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“Shaam-E-Sangeet” raises over $40,000 for Ekal Vidyalayas in India

Mahadev Desai and Rachna Gupta
January 2016
“Shaam-E-Sangeet” raises over $40,000 for Ekal Vidyalayas in India

(Photos: Deepak Naik)

Well over four hundred music lovers in Atlanta attended the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA’s “Shaam-E-Sangeet” program at the Ashiana Banquet Hall, Global Mall, Norcross, Georgia, on Saturday, December 12, 2015. The veritable musical feast was graced by the presence of Vice-Consul (Passport/Visa/Consular) Tarlok Badhan of the Consulate General of India in Atlanta, and luminaries of the Atlanta community.

After socializing and enjoying a delicious dinner, attendees were warmly welcomed by the bubbly vice-president of Ekal – Atlanta and recently elected president of IACA Rina Gupta, and Rachna Gupta, Ekal’s cultural coordinator. After Shri Tarlok Badhan lit the traditional diya, Trisha Dalapati, a young Ekal supporter who recently made her Arangetram into an Ekal’s DIY project by donating her money gifts to support an Ekal school for four years, performed an opening invocation to Lord Ganesha through a scintillating Bharatanatyam dance.

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Lamp lighting by Vice Consul Tarlok Badhan, with Ekal regional president Chander Aggarwal, Atlanta Chapter president Shiv Aggarwal and Atlanta Chapter vice-president Rina Gupta.

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Geet-Rung School of Dance and Music put myriad colors into the show: live keyboard and piano music, colorful dances, and vintage song medleys. Atlanta vocal artists Pankaj Bhargava, Muhi, Vandana Upadhyaya, Mahesh Patel, Indrani Danave, Sunny Sachdeva and Ajay Upadhyaya entertained the audience with an imaginative mix of Bollywood hit songs. Pankaj and Divya’s son, Geet Bhargava, who had made his impressive debut at Ekal’s program last December, once again delighted the audience with his piano numbers. Divya and her well trained students mesmerized the audience with their dances with intricate footwork, nuanced expressions, and graceful moves. And fast paced, energetic dances by brother-sister duo of Rishi Gowda (10 years old) and Gowri Gowda (8 years) wowed the audience. When informed that Rishi had kindly donated his pocket money to Ekal, they loudly applauded him.

 

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Ekal’s regional administrator Ajay Upadhyaya opened with Ekal’s message through the lilting number “Bholee See Soorat.” Renderings of gems like “Man Mohana,” “Raina Beeti Jaaye,” “Tu Jo Mere Sur Mein,” and “Na Jaane Kyon,” elicited rousing applause. Mahesh beautifully sang Mukesh’s “Jaoon Kahaan Bata Ai Dil” and “Jeena Yahaan Marna Yahaan” and Hemant Kumar’s “Ye Nayan Darey Darey.” Indrani had the audience humming to her melodious voice with the classical-based “Mere Dholna” and “Maayi Ri Main Kaa Se.” Pankaj Bhargava was in his element, singing Kishore Kumar medleys and Mohammad Rafi’s “Main Zindagi Ka Saath.” Muhi sang Arijit Singh’s classical Raag Bihag number “Laal Ishq,” Kailash Kher’s Punjabi number “Tu Meri Jaan Hai” and “Maula Mere Maula” in his distinctive voice. Sunny Sachdeva presented interesting anecdotes about renowned poet and lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri before singing the lively “Badan Pe Sitare.” The final medley of all-time favorite qawwalis had the audience joyfully clapping and humming the refrains.

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Four young children and VP of Ekal’s corporate outreach Kiran Kodithala highlighted the nonprofit’s one-teacher school (vidyalaya) model which exists in disadvantaged and neglected tribal and rural areas of all the Indian states and operates on an annual sponsorship of only $365, providing free basic education to nearly 20-30 students and vocational training to adults, as well as healthcare and social empowerment, and thus bringing about far-reaching changes in rural India. Ekal currently runs 52,526 schools which benefits 1.45 million students, with an almost equal boy-girl ratio. Aarti Aggarwal and Kinjal Kakadiya introduced the Youth Initiative which is geared towards college students and young professionals. The emcees with their infectious enthusiasm were exhorting the audience to sponsor schools. Soon, attendees were vying with each other and some sponsored 5 schools anonymously!

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For the Ekal raffle, Dr. Randeep Bhullar donated two Amazon Fire Tablets and one Samsung Galaxy Tab, and iiTworkForce offered a New Year’s Eve gala ticket for one couple.

With the record number of 111 schools sponsored at this hugely entertaining night, Ekal is inching towards its goal of 100,000 vidyalayas. Sponsors can track the progress of their school at www.ekal.org.

Atlanta Chapter president Shiv Aggarwal thanked all for joining in the task of nation-building through Ekal. It was a well-organized, enthralling program for a worthy cause!

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Posted 12/25/15.



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