HYDERABAD: Sanskruti-Veekshanam, a unique cultural show, marking Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav was hosted at the Nehru Centre, the Cultural Wing of the High Commission of India, London, UK. The event organised by Hyderabad-born Ragasudha Vinjamuri’s Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence got a lot of accolades from Chief Ministers of Meghalaya, Manipur and Goa, and the Minister for Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
Elaborating how it all began, Ragasudha, the Bharatanatyam danseuse, says, “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative was declared right in the middle of the pandemic and for the UK that was the second wave tattering the communities. Hence, there was no way physical events could have taken place. Undeterred, we have organised webinars highlighting the unique art forms of Koodiyattam, Ottan Thullal of Kerala, Dollu Kunitha, Veera Gasse of Karnataka, Seraikala Chhau of Jharkhand etc by engaging with gurus and experts in the respective fields based in India, who came on a virtual platform and presented.”
Once the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, Ragasudha and the team once again geared up to perform live, enthralling the audience. “In the second edition of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav that we organised recently, it took about five months to get in place, art and culture of another 11 States, 1 Union Territory and 2 communities — Sindhi and Mithila.
We engaged with the Tangkhul community of Manipur, Koch community of Meghalaya, Maithil dancers to learn Jhijhiya dance of their community and so on. More than 40 artists have put together the wonderful programme which started with tributes to Sindhu civilisation (Indus Valley Civilisation). Ealier this year with great enthusiasm, we had organised the Republic Day of India in January 2022, with art and heritage of 11 States and 2 Union Territories highlighted. To achieve this, we engaged with Ladakhi community in Leh, Rabha community in Assam, Gabar in Chhattisgarh, Nyishi community in Arunachal Pradesh virtually, and learnt the dances from them to be able to showcase.”
Ragasudha feels it is important that we highlight and promote the rich dance diversity of different regions. “Some of these art forms are finishing and shall even disappear soon if we otherwise do not conserve them for posterity. For example, it was constant and continuous hard work to be able to get someone from Goan diaspora in the UK to do Kunbi dance.
Kunbis are the original tribes of Goa region, and despite the heavy Portuguese influences, they retained their dance which is non-religious. Glad that we were able to showcase such a rich variety of dances to a hall packed with audiences at the Nehru Centre-ICCR London. Also, Sindhi music by famous singer Renu Gidoomal elevated the audience’s spirits, apart from Giddha dance, Haryanvi dance, Naatti dance of Himachal Pradesh, Kummi dance of Tamil Nadu -— which were all community dances,” she concludes.