Denizens all set for a ‘responsible’ Holi

Demonstrating awareness, they are all set to celebrate the festival by saying no to use of water

Two little girls are all smiles as they revel in holi colours in Vijayawada on Sunday.— Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Two little girls are all smiles as they revel in holi colours in Vijayawada on Sunday.— Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Drifting away from the traditional practice of soaking in colours, city residents will this time celebrate a ‘responsible’ holi by saying no to use of water. Demonstrating a better sense of awareness, people have taken upon themselves the task of promoting camaraderie, the so very essential element of Holi, but not at the cost of health.

The Sindhi community is one group that brings to the fore the true flavour of Holi. Families belonging to the community gathered at Sindhi Bhavan on Sunday night for ‘Holika Dahan’ or ‘Choti Holi’, a ritual that precedes the actual celebrations.


A bonfire is lit, and roasted grains, popcorn and chickpeas are thrown into it.

They will hit the streets on Monday and smear faces of passers-by with multiple hues. The crowd will then head to the sprawling open ground near Mahita School where all get involved in festivities, regardless of caste, age and gender.


The community, which has organised rain dance in the past as part of Holi celebrations, has switched over to a ‘dry holi’ this year. “We have a theme every year for the celebrations. This year, we will play sans use of water and only with organic colours. This is the best part of the celebrations,” says Veena Achchepaliya, a community member.

Maheswari Bhavan near Kotha Gudlu centre in One Town will have a rare buzz, as it will turn into the hub of celebrations for members of the Maheswari Samaj.

“The most endearing part of the celebrations is that it brings down caste and social barriers and ushers in oneness. We have a night of revelry with DJs, music bands, delicious food and bonding over the indispensable bhang,” says Kamal Bhattad, a member of Maheswari Samaj.


The revellers have also decided not to allow toxic, chemical-based colours. They are all geared up to indulge in a safe, eco-friendly merriment.


We have a theme every year for the celebrations. This year, we will play sans use of water and only with organic colours. This is the best part of the celebrations.

Veena Achchepaliya

Sindhi community member




Creativity at its best

No looking back:A student driving an assembled racing car at GITAM during ‘Pramana’ in Medak district on Saturday.- PHOTO: MOHD ARIF

No looking back:A student driving an assembled racing car at GITAM during ‘Pramana’ in Medak district on Saturday.- PHOTO: MOHD ARIF

The colours of spring were splashed across the campus as the energy of youth power reached crescendo as students of GITAM School of Technology and Hyderabad Business School (HBS) of GITAM University, jointly organised a two-day techno-management fest ‘Pramana-2K14’ on its Hyderabad campus on Friday and Saturday. The fest consisted of technical and management competitions. Chief guest Prof. V. Harinarayana Sarma, EC member, ISTE, New Delhi, inaugurated the students’ event. Some of the techno and management events were – robo-soccer, robo-war, robo-rage, code-freak, cad-o-mania, boomerang, GITAM youth assembly, technical quiz, civil elevation, science exhibition, young managers challenge, scrolla, B-quiz, B-plan, bulls & bears. Nisadhya and Sambandha organised during the two-day fest. Prof. Ch. Sanjay, Director, GITAM Hyderabad campus, Prof. S. S. Prasada Rao, Director, HBS, D.V.V.S.R. Varma, Resident Director, and others were present.


Two-day techno-management festival ‘Pramana-2K14’

held on GITAM University campus



Most revered festival of tribal people

Attired in their traditional dress, tribal people made a beeline for Medaram on Wednesday. Attired in their traditional dress, tribal people made a beeline for Medaram on Wednesday.


Women swathed in turmeric, sporting huge bindi and leaving their hair unplaited, carried lumps of jaggery dancing to the tunes of percussion instruments.

Some carried pots beautifully decorated with garlands of marigolds, containing food cooked with harvested rice. Some of them holding neem leaves, sporting huge garlands and adeptly balancing the pots on their head went into a trance.

Called Siva Sattulu, some of the frenzied men and women danced endlessly as the people gathered around them. The common folk prostrated before them shooting questions about their future, particularly wanting to know whether there would be copious rain the next season.

Hundreds of shops selling sweet candies and toys have been attracting the children while the garments shops, entertainment centres such as recording dance troupes, magic shows, exhibitions, gambling centres and fortune tellers are drawing huge crowds.

Legend has it that the tribal lord – Medaraju – ruling this part of the area failed to pay royalty to the Kakatiya ruler Prataparudra-II of eighth century owing to continued drought situation.

Considering the non–payment of royalty as defiance, the imperial army invaded the area.

Fighting the mighty Kakatiya army, Medaraju and his daughter Sammakka and her daughter Sarakka sacrificed their lives.

Fatally attacked Sammakka left towards Chilkalgutta and then disappeared. A casket of vermilion was found at ‘Nemalinara tree’ (Indian elm tree) where she was last seen.

Tribal pujaris return in trance carrying vermilion casket and a bamboo stick wrapped in a red cloth. They install it at the altar at Medaram village during jatara.

Ever since, the tribal people have revered Sammakka and Sarakka for their bravery and offer prayers.



Celebrating the red berry

The annual Mapro Strawberry Festival is being held in the city from today.

Photo: K.K. Mustafah

Photo: K.K. Mustafah

Aiming to spread the taste of the succulent fruit across the country, the annual Mapro Strawberry Festival has been shifted here from Panchgnai to give it greater visibility.

