BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, June 24, 2022: In an effort of honor
and commemorate 75 years of India’s independence, the history of its people,
culture and achievements, with tributes to freedom fighters, the Government of
India initiated a celebration titled Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM).
The official journey of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commenced on 12th March 2021 that marked a 75-week countdown to the 75th anniversary of independence slated to end post a year on 15th August 2023. The five themes of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav include Freedom Struggle, Ideas@75, Resolve@75, Actions@75, and Achievements@75.
“The Azadi Amrit Mahotsav means elixir of energy of independence; elixir of inspirations of the warriors of freedom struggle; elixir of new ideas and pledges; and elixir of Aatmanirbharta. Therefore, this Mahotsav is a festival of awakening of the nation; festival of fulfilling the dream of good governance; and the festival of global peace and development,” Indian Prime Minister Modi quotes on the official website.
Two events, sprung from AKAM, celebration of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary, henceforth to be celebrated as Parakram Diwas and Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s 161st Birth Anniversary were commemorated with much vigor and fanfare in Atlanta.
Consul General India, Atlanta and IACA hosted the Parakram Diwas at the newly renovated IACA’s ICRC Building on April 17, 2022. Other community organizations invited to be part of the event included Indian Friends of Atlanta, Bengali Association of Greater Atlanta, Purbasha Atlanta, Jadavpur University Alumni Association of Georgia (JUAAGA), Rajasthan Association of Georgia (RAJA), Maharashtra Mandal Atlanta (MMA), Asia Pacific American Council of Georgia, Ekal Vidyalaya, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Opening with the traditional lighting of the lamp, Dr. Swati Kulkarni, CGI, Atlanta spoke of the many sacrifices that highlighted Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the nation. Her speech was followed by addresses from IACA leadership including Tushar Sanghvi, Chand Akkineni, and Ani Agnihotri.
A video showcasing Netaji’s life, courtesy of the High Commission of Malaysia and its officials, Narayan Hebbale and Skanda Prakash played in the background and an exhibition of photos from Netaji’s life along with his famous inspirational quotes was on display along with some rare books on his life, his participation in the struggle for Indian independence, and his journey as the Commander-in-Chief of INA.
Consul General Dr. Swati Kulkarni graced the occasion along with Rajib Bhattacharya and Madan Ghildiyal from the consulate.
Emcee and coordinator, Vishwanath Ganti, set up the stage to begin. Agnihotri welcomed the audience and introduced the program coordinator Geetanjali Talukdar who spoke a few words about Bose.
Patriotic themed dance performances by Kalashetra, Anurag Sharma and students (Kalashram), Abhinaya Dance Academy, Atlanta Nritya Academy, and Purbasha members followed. A group of singers from Sur Sangeet Choir Group gave an outstanding performance including songs such as Ekla Cholo Re and Kadam Kadam Badhaaye Ja inspired by Netaji.
Anoop Kapoor, IACA Leadership, spoke of his grandfather Jay Dev Kapoor who was sentenced to Kala Pani, the colonial prison for freedom fighters under the British rule. Saikat Chatterjee, a member of Purbasha, shared his family’s connection with Netaji.
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s 161st Birth Anniversary was hosted by the CGI, at the official building on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 along with community organizations including IACA, Purbasha, RAJA, Odisha Association and MMA.
Consul Madan Ghildiyal welcomed everyone and introduced the CGI. Dr. Kulkarni spoke about Rabindranath Tagore, underlining the fact that his work continues to inspire millions of people and how he taught India to be proud nation. Agnihotri spoke about the life of Tagore. Cultural program segment of the evening program was emceed by Geetanjali Talukdar, IACA member and Saikat Chatterjee of Purbasha.
An apt rendition of Rabindra sangeet enhanced the of theme the evening. Rendition of music by a group of singers of ‘ Sur – Sangeet’ – Suman, Taan, Dipanjan, Rikhia , Manju, Sonali and Geeta Talukdar, enhanced the patriotic fervor while reviving memories of Gurudev. The hall is full despite it being a workday.
“Rabindra Sangeet was brought to Life,” Akkineni,
President IACA remarked. He invited all the attendees to IACA’s flagship event
Festival of India on August 13, 2022.
Geetanjali Talukdar, member of India American Cultural Association (IACA) organized both events. “I am honored to organize these prestigious events. This is the first time that Parakram Diwas has been staged and we hope to stage more programs like this in the future. I am humbled and thankful to a huge number of attendees and participants from all these organizations who came on a weekday (Tagore celebrations). It would not have been possible without the support of IACA family,” she said.