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Consulate General of India Chicago Celebrates the 4th Edition of “Kala-Utsav” , an Annual Festival to Promote Rich Heritage of Indian Art and Culture

Nearly 700 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of US Midwest, including many US nationals and different ethnic groups attended the event

Consul General of India Chicago Ms. Neeta Bhushan with Kala-Utsav participants
Chicago, August 30, 2017: The Consulate General of India organized 4th edition of “Kala Utsav” the Annual Cultural Festival on August 26, 2017, at Yellow Box, Naperville with 19 different Indian Cultural Organizations to promote the rich heritage of Indian Art and Culture in the US Mid-west. The event provided a platform for over 200 renowned as well as new Indian artists, from across the US Midwest to showcase their talents through various performances. 
Hon’ble Cogressman from 8th District of Illinois Raja Krishmoorthi was Chief  Guest and Mr. Juan Ochoa, Special Advisor to Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emmanuel and Board of Director of MPEA [Metropolitan Exposition Authority] was the Special Guest on the occasion of kala utsav 2017. The festival was inaugurated by Consul General of India, Ms. Neeta Bhushan, by lighting of the lamp as per the traditional Indian customs. The Chief Guest, Special Guest, prominent community leaders and volunteers participated in the lighting of the lamp. This was followed by the Indian and the US National Anthems.
Nearly 700 people comprising of the Indian-American Diaspora hailing from different parts of US Midwest, including many US nationals and different ethnic groups attended the event.
In her inaugural address, Consul General Ms. Neeta Bhushan underlined the ancient, rich and diverse culture of India. She 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 India’s unity in diversity.
MAFS Seniors Dance Group
During his address, Hon’ble Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi also appreciated the efforts of Consulate in providing a platform “kala utsav” for showcasing India’s various folks and classical dance forms as well rich musical tradition through the local talents.
Kala Utsav
Team Ghunguru Participates in Kala Utsav in Chicago
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 followed by a sequence of captivating dance performances representing the classical, folk and modern dance forms of India from different dance schools. 
Soorya Dance School
The classical dance segment included Kathak performances presented by Anila Sinha Foundation,  Bharatnatyam performance presented by Natya Dance School, Kuchupudi by Nrityamala Dance Academy, Odissi dance presented by Utkalaa Dance Group, Adardhnareshwar by Rina Rockers, Jugalbani and Bharatnatyam by Yakshagana from Indiana.  
The folk dance segment was quite large. There were 6 folk dance representing six States of India. The Bengali Folk Dance presented by Jhankaar Dance, Shingari Dance School presented Kerala Folk DanceRhythms & Grace Dance Studio presented Rajasthani folk dance, the Assam Association of Greater Chicago presented Assam’s Folk dance and high energy Punjabi folk dance “Gidda” by Bollywood Dance Academy. The performance of “Garba”, Gujarati folk dance, by MAFS Seniors Dance Group enthralled the audience.
The kids from Bolly Dance Fit and Fun creative kids also participated and performed in the festival.
Kids from Bolly Dance Fit and Fun creative kids
There were four presentations under the Contemporary/Fusion dance category in which over twenty-five artists participated. The presentation ‘Rain, Drought & Flood’ by Soorya Dance School captured the hearts of the audience.  “Bollywood Dance ” was presented by Bollywood Rhythm and Rhythm of Kerala by Team Ghunguru. Mythilli Dance Academy attempted to keep the flame of vibrancy in the heart by presenting “ Parai Drum Dance”.
Mrs. Lakshmi Parmeswaran and Ms. Tanvi Bhatt ably anchored the event as emcee and kept the audience engaged. Mr OP Meena, Consul [HOC], proposed a vote of thanks.
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Ethnic Indian Jai Sears responds to complaint against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada

Jai Sears wrote in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier

Mahatama Gandhi, leader of non violence

Jai Sears from Grenada, Caribbean has written a letter to editor in response to complaints against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada. Here is the text:

I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017). In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago. Rougier’s opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”

Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement. If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said: “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995. Gandhi was a man; he was not god. And even god made mistakes.

In favour of Mahatama Gandhi
Photo of Jai Sears

Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world. Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa. From as early as 1956 when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”

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Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948. So who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?

A friend to all.
Jai Sears
Grenada, Caribbean