Uniting the world through art

Infosys-Chandigarh campus head Vikas Gupta felicitates kathak dancer Samira Koser in the presence of (2nd from L) Neenu Vij, Bhavan Vidyalaya senior principal Vineeta Arora, BVB-Bengaluru joint director Nagalakshmi Rao, BVB-Chandigarh’s Cultural Committee chair Manmohan Singh Kohli, PDG Madhukar Malhotra and artistes from the Pracheen Kala Kendra.

Rotary club of Chandigarh, RID 3080, celebrated the spirit of ‘one world, one family’ through a week-long art and cultural festival (Oct 16–22) at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB), in partnership with the Infosys Foundation, the CSR arm of the IT major, and Bhavan Vidyalaya. The cultural programmes turned the spotlight on the cosmopolitan ethos of Chandigarh, reflecting the global confluence of traditional and contemporary art forms to drive home the universal truth of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam (World is one family).

Let us remember that our culture is not just a reflection of our past, but a beacon guiding us towards our future.
— PRIP Rajendra Saboo

The school and its parent body, BVB-Chandigarh, are being run by a team of veteran Rotarians with PRIP Rajendra Saboo as the chairman-mentor. This illustrious cultural entity was founded by K M Munshi, a freedom fighter, politician and writer, in ­Bombay in 1938 as an educational trust. Speaking at the inaugural session of the art festival, Saboo said, “we are honoured to partner with BVB-­Bengaluru and the Infosys Foundation to further the cause of art and culture.” Noting that the Indian culture is a “tapestry of music and dance, a kaleidoscope of colours and a repository of wisdom,” he expressed his gratitude to the organisers for weaving a programme that showcases the heart and soul of India’s heritage.

It is through these cultural expressions “we come to understand the true essence of India. Let us remember that our culture is not just a reflection of our past, but a beacon guiding us towards our future. As we progress, we do so as one big family, bound by the threads of culture, tradition and unity,” he said.


A cultural boost

While the cultural fest was first mooted by Infosys, “we got on board with the aim to promote young and budding artistes in the fields of music, dance, art exhibition, theatre play and other forms of cultural expressions,” said PDG Madhukar Malhotra, secretary, BVB-Chandigarh. About 150 artistes from across India participated in thesecond edition of the art festival.

PRIP Rajendra Saboo felicitates Dharam Pal, advisor to Chandigarh administrator, and his wife Anita at the inaugural event.

Recalling the success of the art festival last year, he said, “The 275-seater Bhavan auditorium was packed on all days; and on average 4,000 people viewed the events livestreamed through the Bhavan’s and Infosys’ YouTube channels every day.”

For years now, though Bhavan Vidyalaya, a CBSE-affiliated school with three separate campuses and student strength of over 3,000, is a top ranker in academic performance in Chandigarh, “our cultural activities were lagging behind. We are confident that this annual cultural festival will fill up the void by opening a national platform for students and young artistes to showcase talent,” Malhotra added.

Dharam Pal, advisor to ­Chandigarh administrator, addressed the event. Around 1,300 artistes from eight states performed in 90 events/programmes in the first edition of the art festival last year, said Vikas Gupta, centre head, Infosys campus-Chandigarh. “The CSR arm of Infosys is committed to growth with purpose and the Foundation was set up 25 years ago to usher in development in healthcare, education, women’s empowerment and environment sustainability,” he said.

Artistes from the Central Asian Republics perform at the opening ceremony.

Dancers from the Central Asian Republics, Europe and Africa displayed the vibrant diversity of the world and the unique heritage of their lands through rhythmic, foot-tapping music of their countries. Running a 70-year-old Pracheen Kala Kendra, Samira Koser, a kathak dancer, said, 20 disciples including foreigners performed in the inaugural show.

Irina Shuvalova from ­Kazakhstan was elated to perform and share the stage with “professional dancers from across the world.” Earlier, in his welcome address, Manmohan Singh Kohli, past president, RC Chandigarh, and chairman, BVB’s cultural committee, said that “the concept of world as a single family is not new to India and Saboo has been promoting this ancient ethos for decades as a global Rotarian.”


Pictures by V Muthukumaran


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