Past Events at MMS

Event

Date

Venue

Picnic

23 June Sunday

Basel

Ganesh Festival

15 September ,Sunday

Zurich

Diwali Gathering

27 October ,Sunday

Basel

AGBM

26  April  2014  ,Sunday

Zurich


Member zone

Your inputs are valuable to us. We are looking for new ideas for family entertainment during Ganeshotsav,Diwali.

If you are a performer or you know any performer who would like to showcase their art please contact us.

If you want to share any venues for picnic  please feel free to email us .

Events of 2013

posted Oct 15, 2009, 8:02 AM by Bms Admin   [ updated Oct 13, 2013, 9:42 AM ]

Ganesh Utsav 2013

The Sunday had arrived, the 21st of September, the day Marathi Mandal of Switzerland had selected to  celebrate Ganeshotsav along with the Maharashtrian Diaspora in Switzerland.

The morning began early for most enthusiasts, with the program scheduled to start at 11 am. Members of the Executive Committee and key organizers too had an early morning start, beginning the day with picking flowers, preparing “panchamrut”,  “Naivedya” and setting up the hall.

The first participants arrived at 11 am sharp. And many of them joined hands to help in organizing the last bits. Whilst all others were busy with the set up, Treasurer Deepa Deodhar, took the effort to register all the attendees, collect the attendance fees. It was a pleasurable sight to see so many people turn up at the event. All had donned lovely colorful Indian dresses, some even taking the efforts to dress in a Saris and come to the event. Special mention for family Pisal, who drove in from Lausanne with 2 young children to attend the Pooja

In the mean time, preparations were ongoing for the pooja. The Joshi family from Basel had volunteered to do the pooja. As usual Vaibhav Abhyankar was with the deity helping to do the pooja.

After the initial drinks and breaking the ice session, the Ganesh aarti was sung by one and all. Following the arti, everyone was treated to a sumptuous meal of Maharashtrian food. What was very motivating was many ladies volunteering to serve the snake of people queuing up to have lunch. One of the highlights of the lunch was that everyone had the opportunity to have a second round. Thanks to Snehal, everyone also enjoyed a round of very tasty Shrikhand. We also thank Tejashree Kuvalekar for the Lovely Painting that she gifted the Mandal and for her kind support.

Now that the pooja and lunch was past, it was time for folks to settle down a bit and get ready for the entertainment program. This year it was decided that we would bring in a local artist to perform at the function. Thus, Poonam Panchwagh and her disciples, brought for us their dance, Kathak.  After an hour plus of stories of different Indian themes depicted thru dance,  Poonam concluded her performance.

Following the dance performance, warm tea, a welcome in a cold country, and snacks were enjoyed by all. A special note of thanks to Gauri Abhyankar, Vaishnavi Arondekar (Anisha and Neha Arondekar) for preparing and serving the tea for all the folks.

Thus went by the Sunday, pleasantly spent, enjoying Marathi delicacies, gappa tappa in Marathi, whilst also giving prayers to the Lord of wisdom.

Thanks to members of the EC and organizing committee for the wonderful program. A special thanks to all participants who brought their enthusiasm to make it a wonderful experience.

Ganesh Utsav 2013





AGBM (Annual general body meeting)
 
Date  : 5th May 2013
Place : Basel
Time  : 11 am to 5 pm
** Food was organised by Marathi Mandal switzerland for all members who have paid fees for 2012.
 
Following was the  agenda
1.Meet and greet¨
2.Lunch
3.GBM starts (presentation of presidents report,secretary s report,treasurer report,election for available posts)
4.Tea and closing
5. New AGBM Council selection process was decided
6. New AGBM Members were decided after 1 month of the meeting with coordination from Mr Sant Kaka

 
 
Picnic Basel 
 
 
Picnic was on Sunday, 25th June 2013 12 noon  
The organising committee of Marathi Mandal Switzerland invited families and  friends to celebrate the arrival of Summer-2012 with its  “Annual Picnic”. We meet at Deodhar Villa in Bommingen with Mouth watering Misal and other marathi recipe to serve. We gathered and played indoor games due to bad weather. It was a awesom experience.
 

