The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 17, 2006

Features

"Glimpses of India" comes to Carlisle March 5

Say the word "India" and almost overwhelming numbers of images and ideas come to mind. A nation of 1.1 billion people, India is a modern democracy with an ancient history that is still palpable in its architecture, religions, and culture, or perhaps cultures is the better word. As Anjli Trehan, a member of the steering committee for Carlisle's March 5 "Glimpses of India" program says, "India, like America, is a melting pot, but a much older one, much farther removed in time." Fellow committee member Abha Singhal agrees, adding, "This is why we are calling our program, 'Glimpses of India.' It is possible only to give glimpses of a nation as diverse as this one, but we can give some idea of Indian history, culture, languages, and economy."

A nation of contrasts

India is a hot topic in business circles these days, as it enjoys a technological and educational boom and takes advantage of globalization and the prosperity that comes with it. It is also a nation of contrasts, where, despite a rising middle class, 25% of the population still lives below the poverty line, where modern science and technology exist side by side with ancient methodology. One of its distinctive characteristics is the color and pageantry of its many religious festivals. The festival
Rajni Tanden, daughter of Prem and Tej Tanden of Carlisle, in a 1998 performance of Bharat Natyam. (Courtesy photo)
of Holi, for example, is coming up in March, not long after "Glimpses of India" takes place. Like most festivals, it originates in religion, in the celebration of the Hindu Lord Vishnu, who saved a devout young prince from death by fire. The holiday begins, therefore, with bonfires and expands into a festival of color, recognizing the promise of spring and the return of color to the earth. Joyous Indians mark the day by dousing each other with water balloons filled with colored water, spraying colored powder called gulaal on each other through straws, and drinking "street wine." "Glimpses of India" will provide Carlisle with some knowledge of Indian festivals (and new ways to celebrate), as well as a look at the unique way this sub-continent straddles the ancient and modern worlds.

The doors of the Carlisle School will open at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, so that visitors may purchase tickets for the delicious catered refreshments that will follow the presentation. Platters are $4 and drinks are $1 each. At 2 p.m., the free program will begin in Corey auditorium with a performance of Bharat Natyam, or classical Indian dance, as well as folk dances, followed by a visual overview and virtual tour of India's varied scenery, architecture, history, festivals, "Bollywood" industry, modern technology and education, and more. (Over 800 movies are made each year in India, more than in any other country.)

In the spirit of community, a Carlislean (not to be identified before the program) will present his pictures of India's wildlife sanctuaries, introducing the many exotic species of animals found in different areas of the country. In addition, there will be a performance of Indian classical music, featuring musicians playing the tabla, a two-piece drum; the harmonium, a manual keyboard; and an electronic tanpura, a long instrument of the guitar family with a distinctive sound.

Food and demonstrations

At the close of the auditorium program, the audience may ask questions and join in a social time in the cafeteria, enjoy food catered by Yogi Sood of Gourmet India, and see demonstrations and exhibits of yoga, meditation techniques, henna painting, and other Indian arts and crafts.

"Glimpses of India" is sponsored by the Carlisle Cultural Council, a local agency of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and presented by Carlisle's own Indian-American community. Our town's ethnic and cultural diversity, feted recently by the second celebration of the Chinese New Year, expands with this program into a deeper knowledge of Carlisle friends and neighbors. An added benefit, says Singhal, is that in preparing this program,"we [the Indian-American community] got to know each other."

"Glimpses of India" promises to be an exciting afternoon that will stimulate the mind, the senses, and the heart.


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