Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) is a non-profit organisation working to promote the social justice, peace and communal harmony. It conducts an array of activities such as memorial lectures, diversity exposure visits, supporting peace centres, publishing fortnightly secular perspective and a quarterly journal. Cultural Event is also one of its activities that the Centre has been conducting for the past seven years to celebrate the composite culture of India through art forms such as songs, music, dance etc. Last year the theme of the cultural event was Sant Vani. The event was a vocal and instrumental performance of songs and poetry composed by various saints of the Bhakti and Sufi movements to reach out to the common people with the message of spirituality and equality. The artists who performed on these compositions include Neela Bhagwat, Radhika Sood Nayak and Ramkrishna Das.

This year the title of the Cultural Event was ‘Aman Ke Rang’ was organised on 27th January 2018 and ‘Yalgaar Sanskritk Manch’ a cultural group was invited to perform at the Carter Road Amphitheatre, Bandra, Mumbai. They use art forms like songs and poetry recitation to promote the message of peace, love, compassion, humanity and the rich history of composite culture and syncretic traditions in Maharashtra. In ‘Aman Ke Rang’ their performance resonated values of spirituality and equality based on the works of Saints like Kabir, Tukaram and Ravidas and social reformers like Phule and Ambedkar.

Mr Irfan Engineer, Director of CSSS, welcomed everyone and introduced CSSS. Ms Neela Bhawat gave a short introduction about the Joan Memorial Foundation and introduced the Yalgaar artists to the audience.

Yalgaar started their performance by singing a ‘Vaydya’ – an instrumental performance followed by Sant Tukaram’s Abhang. The audience was enthralled and excited to hear the songs which resonated the works of great saints and social reformers like Sant Tukaram and Mahatma Phule. Other songs emphasised on the gender equality, fraternity, peace, love and compassion.

The diversity was not just reflected in the songs that was sung but also seen in the audiences enjoying the event. They ranged from different classes and religions reflecting the diversity in Mumbai. Amongst the audience were academics, social work practitioners, music aficionados and college students. In a diverse society like India arts performance have always been given a special place in our hearts because of sheer ability to cut across and transcend the barriers of caste, class and religion and spread the message of love and compassion. This was the effect of the performance on the audience which cheered the artists and sang along.

The event was organised at the Carter Road Amphitheatre at Bandra, Mumbi. One of the primary reasons for organising such events in open stage was to spread the message of love and compassion to as many people as possible without any restrictions. Approximately 200 people attended the event; this is apart from the numerous others who simply relished the programme by the adjacent footpath.

In making this event a successful event a great share apart from the main performers goes to the students from Begum Bilkees Latif Junior College and Wilson College who volunteered for this Cultural event. The event was ended with last song spreading the message to abolish the discrimination based on difference and to stride towards a peaceful society. Ms Neha Dabhade gave the vote of thanks.

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