Members area

posted Oct 15, 2009, 7:59 AM by Bms Admin   [ updated Oct 13, 2013, 9:48 AM ]

Happy Dussehra

Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami is one of the most important festivals celebrated in various forms, across India. It is also referred to as Navratri and Durgotsav.

Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha-hara meaning "remover of bad fate" meaning remover of ten heads of Ravana. It is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu autumn lunar month of Ashvin, or Ashwayuja which falls in September or October of the Western calendar. The first nine days are celebrated as Maha Navratri and culminates on the tenth day as Dussehra.

The day marks the victory of Goddess Durga over demon Mahishasur. It is a day when devotees worship Goddess Shakti who represents strength, ability and courage. This day also celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.

In India, the harvest season begins at this time and so the Mother Goddess is invoked to start the new harvest season and reactivate the vigor and fertility of the soil. This is done through religious performances and rituals which are thought to invoke cosmic forces that rejuvenate the soil. Many people of the Hindu faith observe Dussehra through social gatherings and food offerings to the gods at home and in temples.

Mythology & Celebration across India:

Every region has its own tale, although somewhere they are all linked to a common belief. According to legends, there was once a demon called Mahishasura. Through severe penance, he procured from Lord Brahma, creator of the world, the boon that no man or deity or animal would be able to kill him. So it was that when the Gods failed to contain the havoc Mahishasura was wreaking on the world, they created Durga, a powerful female form with 10 arms. All the Gods gave her their most potent weapons. In essence, each God gave a bit of himself to the feminine form, who emerged superiorly endowed. Thus empowered, Durga went forth into battle and conquered Mahishasura. It is this famous victory that is re-enacted and celebrated during Dussehra for the general betterment of people.

Eastern India:
In Bengal, Dussehra is celebrated as Durga Puja. Deities of the goddess Durga are worshipped for five days, and on the fifth day (Vijaya Dashami) immersed in a river or pond. This is referred as Durga Bisarjan/Bhashaan. In Bihar,Bengal, Assam and Orissa, the goddess Kali, an appellation of Durga, is also worshipped as a symbol of Shakti (Power).
Traditionally, about three to four months prior to Dussehra comes the festival of Akshay Tritiya. On this day, clay is collected from the river bank to make the idols for Durga puja, although today plaster of Paris has come to replace clay for the most part.
The goddess Durga is also worshipped by devotees in different pendals throughout the state. The pendals are beautifully decorated. Durga Puja is one of the most important festival here which is celebrated grandly and with enormous gusto every year.
Most of the community pujas postpone the farewell as long as possible and arrange a grand send-off. The images are carried in processions known as Bhasani Jatra or Bisarjan Jatra around the locale and finally are immersed in a nearby river or lake. After the immersion of the deity, people across the state celebrate Ravan Podi, in which they burn an effigy of the demon Ravan.
 
Western India:
Move towards western India and the scenes are somewhat different. Here, the 10 days of festivities are traditionally celebrated with dance. Long, all-night sessions of the garba and dandiya raas can be seen in states like Maharashtra and Gujarat during the Navratri, with young women playing a major role in the celebrations dressed up in their finest colourful skirts. Men, too, join in the dance. The garba, which is performed as an offering to Durga, is performed before prayer time while the dandiya raas — performed with sticks — is more for personal enjoyment and can continue long into the night. The garba, it is said, began as a symbolic representation of the fight between Mahishasura and Durga but has, over the years, evolved into a colourful folk dance form as well.
 
Northern India:
In northern India, the 10 days of Dussehra are marked as the period leading up to the victory of Lord Ram over demon king Ravan. On the tenth day of the festival, huge effigies of Ravan are burnt to ashes to symbolize the end of the reign of evil. Over the days preceding this moment, groups of people get together and enact the Ramayana. Roles of various mythological characters come alive in the delightful representation known as Ramlila. The Ramlila is staged every night, and the story unravels bit by bit over the 10 days.
 
