Maharashtra Day or Maharashtra Divas was celebrated for the first time in the UK on the 10 May with great pomp and grandeur at the prestigious Gandhi Hall, in the Indian High Commission, London.
The participants for the cultural evening were mainly people belonging to the state of Maharashtra, who came from all over the UK to perform and engage in the programme that showcased the rich history, culture and heritage of the Marathis, the people from the Western Indian state.
The High Commission of India showed their support with an inspirational welcome speech by the Minister of Coordination AS Rajan. The Deputy High Commissioner, Charanjeet Singh was the Chief Guest and the First Secretary Trade, Rahul Nangare was the guide and mentor for the event.
The evening of motivational speeches, cultural performances and dinner was conceptualised, designed and co-ordinated by Dr Vijendra Ingle and Santosh Parkar.
Ganesh Vandana was recited by Dr Asmita Dixit, Rajshree Wakhare & Rajendra Deokar to make the perfect auspicious start to the event.
The vibrant Jai Jai Maharashtra majha song sung by the Slough Mitra Mandal got the evening moving. The group song was sung by Ajay Murudkar, Mandar Mirashi, Madhura Mirashi, Sachin Nemane, Tanvi Nemane, Ashwini Deshpande and Jyoti Khade.
The Abhang song and dance was performed by the North East Marathi Association represented by Dr Asmita Dixit , Dr Nilam Narkhede & Mrs Madhura Kanitkar.
Tu buddhhi de from the movie Dr Prakash Baba Amte was performed by the North West Marathi Association – Dr Anupama Shrotri, Dr Rajshree Kanitkar & Uday Kanitkar.
The Milton Keynes Marathi Group sand the Jayotstute song. The partipants were Rajshree Wakhare, Rajendra Deokar, Manasi Barve, Sudheer Barve & Samir Vijapurkar.
Maharashtra is known for its folk dance and music. The evening saw some brilliant performances from cultural groups across England. The prolific Jogwa dance was performed by the Wokingham Marathi Group. The dancers were Rajeshree Patil,Poonam Patil ,Sonali Patil & Prajakta Kataria. The Gondhal was performed by the Sneh Sakhi group from Reading. Sonal Garje and Ajinkya Garje were the participants.
The Dr Anandibai Joshi tribute in dance form was performed by Dr Aditi Kulkarni, Jayasheela Mudera and Chaitrali Chitre by the Birmingham Marathi Mandal.
The lively Koli geet dance was performed by Snehal Narawane Dipalee Kulkarni, Sharwari Chidgupkar, Shruti Limaye, Mayuri Bhawsar and Ritu Mahajan from the Ilford Mitra Mandal.
The traditional Lavani dance was performed by the Leicester Marathi Mandal. Ketaki Deshpande was the dancer and the singers were Vaibhavi Deshpande and Ashwini Kane.
The Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Powada was sung by Ghanashyam Patil, Sanjay Jadhav, Shyans Kagwade,Kapil Bhat, Laxman Khade and Chetan Mantri. Dr Ambedkar Gaurav song was sung by Ajay Murudkar and Mandar Mirashi. Chetan Harpale and Rahul Ithape gave the vote of thanks.
Ashwini Kane, Vaibhavi Deshpande and Mayura Chandekar concluded the programme with the Pasaydan song.
This Maharashtra day would not have been possible without the selfless work by core team members Dr Vijendra Ingle, Santosh Parkar, Vaishali Mantri, Dr Prerna Tambay, Sushil Gaikwad, Rahul Ithape Chetan Harpale , Bhausaheb Patil ,Prafulla Shimpi, Dr Supriya Fullare Dudhal, Gokuldas Chandgadkar and Reshma Deshpande.
The Maharashtra Day Celebration continued for a second day on the 13 May 2019 at the Nehru Centre with the inauguration of Vari paintings by world renowned artist Mr Bhaskar Hande.
The Chief Guest for this function was Rahul Nangare and the guests of Honour were Bhagwanji, the Former Mayor of Brent, Brij Guhare, Director of Nehru Centre and Satya Minhas from the Hindu Association of the Metropolitan Police.
Dr Prerna Tambay gave the introduction and welcomed the guests. Dr Supriya Dudhal was master of ceremony for this function. Rahul Ithape introduced the artist Hande and highlighted the paintings on vari, shedding light on the his book on Vari, that means pilgrimage.
The book Vari was inaugurated by the Chief Guests. Dr Tambe read a paragraph from this book and was well appreciated.
This was followed by short speeches by Bhagwanji, Brij Guhare the Director of Nehru Centre Mr Satya Minhas , Metroplitan Police, talking about the rich heritage of Maharashtra and vari .
Bhaskar Hande shared his insights on the history of Vari, that was over three hundred years old, and the pigrimage undertaken by over a hundred thousand devotees of Vithal.
The concluding speech was given by Rahul Nangare and the guests were felicitated by Dr Supriya Dudhal. Dr Vijendra Ingle thanked the core team for their hard work and support from Nangare and the High Commission of India. A vote of thanks was given by Mr Sushil Gaikwad.
The Vari exhibition was open for public at the Nehru Centre till 17 May.
Smita is a multi-cultural freelance journalist, writer, and filmmaker based out of the US, London, Hong Kong, and India. Global Indian Stories is her brain-child. Created to chronicle diaspora stories written by Indians of all age groups, from different walks of life across the globe, Smita makes sure that the platform remains inclusive and positive.