WHEN MADHYA PRADESH TURNED 60!

I attended the 60th anniversary celebration of the state’s foundation day on November 1, 2015. While at the programme, I thought I will check for live tweets. There were none. Yep, zero. Zilch. I tweeted a bit, but it made no sense. Who will read them? Which is sad. This state, which is truly hindustan ka dil, is most under-rated, in my opinion. Multiple world heritage sites, the land of kings and such vast boundaries, is spoken about so less! This is the land where the great Tansen was born. Harishankar Parsai, Seth Govind Das, Nida Fazli, Rahat Indori and Makhanlal Chaturvedi are products of this soil. Film personalities like Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Jaya Bachchan, Swanand Kirkire, Annu Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana and even singer Shaan, were born in this land. Rahul Dravid, MAK Pataudi, etc. too were born in Madhya Pradesh.

The state boasts of being the birthplace of politicians like BR Ambedkar, AB Vajpayee, Shankar Dayal Sharma, the Scindias, Prithviraj Chavan, Uma Bharti, Digvijaya Singh and many such stalwarts. Yet, the state remains pretty much unknown in its real sense. With this post, I shall begin a series of posts on Madhya Pradesh – tourism, culture, food, personalities – all included. I hope I can do justice to the kind of publicity the state deserves.
I have a special connection with the state of Madhya Pradesh. My father was born here, in Katni. I spent a good part of my childhood in then undivided Madhya Pradesh, back in the 80s. I grew up to fall in love with and marry a boy from Madhya Pradesh. And in another unexpected twist of fate, I came to settle in the capital city, and from where I stand today, I might be spending the rest of my life here. I always say that Maharashtra is my dil. What I don’t say more often is that Madhya Pradesh is a part of my soul. And this might be the reason why the history and culture of this king-sized state intrigues me like no other. I am quite confident that I have read up more about this state’s history, culture, geography and agriculture than a lot of people who have spent all their lives here. So, when the state turned 60 a few days ago, it was a happy moment for me too.
If by now, you are puzzled and wondering why I am talking about the state as if it is a person, don’t fret. I am getting to the point, right now. But first, let me share with you all, Madhya Pradesh Gaan. It’s been sung by Shaan and is quite a catchy song.
Getting back to the foundation day celebration, it began with a speech by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan. He spoke with fervor and passion, something one doesn’t see a lot these days. Maybe it was his passion which got passed on to the audience, that when he asked people to take a pledge, everyone stood up and solemnly took the pledge with him. I must admit, it was a proud moment. You can see the speech here:

After this, the evening began with a dance drama Ath Hindi Katha. Few minutes into the performance and I was thanking my stars that I was attending the program. To say, that it was beautiful, would be an understatement. A riot of colours, beautiful costumes, talented dancers and gorgeous (yes, gorgeous) choreography! The dance drama apparently had 100 performers on stage with a total of 350 people involved in its presentation. The entire dance drama was choreographed by Maitreyee Pahari. It was not only informative and a pleasure to watch, it also had a happy factor which made one smile with pride. It showed the advent of Sanskrit and how the language picked up influences and changed into what we know as modern-day Hindi. Don’t take my word for it, catch a glimpse below. This dance drama was first presented on the Vishwa Hindi Sammelan held in the capital, in September this year. The video below is from there, and my favourite bit starts around 9 mins 30 seconds.

Following this performance, was a good two and a half hours long musical delight by music director Rajesh Roshan. The choicest songs were performed by his orchestra and sung by hand-picked singers.  There was a slight chill in the air, not too much, just comfortable. Sitting under the open sky, lights dimmed and the orchestra churning out the most melodious numbers we have grown up to – it was an evening fit for a celebration. A celebration of hindustan ka dil turning 60.

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