Southern India:
In the southern state of Karnataka, too, it is Durga who is worshipped, but here she goes by the name Chamundeshwari. The manner of worship is also different. Kannadigas do not erect puja pandals; instead, women visit and offer to each other turmeric powder and kumkum, both symbols of auspiciousness and well-being. Chamundeshwari temples across the state are the scene of hectic activity during this period, with thousands of devotees thronging them. Dussehra is particularly special in Mysore, where traditionally the celebrations were presided over by the royal family, with a huge procession being taken out on the tenth day amidst crawling crowds.

All over India, the first three days of Dussehra are devoted to the worship of Durga, the next three days to Lakshmi, and the last three days to Saraswati. That is why the ninth day is also celebrated as Saraswati puja in the south. The final or tenth day is termed as Vijayadashami, or the celebration of victory.

Hope you have been able to discover new insights about this festival to enable you to enjoy the day even more. Wishing you and your family an auspicious Dussehra.

Praful Kulkarni
President
Marathi Mandal Switzerland
 
 
  
Information on Ganesh Chaturthi
 
Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival. this Ganesh Chaturthifestival is celebrated in memoirs of lord ganesha he is popularly known as the lord of wisdom and power. people make and decorate big idol of lord ganesha and then they offer them pooja and prasad etc. At last people make big procession to nearest water source like river or sea. people enjoy this procession with dance, music and colours. last time when the procession reaches to the sea, people again offer pooja etc. people always wait for this most enjoyable festival.
 
