by the dignitaries on the dais | D Sampathkumar

“This is a charitable organisation brought to life by Bansi Lal Rathi, under the guidance of the Birla family and was made for the upliftment of fellow members like Maheshwari community members in getting the business and looking at it now, 25 years ago, he has done this seed funding programme for creating more entrepreneurs,” said Navin Mohtta, a member of AVBM, while talking about the trust’s commendable service over the past years.

When asked about the idea of celebrating Pongal along with the anniversary celebrations, he added, “A lot of people from out of the state have come for today’s programme. Pongal being an authentic and auspicious festival of Tamil Nadu and south India as a whole, the idea — by Krishna KR Baheti — was to add up this occasion to make this event a grand celebration.”

As the day concluded with a heartfelt gratitude ceremony, the trust acknowledged the dedication of its volunteers, staff, and supporters who have been instrumental in its journey.

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