Tuesday, October 05, 2004

DEDICATION CEREMONY OF RAJIV GANDHI NINAIVAKAM - ADT & STUDENTS JOIN HANDS


At Rajiv Gandhi Memorial

Function atteneded by
His Excellency, The President of India, Sri APJ ABDUL KALAM
Mrs.Sonia Gandhi
Mrs. Priyanka
Mr. Rahul Gandhi
Mrs.Anita Ratnam (Arangham Trust)

The below writeup is from Anita Ratnam's Arangham Trust archives.

Anita and ADT were privileged to choreograph young students at the formal ceremony for the inauguration of the RAJIV GANDHI NINAIVAKAM at Sriperumbudur on October 10, 2003. It involved school students from Padma Seshadri, Sishya, students from city colleges(StudentConcepts), as well as sloka students from the city’s Vedapadasalai, members from Koothu-p-pattarai and south Indian nadaswaram and conch artistes.

“It was a challenge that sprung up unexpectedly. When Romi Chopra, a consultant who handles major outdoor events first broached the subject, it was supposed to be a very quiet and small affair. But then it became much larger with the President of India accepting the invitation to open the memorial,” acknowledged Anita, while speaking about the project. “I was honoured to choreograph the details for the ceremony but it was a real nightmare of logistics with security detailing being the biggest one! We had only 5 days to rehearse and I must say the students cooperated so well with the daily travel to Sriperumbudur and the blistering heat to beat! We enjoyed it completely and I’m sure it will remain a striking memory in the whole team’s minds…”

After a short speech by the President, another group of students holding a red fabric, enacted the last walk of Rajiv Gandhi, with pulsating drumming by the Thudumbu drummers from Koothu-p-pattarai. Two students then ran around the arena holding aloft the national flag. Jayashree Ramnath wrapped up the show with another rendition of the national anthem.
The solemn and moving ceremony won appreciation from all the dignitaries present. Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Ms Priyanka and Mr Rahul Gandhi were especially touched and made it a point to meet the entire team and thank them individually, followed by exclusive photo shoots with the group!
There was not a dry eye in the audience…the young voices of the future, proudly and clearly recited the sacred ideals of democracy…the resonance of the young voices brought a lump to every throat…lofty ideals of our democratic ethos recited by youg boys and girls, fired with unsullied hopes and ideals. At Sriperumbudur, when the President of India dedicated the Rajiv Ninaivakam to the nation, the young children gathered there gave me fresh hope. Indian democracy will live for a thousand years and what my generation could not achieve, namely communal amity and social justice, will be the stepping stones and bench mark with which the coming generation will prove its worth.
Jayanthi Natarajan, Sunday Express,October 19, 2003

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