Ganesha Chaturthi is a Festival of ‘Lord Ganesh’. It is the birth of lord Ganesh.. The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival comes after shravan mon. Ganesh Chaturthi is the one of the most important festival of Indian peoples. Lord Ganesh is the lord of wisdom, mind power and success. He is the son of lord shiva & parvati and the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi can tell us to remember them. Ganesh Chaturthi Festival/ Ganesh Utsav is one of the most auspicious fast for the devotees of Ganesh. several peoples observe the fast on Ganesh Chaturthi. Ladies prepare special food, sweets and specially Laddoo at their home and they offer to lord Ganesh. Ganesh Chaturthi is festival of excitement and joy. Thousand of people goes to temples and pray for wisdom, health and wealth. At the evening time many people get together and make procession of lord ganesh. the procession goes to the main markets of the city with dance, music and enjoy. finally it goes to river or sea beach and then immerse which is also known as ganpati visarjan. people says “ganpati bappa moriya, agle baras tu jaldi aa” and the festivals ends here.Vinayaka Chaturthi, or Ganesh Chaturti, is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the God of wisdom, prosperity and auspiciousness in Hinduism. Lord Ganesha is today worshipped around the world and the elephant-faced Hindu god is one of the most popular deities in Hindu religion. The 12-day Ganesh Chaturthi ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the idol on Ananta Chaturdasi day. Ganesh Chaturthi 2009 date is August 23.Ganesh Chaturthi is observed on the fourth day after Amavasi (no moon) in the month of Bhadrapada (August - September) as per traditional Hindu calendar.In Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi community festival is celebrated for 10 days. In other parts of India, it is celebrated for one day on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. Hindu homes observe Ganesh Chaturthi festival for one or three days. Special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha.In Maharashtra, Ganesh and Gauri Puja is observed during the same period.In Karnataka, Gowri Habba or Swarna Gouri Vratais observed a day before Ganesh Chaturthi. Origin of Ganesh Chaturthi FestivalGanesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesha, is one of the most popular Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India and by Hindu around the world. Ganesh Utsav falls on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the month Bhadrapada (August-September). The origin of Ganesh Chaturthi also explains why Ganesha has an elephant head.According to Hindu Mythology, once Lord Shiva was out hunting with his ‘Ganas’ or attendants. Parvati, Shiva’s consort, was alone and desired to take a bath. But since there were no attendants to guard the entrance of the house, Parvati created a handsome young Ganesha from mud and asked him not to let anyone inside.Soon, Lord Shiva returned and found an arrogant guard stopping him from entering his house. In a fit of fury, Lord Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head.When Parvati came to know about the fate of Ganesha, she was overwhelmed with grief and Lord Shiva soon realized the grave mistake had committed in anger. He asked one of his Ganas to bring the head of the first animal he saw sleeping with its head towards north. The Gana returned with an elephant’s head and Shiva placed it on Ganesha’s body and restored his life. All these extraordinary events of Parvati creating Ganesha from mud and Lord Shiva chopping Ganesha’s head and replacing it with an elephant’s head took place on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the month Bhadrapada (August-September).The large scale public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893 in Pune. The main intention of Tilak was to galvanize support for India’s independence movement. The modern day celebrations are a continuation of Tilak’s version of Ganesh Chaturthi festival.  How to perform Ganesh Chaturthi Puja at Home?Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the most colorful and widely celebrated festivals in India. Large number of people observe Ganesha Chaturthi poojas at home. Here is an explanation on how to perform Ganesha puja at home as mentioned in Hindu scriptures.Ganesha puja on the Chaturthi day is usually performed at noon but nowadays people perform it when all the family members are present. RequirementsA Clay image of Lord Ganesha. Red flowers Druva Grass blades Modak (jaggery filled sweet) Coconut Red chandan (Sandalwood paste) Incense and agarbathisFirst clean the house and take a bath. A Clay image of Lord Ganesha is installed in a raised platform. Pray to Lord Ganesh and you can recite mantras or bhajans dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Next step is to invoke Ganesha into the image. This is known as pran-prathishta. The Pran Prathista mantra in Sanskrit to be invoked is found in the Rig Veda and is part of Ganesh Suktha.ganananh tva ganapatim havamahe kavim kavinam - upamashravastamam |
jyeshhtharajam brahmanan.h brahmanaspata A nah shrivnvannutibhih sida sadanam || (Rig Veda 2.23.1)ni shhu sida ganapate ganeshhu tvamahurvipratamam kavinam |
na rite tvat.h kriyate kinchanare mahamarkam maghavan.h chitramarcha || (Rig Veda 10.112.9)We invoke You, O Ganapati of the ganas (Lord Shiva attendants), Who are Brahmana-spati of the brahmas (prayers), the wisest among the wise, Who abound in treasure beyond all measure, the most brilliant one. Do listen to our prayers, come with Your blessings and assurances of protection into our home, and be seated. (Rig Veda 2.23.1)Sit down among the worshippers, O Ganapati, the best sage among the sages. Without You nothing can be done here or far. Accept with honor, O wealthy One, our great and variegated hymns of praise. (Rig Veda 10.112.9)Now Ganesha is installed in the idol and one can perform arati and light the lamps. Some people perform the shhodashopachara, which are 16 forms of paying tribute to Ganesha. (This ritual is usually performed by the priests, you can skip this.) Offer 21 blades of Druva Grass. Offer 21 modakas Offer red flowers Apply a tilak using red Sandalwood paste. Break the coconut or just keep it along with the idol. You can also keep fried grains. (The food of the rat – the vehicle of Ganesha). You can also recite the 108 salutations dedicated to Lord Ganesha or read the Ganesha Upanishad or just simply pray.The number 21 signifies - the five organs of perception, five organs of action, five vital airs (pranas), five elements, and the mind.While performing Ganesha Puja at home, you can always be flexible. The strict rituals are meant for Vedic priests. All you need be careful is to perform the pujas with a clean body and clean mind. What is more important is devotion not the ritual.
 
Regards
Nilesh Dhoble
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Adhyatma
 
