Ekal Awareness through Dance & Music

at George Mason University, VA

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"When Goddess Saraswati’s blessings are there, the words bloom into flowers, the gestures turn into dances and the ambience becomes pious and enlightened with knowledge." – Hindu spiritualism and religion.

In Hindu spiritualism the quest for learning is invoked via worship of Goddess Saraswati. Following such an invocation by Uma Yeluru and Jyothi Prajwalana (lamp lighting) by Suman Berry mood of purposefulness and enjoyment was set which lasted until the end of the program. Meaningful words were exchanged in these 3 hours.

The evening of the Song and Dance on June 29, 2008, at the George Mason University’s Johnson Center was organized by the Ekal Vidyalaya Washington DC Chapter and the Indian Student Association of GMU. was a resounding and magnificent success. Several artists, both budding and veterans alike, participated with lively performances. Smt. Saikantha Raparla's group performed a spectacular remix of ‘Dhem Tana’.

Ekal Awareness Presentation

Viral Patel screened a short film about Ekal’s mission, and outlined the philosophy, activities and progress of Ekal, with an appeal to the audience to participate and help ekal DC spread its wings. Vindya Adapa, a regular performer at the University of Maryland Choir sang a spellbinding and melodious song, “My One True Friend”; thus reminding the audience of the true friendship of Ekal Volunteers with the remote villagers and children.

Ekal’s philosophy of grassroots development and "empowerment through education’ received full support by the two guest speakers of the evening- Divya Nettimi and Ishani Chowdary . Both Speakers shared their own personal gratification in volunteering and commitment to serve community. Divya Nettimi graduated with honors from Thomas Jefferson High School in Annandale, Virginia and is currently attending Stanford University. Ishani Chaudhry from the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) gave a speech that truly touched the hearts of the audience. Ms Chowdary shared the happy memories of her childhood volunteering at the local temple where her parents frequently took her . With this mention of the past, she informed the audience about her journey and decision to leave a lucrative position at the IT industry in favor of a position at a non-profit HAF. She said that while it is important to sponsor Ekal school ( she did this out of her first paycheck) to educate the poor of India, it is equally important to educate people here in the local community about various issues of their interest. She talked about her responsibility at HAF as a lobbyist to educate members of congress about Hindu culture and thus erase any misconceptions they may have. Both Divya and Ishani were applauded by the audience for their work with the blessings to achieve the best on their journey in life.

Usha Sreekanth's magic

The group dance from India International School of Divya Vinjamuri’s performed wonderfully well. These dance steps are quite similar to those of Rajsthani dance. However, the actual origin of the dance and song belong to Andhra pradesh. This particular blend of dance, music and costume was simply the best.

Amongst the many fine performances in the evening, perhaps the last but not the least was the mesmerizing songs by Usha Sreekanth, a co-singer of Udit Narayan and many other divas. Usha has sung in movies, has lent her voice in several performances and has a wonderful melody in the baritones of her voice. With several requests, Usha gave a marvelous performance.

Ekal DC Chapter's pledge

Ekal vice president Shashi Shrivastav requested the audience to support activities of Ekal DC and to pledge the funds to support 1000 schools in 2008. Rao Mulpuri who is volunteering his time and resources by tutoring high school students in Virginia also seeked the support in his endevour. Last year through his tutoring efforts 50 Ekal schools were established.

This program was organized with support by Indian Student Association of George Mason University. Kamal Patel president and Ms. Simiran secretary of the Indian Student Association gave the closing remarks with thanks to all. This program was fully supported and coordinated by Chandrashekhar Tadikonda, Viral Patel and Jiban Khuntia who are members of the Youth for Ekal Sewa of Washington DC chapter.