Over 500 artists enthrall Kerala Day event

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Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH —
Over 500 artists, mostly students, from the southern Indian state of Kerala, captivated the audience with their stunning performance showcasing India’s cultural diversity with a wide variety of folk art forms at the ‘Kerala State Day’, held at the Indian Consulate premises on Friday evening.

More than 4,000 people, mainly families, turned out for the cultural fiesta, inaugurated by Indian Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh in a colorful ceremony held in the presence of consuls, prominent Saudis, and Indian community leaders.

The dignitaries who attended the event included Dr. Nazneen Rahman Sheikh, wife of the consul general, Consuls —Y. Sabir, Sahil Sharma and Dr. Mohammed Aleem; Abdul Rahman Abdullah Yousuf Malaibari, Mohammed Saied Malibari, and Mohammed Alungal, president of Abeer Medical Group. The cultural extravaganza was organized by the Consulate General of India, in association with Saudi Indian Business Network (SIBN) and the Keralite community in Jeddah.

The inaugural session of the festival began with a traditional reception of the Consul General Sheikh in a colorful procession showcasing the rich and diverse traditions and cultural heritage of Kerala and it was followed by Margamkali, an ancient Indian round dance, and Thiruvathirakali, a popular group dance.

In his address, Sheikh congratulated the Keralite community for their amazing traits of hard work, law-abiding nature and commitment to the cause. “In my eight-year long tenure as Haj consul and consul general, I have been extremely impressed with the kind of selfless and dedicated services you are exerting in helping members of the Indian community as well as Haj pilgrims from all over the world.”

Wearing traditional Kerala dress, Sheikh shared his experience of visiting the state last year, and called on the Saudi friends to visit the beautiful state, which would be an extremely amazing one. “If we maintain the parameters of growth achieved by Kerala in so many spheres such as literacy and health, India would have become the most developed country in the world,” he said. Sheikh urged the Indian community to bring the consulate’s notice if there is any delay in getting issued or renewed their passports, of which the maximum time period has been reduced to three working days.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Ahmed Palayat, Shibu Thiruvananthapuram, Abdul Majeed Naha, Praveen Pillai, Ashraf Morayoor, Iqbal Pokkunnu, and Zakir Hussain Edavanna. K.T.A. Muneer was the master of the ceremony at the inaugural session in which V.K.A. Rauf welcomed the gathering and V. P. Musthafa proposed the vote of thanks.

Mir Ghazanfar Ali Zaki, general secretary of SIBN, briefed on the plethora of tourism opportunities in the picturesque state of Kerala. A video presentation on the tourism potential of Kerala was also made as the event was organized mainly as part of promoting culture, tourism and investment opportunities in Kerala. There was an exclusive stall of the consulate general for the promotion of Kerala tourism. Bobby Manatt of the consulate coordinated the event.

A drama titled “Innale” (yesterday), written by Nasar Veliyankode and directed by Mohsin Kalikavu, was the major highlight of the festival. It was a rich tribute to the legendary Malayalam writer the late Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, with spectacular performance of 25 artists, enlivening more than 30 protagonist characters in the books of the writer. The signature program, highlighting how Kerala has survived the devastating floods of 2018 with joining hands in succoring the victims and building bridges of love and empathy irrespective of religio-political considerations, also enthralled the audience. A fusion dance, titled “My Keralam” and live orchestra of 10 prominent singers, were other attractions. Several classical dance forms and traditional performances including Oppana, Kolkkali, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Koithupattu and Kalarippayattu were also mesmerizing.

A food festival, with nine stalls showcasing different traditional cuisine; “Arkkum Padam” (Anybody Can Sing) corner of Calicut Music Lovers Jeddah; and stalls featuring cultural traditions, including replica of the first mosque in the Indian subcontinent, were among other attractions of the festival.


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