Devotional Dancing & Hatha Yoga, Sarvam Girls on stage during Navratri
DURGA PUJA, A SYMBOL OF POWER AND DEVOTION
It is said that, “When you believe in the power of Maa Durga, you can overcome any obstacle in your path”.
Tracing its origin in the 16th century from West Bengal, Durga Puja is a celebration of divine feminine energy, the triumph of good over evil. The tradition of celebrating the victory of Maa Durga (Adi Shakti), who was created by the combined energies and powers of various Gods, including Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and others to defeat the demonic Mahisashura, was started by the Zamindars (landlords) in West Bengal. Evolving over centuries, Durga Puja which is also widely regarded as Navaratri in North India, where the different manifestations of Goddess Durga is worshipped, is celebrated every year for ten days. The tenth day culminates with Vijaydashami, marking the victory of good over evil who cause havoc and tyranny. This festival also marks the homecoming of the Goddess, as it is believed that she visits her parents’ home during this time. The festival typically takes place in the month of Ashwin (September-October) in the Hindu calendar.
SHAKTIS CELEBRATION OF THE DIVINE FEMININE ENERGY THROUGH NRITYA NAVARATRI, ARTISTRY AMIDST FESTIVAL
With Maa Durga's blessings, more than 80 shaktis showcased their artistic abilities at several locations in Gurgaon and Vasant Kunj on the auspicious festival of Durga Puja this year. On October 20th, at Trinity Complex Club Drive, DLF Phase-5, Gurgaon, Haryana, 40 sarvam girls from gurgaon location, dressed in beautiful dance costumes, and yoga uniforms, exhibited their group performances on the stage, for the evening show, to honour the divine feminine energy. It was the day of Maha Ashtami, also called as "Kanya Puja" when women are worshipped because it is believed that they are the incarnations of Adi Shakti, who bring joy and love into people's lives. The Sarvam staff team, including Mr.Vivek Singh Rana, the videographer, photographer and video editor, Ms.Kritika Saraf, our Shakti Project Manager accompanied by Mrs.Nanda Karmalkar (Mrs.Hemangi Bhatnagar’s sister), and Mrs. Hemangi Bhatnagar reached the venue to support shaktis and uplift their motivation to perform. Vijay Bhaiya & Rajesh Bhaiya, played an instrumental role in ensuring that the shaktis reached their destination safely.
43 Gurgaon Sarvam Girls also travelled to Purbapalli Durgabari Samiti in Sector 15 of Gurgaon, on October 23rd, where every year a whole Bengali community comes together to plan and celebrate Maa Durga with unprecedented splendor. At around 12:00 p.m in the afternoon, the shaktis entered the beautifully decorated pandal along with Maa Durga’s idol, and were greeted with a hospitable embrace by the entire community. Very gracefully our shaktis portrayed their talents through nine consecutive promising performances including poems, dance, yoga and even delivered their speeches fluently in English. The members of the community were extremely happy with the commendable performances of the girls. The audience just couldn’t stop applauding after witnessing their coordination, their expressions, intricate dance moves, and Yoga poses. One of them even said, that our shaktis are “thoroughly trained dancers coming from a very humble background favouring the art in an amazing manner”, some even said that they would “ love to witness such beautiful performances every year”, according to one of them “this was the most moving programs of this year’s Durga Puja. Such heartwarming compliments are a matter of pride for all of us and makes all the dedication and hardwork worth it. It motivates the entire team to look forward to more performances like this. We learned that many of our Shaktis attend DPS Shiksha Kendra in Gurgaon, a school for impoverished children that offers free education and is managed by community members, after speaking with one of the members of the durgabari community. Following their excellent performances, the community wanted to make sure that they, too, were supporting our shaktis reach their dreams of touching the sky, so they generously donated a respectable amount on their behalf to the organisation.
20-30 sarvam girls from Vasant Kunj also performed at different venues, with little support. Their mothers were taken away, were quite emotional and proud to see their little kids, winning hearts, by unleashing their hidden energy on stages of prime locations.
THE SACRED BHOG PRASAD AND SOME EXCITING GOODIES
Following their performances, the girls were given "khichdi", which is a particular navami dish, and "mishti doi", a traditional Bengali dessert. The delectable bhog prasad held a peculiar essence unlike any other edible item. The girls had a lovely introduction to traditional Bengali culture. The dishes, utensils, glasses, and other items they used to serve the bhog were all sustainable and environment friendly. The shaktis also received small gifts (steel lunch boxes) as a token of appreciation and their faces lightened up with joy as their happiness was reflected in their faces. They had never, even in their dreams had expected to be treated with such warmth and politeness as they do not belong from a very welcoming section of the society. The shaktis too were really cheerful with the amount of love they had recieved that day.
FROM VISION TO REALITY : A MOMENT OF PRIDE FOR SARVAM FOUNDATION
Sarvam Foundation has truly been grateful to be able to provide these girls with a platform which is able to bridge the gap between their unfulfilled dreams and desires and their unfavorable financial circumstances. The shaktis today are at a place where they never imagined themselves before. The cultural events in which they perform benefits them in numerous ways from providing them with a great exposure to the outside world, to mastering their skills in different arenas to learning about the diverse cultures of India in a way which is still unknown to a lot of people at large, as they are getting to experience the uniqueness of every single culture. Their parents are filled with immense pride and tears of joy when they witness their child climbing the stairs of success in a way which they cannot afford because of their financial situations. Everything that they are able to learn here is bringing them one step closer to their success while at the same time it is spiritually uplifting them as a human.Their fluency in English has been phenomenal. It is a moment of pride for the organisation as they are able to move a step forward towards their vision with each passing day because of the significant changes taking place within the shaktis. All of this would not have been possible without the consistent cooperation, determination and resilience of the shaktis. Their strong will power inspires the entire foundation to strive towards betterment.
Being able to transform their lives has been nothing but a milestone. Being able to change the life of one shakti, acts as an inspiration for the entire community. It motivates the hundreds and thousands of parents who are unwilling to let their daughter learn and grow as they are afraid that they cannot afford it and the world in return will exploit them further, But, when a girl, a shakti, visibly grows everyday, it inspires all those unwilling parents that if one girl can do it, then all the girls can do it, all they need is a proper direction, a trustworthy guidance who would guide them to the right path, helping them to get out the tunnel of darkness filled with nothing but violence and abuse that they have witnessed throughout their life and bring light in their life. The shaktis are like the seeds of a plant being watered and nourished every day with so much love and care that they will definitely bloom into beautiful flowers one day.
Blog writing credits: Ms. Soumi Chakraborty
Editor: Ms. Kritika Saraf