Launched in 2007, the festival will now be held at Big Bazaar outlets of Phoenix Market City, Growel Mall, Nirmal Mall and R City Mall here, starting today.

The three-day long festival is organised by Mapro Foods, the manufacturer of jams, fruit beverage concentrates — crushes and squashes; and fruit bars.

“The Strawberry Festival has been a tremendous success in Panchgani for the last seven years. It is loved and enjoyed by thousands of people who visit the hill-station particularly for the festival. Taking a step further, we decided to bring the festival to Mumbai and Pune and provide them with a delightful experience,” Mayur Vora, managing director, Mapro Foods Pvt. Ltd., said in a statement.

“With this festival, our aim is to spread the sweetness of this fruit across the country and bring strawberry lovers to a common destination to indulge and win exciting goodies from Mapro,” he added.

With the theme “I Love Strawberry”, the fest will offer interactive games and goodie bags. It will also give a chance to strawberry lovers to indulge in the freshest of the fruit straight from farms of Mahabaleshwar.



‘We will keep Jaipur Literature Festival spirit going’

The seventh edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival concluded on Tuesday even as cold weather and intermittent showers limited the number of visitors expected on the final day.

Two venues — Char Bagh and the Front Lawns — had to be moved indoors after strong winds knocked down the shamiana on Monday night.

Although the start of the day saw thin crowds, the number of visitors gradually increased in the second half, leading festival co-director and author William Dalrymple to tweet “the heavens may have opened but nothing will keep the crowds away,” with a photograph of crowds waiting for the festival’s closing debate, featuring Aam Aadmi Party member Shazia Ilmi, among others.

Since it was established in 2006, the festival has become one of the flagship events in Jaipur, attended by thousands of people from across the world every year.

“We have always advocated this festival to be a platform supporting freedom of expression for authors and even visitors. We will keep this spirit going in the next editions as well,” festival producer Sanjoy Roy said on Tuesday.

This year’s edition — which saw the primary sponsorship change hands from DSC to Zee — witnessed several prominent speakers, originally on the itinerary, skip the event for different reasons.

Those who could not make it included Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, film writer-lyricist-poet Javed Akhtar and champion boxer M.C. Mary Kom. The keynote address was delivered by Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen.

South Asian Literature

The DSC prize for South Asian Literature went to Indian author Cyrus Mistry for his Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer.

A separate forum, Bookmark, dedicated to the publishing industry, ran parallel to the JLF between January 17 and 30.

The next edition is scheduled for January 21-25, 2015, co-director Namita Gokhale said.

While the festival steered clear of any major controversy this time, a session featuring producer Ekta Kapoor was briefly interrupted by protesters from the Rajput community under the banner of the Shree Rajput Karni, over an alleged distortion of historical facts in the TV serial Jodha Akbar.


On the final day, cold weather and intermittent showers overnight limited the number of visitors



Beach Festival: officials looking for event managers

The East Godavari district administration is looking for event managers who can organise cultural programmes on the sidelines of the three-day Beach Festival to be held at Vakalapudi Beach from January 11. The event managers will have to arrange sound and lighting system and coordinate with the artistes who were participating in the event. Further details can be had from the Additional Joint Collector. The district administration is also inviting logos and designs for mementoes to be distributed to the participants and sponsors of the beach festival. Prizes will be presented to the best designs and the last date for sending the entries to the Assistant Tourism Officer in the Collectorate (phone: 94408-16073) on or before December 31.

Reviewing the arrangements here on Saturday, Collector Neetu Prasad said that plans were afoot to invite noted artistes like drummer Sivamani to the event and due preference would be given to the local artistes and the students of different educational institutions. She exuded confidence that the festival would reflect the cultural heritage of the district.


Bharat Rang Mahotsav from January 4

The Bharat Rang Mahotsav, National School of Drama’s annual theatre festival, is back with its 16th edition and will showcase 71 plays from 17 States and six international countries.

The festival will kick off from January 4 with a performance by the NSD Repertory Company. The play, titled Chhaya Shakuntalam , is directed by K.N. Panikkar and is a take on Kalidas’ classical textAbhigyan Shakuntalam .

This year, theatre groups from 17 States representing the north, south, east and west, and six foreign countries — Japan, Israel, China, Germany, Sri Lanka and Poland — will showcase their performances on the international platform.

Some of the plays include Pampa Bharata (Kannada), Raaze Pather (Kashmir), Hey Manush (Bengali),Balkan Women (Urdu/Hindi), Nokiyampo (Assam), Bhavai (Gujarati) and Bastarband (Chhattisgarh).

From the international arena, Sindu Kirilli (Sri Lanka), The Woman Who Didn’t Want To Come Down To Earth (Israel), The Diary Of Anne Frank (China), Awkward Happiness (Poland) and Mephisto Waltz(Germany) will be showcased.

The highlight of the festival is the addition of 11 performances from folk and traditional theatre, making the event a platform for education and interaction. “I am new to the festival since I took on the position a few months back. It was difficult since we didn’t have much time but we have tried our best to bring in the best talent. This year we are aiming at reviving the identity of Indian theatre. We want quality over big names,” said Ratan Thiyam, Chairperson, NSD.

As part of the festival, two seminars will be held this year on “Global Exchanges, Local Encounters” and “Use and Abuse of Tradition in Today’s Theatre.” — PTI