In the present world which is changing fast one has hardly time to think of anything else than profession and the family. The fierce competition and ever increasing demands from family, the job and the society in which one lives grinds the person to fatigue and leaves hardly any time for relaxation. Moreover, we are confronted with a society which demands measurable results. This applies to an individual, a family head, a product, a small firm or a big corporation, all alike! In the materialistic world in which we live we are confronted with tangible results, the yard stick of their measurement is in terms of the time, the dimension (space) and the weight. And exactly here is the limitation of the so called modern and advanced society.
Every one of us can think. In fact, all achievements, including material achievements, have their origin in some idea, in some thought which comes out of a human mind. A brilliant business idea, a beautiful garden, a spectacular piece of architecture, a complicated machine or a huge irrigation project originates from a human thought. Can one express a thought in terms of weight in milligrams or kilograms, its dimension in inches or metres or the duration of its time in seconds or days? One has to admit that our so called modern and advanced world which has produced extremely precision instruments of measurement meets with limitations when it has to fathom the human mind which, in fact, is the very source of all the inventions and amenities which have made our lives easy and our world small enough to be more accessible than ever before and as more demanding too!.
Ever since every one of us started to notice the world around us we were confronted with the idea of the existence of God. It might be at first while watching the grand mother performing religious rites or reciting prayers with the parents. During our school days we have noticed our colleagues apparently beaming with fearless and tough minds secretly praying God before appearing for tough examinations. When calamities befall individuals or families, the first cry of help in the darkest hour is directed to God. We do not see Him but we believe in His existence. We do not see the electric current. We run the mixer and we switch on the light when it is dark. We know that the electric current exists even though we do not see it.
Even in this modern world God is worshipped. In some form or the other God is worshipped by tribal folks, nomads, primitive cultures living in the jungles of India, Africa and South America and also by the president of the mighty superpower USA and the prime minister of UK. We see and experience the creations of the Supreme Power at every time, at every place and on every step and we ask ourselves the question, "who must have created all this?" Not only us but since very old times our sages and our saints were also curious to find an answer to this question. No man-made tool is capable of explaining or coming anywhere near to answer this question. So our sages and saints, who were as haunted by this question as we all are, used the most powerful tool which a human being possesses. That is the human mind itself.
When they found the answer to this question they narrated their personal experiences for the benefit of the society. Their narrations which also form their teachings are contained in the various scriptures, old and new. These scriptures form a treasure of immense value for all of us.
These scriptures which illustrate the techniques for systematically sharpening and focussing the mind to be able to move on a higher level of understanding to grasp the phenomena which cannot be understood by an ordinary mind are numerous. Here the efforts of my old and senior friend, Mr. Moreshwar (Bal) Sant must be lauded. He has studied deeply various scriptures composed by numerous authors; some of them are known and some unknown. His effort is Herculean. His scholarly treatise of dealing with an immensely vast and a complex subject of Spirituality and presenting it in a language which can be understood easily by general public is just brilliant. In only 19 notes Mr. Sant has unfolded a vast treasure of knowledge before us. A student who would like to study the subject of spirituality and, in particular, of self-realisation more deeply will find many handy references to the original scriptures in these notes. For readers involved in the rat race of the modern world, these notes will mean acquiring useful knowledge without investing much of the personal time.
While reading these notes the reader is requested to pay particular attention to the author's words where he points out:
The Supreme is not easily attainable, but if any one pursues Him with tenacity, He is accessible. He is not describable within the framework of sense perceptions and with words of any language, but when the sâdhaka persists in his search, He can be experienced.
And further,
Self-realisation is not a monopoly of any specific religious grooming.
Self-realisation and God-realisation are not the monopoly of any cast or profession
These notes constitute a literary work which is a result of a curious mind, passion, self-experience, deep study, hard work, tenacity and a generous attitude to give. It deserves a place in every personal library. The treatise presented in this book is a compilation of the mentioned 19 original notes by carefully weaving them together.
Marathi Mandal Switzerland is thankful to our senior member Mr. Moreshwar Sant for giving us the honour to publish his brilliant treatise on our website.
In gratitude,
Praful Kulkarni
President
Marathi Mandal Switzerland
 
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POLITICALLY INCORRECT - When in Chicago, do as Maharashtrians do
SHOBHAA DE
 
 
The sherwani-clad gentleman on the huge stage inside the McCormick Convention Centre in Chicago requested the 4,000 delegates attending the bi-annual BMM (Brihan Marathi Mandal), to stand up for ‘rashtriya sangeet’. Two young girls dressed in fairy clothes came onstage and broke into the national anthem. Only, it was not ‘Jana Gana Mana’ they were singing, but the ‘Stars and Stripes’.
Initially, i was slightly jolted. This has to be a mistake, i said to myself. Why are they singing the wrong anthem? I stared in utter disbelief as several lovely ladies, draped in exquisite Paithani sarees and wearing the Maharashtrian ‘nath’, stood on the dais like Michelle Obama, right hand over the heart, mouthing the words of the American national anthem (which was followed by the Canadian one). Finally, we came to ‘our’ anthem, the Indian one, and the same ladies promptly switched gears, covered their heads with the sari pallu. Surrealistic? For sure. But this is a contemporary slice of America that is worth examining.

