Thursday, October 15, 2009

* V I R A S A T * The Folk Life & Heritage Festival

The distinctiveness of Indian Culture over the millennia has lain in the unique fact that its matrix has been its village from where its cities have drawn their cultural nourishment.

However, in the last fifty years our villages have suffered a cultural drain, especially because they have ceased to function as the spring-wells of our national culture, and during all this time, ideas, values, norms and forms of living have tended to flow in one direction, which is from the city to the village. This development coupled with the growth of modernism has aggravated the negative fall-out of the modernistic development, which can be counter-balanced and negated by ensuring the cultural vitality of village life and its multifaceted life forms.

Virāsat is a step towards this revitalization process.
Come the festival of lights, Dehradun, the capital city of Uttarakhand, India bestowed with the nature’s beauty also comes alive. Virasat, the folklife & heritage festival brings along with it the vibrant, ethnic kaleidoscope of India’s art and culture. World renowned exponents of various art forms showcase their genius over a period of two weeks at the festival. Virasat encompasses the spirit of heritage in the Himalayas.

Evolved on the lines of the Theban Celebrations of Ancient Greece, the international festival aims at creating a perfect ambience for the flow of knowledge and the application of the ennobling effect of true art. The effort is to develop a genuine concern in the inquisitive minds of the precarious materialism our society finds itself in the midst of. It encapsulates the vital arts & crafts of India with their attendant legends, rituals, myths and philosophy.

Virāsat attracts participation from more than eight Lac people who come to enjoy the rhythm of folk life. 50,000 impressionable students get acquainted with their roots over 15 days.

* FoV (Friends of Virasat) *

Dear Patron,

For last 15 years REACH (Rural Entrepreneurship for Arts and Cultural Heritage) has been working selflessly to bring culture at the center-stage by organizing Virasat at Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India. Your patronage has helped it achieve the distinction of being one of the biggest multi-arts festival in the Afro-Asia region. As you know the event is organized by the youth and thereby it trains them to assume Eco-cultural leadership. All the presentations of the great artists and tradition bearers are free for general public.

However, for last two years, due to unprecedented financial crisis, it has become very difficult to hold this event. The support needed for this mammoth event has been interrupted and a sure closure is staring this festival of the people.

Under the above circumstances it has been thought to appeal to our enlightened patrons like you to help generate financial support. A new concept of FoV (Friends of Virasat) has been thought of which is given below in this message. As REACH has got tax exemption under 80G you can claim 50% tax rebate for your donation of Rs 5000/- for which a proper receipt/acknowledgement will be given to you. This will afford certain privileges to all the FoVs which is well enumerated in the link (FoV) given below.

We solicit your support so that our dangerous dependence on the governmental grants could be minimized to the manageable level. At present we intend to enlist only 1000 FoVs and hope you will be the privileged one. This year Virasat is from 21st November to 4th December 2009.

It will be my pleasure to personally answer all your queries.

With thanks

RK Singh
General Secretary, REACH

RSVP Sunil Verma 09358130598,Manoj Panday 09412047597,
REACH office 0135-2763618

Please Click on this link FoV (Friends of Virasat) to support us.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Darkness at Noon ...

The Great Artist Habib Tanvir is no more

He was an institution!

Habib Tanvir -- for us Habib Saheb, is no more. He was a great theatre director, one of the most popular Hindi playwrights, poet and actor. In 1959 he founded a theatre company, "Naya Theatre". He was awarded many awards like Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, and the Padma Bhushan, Fringe Firsts Award at Edinburgh International Drama Festival in 1982.

Habib Ahmed Khan 'Tanvir' was born on September 1, 1923 in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, to Hafiz Ahmed Khan, who hailed from Peshawar. After long illness he passed away on 8th of June 2009 at Bhopal.

Team REACH (Virāsat) pays condolence at the death of veteran Hindi theatre & film personality Habib Tanvir, a Great Artist who did great works for this country. Since the beginning of Virāsat he had been a beacon of light - an inexhaustible source of inspiration for REACH. At our request he brought his productions to the Theatrefest, participated in the Urdu Poetry Festival in Virāsat at Dehradun (Uttarakhand). REACH feels blessed to have had his love and affection. He was a father figure for REACH - part of the family - part of our consciousness, in a way, part of our being. No words are enough to convey the sense of loss that we and millions of his admirers feel at this sad moment. "Light has gone out" - --a national treasure, a humanist and a true genious who charted a new destiny for theatre, and a pioneer who brought folk to the international arena - an artist to the core! We stand in silence with Nageen and Anna - his daughters. A "drowsy numbness pains my sense" when we go down our long memory lane. He is no more. But can he ever die? No.. Never..He will always remain alive - pipe in hand, with his guttural voice and disarming, mischievious smile. 

Here are some treasured golden moments shared with him during
(Dehradun, Uttarakhand) that we will always cherish.....


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Work of REACH

Work Undertaken for Promotion of Arts & Cultural Heritage of Uttarakhand

Some Initiatives at a Glance:

Virāsat - in itself an endeavor to widen markets for rural products in urban centers. The festival, now Asia’s biggest folklife & heritage festival, generates craft sales of more than Rs. 1.5 Crore, the money going directly to artisans. No stall rent from artisans or entry fee from the public is charged. It generates 8,00,000 footfalls over 15 days more than 50,000 school children visit us and come to know about Uttarakhand & Indian culture. It generates media coverage of more than Rs. 4 Crores (Source: India Media Monitor, New Delhi), promoting Uttarakhand as a tourism and cultural destination.

The Department of Tourism, Government of India, has included it in its national calendar of events and is promoted through the Incredible India Campaign. Several countries like USA, Kenya, UK, Turkmenistan, Indonesia actively collaborate.  

We ensure that 50% of the programmes performed are based on Uttarakhand’s culture. Many folk and theatre artistes from the hills have had their first stage appearance during the festival. They come from as far as Bampa, Chinka, Ghansali, Niti-Mana etc. 

* Virāsat,
the festival, confers Virasat Samman on tradition bearers from Uttarakhand every year. These people are unsung heroes who receive financial support as well as a citation. The awardees include:

1. Vishweshwar Dutt Saklani – Tree Man, Environmentalist
2. Jataru Lal
Dhol Damau exponent
3. Ganga Ram – Wood Carving Artisan
4. Narendra Singh Negi – Noted Singer
5. Joshia Damayi – Folk Theatre Tradition Bearer
6. Kabootri Devi – Kumaoni Folk Singer
7. Bachan Deyi – Beda Folk Tradition Exponent

*Ambedhkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana - Self Help Groups of more than 1600 artisan families in the remote Himalayas are improving their livelihoods through design and marketing support for hand crafted goods.

We are working in the Pipalkoti Region – Districts Chamoli, Uttarkashi &
Nandprayag for Ringal Craft, as well as Hanol Region – Jaunsar Bavar for Wood Carving craft. We have undertaken several Design Development Workshops and Marketing Initiatives and are now in the process of setting up a Facilitation Center at Dehra Dun for further training and marketing. 

(Artisans from Pipalkoti are trained in Ringal Craft)