Creativity, hallmark of Indian Independence Day celebrations | Sunday Observer

Creativity, hallmark of Indian Independence Day celebrations

20 August, 2023

The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka put together an imaginatively curated and impressively executed show to celebrate the 77th anniversary of India’s independence here on Tuesday.

Dance performances choreographed by Sri Lankan Guru, Vasuki Jagadeeswaran, and performed by Sri Lankan students of the Swami Vivekananda Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo, were based on songs associated with India’s freedom struggle and India-Sri Lanka cultural ties.

High Commissioner Gopal Baglay lights the oil lamp

Among the songs featured were Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye by the 15 th Century Gujarati saint-poet Narsinh Mehta, Vande Mataram by the 19th Century Bengali litterateur Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, and the stirring theme song of Netaji Subhas Bose’s Indian National Army.

What was innovative in the choreography was the weaving together of Indian and Sri Lankan dance forms - Bharatnatyam and Kathak from India and the Kandyan and the Low Country styles from Sri Lanka. When, a dancer dressed as Mother India and carrying the Indian national flag walked onto the stage to the strains of Allama Mohammad Iqbal’s Sare Jahan Se Achcha Hindostan Hamara, the audience spontaneously went into a full-throated Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Victory to Mother India).

Refreshing contrast

As per a long and healthy tradition, the Sri Lankan naval band was in attendance entertaining the audience with their tuneful rendering of patriotic Indian numbers.

The short video on India-Sri Lanka relations was in refreshing contrast to the run-of-the-mill videos that would make the audience yawn. It was not a boring catalogue of projects and visits by leaders of the two countries, but covered the entire range of India-Sri Lanka relations with appropriate and pithy video clips of the speeches of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar.

That the relationship stands for the mutual benefit of Sri Lanka and India and that India is a reliable friend were projected pithily and effectively.

The rendering of the Indian National Anthem Jana Gana Mana by a 100-piece Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Indian conductor Ricky Kej was a fitting finale, that was lustily cheered by the large audience of Indians and Sri Lankans.

Cultural values

Indian Independence Day was celebrated outside Colombo too. At the main event was held at ‘India House’, the official residence of High Commissioner in Colombo, High Commissioner Gopal Baglay hoisted India’s National Flag and inspected the Guard of Honour. He also read excerpts from the address by the President of India Droupadi Murmu on the eve of Independence Day.

For the first time, the High Commissioner administered the Panch Pran pledge, by which those present resolved to shed the colonial-era slavish mentality, uphold the culture of India, and commit themselves to nation-building and making India a developed nation by 2047.

The High Commissioner and officers of High Commission of India later paid homage at the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) Memorial erected to honour Indian soldiers who died defending the unity of Sri Lanka.