May 28, 2011
Much of India’s cultural identity is reflected in its vibrant religious festivals. Every festival tells a story which imparts spiritual truths, adding meaning to daily life. The symbolism serves to uplift and unite, and maintain India’s ancient traditions.
However, with the advent of colonialism, some of this was lost.
“One of the tragic consequences of colonial rule in India was that the Indian calendars and almanacs (panchanga) lost their significance in our social and cultural lives,” stated Assistant Professor Pramod Kumar, who coordinates the Cultural Education classes on Coimbatore campus.
“The panchanga was replaced instead by western calendars,” he added.
Today, India’s cultural heritage is further threatened by modernization which has dampened the practice of routine worship and devotion.
“Daily life in India was once centered around beautiful traditions, festivals and customs which occurred throughout the year,” he noted. “It might not be an exaggeration to say that every day was a festival in the Indian calendar and had spiritual significance.”
Events like Navavarsham 2011 celebrate India’s rich festival history; revive India’s ancient traditions and helps students reconnect with their heritage.
Hosted by the cultural club Arya on campus, Navavarsham 2011 festivities highlighted the importance of observing the traditional Indian New Year in modern times.
The three-day event during April 6-8 included several cultural events and competitions.
Forty teams of students and faculty members participated in a lively multimedia quiz program on Festivals of India.
“The quiz provided a panoramic view of Indian festivals, which was both entertaining and informative,” shared Pramod.
The first prize was won by a team of third-year B.Tech. students, Anjan (Chemical Engineering) and Shyam (Computer Science and Engineering).
The celebrations culminated in an evening of music, Infusion on the final day.
A hauntingly beautiful instrumental piece Kashmir, described the beauty of the Himalayas was the first to play. As the evening progressed, Ivalana Pilipu, a song about the seven tastes of Ugadi and Ethovarmugilin, about the joy a new born brings, captured the audience’s hearts. The spell was broken by a Kutcheri, performed in kapi raagam leading on to more nostalgic numbers.
“Eleven songs, some composed in Carnatic music, others in western style, both classical and contemporary were showcased,” said Pramod. “Three of the songs were self-composed.”
Navavarsham 2011 infused new life into the celebration of India’s festival traditions at the Coimbatore campus. It was one of many steps Amrita has initiated to restore India’s cultural identity, helping all to remember what should never be forgotten.