The Nine-Day Long Buddha Festival Kicks Off With High Spirits

The eighth edition of Buddha Festival was inaugurated at Deekshabhoomi.

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Nagpur soaked in the festivities of the eight edition of Buddha Festival. The nine-day long festival was inaugurated at Deekshabhoomi on February 17. At the opening of the festival, various artworks were displayed in the setup exhibition. Day 1 also saw an assortment of films being screened.

The evening took off with the festival’s theme song which was sung by the Aarohi Singing Choir.

Up next was a presentation given by Alan Senauke, a teacher of Buddhism and Ambedkar thoughts from Berkeley in USA. Alan who now teaches in the Naglok school, spoke about his association with the festival. “I practise Zen Buddhism and consider Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar as my hero,” he said.

He also presented a song ‘We shall not be moved’ on his guitar. The song had shot to fame during the civil rights movement in the United states in sixties.

“It is a religious song which has got rewritten according to the situations prevailing in those times. Here in India, I too have changed the words a bit to say, ‘With Buddha and Ambedkar, we shall not be moved’’ he told the audience.

‘Maitri Geet’, a music video was released at the festival. The song ‘Raho sukhanay ha manav ithe’ which made it to the video is a composition of Anil Kawade. The video has also been directed by Kawade and shot on the members of Nagpur Buddhist Centre.

Following up next was the flute recital by Sheikh Ainoddin Warsi. Warsi, a disciple of Pt. Ronu Mazumdar commenced his session with raag Hansadhwani in madhya lay teen taal. He then played songs like ‘Namaskar ghava aho Buddha’, ‘Amrutwani hi Buddha chi’ and ‘Om namo Tathagata’ on the flute. Khanderao Mule on the table and Anil Kawade on the keyboard were Warsi’s accomplices for the evening.
The last session of the day was a dance performance by Vibhavari Gajbhiye’s dance troupe.

The troupe performed on Mahamangal Sutta which admires various qualities associated with Buddha such as piety, forgiveness, self control etc. Based on Tathagat Mudras, Gajbhiye developed a genre Indian Buddhist dance form. Gajbhiye even read out the text of the presentation for many Americans and Europeans present.

The first edition of the festival was launched in 2011. The intent behind it was to nuture, revive and preach Buddhist and Ambedkar thoughts using art in various forms. The festival went on to become so popular that it now is celebrated in abroad as well.

The current edition of the festival will conclude on February 25.

Information source: timesofindia

Title image source: youtube

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