After recovering from my initial culture shock, i thought about the impressive opening ceremony and the rather moving sequence in which three national anthems were sung. Appropriate and perfect. Here i was with 4,000 bona fide, card-holding American citizens after all… and stupid of me to forget that. Their allegiance to the adopted country was complete and transparent.

Then came more confusion for me — the strange accents — Shivaji Park meets New Jersey. Most of these highly successful, first-generation immigrants had studied at Marathi medium schools. Their spoken English was more ‘Ingreji’ than anything else, while their adopted names (Steve, Debbie, Patty, Dave) reflected new identities, needed at competitive workplaces that viewed these professionals not as Indians, but as hardworking careerists. I marveled at how easily they negotiated cultural differences without losing out on their core identity. Though, even after the first few rounds of introductions in shudh Marathi to meet ‘‘aapla Mike from Mahim”, i was left feeling a little disoriented and incredulous.

The fact that such organizations in America are rapidly growing (Bengali, Gujarati and Telugu representation is vast and impressive), shows a new assertiveness that is finding its voice as a political force to reckon with. One of the prominent delegates at the BMM was a dynamic senator from Iowa, a sprightly lady called Swati Dandekar who wants you to know she means business. She stood out for more than one reason — being the only woman dressed in a pantsuit, and the only person who preferred to make her speech in American English.

As a rising star in the Republican Party, Swati is well aware of her exalted position. She is in politics to represent her constituency, and not just Maharashtrians from back home. She wants you to know she is an American first and everything else next. She is certainly on the right track as she prefers to steer clear of Marathi Manoos politics. When some of the organizers appealed to her to use her clout to push for visas denied to some performing artists from Mumbai, she flatly refused. “I cannot compromise my ethical standards,” she stated, even as frantic committee members wondered how to make up for the absence of a noted theatre company.

Shreyas Talpade filled in sportingly and beautifully. Even so, perhaps to compensate for any shortfall in the cultural feast, the enthusiastic members of the food committee had roped in a local caterer to keep delegates in puran poli heaven. The other delicacies on offer included an outstanding array of traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. The non-stop feasting began with breakfast specialities at 6.30 am and ended with an eight-course banquet at night.

Yes, there was a great deal of bonhomie, bonding and Marathi pride on parade during those three amazing days, but none of it appeared phony. Not even the energetic dance performances presented by children who had yet to visit India, but somehow stayed connected to the matrubhumi through desi music and dance. These kids know their baseball, not cricket. They celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas along with Holi and Diwali. But there is no confusion in their minds as to where they belong. They belong to America. Period. They also know that if they work as hard as their parents, they will make it big there. Like a teenager jauntily told me in American-Marathi, “We will have a Maharashtrian president in the White House by 2050.” Now that’s what i call true American ambition. An ‘aapla President’ in USA. I totally love the idea of puran polis being served to world leaders at state banquets. Let’s raise a glass of the best ‘aamsolachi kadhi’ to that.
 
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15th Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal Convention
 
 
 
Maharashtra Mandal Chicago successfully organized The 15th Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal Convention from July 21-24th, 2011 at the McCormick Place Convention Center near downtown Chicago. Over 3200 people from India, USA and Canada attended the convention. The convention was a grand success according to the convention team as well as the attendees.

