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Dance and Music For a Cause

December 2003
Dance and Music For a Cause

Asha-Atlanta & GATS Raise Funds For Project In India


Asha for Education's recently formed Atlanta chapter, along with the Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam (GATS), organized its first fundraiser at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta Auditorium on October 12th. The two-part event was attended by over 250 people and helped raise over $2000 that will go towards development projects in India that are supported by Asha.

Udai Tennati, volunteer for Asha-Atlanta, gave a presentation during the fundraiser on the effort that Asha symbolizes, and made the audience aware of the need for public support towards grassroots projects in India. "The purpose of learning is freedom, said Acharya Vinobha Bhave. We, at Asha, hope to provide this 'learning opportunity' to the underprivileged," said Tennati.

The evening began with Bharatanatyam performances by the disciples of Padmaja Kelam. The second half had the audience enthralled by the popular Ananya Group. Ashok Ganapathi was the emcee for the evening.

Ananya began its musical journey at a charity fundraiser held in Florida for "ASHA for Education" in 1999. The long-standing relationship between Ananya and ASHA For Education was rejuvenated on this evening. Ananya's members gathered in full strength with a wide range of instruments including 3 keyboards, 2 guitars, a bass guitar and a full percussion ensemble with drums, drum pads, tabla, mridangam and ghatam! The event was a full two hours of non-stop musical entertainment. The high level of infectious enthusiasm amongst its group members inevitably seeped through to the listeners!

The evening started with a serene rendition of Sri Ranganathan from the movie Mahanadhi. It was a fitting tribute to the venue of the Riverdale temple. The fans were then transported through time through a mix of classical melodies and lively foot tapping numbers.

All the dancers in the audience had a real treat in store for nearly 45 minutes that began with Superstar Rajnikanth's Autokaran and ended with a non stop 25 minute medley that included Varagha Nathi, Uppu Karuvaadu, Kaasu Mele, Chaiyya Chaiyya, Mitwa, Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost, Bumbro and Dhol Baaje. The medley was seamlessly crafted and the crowd could not stop dancing thanks to the mesmerizing beats.

The audience was left craving for more as the medley came to a finish, and the musicians soothed the audience with an innovative group rendition of Vellai Pookal which was a tribute to the first anniversary of the Bali bombing, and world peace. The evening came to an end with the whole auditorium singing the Indian National Anthem in unison.

Asha is a non-profit organization, with more than 51 chapters in the US, which works closely with NGOs and other support groups in India to catalyze socioeconomic change primarily through the medium of education. The organization is committed to empowering underprivileged women and children in India by enabling them to access education, health care, social justice, and equal opportunity in their daily lives.

-Gaurav Bakshi

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