Gujarati Samaj Chicago Hold Electrifying Navratri Celebration

Bensenville, IL: On Friday, September 17, 2011 the Gujrati Samaj Chicago (GSC) Board of Trustees, members of executive committee and volunteers hosted colorful Raas Garba festivity on the occasion of Navratri. This annual sacred event is celebrated in honor of Godess Durga Mataji. The event was held at Manav Seva Mandir located at 101 S. Church Road, Bensenville , IL from 7 PM till about 1 AM and attended by over 300 individuals.

The Mahalaxmi hall of Manav Seva Mandir was transformed in to a huge dance floor to accommodate hundreds of bare feet moving in to thunderous drumbeats in swirling circles around deity Hindu Goddess “Durga”. The musical group of Bharati Desai provided music.

Band Information:
Band Name: Swar Bharti Group
Singer: Bharti Desai
Band Manager / Organizer: Amit Desai
Key Board player: Vedant Patel
Dhol player: Ishwaer Patel and Shree Mahavrat
Mangira player: Amit Desai
Timbani player: Himansu Brahmbhatt
Sound system: Arun Modi

The beautiful music is one of the most foremost pillars of the Navratri Garba celebration. The drums, dholak and all sort of instruments coming together with melodious voice by group leader and singer Bharati Desai & Group. Music for Navratri festival has to keep balance between devotion and entertainment.” said Bharatiben. “We Gujratis, have Garba in our blood” said lead female vocalist singer Bharatiben.

There was overwhelming participation from predominantly young audience enjoyed the memorable evening. Many in the audience, especially ladies and children wore very colorful mesmerizing and dazzling traditional dresses for this special juncture with appropriately matching ornaments and extravagant hairstyles. Navratri Garba is very special for me as it honors Shakti in very rhythmic ways said Nisha Deshpande. Her mother Dina Modi added that “we all love the whole atmosphere of colors, the clothes and of course, the music and then there is always the fun of dressing up”. She further explained to Asian American Media that western dress is replaced by Lengha-choli, matching jewelry and foot wear. “Some prefer to wear traditional outfit while others go for modern look” she told Asian Media USA. When asked main purpose of organizing such event, Mr. Suryakant Patel, president of executive board member replied that “this type of organized event promotes Indian culture to the new generation who are born here”

Lead Vocalist and band leader and members of executive board started the program by offering a prayer. This was followed by mesmerizing rhythmic conformist Garba music with equally passionate and energetic performance by the audience of traditional swirling dance around Mataji’s heavenly symbolic presence turned in to shrine adorn with flowers and decorations. After the brief break and Arati, the festive music of Dandia- Raas commenced with again enthusiastic participation by audience which lasted till early hours of the morning.

One of the specialty of Navratri is the Prasad, distributed at the end of the Garba (singing devotional songs) to all the people. The word Prasad means the food offered to GOD (after preparation, it will be placed before the idols of Gods and Goddesses without anyone touched or tasted it). Later, after the Puja, it is believed that GOD will shower his blessings on all the people and the food offered to him, making the food as a sacred one. This sacred food is later distributed to people as Prasad, as the mark of the end of Puja for that day. The Navratri special Prasad are varieties of Shiro, Panda, any kind of sweet, and fruits.

Board of Trusty and executive committee members and volunteer’s good planning and durable work were evidenced by excellent security safety and parking arrangement.

Sponsors and vendors participated by displaying their Banners and advertisement. Lahni prices were distributed during the event. This multidimensional celebration of such a festive day of Navratri would not have been possible without many sponsors, donors, and advertisers.

The event was sponsored by Jayesh & Harshida Parikh, Kamlesh & Sandhya Shah and Suryakant & Uradhi Patel. Current president Surkantbhai recognized and thanked the committee heads and volunteers that made the event possible. With entire well organized dedicated Gujrati Samaj Chicago (GSC) team effort with solid work and with Devine blessing from Mataji combined with devotional hard work and enthusiastic support and participation by the community the event was a grand success.

Lahni: For the 2011 GSC Lahni, a steel jug was distributed to life members.

Prizes: There were 16 Trophies awarded for the following categories:
Best Costume Female First Place Under 25 Years
Best Costume Female Second Place Under 25 Years
Best Costume Male First Place Under 25 Years
Best Costume Male Second Place Under 25 Years
Best Costume Female First Place Over 25 Years
Best Costume Female Second Place Over 25 Years
Best Costume Male First Place Over 25 Years
Best Costume Male Second Place Over 25 Years
Best Garba Raas Female First Place Under 25 Years
Best Garba Raas Female Second Place Under 25 Years
Best Garba Raas Male First Place Under 25 Years
Best Garba Raas Male Second Place Under 25 Years
Prize was distributed for Best Costume plus Best Garba Raas for Man and Woman.

Chandrakant Modi MD President of Asian Media had an opportunity to talk to Prominent leader Sunil Shah for perspective of the winning 1st prize for Best performance Raas where he replied that “Dancing is my passion and hobby from my early childhood. My very first stage exposure was during Lions club award night at Sanmukanand hall. Mumbai had an golden opportunity to dance with Amitabh Bachhan and Kishor Kumar on song Naach mere jaan phatapat and having dance with such great personalities removed my stage fright. My idol is evergreen one and only one late Shri Shammi kapoorji and have performed on his songs in Mumbai, UK and all over USA. With this god given talent and grace have won the 1st prize in several dance competition from my teen age till now and had privilege to dance with superstar Amitabh to super playback singer Sonu Nigam. Now I don’t dance to compete but just to please and entertain my friends , family and fans on their

Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA

Suresh Bodiwala
Asian Media USA
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