It was an evening to celebrate, not only the birth of the popular Indian expat organisation Indians in Denmark, but also the diversity of Indian culture.
IID give the annual celebration the name ‘Rang Manch’ – no, nothing to do with the ‘Madchester’ music scene in the late 1980s – which is an Indian term that encapsulates many emotions and meanings, most popularly used for dramatics, theatre and a platform to express histrionic talents.
This year Rang Manch was celebrated on April 28 and brought together a large gathering of performers and those wishing to be entertained, and of course a good sample of Indian cuisine too. There were staged events, which had been carefully rehearsed for weeks, a talent contest for children and adults, and a Mr & Mrs India contest.
Everyone was enthusiastic about being on stage and performed with great pride – be it snippets from popular Bollywood films or other Indian cultural insignia. Observing that parents were able to inculcate into their children a fine balance between adapting a Western lifestyle and assimilating the essence of Indian expression was a great insight of the day. It is indeed a tough task to create a respect and relevance for the diversity in languages, traditions, art forms and other intangible cultural artefacts that India has to offer to its diasporic youth. And it seems like the parents do it really well.
The day began with a beautiful rendering of the Indian National Anthem by the youngest children who had been practicing for weeks before they performed, and some for the first time ever. Shravanti Allanku and Deepshikha Daga were the mothers behind this idea. They feel that knowing your national anthem is the first step to being closer to your country.
And there was some splendid dancing. Young women from the community got together to perform a welcome dance in the most colourful attire, dancing to a traditional Marwari folk number. And a beautiful rendering of Bharatnatyam was performed by Anna Kaval. Trained at the Benares Hindu University, Anna took great pride to be amongst the group and dance for us.
These performances were interspersed with talent displays by children and adults of all ages. A fancy dress contest for children only familiarised them even better with role-playing and popular characters from Indian society. Parents were present in full spirit to rehearse and dress up their children for the performances.
The highlight of the day, however, was the Mr & Mrs India contest. Young Indian couples presented themselves on stage for the award where they were quizzed about their partners and living in a new country.
The awards of course went to the sharpest answers! And the top prize was won by Namrata Thomas Kapur and Saransh Kapur.
This year Lebara was the main sponsor of the event, which will happen again at the same time next year and is open to all Indians and friends of India. So join in! Meanwhile, IID will be hosting a number of events over the coming months, including ones making India’s independence day and the popular Diwali festival.