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Consulate General of India celebrates Third Kala Utsav to honour Indian Culture in Chicago

Nearly 500 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of India, including many US nationals and diplomats attended the event

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Dr. Ausaf Sayeed (centre), Consulate General of India along with his wife inaugurate Kala Utsav by lighting the lamp. Image source: Asian Media USA
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Chicago IL, August 25, 2016: The Consulate General of India hosted the Annual Cultural Festival “Kala-Utsav-2016” on August 22, at McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn in collaboration with 23 different Indian Cultural Organizations to promote the rich heritage of Indian Art and Culture in the US Mid-West. The event provided a useful platform for over 250 renowned Indian artists, from across the US Midwest to showcase their inherent talents through top-class performances.
The function started with a stunning performance of “ChendaMelam” by the Chicago Kalashetra which is the best –known and most popular kshetram vadyam (temple percussion) genre.
Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
Dance performance at the Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
The festival was inaugurated by Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India by lighting of the lamp.  He was joined by Mrs Farha Sayeed, OP Meena, Head of Chancery at the Consulate, Harish Kolasani and members of participating organization of Kala-Utsav 2016. This was followed by the Indian and the US National Anthems.

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Nearly 500 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of India, including many US nationals and diplomats attended the event.

In his inaugural address, Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed underlined the ancient, deep-rooted and diverse culture of India, he added that the objective of the annual ‘Kala-Utsav’ festival, which was launched by the consulate in August 2014, is not only to encourage and showcase the extraordinary talents in the Indian-American community but also to reiterate and celebrate the concept of India’s diversity and oneness.
Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
The cultural events began with Rhythmic Collaborations presented by Kala Eternal Rhythms, School of Indian Classical Music, Chicago followed by a sequence of dance performances representing the classical, folk and modern dance forms of India.

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The classical dance segment included two Bharatnatyam performances presented by the Nritya Geethanjali Dance Academy and Natya Dance Theatre, two Kathak performances presented by Anila Sinha Foundation & Tarana Kathak Dance Academy, two Kuchipudi performance presented by Samyoga School of Dance, Indiana and Eshanjali Dance Academy, IOWA. While the Utkala Center for Odissi Dance presented an Odissi composition, Ganesha Vandana, the Nritya Bharathi Institute of Dance, Indiana presented Fast paced Classic Dance.
Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
Dance performance at Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
There were 10 folk dance representing nine States of India. The Telangana Folk Dance Group presented the Telangana folk dance, Bathukamma, Shingari’s School of Rhythm presented Kerala Folk Dance, Oppana, Amitha Mushyam presented Andhra folk dance, Andhranatyam & Kolatam, Rhythms & Grace Dance Studio presented Rajasthani folk dance, Ghummar , the Assam Association of Greater Chicago presented Assam’s Folk dance “ Sattriya”  the Balaji Vidhypeetham School of Balaji Temple presented North Indian Folk dance “ Bappa Morya” , I Radha Group presented high energy Punjabi folk dance “Bhangra”, Maharastra Mandal presented Marathi folk dance “Ghondhal” and Amrapali Dance group presented Bengali folk dance.  The performance of Gidha, Punjabi folk dance, by Hari Om Mandir Dance Group enthralled the audience.
Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
Punjabi folk dance in Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
There were four presentations under the Contemporary/Fusion dance category in which over thirty artists participated. These presentations captured the hearts of the audience. The presentation ‘Colors of India’ by Team Ghungru attempted to keep the flame of vibrancy and patriotism alive in our hearts. Kalapriya Center for Indian performing arts presented “ Navarasa”, Bollywood Dhamaka” was presented by Bollywood Rhythm and Rina Rockers presented a semi-classical dance performance with the remix version of Hanuman Chalisa.
Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
Members and participants of the Third Kala Utsav. Image source: Asia Media USA
Mr Tarun Mullick ably anchored the event as emcee and kept the audience engaged with his hilarious narration, Balle Balle. Mr OP Meena proposed a vote of thanks.
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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created a lots of controversy

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyed due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu ? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read : Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the  bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into open ground. And third, when bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena are called vadi vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also say that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules varies from region to region.

Also Read : Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lots of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court stuck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.