Report by Rajendra Pejavar
Dubai, Nov 19 : Shri Vishwakarma Sewa Samithi, UAE, Dubai celebrated the Decennial Shri Vishwakarma Pooja 2012 on Friday the 9th November, 2012 at the sprawling Auditorium of JSS International School, Al Barsha, Dubai with the customary gusto and enthusiasm befitting the occasion. Couple of massive plantain laden banana plants welcomed the guests on to the reception hall with floral artistic displays leading to the Auditorium which almost transported the devotees to some heavenly abode. The beautiful flower decoration was skillfully crafted by a team of Purohits (Priests) specially flown in for the occasion, lead by Shri Gopalkrishna Purohit, under the overall guidance and direction by world renowned Astrologer, Vaastu Expert and Precious/Birth Stone Consultant Shri Shri Ashok Purohit.
This is the fifth consecutive year wherein Shri Ashok Purohit is conducting the Pooja Program for the Samithi for a packed Auditorium overflowing with Vishwakarmans as well as visiting dignitaries from various other community associations & leaders in Praveen Shetty, Chairman Fortune Group of Hotels, Harish Sherigar, MD, Acme Building Materials & President of the Devadiga Sangha, Dubai, UAE, Lokesh Puthran, President Mogaveers UAE, Balakrishna Salian, VP, Mogaveers of UAE, also,Yadav Kotian - Mogaveers' UAE Secretary, Shodhan Prasad of Billawas Dubai & NE, Satish Poojary, President Karnataka Sangha, Sharjah, Satheesha Venkatramana, MD, Chilly Willy & President, Ganiga Samaja, Dubai, UAE, Ganesh Rai of UAE Bunts' Association, Giridhar Nayak of Narayan Sewa Samithi, Dubai, UAE and a whole host of prominent citizens from all over UAE, as also, visiting office bearers of different Vishwakarma Associations from Bahrain - Shri K. B. Jagadish and Shri Natesh Acharya of Shri Vishwakarma Balaga, Bahrain, Shri Amrath Acharya and the General Secretary Shri Jayaram Acharya from the Muscat Vishwakarma Okkuta, Muscat. Another distinguished guest who came all the way from India - Smt. Pulva Adyar - a hard working Mahila Sadasye (Executive Committee Member) specially to promote their prestigious project of a World Trade Centre in Bangalore under the auspices of Karnataka Vishwabrahmana Sangha, Bangalore who have been granted a massive piece of land by the Govt. of Karnataka.
The Chief Guests of the function were Smt. Sharmila Yogesh, Advocate Kundapura Court and Shri G. Ramakrishna Achar, CMD, SKF Industries, Moodabidri; in addition the Honorary Guest was Shri S.V. Achar, Founder President, Shri Vishwakarma Okkuta, Undivided South Kanara District, Karnataka.
The Pooja program started with the Prarthane and Kalasha Pratishtapane by around 10.00 am. In view the venue being a little far away from the City, it was a bit of an ordeal for the first time visitors… to reach the venue... nevertheless, the Auditorium started filling up soon and by the Mangalarathi time around 1.30 pm, the hall was packed with overflowing devotees, who had to be content being there in the vicinity… the Bhajan program preceded the Mangalarathi, ably rendered by Shri B.M. Dinesh and his team well supported by Shantharam Achar, Ravishankar Acharya, amongst the men and the women's team lead by Smt. Roopa Vasundhar, accompanied by Smt. Bharti Surendra, Smt. Divya Raghavendra, Smt. Vandana Arun, Smt. Vani Upendra, Smt. Shubha Prashanth & others. On the Harmonium we had Raghu Poojary, the visiting artist Shri Janardhan Salian rendered the percussion (Tabla) support while Shri Giridhar Nayak supported with the Dholak, besides rendering stirringly soulful Bhajan numbers one after another.
The conclusion of the Bhajan Program with the typical recital of Bhagyada Laxmi, Shankaraya and the Mangala Bhajans coincided with the offering of the Maha Mangalarathi around 1.30 pm. By this time the hall was packed to the brim. The post Mangalarathi sermon by Shri Ashok Purohit espousing the importance of the Pooja especially the collective Pooja in his eloquent and powerful oratory - moistened the eyes (Ananda Bhashpa) of many a devotees. Such was the powerful delivery on the merits of collective Pooja by Shri Ashok Purohit. He specially stressed on perpetuating and carrying forward the tradition and passing on the mantle to the younger generation, who can carry on with the legacy of conducting such Pooja Programs in the future. It was touching to see both the young and old listen to Shri Ashok Purohit with rapt attention.
After the distribution of the Theertha Prasad, the devotees were guided to the 'Maha Prasada' hall in the same building where a sumptuous fare awaited the Bhaktas. There were about 4 different programs on the same day and it was a blessing in disguise that the crowd got distributed to the various functions… Else, it may have been a huge challenge to manage the crowd.
