The community gathering, open to the public, will begin in the (next to the Gandhi Memorial Center) and conclude with viewing of an art exhibit in the Gandhi Memorial Center Library. The observance is always a colorful one full of beautiful music, dance and traditional costumes, all celebrating the life of peace activist Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India’s fight for independence from Great Britain.
The Lighting of the Lamp will mark the opening. Supriya Dutt (on vocal and tanpura, astring instrument) will offer the bhajan (devotional song): “Hari Tum Haro." Carrie Trybulec, Director of Gandhi Memorial Center, will offer welcoming remarks titled “An Inner Pilgrimage.”
A highlight of the event known as Gandhi Jayanti every year is a bell choir performance. This year the Bell Choir Music Ensemble will perform “Dhonilo Re,” a Bengali song by beloved poet, composer and artist Rabindranath Tagore, with arrangement by Jeffrey Hallam Bauer. It will feature Supriya Dutt (voice), Ron Dicus (violin), Cliff Kellogg (violin), Taka Ariga (cello) and the Golden Lotus Temple Bell Choir.
After remarks by Srimati Kamala, president of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation, there will be a musical performance of “Ram Dhun” with Jeff Bauer on keyboard, Pratap Das on tabla (an Indian percussion instrument) and the vocal choir.
The gathering will continue with special remarks from Ambassador Arun Singh, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, followed by a devotional music offering with Renu Jain on sitar and Debu Nayak on the tabla. The ceremony ends with a Bharatanatyam dance performance by Charu Narasimhan.
Anubhav Nath, curator of Ojas Art, will deliver remarks on a special exhibit “Freedom to March: Rediscovering Gandhi Through Dandi,” sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in New Delhi. When the Gandhi Jayanti program has concluded, visitors are invited to view the art exhibit in the Gandhi Memorial Center.
According to Nath and co-curator Johny ML, “Mahatma Gandhi selected salt as his metaphor.” (This refers to the Salt Satyagraha, a nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly. Dandi is the small Indian village to which Gandhi marched in protest.)
“This project explores multiple metaphors: the salt march as envisioned by Gandhi, Gandhi's march as perceived today and our perception of the Mahatma and the understanding of his message. For almost a year, the curators and artists travelled on the same route trying to gain perspective and an understanding of Mahatma Gandhi.”
There are about 25 pieces in the exhibit, which is a selection from the exhibit that was shown in India in November 2010 and January 2011. It also traveled to London in August 2011. “Freedom to March” will remain on display at the Gandhi Memorial Center through October 24, 2011, Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment.
Gandhi Jayanti will take place Sunday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m. at the Golden Lotus Temple next to Gandhi Memorial Center, 4748 Western Ave., Bethesda. The art exhibit will be at the center’s library. 301-320-6871, www.gandhimemorialcenter.org