The much-awaited ‘Festival of India in Kuwait’ which will be organized from Nov 8-14, 2009, under the auspices of the India-Kuwait Cultural Exchange Programme 2009-2011 has finally arrived. The festival which is being co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL), State of Kuwait became a reality in April 2009 during the visit to Kuwait of the Vice-President of India, M. Hamid Ansari. Addressing the press at the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, the Ambassador of India to Kuwait Ajai Malhotra said, “The festival will provide glimpses of performing arts and visual arts from various parts of India and give a taste of India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage never before seen in this part of the world. The Indian ambassador also stated, “Such a festival of India is being arranged for the very first time in Kuwait. About 130 artistes and artisans would be coming to Kuwait from different parts of India to participate in the festival. Many of them are the foremost exponents in the world of their particular art form. Moreover, several of the dance styles that would be on display have never before been seen in Kuwait.”
“Several world famous Indian musicians and dancers would be participating in the festival, which will also include displays brought from India of contemporary art, folk art, textiles, photographs, calligraphy, dolls, as well as puppet shows, besides henna art application and the Kathakali greeters,” he added. The festival, he revealed, will be held across multiple venues in Kuwait, such as the Kaifan Auditorium, the Grand Mosque, Al-Sadu House, Al-Fanoon Hall, Al-Adwani Hall, the Discovery Centre, and the Avenues Mall. He disclosed, the performing arts events include a flute recital by Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, santoor recitals by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, flute recitals by Dr Rajendra Prasanna, tabla recitals by Rimpa Siva, Odissi dances by Ranjana Gauhar and her troupe, in addition to performances by exponents of a wide variety of other Indian classical and folk dance styles.
He also disclosed, seven self-contained dance troupes are coming to Kuwait and the dance styles on display will include, the Manipuri Raas and Phung Cholam from Manipur, Oppanna bridal dance from Kerala, festive warrior dances from Nagaland, Dandia Raas and Garba from Gujarat, Chhau from Bengal, Gidda and Bhangra from Punjab, as well as Odissi from Orissa. Visual arts on display will include an Exhibition of Arabic Calligraphy and an Exhibition of Indian Muslim Religious Posters and Calendar Art brought from the famous Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, an Exhibition of Indian Woven Textiles including Benaras and Kanjeevaram silk saris and traditional shawls from Kutch, an Exhibition of Traditional Indian Dolls, an Exhibition of Photographs of Mumbai through the Ages, and an Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art. In addition, Traditional and Shadow Puppet shows would be held, besides demonstration of the weaving of Indian textiles, of Madhubani Folk Art, and of the Traditional Art of Henna Application. Kathakali greeters from Kerala would welcome visitors at many events.
He disclosed, “The inaugural function of the Festival would be held on the evening of Nov 8 at the Kaifan Auditorium, Kaifan, under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Minister of Oil and Minister of Information, State of Kuwait.” Ambassador Malhotra also expressed his deep gratitude to Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Bader Sayed Abdulwahab Al-Rifai, Secretary-General NCCAL and his staff for “their full support and cooperation in the organization of the festival”. The ambassador noted all exhibitions will be open to the public and have free entrance. Moreover, the folk dance troupes would also perform for the public at the Avenues Mall, where entrance is free. However, functions at the Kaifan Auditorium – the inaugural performance on Nov 8, its repeat on Nov 9, as well as the music and dance even ings on Nov 11 and 12 and a special event on Nov 14 – are by invitation. Malhotra added: “It is hoped that our Kuwaiti friends and others will enjoy the events that have been planned and that the festival would further enrich and boost the close partnership and the strong traditional bonds of friendship that so happily unite our two countries and peoples.”
By Paul Francis X. Fernandes
Arab Times Staff