HOW INDIA CONNECTS CULTURE TO DIVINITY
A strange revelation came to the fore recently over the uniqueness of India's rich cultural heritage. Beyond preservation of history and creation of pleasures, Indian arts and music are essentially designed as sacred ways of worshipping God.
THIS revelation may have expanded the popular perception that beyond tourism attraction and huge economic benefit, India's entertainment industry and creative arts are vibrant vehicles through which the country's culture and tradition are propagated to the world.
At a cultural dinner organized recently by the Indian Cultural Association in conjunction with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Indian High Commission in Lagos, there were mixed reactions to the nexus between India's music and God. The dinner was tagged: Dance and Musical Concert.
At the dinner, all guests including Nigerians, Indians and culture enthusiasts were hosted to a beautiful and a soul-lifting night. Indeed, it was an irresistible occasion for the guests, especially the Indians in Diaspora who wanted to refresh their lost contact with home. The occasion witnessed cultural and musical displays, which were beautifully performed by the world famous artists Rakhi Poonam Sapera and The Troupe.
In a separate interview with The Guardian, top officials of the Indian Embassy present at the dinner explained that in India, music is seen beyond pleasure. Assistant Consular Officer, V.K Krishna Kumar, Second Secretary, (Consular and Commission), Mrs. Rani Malick and the General Secretary, Indian Cultural Association, Lagos, Nigeria, Chief Sanjay Jain, among others spoke on this issue.
They explained that music in India, besides providing pleasure, serves multiple purposes including being an instrument of courage, worship (to God), cultural preservation and measure to fight crime and social unrest, especially among the uneducated and downtrodden citizens.
This method, they said, has also consistently proven to be effective in appeasing and seeking favors from God, especially during times of distress, especially in pre and post-primitive era.
Rani said music is a very important venture in India. According to her, 'The high point of the cultural dinner is to expose India's rich cultural heritage shown by Rakhi Sapera and her mother, Gulabo, who, during the war time, was one of the pioneer dancers that broke the age-long orthodox tradition of not dancing in her community. Besides, breaking the jinx, she also went on to become the world renowned artist of Kalbeliya, which is a Sapera dance, popularly known as snake charming dance'.
Kalbelya is one of the most sensuous dance forms of Rajastha. The dancers wear long black skirts embroidered with silver ribbons. As they spin in a circle, their bodies sway acrobatically, and it is impossible to believe that they are made of anything other than rubber. The beat increases to such a pitch that it leaves viewers as exhausted as the dancer. The Kalbeliyas are the community of snake charmers in Rajasthan and their women were not traditionally allowed to dance and perform on stage.
'It's an amazing thing to happen,' she added. 'I think because she is also championing the course of women empowerment through her dances and at the same time, spreading the awareness that women need to be empowered in India'.
In addition to its entertainment value, Rani explained that the motive of the dinner was to showcase the efforts of the Indian government in growing the country's achievements and successes as well as asserting the need for the rich cultural heritage to be preserved and passed on to the next generation.
She also stressed that preserving cultural heritage was the best form of diplomacy from people to people, adding that government might do its best, but the togetherness of different cultural backgrounds unite the hearts of the people from one community to another.
Her words: 'A well preserved and managed culture is a huge tourism attraction and it's a very effective instrument, which can be used in ensuring peace in the world. Instead of diverting our energy to destructive things, we can divert them to constructive things and enjoy living by binding people together in love and peace. After all, there is nothing like Africa, Nigeria or India; everyone loves to dance and everyone finds music a soul-lifting thing to happen to mankind'.
In lending credence to her remarks, Chief Sanjay said the average Indian diplomat had a strong belief that mutual cultural understanding would go a long way in ensuring that everything including business investment in both countries became easier.
He explained India's belief that promotion of cultural heritage was a thing that could provide and facilitate interaction and help businesses on the part of Nigerians and Indians.
Speaking further on the relationship between Nigeria and India, the culture promoter explained that India became a rising potential world power today in the area of Internet and Communication Technology (ICT) because of its long-term commitment and dedication to infrastructure development.
He stated, 'Indian government and people are trying to rob this off on other developing countries, including Nigeria. For example, a lot of Indian technology firms are coming to invest in Nigeria as they have seen the potentials because like in India, ICT is advancing and they believe that there are lots of potentials here because the development is not that much here. And they have been relentless in bringing the country's ICT industry to world standard.