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Memorable summit of 7th International Conference of SPIC MACAY with many sweet memories

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By Suman Doonga-

The SPIC MACAY’s 7th International Convention in association with Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi on occasion of its Golden Jubilee Celebrations concluded with an eventful and memorable weekend of 8th and 9th June, 2019.

The early morning hatha and naad yoga meditation had active participation from the students and volunteers. Later in the morning, Dr. Kiran Seth addressed the teachers and new volunteers gathered from across the country and overseas. He laid emphasis on daily practice of at least 20 minutes based on what the students had learned in the yoga, arts & crafts intensives, singing and dance workshops. The concept of Nishkaam Seva (Selfless Service) was reiterated and call to action was taken to carry forth the rich cultural heritage of our Nation.

The afternoon session included a three hour Yoga Nidra conducted by Swami Thyagaraj. Young and old alike were impressed by the power of the meditation and relaxation technique that rejuvenated the tired body and stressed minds. The session was longer than usual in preparation of the all night musical concert evening that would witness the Living Legends of Indian Classical Music and Dance grace the centre stage.

The Chief guests for the evening concerts included Shri Jishnu Dev Verma (Deputy Chief Minister, Tripura), M. Jagadesh Kumar (VC JNU) and his wife, Rana Pratap Singh (Pro VC JNU), Prof. Dr. Kiran Seth, Smt. Usha Ravichandran , Smt. Kunda Mahurkar in addition to presence of other dignitaries from arts and music. Pandit Shivkumar Sharma regaled the packed auditorium with the sublime sound of the Santoor. He recalled the early days and his association with SPIC MACAY from its inception and complemented Dr. Kiran Seth on the movement that no one ever had thought of and even today is going stronger in its fourth decade. Shiv ji mentioned that not all need to listen to Raga to understand the nuances but can better feel and experience it with eyes closed. Shiv ji performed Raga Jhinjhoti with Alaap, Jod followed by two compositions set to Madhya (Jhap taal) and Dhrut (Teen Taal). He was accompanied on the tabla by Pandit Ramkumar Mishra and on tanpuri by Shri Dilip Kale. He concluded his performance by playing Pahadi Dhun based on Jammu Lok Sangeet and blend of other folk tunes. Chief Guest for evening Shri Jishnu Dev Verma felicitated Shiv ji after the performance.

Shri Jishnu Dev Verma in his keynote spoke about his association with Indian Music and Culture, as well as gave his best wishes and support to the movement. He emphasized the analogy between Classical Music and the Sutra “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti”.

Vidushi Dr. Prabha Atre took centre stage to a warm welcome by the young student delegates eager to listen to the legendary singer. She was accompanied by Shri Vinod Lele (Tabla), Shri Siddhesh Bicholkar (Harmonium) and her disciples Ashwini Modak and Shambhavi Shukla (Tanpura). She spoke about how music appears in its purest form in Classical Music, and it is our responsibility to preserve this and pass it on to the next generation. She said that she continues to sing at the age of 87 because of the love and presence of the wonderful audience and music lovers. Dr. Prabha Atre sang Raag Jogkauns, “Jagat Sapna” and “Ban Ban Dhoondat More Pyare Mohan” improvised by variety of sargam and aakar taans. She concluded her performance around midnight with a captivating rendition of “Jamuna Kinare More Gaon”.

Very few knew but entire audience was eager to witness and experience Koodiyattam, an ancient ritual theatre and only surviving artform that uses drama from ancient Sanskrit theatre. Vidushi Kapila Venu, an acclaimed and versatile exponent of the artform performed Parvati Viharam in which she held the audience spellbound emoting masculine and feminine roles of Lord Shiva, Ravana, Goddess Parvati and Goddess Ganga through expressive and subtle gestures. Vidushi Kapila Venu was accompanied on Mizhavu (drums) by Kalamandalam Rajeev and Kalamandalam Hari, and on Idakka by Unnikrishnan.

 

The all night musical series continued with Carnatic Violin recital by the renowned Vidwan Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Vidushi Vijayalakshmi. The accompanists included Akshay Anantapadmanabhan on Mridangam and B.S. Purushottam on the Kanjira. In the words of Lalgudi ji it was truly a unique concert at a unique hour for a unique organization like SPIC MACAY. They started by performing Krithi, a composition by famous Shyama Sastri in Raag Ananda Bhairavi with improvisation in Ragam, Tanam, Pallavi. The performance included composition of Sadavisa Brahmendra in Raag Shyama set to Adi Taal.

 

The audience were awake till the early morning hours of 5am witnessed a soulful and sublime Dhrupad performance by none other than Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar. Over 25 student delegates who had participated in Ustad Dagar ji’s workshop during the convention were seated around the stage in the baithak tradition. Accompanists included Pravin Arya on Pakhawaj and Ustad Dagar ji’s disciples Sucheta Roy and Sahitya Rajgopal on Tanpura. Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar started his performance with rendition of Raag Bairagi in the traditional Dhrupad Vilambit Alaap, Madhya Alaap and Bandish Pujo re Ganesha. Audience was mesmerized when Ustad Dagar ji recited Gayatri Mantra, and later gave a glimpse of Sukshma roop of Swara followed by rendition of Raag Todi and bandish “Kaun bharam bhule ho man gyani” and concluded with “Mero mana ati udaas”.

Prof M. Jagadesh Kumar felicitated all the artistes post each of their performances during the grand finale night where each one experienced the mysticism and subtle nuances of Indian Classical Music and Arts. The morning of 9th, all the volunteers and student delegates felt rejuvenated and some were emotional that it was the last day of the convention.

On Sunday 9th, SPIC MACAY Volunteers coordinated with the teachers and conducted the half day heritage tours where separate group of students visited National Museum, National Crafts Museum, National Gallery of Modern Arts and another group had an unforgettable experience visiting the Gandhi Smriti and Rajghat.

The 7th International Convention wouldn’t have been possible without the extended support from sponsors, well-wishers and the untiring efforts put in by the Senior and Junior volunteers guided by the SPIC MACAY National Executive Committee and Jawaharlal Nehru University Faculty and Student Volunteers. Next year the 8th International Convention is tentatively scheduled to be held in IIT Kanpur.

 

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