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Young Kathak Performer Chahek Ladhani Represents India at Cracovia Danza Festival in Poland

Known as the European capital of culture, Krakow is famous for hosting world's best cultural festival

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Chahek Ladhani is a young kathak performer
Gungroos. Pixabay

Poland, August 18, 2017: Chahek Ladhani is one of the youngest Indians to represent the country in the 18th edition of Cracovia Danza festival in Krakow, Poland. Chahek along with ten other students of ‘Alkananda Institute of Performing arts‘ had participated by the side of participants from 45 countries presenting their culture.

Known as the European capital of culture, Krakow is famous for hosting world’s best cultural festival.

ALSO READ: Kathakali: Cultural preserver of classic tales

The audience has appreciated the Kathak performance presented by the young participants. The performance was covered by Krakow National TV alongside other reputable media houses, mentioned ANI.

Chahek learned Kathak at the age of four under the guidance of Guru Alaknanda. The persistence and years of continued practice brought her to this global platform.


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Who was Sitara Devi? Google Doodle Celebrates 97th Birth Anniversary of the Kathak Legend

A recipient of Padma Shri, Kalidas Samman, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Nritya Nipuna, Sitara Devi was also an accomplished dancer in many other styles including Bharatanatyam, folk dances of India, Russian ballet and other western forms.

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Sitara Devi
Google doodle for Sitara's Devi's birth anniversary. Google

New Delhi, November 8, 2017 : Search engine Google on Wednesday dedicated its doodle to ‘Nritya Samragini’ Sitara Devi on her 97th birth anniversary.

In the doodle the Kathak legend is seen in a pink costume posing elegantly at the centre of the graphic, with the accompaniments of instruments – ghungroo, tabla and sitar — taking the place of the remaining alphabets in the word ‘google’ .

Who Was Sitara Devi?

The eminent classical dancer was born in 1920 to a Brahmin family from Varanasi living in Kolkata (then Calcutta).

Her father Sukhadev Maharaj was a school teacher but practised and performed Kathak, as well.

Sitara Devi started with solo performances at the tender age of 10.

When her family shifted to Bombay (now Mumbai), she gave a Kathak performance in the Atiya Begum Palace before a select audience, which included Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu and Parsi philanthropist Sir Cowasji Jehangir.

At just 16, Sitara Devi enthralled her audience. So impressed was Tagore with her performance that he gave her the title “Nritya Samragini” (the empress of dance).

Sitara Devi presented Kathak at international venues like the Royal Albert Hall, London, and Carnegie Hall, New York.

She has also been part of many Bollywood movies like “Usha Haran”, “Nagina”, “Roti”, “Vatan”, “Anjali” and “Mother India”.

She has been a mentor to many Bollywood actresses and taught them Kathak. Madhubala, Rekha, Mala Sinha and Kajol are some of them.

A recipient of Padma Shri, Kalidas Samman, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Nritya Nipuna, Sitara Devi was also an accomplished dancer in many other styles including Bharatanatyam, folk dances of India, Russian ballet and other western forms.

After a period of prolonged illness, the Kathak maestro breathed her last on November 25, 2014 at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai. (IANS)

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Indian Film Festival to be hosted by Poland in October 2017

This festival will be organized from 7th - 10th October 2017 in Warsaw & Krakow

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Poland, Indian Film Festival
Poland to Host Indian Film Festival. Pixabay
  • The Indian Film Festival Poland will show path breaking Indian films which have been jointly curated by Mr. R C Dalal and Captain Rahul Bali
  • The Indian Film Festival Poland will endorse the art and culture between the two countries- India & Poland using cinema as a medium
  • Some fun and entertaining events are also planned during the Day 4 of the festival like Indo – Bollywood Dance Performances by Polish Dancers, Indian Food Festival, Polish Musical concerts 

Warsaw (Poland), August 23, 2017: Lately Film festivals have turned into a huge phenomenon across the world in over the last 50 years; they are big celebrated events now that increase the reputation of the cities as well in which they are being organized. Poland will host the Indian Film Festival, the Indian film festival will commence in October 2017. The best part is that India has completed 71 years of Independence in the same year this festival will be organized. A Curtain Raiser Press Conference occurred in order to make the official announcement of the 1st ever Indian Film Festival to happen in Poland. It will be organized from 7th – 10th October 2017 in Warsaw & Krakow.

