Celebrating Cultural Diversity
Cultures, civilizations grow and develop because they constantly take from each other. Civilizations borrow from others and give to others. And it is in this process of give and take that each civilization, each country, each nation constantly reinvents itself. It defines and redefines itself. The idea is not to purge what we consider alien but to recognize that it is impossible to say what is ours and what is not. What we need to do is to see what is relevant, living and robust in our culture as it exists today, to accept what will enrich our lives and help us to improve as human beings and to reject and discard all that is likely to sustain prejudice and malice towards other human beings. The search for the meaning of culture is a continuous process in the historical evolution of all societies. The dynamism of Indian culture is derived from its diversity, which moulded the cultural practices of the people. Anhad celebrates this diversity and organises programmes to contribute in creating a conducive environment for safeguarding cultural diversity, to promote and design ways of ensuring access to culture to all and to create platforms for artists to promote peace, diversity and pluralism. We aim at strengthening the capacities of professional and rural artists and youth at large to contribute towards a diverse and composite cultural atmosphere.
We actively celebrate the secular, multi-layered cultural traditions of India, emphasizing that all creative endeavour upholds the values of secularism and pluralism. Anhad provides platform to young, senior as well as folk artists where they lack opportunities to conserve their art practices. Anhad actively engages with performing and visual artists to produce new repertoire around themes of peace and harmony. Anhad has organised a large number of major cultural events across the country in the last 16 years.
July 1, 2003 : Communal Harmony Day In 2003, Anhad declared July 1 as the day For Communal Harmony in Gujarat. July 1st is dedicated to the memory of Vasant Rav and Rajab Ali who gave their lives to preserve peace in Ahmedabad. Anhad mounted a major peace festival on that day at the Tagore Hall. The festival continued well over 7 hours and was attended by thousands of young students and local residents. Those who participated in the programme include Shubha Mudgal, Aditi Mangaladas, Aditi Desai and artists from Darpana Theatre Academy and Mrigya fusion band. Special exhibitions were put up and posters and t-shirts were released on the occasion.
November 30, 2003 Ahmadabad : Peace Concert –India Ocean The response of the young students of Ahmadabad was over whelming, over 5000 students attended the concert. To see such response in a city like Ahmadabad that had only recently been mute witness to one of the most brutal pogroms in recent Indian history, gave a lot of hope. Dignitaries like Mallika Sarabhai, Martin Macwan, Harsh Mander were present to support the cause of peace and communal harmony.
Rock the Nation Concert – ‘a unique event called ‘Rock the Nation’ was organised on November 29, 2004 in collaboration with Nehru Yuvak Kendra Each band had to compose one original composition on the theme of communal harmony and peace. Each band was given 30 minutes performance time. Some of the bands that rocked the night were Paradigm Shift, Alter Ego, Brain Deads, Descant, The Supperfuzz Bigmuff, Prestorika, Nomads, Hell Bound Harmony, Oritus, Illusion. The Judges for the day were Mr. Rahul Ram (Indian Ocean), Mr. Sharat Srivastava, Mr. Sachin Gupta (Mrigya),Mr. Ashwini Verma (Euphoria) & Dilip Ramachandran (Parikrama). Sh. Sunil Dutt, Minister of Sports & Youth affairs and actor Rahul Bose attended the programme and gave away the prizes .
Tribute to Wali Gujarat – On the fourth anniversary of the Gujarat massacre of 2002 Anhad organized a programme in memory of Wali Gujarati whose dargah was demolished during the 2002 carnage.
Ajwadi Watey: In Search of Dawn: an Artists’ Karwan Across 7 cities
An Artist Caravan (musicians, dancers, poets, writers, designers, filmmakers travelled across seven small and large towns of Gujarat and performed in seven cities: Surat, Ankleshwar, Ahmadabad, Anand,Mehsana, Rajkot and Bhuj between October 30 and November 8, 2012. Performing artists included: Siddi Goma Tribal Dance Group, Avni Sethi- a classical dancer, designer from Ahmadabad, Sufi singer- Dhruv Sangari from Delhi and Namrata Pamnani -a Kathak dancer of international repute, Gauhar Raza- poet and Arma- a filmmaker. A number of video spots and celebrity interviews were screened during these concerts. The programme called ‘Us Subah Ki Khatir’- Ajwadi Watey- spread the message of peace, communal harmony and non-violence through the artistic expression and celebrate the intermingling of different streams of cultural expression. The artists stopped on the way to interact with local villagers in a number of villages on November 3, 5 and 7, 2012.