By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
India's rich cultural diversity, history and traditions came alive at a colourful two-hour cultural extravaganza, hosted by the Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) to mark the South Asian nation's 69th Independence Day celebrations on Friday.
While recalling the sacrifices made by the leaders of the freedom struggle, Indian ambassador Sanjiv Arora said the country achieved remarkable strides since gaining independence and it is a matter of immense pride and satisfaction for his compatriots that India is now a major economic power. He also thanked the local government authorities for reaffirming their faith in the abilities and talents of the Indian expatriates over the last seven decades.
Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy assistant secretary general (tournament operations) Nasser al-Khater recalled the wholehearted support extended by the Indian expatriate community to the body's initiatives. While appreciating the community, al-Khater also appealed to the community to continue its backing to make the 2022 FIFA Word Cup a remarkable success.
The Qatari official who began his address in Hindi, India's official language, was given a resounding applause by the gathering.
Qatar Shell executive vice president and country chairman Michiel Kool also appreciated the Indian community at the meeting.
The main attractions of the cultural fiesta were performances by a host of organisations affiliated to the ICC. The two items that drew remarkably good attention were the skits presented by Bangiya Parishad and Karnataka Sangha Qatar.
While the Sangha's Swadesh', which told the transformation of Bal Gangadhara Tilak into a prominent leader of the Indian national movement in the 19th century, Parishad's `Spectrum' defined the contributions made by five top personalities who lived in the Eastern Indian state of Bengal, namely Indian National Poet and the country's first Nobel Prize recipient Rabindra Nath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Nobel laureate Mother Teresa and globally acclaimed film maker Satyajit Ray.
Others who presented items were ICC Odissi Team (`Vande Mataram'), Millennium Kids (Kathakali), ICC Semi-Classical group (Semi classical fusion), ICC Patriotic (Thematic programme on patriotism), Gujarat Samaj (regional folk dance), Maharashtra Mandal (traditional Marathi dance), MES Indian School (semi classical dance), Sanskriti (Punjabi folk dance), Sarangi (`Thiruvathira'), Bhavan's Public School (Skit- Unity in Diversity), Punjab Association (Folk dance by children), Indian Islamic Association Qatar (Fashion show on National integration) and ICC Regional (Bhangra dance).
At the function, CBSE 2015 toppers from the Indian schools in Qatar were honoured. Shobhana Menon, (Ideal Indian School) who was the lone recipient of the Teachers Award instituted by the CBSE from among the teachers serving in the GCC region also received an award. Indian ambassador gave away the awards.
Earlier ICC president Girish Kumar welcomed the gathering. Defence Attache at the Indian embassy Captain Remanan Ravi Kumar and Qatar Ministry of Environment's acting director of PR & Communications Abdulla al-Hajari, ICC general secretary Divakar Poojari and managing committee member Raja Vijayan also spoke. Qatar Shell, Ooredoo, Doha Bank and Lulu Hypermarket were the main sponsors. Gulf Times was the official media partner.
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