The Indian Film Festival Poland will show path breaking Indian films, the films have been jointly curated by Mr. R C Dalal and Captain Rahul Bali.  The Indian Film Festival Poland will endorse the art and culture between the two countries- India & Poland using cinema as a medium. It will showcase some fine Indian movies. Indian cinema is known for its vibrant, rich culture and the emotions expressed in Indian movies like love, friendship, brotherhood, family values etc. Indian movies are incomplete without music, songs and some dancing. The movies which spread joy amongst all will be on display. The audience in Poland will have a brilliant opportunity to witness some of the greatest works of art by acclaimed Indian directors. Festivals like these can pave a way for strengthening the bond of friendship between the two countries.

ALSO READ: Kashmir World Film Festival (KWFF) Kicks off in Srinagar, Aims to Promote Film Culture

Ajay Bisaria, H.E. the Ambassador of India to Poland said,” The Indian Film Festival in Poland will be devoted to the appreciation of cinema, art, and culture by showcasing Indian films for Polish audiences and opening new avenues of bilateral cooperation between our countries. This celebration of cinema will be part of a wider Festival of India that we hope will bring a gourmet selection of India’s cultural offerings to our Polish friends, for a whole year.”

Captain Rahul Bali, Co-Founder & Curator of Indian Film Festivals Worldwide (IFFW) also spoke on the occasion, “This festival shall be an annual event which shall feature a rich mix of programmes designed to build and support the growing interest of the Indian film industry in Poland.”  8 path breaking films from India will be shown this year and some award winning directors & actors will grace the event from India and Polish Film Industry.”

On 7th October 2017, the opening ceremony of the Festival will take place in Warsaw at Kino Teka with a lot of joy and zeal. On 10th October 2017, the closing ceremony will take place in Krakow. Some fun and entertaining events are also planned during the Day 4 of the festival like Indo – Bollywood Dance Performances by Polish Dancers, Indian Food Festival, Polish Musical concerts, etc.

“We look forward to introducing this beautiful country which has largely remained unexplored till now to the ever growing Indian Film Industry & seek to develop a lot of synergy in them,” said RC Dalal, Co-Founder & Curator IFFW.

The Indian Film Festival is put together by Indian Film Festivals Worldwide (IFFW) with the sponsors are The Embassy of India in Poland, The Polish Institute New Delhi, Indo Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Indian Association of Poland & India International Foundation.


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Fair Immigration? Britain’s Leave Campaign Struggles to Persuade Ethnic Minorities on Brexit

If there was a Brexit, analysts broadly expected a surge in market volatility amid uncertainty over what would happen next

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Brexit
The Palace of Culture and Science is illuminated in Union Jack colours by Warsaw's capital authorities in support of Britain staying in the EU, in Warsaw, Poland June 22, 2016. Image Courtesy: Reuters
  • Brexit campaigners are trying to persuade minorities to support their campaigns
  • Whilst there is free movement for EU citizens, some British Asians are particularly unhappy at visa rules that apply to non-EU migrants
  • 14 percent of people in England and Wales identified themselves as non-white in the 2011 census

At a limestone North London temple under the image of the Hindu god Krishna, a British Asian minister is striving to persuade ethnic minorities to support leaving the European Union with a message of ‘fair’ immigration and stronger ties to the Commonwealth. Britain is set to vote on Brexit Thursday, June 23.

Brexit
British Prime Minister. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Despite polls showing Black and Asian Britons are more pro-EU than the rest of the population, prominent Brexit campaigner Priti Patel has led the charge to win over the fastest growing section of the electorate ahead of Thursday’s referendum.

Leave campaigners have used worries about migration from the EU to tell millions of voters whose families hail from former British colonies that a Brexit could make it easier for people to come to Britain from places where their family roots lie.

Whilst there is free movement for EU citizens, some British Asians are particularly unhappy at visa rules that apply to non-EU migrants, making it difficult to bring over relatives for social functions or staff for restaurants.

