Melbourne: In what can be seen as a grand initiative, the Sankat Mochan Samiti (SMS) in conjunction with the city of Monash celebrated for the first time, Rang Barse on the occasion of Holi, the festival of colours.
Over 5000 people attended the event which took place on March 27 . The festival’s theme was to bring different communities and individuals to enjoy companionship and friendship by sharing the fun of sprinkling and dusting the beautiful dry colours on each other. “It signified that Mother Nature’s scheme of beautiful colours is non-discriminatory and it creates a blissful complementary combination of pleasure enjoyed by everyone,” said Dr Sunila Shrivastava, president of the Sankat.
Among the many highlights of the day were the cultural songs and dances presented by over 200 participants including the 70 children below 10 years who displayed their talent with as much enthusiasm as the rest. Dances representing different regions of India were showcased by groups from Maharashtra, Punjab etc. Two professional Bollywood dance groups and two professional DJs made sure the crowd were on their feet.
Added to the attraction was the array of food stalls serving anything from dahi bhalla to tandoori chicken. One of the most popular features was the Kiddies Corner which had four camels conducting rides for children.
Amongst the attendees were Steve Dimopolous, MP from Okleigh representing Multicultural Minister Robin Scott, CEO of Red Cross Victoria Penny Harrison, City of Monash Councillors – Robert Davis and Paul Klisaris, and President of National Council of Jewish Women Rysia Rozen, to name a few.
Two women were felicitated on the occasion. Rita Verma for her legal contribution for family dispute and Vandana Bhatia for her journalism and media services.
“We were overwhelmed by the turnout. Nobody wanted to leave. In fact after we wrapped up a group of youngsters came and asked us if we were having the event next weeks,” laughs Arvind Shrivastava, patron of the Sankat Mochan, adding, “It was a very vibrant atmosphere celebrated with full zeal and enthusiasm, continuous music and cultural dances from different parts of the country.”
Adds Dr Sunila, “Every odd was against us. It was Easter Sunday, the weather was not favourable and there was another Holi celebration that day at Carrums Downs. But at the end everything proved favourable. It was a free event because we wanted everyone to come and enjoy. The city of Monash has a very multicultural demography and we wanted to create an ambience of peace and harmony through this festival. This is a tradition we want to see growing.”
The Sankat Mochan also got good support from the Victorian Police Multi Faith Commission.
The Sankat Mochan Samiti is a spiritual organisation founded in 2008. (TIW)