Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, October 14, 2013

At the dandiya festival


With Governor M K Narayanan, Pawan Ruia and others at the aarti
October 14, 2013:  Yesterday evening I attended the opening puja for the three-day dandiya utsav, which is celebrated during the Navratri festivities, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata.
This was a part of a series of dandiya events being organized by Taaza TV. Yesterday’s dandiya was  attended  by the chief guest Lady Governor Padmini Narayanan and also the Governor of West Bengal, His Excellency, M K Narayanan. They performed the aarti on Navratri. Apart from me, Mahendra Jalan, Alka Bangur and Pawan Ruia also participated in the aarti. Raas or dandiya raas is the traditional dance form from Vrindavan and its origins is linked to Lord Krishna. Along with garba or raas garba, it is the featured dance of Navratri evenings across Western and now northern India. The garba dances were always performed in Goddess Durga's honour by enacting a mock fight between the goddess and the demon Mahisasura. It always began with an arti and is followed by dancers, male and females, who merrily take to the floor.
Since the past decade or two, the dandiyas have appeared in its new avatar with DJs, RJs and popular foot-tapping film music and remixes becoming an intrinsic part of these popular modern day dandiya versions which are very commercially viable events across India during the Navratri festivities. A high dose of sophisticated lighting and pyrotechnics have been incorporated into the events that continue through the night till the wee hours. This in turn has necessitated the need for arranging food and drink near the venue.
In all, the dandiya events have acquired a mela-like ambience. There are also competitions in various categories like best dancer, best couple, best dressed and so on.
The dandiyas, like the Bollywood films and songs, have also spread across the world through the Indian diaspora, especially in USA, UK Canada and Australasia. Many foreigners also evince keen interest in the dandiyas.
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