Dubai: Nuakhai was celebrated in UAE with its grandeur and excitement by the Western Odisha Community here in Indian Consulate Dubai on 14th September 2018. According to one of the organizers Mr. Firoj Kumar Meher, this year it was significant because it was being celebrated on the day of actual celebration back home. India is a country rich in its vibrant colours, heritage, culture and customs. This fifth edition of the celebration here saw a lineup of several cultural programs by local talents as well as external troupes flown in from Odisha, India. As many as 60 local artists that included kids, teens and adults enthralled the 600 plus audience with the traditional Sambalpuri Dance and Song performances. A troupe of 13 members, the Natraj Dance Group from Sambalpur kept the audience awe struck with their vibrant performance. The program started with the serving of breakfast around 10 am in the morning and the first half was entirely dedicated to the local talents. The Consulate auditorium reverberated with the rich tunes of Sambalpuri beats and the entire atmosphere was electric which saw most of the audience dancing on the floor. After lunch the external troupe entertained the audience and raised the excitement to a new level. Sambalpur is known for its music, dance and song as much as for the world famous Sambalpuri dress. The rich culture and tradition of Sambalpur was quite visible as everyone adorned the traditional dress and the live performances created an aura of a festival quite the same way it is celebrated back home.
It all started with the lighting of lamps and offering “Nua Dhan” (new paddy) to the deity of Sambalpur, Maa Samaleswari. Consul Passport and Community affairs, Sri Prem Chand graced the occasion as the Chief Guest of the event. He praised the efforts of this Odia community in organizing such events here in UAE and keeping the great Indian traditions and culture alive even though staying outside India while inculcating the same in the new generations by involving the participation of kids in the program. He said that the Odia Community is the most active, vibrant and closely bonded community in UAE and he always looks forward to this event celebration in Indian Consulate auditorium like in previous years.
Another start attraction of the event was the Guest of Honour Mr. Pradip Bhol. The acclaimed film personality and dramatist from Sundergarh, Western Odisha was felicitated by the community for his invaluable contributions to the art and culture of this region. His directed Odia Sambalpuri movie “Chini” is the highest budget Sambalpuri movie till date wherein the infamous playback singer Asha Bhosle also sang a song number, a first for any Sambalpuri movie to rope in such a great Bollywood artist to be part of the movie. The hugely popular movie has won several awards including the State Best Film award in 2016.
The community also paid a heartfelt tribute to the late Prabhudatta Pradhan of Rangabati fame during the event. Son of the renowned composer, Mr. Asim Pradhan was specially invited to the event for this purpose, who became very emotional and happy seeing the love and affection of this overseas community to his legendary father. Rangabati is the most popular and evergreen Sambalpuri Song. It was composed by late Prabhudatta Pradhan and sung by the duo Jitendra Haripal and Krishna Patel in the 60s which has lasted more than six decades and its popularity increasing with the passage of time.
Traditional food was served and people greeted each other in the traditional way called “Bhetghat” (meet and greet) which was like the icing on the cake. Later on all the local talents were presented with certificates and momentos for their participation. A quiz contest in WhatsApp was running successfully for two weeks preceding the program wherein the whole community participated with great excitement and which serves as a great learning experience to know more about Western Odisha. Every day one question is put and one winner is selected. All the quiz winners were also recognized in the function.
A day full of fun and flavor came to an end in the evening at around 6 pm after 8 hours of nonstop activities and it had a lasting impression in the mind of the attendees. “We definitely look forward to this celebration next year at the same time but probably with much more gaiety and enthusiasms. It presents a unique opportunity for our community to bond together and explore the hidden talents especially by the kids and local talents through various cultural programs which keep them connected with our rich culture and traditions even if staying away from India” said Mr. Sukamal Baxi, another organizer of the event.