Our annual fundraiser series Ananda 2019 ended on a grand note with Dr. Anita Ratnam’s A Million Sitas at the Music Academy on March 9.
The programme began with the playing of AIM for Seva’s anthem, Bharata Desa Hitaya composed by our founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. The audience was then given a walkthrough of the Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science, Manjakkudi via the video screen placed in the main stage of the auditorium. Proceeds from A Million Sitas would be directed towards 5 new classrooms in this college which is located in the birthplace of our founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
After this, the Chairperson and Managing Trustee of AIM for Seva, Smt. Sheela Balaji and Chief Guest for A Million Sitas, Smt. Revathi Ramachandran, director of Kalakshetra came to the dais. Our Chairperson and Managing Trustee gave the welcome address. This was followed by honouring of the Chief Guest, Smt. Revathi Ramachandran with a shawl by Smt. Sheela Balaji.
In her speech, Smt. Revathi Ramachandran warmly recalled her association with the founder of our movement, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Swami Gurupriyananda Saraswati ji who heads the Atmalaya Swami Dayananda AIM for Seva Chatralayam for Girls in Udumalpet, Tamil Nadu then came to the podium and shared her experiences of running an AIM for Seva hostel. You would all be pleased to know that the girls living in the hostel are leaders in the making. They take a lead when it comes to making arrangements during festivities and also managing hostel affairs. Roles and duties are well laid out and defined.
For the next 85 minutes, the audience were transported to another realm where they experienced the ancient epic in a uniquely beautiful manner. Through her dance presentation, Dr. Anita Ratnam retold the familiar epic from a woman’s lens. Drawing on 4 of the story’s iconic women, the performance used sets and prop elements sourced from South Africa, South America, Malaysia, Japan and Europe.
Through Sita’s eyes and through the characters of Mandodari, Manthara, Ahalya and Surpanakha, the tale has been reconfigured and re-positioned to modern times. Dr. Anita Ratnam has been inspired by various folk and regional flavours of the Ramayana that include Himachal, Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Telengana, Kannada including Jain and Manganiyar oral traditions.
At the end of the show, Dr. Anita Ratnam and her team were felicitated for their brilliant performance by Smt. Sheela Balaji and Smt. Revathi Ramachandran.
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