To celebrate the creative and cultural industries in Varanasi and to focus attention on the need for Swachhta by using cultural forms, a Sanskriti Mahotsav “Swachhagrah – Bapu ko Kaaryaanjali” is being organized on the 21st and 22nd February, 2018 at the Man Mandir Ghat and Assi Ghat in Varanasi. The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma will remain present on the second day of the event being held at Man Mandir Ghat on 22nd February, 2018.The Mahotsav will integrate the tangible and intangible heritage along the river-belt and will see the engagement of the academia, artists, artisans, writers, poets, environmental and cultural forums on the use of cultural expressions for conservation and protection of the river and the ancient city. The Swachhtadrive will be steered by school-children affiliated to Ministry of Culture, Government of India’s Interpretation Centres through exhibitions, songs, puppetry, nukkad nataks and folk dances.
The 2-day event would focus on performances on the theme of ‘Swachhagraha’ presented under the rubric of ‘Swachhagraha: Bapu ko Karyanjali’.
The Mahotsav will cover a profusion of art forms from classical, folk music, dance and visual arts and would offer the chance to experience the best in established and emerging virtuosity. An exhibition on Varanasi curated by the National Archives will be showcased at the Man Mandir ghat to the creation of Virtual Museum. The National Gallery of Modern Art in partnership with the Fine Arts School of BHU will conduct painting and terracotta-sculpture workshops for students of Cultural Interpretation Centres set up in several schools by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Installations and large canvases drawn by children on the theme of Swachhta will be exhibited at prominent places and ghats of the city. Buses, Boats provided by the District Administration and prominent walls will be covered with graffiti art and with multicoloured murals and tags celebrating the theme of ‘Swachhagraha: Bapu ko Kaaryaanjali’.
During the Swachhagraha Music and Dance Festival the classical arts of Varanasi will be celebrated at a stage created at the Man Mandir ghat. On 21st February, the program will start with a tabla recital by 5 year old Avantika Mishra, granddaughter of Padma Vibhushan Pandit Kishan Maharaj. Children from the Interpretation Centres will perform Swachhta Geet. The duo of Pandit Narendra Mishra and Pandit Pooran Maharaj will perform on Sitar and Tabla respectively while Sanjeev and Ashwini Shankar will perform on Shahnai. In the dance segment, Saurav and Gaurav (from the Benaras Gharana) will perform Kathak dance.
A melange of colourful and traditional handicraft and textiles from Varanasi and other parts of the country will form part of a Crafts Bazaar at Assi Ghat. Art connoisseurs will get a chance to interact with artisans and watch their work in progress. The bazaar will include folk performances by folk singers and dancers from different states with special focus on Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, the states paired with Uttar Pradesh under the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat matrix. A small food corner will also bring out the aroma of Varanasi and tribal cuisine from Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
On the second day of the mahotsav, the evening will open with the Swachhta Geet by children, followed by Malini Awasthi’s vocal rendition. She will be be followed by Kathak dancer, Vishal Krishna. The event will end with Shruti Sadolikar’s classical rendition. Ravindra Jaiswal, MLA, Varanasi North, Dr. Neelkanth Tiwari, MLA, Varanasi South, Saurabh Srivastav, MLA, Varanasi Cantt., Surendra Narayan Singh, MLA, Rohaniyan and Neel Ratan Singh Patel, MLA, Sevapuri will also grace the occasion.
The LIVE coverage of Ras Banaras Mahotsav can be seen on the Youtube channel of Sanskriti.goi from 6 pm on 21st and 22nd February 2018.