Rajasthani organization holds annual festival in North America, virtually

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Some executive team members of the Maheshwari Mahasabha of North America celebrating their annual Utsav 2020 over three weekends in October 2020. (Photo: MMNA)

Maheshwari Mahasabha of North America (MMNA) celebrated a ‘Virtual Utsav 2020’ event over 3 weekends, starting from Oct 11, 2020 during the festive season of Navratri.

More than 1,000 people across India, United States and Canada attended the online event, which consisted of entertainment, interactive sessions and Rajasthani trivia.

The MMNA President Vikas Bhutada hosted the events ‘Hasya Kavi Sammelan’, ‘Maha Trivia with Maha Sabha and Ravi Drums’ and ‘Vijaya Dashami Celebration with Ek Shaam Aapke Naam’ on Oct. 11, 18 and 25 respectively, a press release from the organization said.

The organization’s Silicon Valley Chapter President Swapnil Laddha and Utsav coordinator Jitendra Muchhal facilitated the first event and kept the audience engaged in interactive discussions in the 2-hr event over Zoom with the goal of keeping the community connected, especially during these pandemic times.

The second event was hosted organized by MMNA-RAYS (Rajasthani Abroad Youth Samaj) team and Utsav coordinator Abhilasha Rathi.

More than 600 members attended the 2.5 hour event virtually over Zoom. The RAYS team engaged the audience in playing an ethnic Rajasthani trivia in several virtual breakout rooms. The winning team received awards.

Dhiraj Srivastava, commissioner, Rajasthan Foundation, and Shyamsunder Soni, president, Akhil Bharatvarshiya Maheshwari Mahasabha, commended the MMNA team for organizing the event.

Indian American electronic music artist DJ Ravidrums also performed at the event.

“We neither had to prepare any clothes, nor pack any bags, nor get on the plane to the place of a convention but still we had a similar experience and feeling of a real convention by participating right from our own homes,” was the sentiment among members quoted in the press release.

The third event, MMNA’s longest so far, started with performances from MMNA community members from nine chapters across the US & Canada. The theme of the evening was ‘emotions & feelings’.

The performances included classical and Bollywood dances, as well as singing and skits by members of all the age groups. The audience was encouraged to dress in their best ethnic attire and a panel of judges evaluated and chose the best-dressed attendees and several prizes were given away in different categories.

A video message sent by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, complementing the community on their efforts to connect and contribute during these difficult times, was played for participants, and a virtual live performance by the ‘Dhwani’ musical group from Kolkata, was featured.

The audience also witnessed ‘Raavan – Dahan’ held at a member’s house in California. The event lasted for more than 4 hours.

The MMNA was founded in 1983 with the purpose of preserving Rajasthani Maheshwari culture and heritage, while the community continued to grow in America. The organization has 4,000 individual members in 10 chapters, the press release said.

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