“This is about having an immigration policy that brings fairness back and takes discrimination off our Commonwealth countries and off communities like the Indian community, the Pakistani community,” Patel told Reuters, as a dozen praying women in colourful traditional dress chanted at the temple.

There is no official definition of an ethnic minority but 14 percent of people in England and Wales identified themselves as non-white in the 2011 census, and nearly 20 percent said they were not white British, a sizeable group that could sway the outcome of a vote which polls show is too close to call.

But the murder of British lawmaker Jo Cox, who had backed refugee causes, has raised concerns about the tone of the debate on immigration and could make some minority voters think twice about backing the Brexit campaign, experts and voters said.

A poster bearing the message: “Breaking Point: The EU has failed us all” against a drop of a long line of refugees, unveiled by the leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, also damaged support among minorities.

At the East London Mosque, one of the largest Muslim places of worship in Europe, one voter said she had been leaning “70 percent” towards backing Brexit until Cox’s murder, which helped tip her in favour of continued membership.

“It made me think that if she is someone who is saying that we should stay in, someone of her character then that’s the right decision to go with,” said 33-year-old Zinia Khan, who works in the voluntary sector.

“You’ve got people like Nigel Farage with that poster and then you’re thinking: What are they going to change? How are they going to make things more difficult for people from black and ethnic minorities… and you feel safer if you’re in.”

Farage, who apologised for any offence caused but not for the content of the poster, has repeatedly denied accusations that UKIP is racist. “It was the truth,” he said on Wednesday.

“NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION”

Black and Asian voters tend to back the pro-EU opposition Labour Party, and the little available polling data and previous voting habits suggest the Brexit campaign has faced a difficult battle to win over minority support.

Whilst polls show Britons evenly split on the eve of the vote, four surveys which provided a breakdown by ethnicity showed that half or more of minorities want to remain in the EU compared to between a quarter and a third who back Brexit.

Only around 20 percent back Brexit according to the most recent nationwide findings from the British Election Study (BES) conducted between April 14 and May 4, similar to the 28 percent who supported an exit in a May 2015 Survation poll.

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A YouGov poll taken this month in London, the most diverse part of Britain, showed 52 percent of non-white Londoners backed EU membership, compared to 46 percent of white respondents.

Maria Sobolewska, a specialist in ethnic minority public opinion at Manchester University, said while many minorities backed tougher rules on immigration, they did not trust some of the leading campaign figures such as Farage.

“They don’t like the messengers,” she told Reuters.

“They do have to worry about what it means to hand these people a win and whether it would lead to more isolationist policies but they certainly think: these people are not friendly to minorities.”

While many minority voters share concerns felt by some white Britons about the impact of immigration on the National Health Service (NHS) and housing, polling shows they are less worried about the cultural impact.

“What we know in election studies is that the main difference on issue preferences, which are very similar – jobs, the economy, the NHS – is that immigration ranks lower,” said Sunder Katwala, director of non-partisan think-tank British Future, which focuses on migration and identity.

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Demographic factors could also help explain higher support for EU membership among ethnic minority communities which the Brexit campaign could find difficult to overcome.

Britain’s black and ethnic minorities are younger on average than the white British population, with younger voters among the most pro-EU regardless of background.

There are also distinct differences between Britain’s ethnic communities, many of whom hail from disparate Commonwealth nations in Africa and Asia, according to both the British Election Study and the Survation poll.

Only 42 percent of Bangladeshi Britons want to stay in the EU compared with 63 percent of those from a black African background and 65 percent of Chinese voters, according to BES.

British Indians, the country’s biggest ethnic minority group numbering some 1.4 million people, are marginally more pro-European than the wider population but half said they would either back Brexit or had yet to make up their minds.

“I think the Asian community is divided in the sense that they haven’t got enough information,” said Conservative Councillor Manji Kara, outside the Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir temple near Wembley Stadium during Patel’s visit.

A supporter of Brexit, he said his scientist son wanted to stay in the EU and that many others in the Asian community were leaning to remaining in the EU without all the facts.

“Quite a few of the people think they should vote for ‘In’ without actually realizing what’s in it for them if they stay in or what are the benefits of getting out,” Kara said.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from Reuters), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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