FTV Community News, Marlborough: The 22nd Hindu Heritage Day (HHD) was organized by the volunteers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad /World Hindu Council of America (VHPA), Boston & Merrimack Valley Chapters, on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at Marlborough Middle School, Marlborough, MA with much dedication, delight, and happiness. Thousands of people from Greater Boston Area in their colorful traditional attires attended this vibrant festival and enjoyed authentic Indian music, songs, dances, food and Mela. Hundreds of participants including as little as five years old showcased their talents and made the celebration more energetic and entertaining.
Hindu Heritage Day is a dynamic event that is connecting almost all Boston area Indian organizations and institutions, large and small, in an effort to unite Hindus around the world. The aim of this event is to impart and instill an admiration and pride in following the Hindu way of life, cultivating self-respect and showing respect for all people, and establishing a truly global Hindu network. Adding to its historical mark, Mr. Charlie Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Mayor of Marlborough, proclaimed Saturday, the 19th of May 2017, as “Hindu Heritage Day.”
This year’s central theme of the celebration was, “Celebrating Hindu Sanskriti” which coincided perfectly with May 19th, having been declared as ‘International Cultural Freedom Day” and conveyed truly the message of ‘Hindu Culture’ of India as it is a culture of love, respect, honoring others and humbling one’s own ego so that the inner nature, which is naturally pure and modest, will shine into the world. Hindu Culture represents characteristics and knowledge of Indians that encompasses many languages, religions, cuisines, social habits, customs, rituals, attires, dances, music and arts. While the School Cafeteria was filled with mouth-watering food for all the participants, the corridors housed a busy colorful Mela with several non-profit outfits such as Indian Circle for Caring, Ekal Vidyalaya, Samskrita Bharati, Brahmkumari and educational stalls, and for-profit businesses such as car-dealers, real estate agents, NY Life, advertisers and sponsors. This is the day, where families enjoy sumptuous Indian food, including traditional chai and pan and find information from local vendor booths about Bal Vihars/kindergartens, youth camps, yoga and spiritual centers, mehndi creators, Indian story books, spiritual books, pictures & CDs, jewelries, clothes, decorative items and information on other events taking place in and around the Boston area. Seeing all this, brought to our minds the memories the Indian Bazars.
The Mela started at 3:00 PM and the eagerly awaited cultural program started at 4:00 PM with purifying sound of the conch shell by the priest Pandit Shivram Sharma of Sarva Dev Mandir, Oxford, MA and singing of an invocation song by children. The invited Chief guests who honored the event with their presence included: Mr. Pralhad K. C., Council General of Nepal; May Troung, Executive Director, Office of Immigrants; and Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary, International Business Development. These dignitaries and other distinguished guests/respected community members including Dinesh Tanna, Praveen Mishra, Chirag Patel, Dilip Patel, Brij Lal Kaul, Girdhari Lal Salman, Pramit Makoday, Hamel Rathod lighted the ceremonial lamp to start off this auspicious event with Mr. Sanjay Kaul, Convener HHD. Thereafter, the national anthems of USA and India were sung beautifully by Ms Radha Rao respectively. Almost all the music and dance schools of the Greater Boston area were there to exhibit their hidden aptitudes about Hindu culture. Chinmaya Mission Team Chanted Bhagwat Geetha very melodiously after the introduction, Recognition and Speeches of Chief Guests.
The cultural program presented very jubilant performances by more than 250 performing participants of all ages groups from several organizations and a featured program by Smt. Kiran Nath Ji who is an esteemed Singer, Composer, and Poet. She rendered her beautiful voice to some soulful ghazals and made the audience to get immersed in her musical treat. She is known as the ‘Best female voice from Boston area.’ Participants enjoyed with utmost interest the performances presented by more 30 Dance and Music schools, several Bal Vihars (Hindu Sunday Schools) ranging from theatrical play to energetic and skillfully choreographed dances, melodious songs. Some well-known guest artistes enthralled the audience with their professional presentations as well.
This year VHPA presented ‘Distinguished Community Organization’ awards to 1) Indian Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) represented by Sanjay Gowda (Vice-President) and Sanjay Sahasrabudhe (Treasurer) 2) India Society Worcester (ISW) represented by Ashish Cowlagi (President); 3) Essence of India (EOI) represented by Sunanda Sahay & Seema Kapoor (Co-organizers). And ‘Distinguished Volunteer Award’ was presented to Bob Leonard Jr & Mayur Shukla.
Mr. Pralhad K. C., Council General of Nepal and an office bearer of Asian American Council presented to the convener of HHD Mr. Sanjay Kaul with a Certificate of Appreciation for VHPA from the House of Representatives, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts signed by the Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and State Representatives: Keiko M. Orrall; Jackey Chen; Donald Wong; Paul A. Schmid and Rady Mom.
May Troung, Executive Director, Office of Immigrants; and Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary, International Business Development presented to the convener of HHD Mr. Sanjay Kaul with Governors Citation in Recognition of Hindu Heritage Day signed by Governor Charles D. Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn E. Polito.
While the Classical & Desi Folk dances and Hindustani Classical music by Shri. Rakesh Chauhan delighted the audiences, Raghuvanshi Vachan by VHPA Bal Vihar, Dadhavatara – Avatars of Lord Vishnu by Jab We Dance team, Krishna Virah Me Gopiyaan by Ekta Dance Academy, Rhythm Raas Leela by DRB team, and Panchatantra Tales by Lexington Bal Vihar, and Rani of Jhansi Lakshmibai by Tarana School of Kathak added the star power to the cultural program and offered delight to the minds and ears of the audiences and made them to sit and enjoy the program to the end.
Maha Lexhmi (Maha) Pula and Dhanashree Ramachandran moderated the program very meticulously as Emcees and kept the audience entertained with their informative Q&A and kept the cultural program flow going well.
The Food Court, fed all the people with Indian snacks like Samosa, Pakora and Chaat as appetizers; and later in dinner, a full-fledged Indian meal was served consisting of Paneer, Aaloo Gobhi, Naan, Rice, Gulab Jamun and much more. All the delicacies were prepared by local Minerva Restaurant. Tea, Ice cream and Meeta-Pan made the event indeed a place of joy. Also, VHPA desk provided information about their various projects. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or simply donate for any of the VHPA’s projects, please contact: Sanjay Kaul [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Young adults and teenagers of New England land are joining the effort and showing their desire to learn and preserve their rich heritage and engaging in the effort of bringing that knowledge to others. All the local and outside Media partners: Foundations TV, IndiaPost, Gunjan Radio, India New England News, Lokvani, Radio Music India, and TV Asia covered the VHPA’s annual popular event ‘Hindu Heritage Day’ with all the enthusiasm. Bob Leonard, Kaushik Patel, Priyanka Jaiswal, Daman Sidhu, Eshani Shah and many other volunteers provided photography & video coverage for the event.
During his vote-of-thanks Shri Sanjay Kaul expressed his heart-felt gratitude and appreciation to all participants and all the attendees for their active participation and making this event a grand success and memorable one. He also said that it was a team effort, and without the support of every member, volunteer, sponsor and supporter it would not have been possible to put this event together. He thanked the two MCs, distinguished guests, invited artists, mela participants, all performers and his core team members for their dedication and services.
“HHD event as a whole is amazing, whether Mela, food court, cultural programs, the display of posters/exhibits about festivals, contributions made by Seers, great teachers and Rishis to education, medicine, Yoga, and spirituality is very informative for us and our children. We never miss this event” – participants said to the reporter.