On July 21st a business conference and a Continued Medical Education (CME) conference were held. The business conference was organized to provide networking opportunities for the attendees. A Continued Medical Education (CME) conference was organized in parallel to the business conference for the medical professionals. Both these conferences received tremendous response. World-renowned speakers like Dr. Amar Bhide and Dr. Dilip Jeste were present at both of these events. The evening of July 21st was capped by a wonderful banquet dinner with food catered from Klay Oven of Chicago followed by the famous Hindi orchestra
“Awaz Ki Duniya” at the Arie Crown Theater. Over 80 performers from India pleased the crowd with a melodious performance.
On July 22nd, the convention was formally inaugurated by Padma Vibhushan Dr. Anil
Kakodkar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. He addressed the audience outlining the current challenges for India in the fields of education and energy. Iowa State Senator, the Hon. Swati Dandekar and Chicago’s Consul General of India Ms. Mukta Tomar also addressed the audience. This was followed by a grand opening ceremony show with over 70 performers directed by Chicago’s renowned director Anupama Dharkar. The opening ceremony was received by a standing ovation. Sanjay Savkur of Chicago was the main organizer of this show.
Several dignitaries from India and North America graced the occasion. Music Phenom Shankar Mahadevan, Socialite Shobhaa De, Author Mrs. Meena Prabhu, Bollywood film stars Shreyas Talpade and Omi Vaidya were some of the notable names who attended the convention. Marathi playwright and Sangeet Natak Academy award winner Ratnakar Matkari was the keynote speaker. A play based on Pu La Deshpande “Mi ani maza Gotavala” included stars Atul Parchure and Meena Nerurkar.
The convention also showcased talent from North America. There were a variety of
entertainment programs by performers from Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and New Jersey. Special interest programs like seminars on Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health, lectures and demonstrations on Yoga and Reiki received a great response from the audience. A special program of Speed Dating and Sneha Bandhan also attracted sizeable young crowd.
One of the prime attractions of the convention was the iconic Broadway style musical
“Marathi Bana” by Mr. Ashok Hande. It featured 85 performers who had travelled from India. It was enjoyed immensely by the audience. A gigantic set specially made for this program was shipped from India in a container. The special effect light and sound simply mesmerized the attendees.
Food is one of the most important aspects of the convention. The menu featured a large variety of traditional Maharashtrian food. Serving three meals a day for 3200 plus attendees, the food arrangements were planned in great detail. The execution was flawless with waiting time less than 10 minutes per person at the serving stations. The food committee received rave reviews from all the convention attendees. The food committee also made a commitment to “go green” and used 75% recycled and biodegradable products to serve the food. The catering services were provided by the renowned name in Indian food industry in USA, Rajbhog of New York. Mr. Sachin Modi of Rajbhog proved that they are the best Indian
caterers in the country.
Complimentary onsite child-care facility was organized so that the parents could enjoy the various performances without having to worry about their kids. The kids were entertained with specially planned kids programs during the entire convention including a carnival.
The convention also featured special programs for the second generation born and raised in the North America. The keynote speeches were given by Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar and the Bollywood actor Omi Vaidya. The other attractions for the youth were boat tour of the city of Chicago, a fashion show by Shebani Kulkarni of Drishti, a comedy hour by Rajiv Satyal and a cultural show directed by Shalaka Kulkarni. Events like Speed Dating and “Sneha Bandhan” attracted sizeable numbers and were organized to allow the second generation to meet each other.
A unique and special treat to the attendees was arrangement of “Box Cricket” tournament. Many attendees played cricket bringing back the memories of their child hood in India. Mr. Hemant Chavan and Mr. Shirish Joshi successfully organized this event.
The closing ceremony included skits and dances as well as introduction of all the volunteers. Sachin Mote was the writer and director of the closing ceremony. Several of the skits were directed by Shridhar Joshi and Sanjay Savkur.
The convention was financially supported by many people and institutions including IRB & Mhaiskar Foundation, Jain Irrigation Group, Arch Pharma Labs, Symbiosis Institute of Management, Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Cosmos Bank all from India. Major personal donations were provided by Mr. Ashok Damre, Mr. Avinash Rachmale, Mr. Anil Deshpande, Mr. Sudhir Moravekar, Mr. Girish Gaitonde, Mr. Subhash Gaitonde, Mr. Sadanand Joshi, Mr. Shri Thanedar all from USA.
The four day event was executed flawlessly by the Maharashtra Mandal Chicago Convention team. Chief Convener Mr. Niteen Joshi, Co-Converners Mr. Pankaj Akolkar, Mr. Sujeet Vaidya and Treasurer Mrs. Sucheta Akolkar with over 150 volunteers from various committees worked very hard to make this event successful. All attendees were impressed by the ambience of the convention center, the grand Arie Crown Theater, the variety and quality of the programs, the delicious food that was served to them and most importantly the enthusiasm and dedication of the convention volunteers. The entire Maharashtrian community in North America is unanimous in calling the Chicago convention one of the best in its 27 year history!
 
 

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