In the afternoon the mood changed entirely in a different direction. While the Organizing Committee was busy setting up the stage for the 'Sabha Karyakrama' to honor the visiting guests, Shri Ganesh Yermal quickly took to the stage to fill in the gap to present his soulful repertoire of Bhaktigeeth and folk songs… 'Rasa Gaana Manjari' in his own inimitable style, which was appreciated by the whole audience. He promised to come back after the Sabha Karyakrama and the songs and dance ensemble choreographed by the amateur artists of the Vishwakarmans… alas, that was not to be, due to paucity of time and Shri Ganesh's commitment elsewhere. Hope we will be able to see more of him in the near future.
The Sabha Karyakrama got off to a good start with the Prayer by the ladies of the Samithi, lead by Smt. Bharti Surendra, accompanied by Smt. Rajashree Ramesh, Smt. Shubha Prashanth, Smt. Sahana Umesh & Smt. Vani Upendra.
Master of Ceremonies, the young and dynamic Shri Kiran Rao welcomed the Chief guests to the Stage along with Shri Ashok Purohit, The President Shri Rajendra Pejavar and Founder President Shri Shantharam Achar. After a brief welcome speech by the President it was time for the customary honoring the visiting guests. Firstly Smt. Sharmila Yogesh was honored with the typical presentation of the Shawl, bouquet of flower, fruit-bowl, 'Sanmana Patra' (Honorary Citation), 'Smaranike' (a memento). This was followed by similar presentations to Shri G. Ramakrishna and to Shri S.V. Achar by the various Office Bearers of the Samithi. No honoring ceremony is complete without acknowledging the invaluable contribution by Shri Ashok Purohit who has taken it up on himself to perpetuate the cause of Shri Vishwakarmans across the Gulf countries, traveling ever so often to UAE, Bahrain, Muscat, Kuwait etc. Accordingly Shri Purohit was also honored with the offering of Shawl, bouquet and Fruit Bowl by the Senior Members of the executive committee as well as the visiting dignitaries.
There was something unique thereafter! President Shri Rajendra Pejavar requested our long time well-wisher Shri Ganesh Rai to do this special honors to one of the larger than life leaders of the community. Knowing the secret recipient's reluctance to any kind of recognition, the core team had to keep under wraps the honoring of this phenomenally popular persona across all the communities for the last nearly 3 decades in this part of the world - that persona is none other than our own Founder President Shri Shantharam Achar whose pioneering efforts acceding to the insistence of the then leading lights like the late Shri Umesh Nanthoor & Shri Prabhakar Ambaltere, the Vishwakarma Samithi was founded. Starting off on a low key affair, soon it gathered momentum and has just stepped into its decennial year… Shri Shantharam and his dedicated team of hard working Vishwakarmans were beautifully eulogized by Shri Ganesh Rai as the V of the birds leading in the air rather than the V of the victory sign… a truly metaphoric comparison indeed… in fact, in honoring Shri Shantharam Achar, the Samithi has honored all those silent and dedicated workers behind the scenes, who seldom show their face to the outside world but nevertheless deliver those marvelous artwork in the form of Golden ornaments or Interior Decoration or sheer magic through sculpting & other forms like floral display or rangoli art. Shri Shantharam was honored with the typical adornment of the Shawl, offering of the Fruit Bowl, Floral bouquet, a Citation and the proverbial head gear the 'Petha'. An emotional Shri Shantharam Achar, otherwise an eloquent speaker, for once was tongue-tied to express his surprise, awe and admiration. Even in that emotionally charged situation, that he profusely thanked the team speaks volumes for a man who never seeks recognition but encourages all to participate and contribute. Shri Shantharamanna (fondly referred as the big brother to all fellow Vishwakarmans) you richly deserved the accolades. Wish his family were here to share the honors of this rare recognition. May be next year… it's never too late!
In between there was a brief interlude in the form of Release of the Souvenir commemorating and encapsulating the last 9 years’ events in a colourful package of articles and photographs chronicled there. It was a documented record for posterity. The joint release was done by the visiting dignitaries Smt. Sharmila Yogesh, Shri G. Ramakrishna & Shri S.V. Achar along with Shri Ashok Purohit and the Samithi officials Shri Rajendra Pejavar, President and Shri Shantharam Achar, Founder President.
The afternoon fully belonged to the young and youth performing various dance numbers, songs etc. to the taped 'Karaoke' tunes. But the one item that really took the breath away from all the audience was the Raja Chandrahasa extract of the Yakshagaana act artistically presented by the surprise housewife Smt. Preeti Karkal our ever-green youth wing leader Shri Prashanth's proud wife. She never missed a beat, a step or an expression throughout the 8-odd minutes' presentation… for an amateur artist performing after several years' gap, it was truly a marvelous presentation. Three cheers to Smt Preeti Prashanth Karkal. May you be the inspiration to all the younger generation to come up with such artistically beautiful compositions of yore.
Amongst the other items were song solos, duets, dance numbers enacted by the mesmerizingly beautiful kids, young-ones and the youth belonging to different age groups, presenting one popular item after the other. Notable among these were the Puppet dance by the young girls in Neha, Sejal, Pranamya & Maithili, beautifully choreographed by debutante Ms. Sneha Shivaprasad – a discovery by Ms. Roopa Vasundhar. Rest of the programs were enacted by various groups of young and old as per attached list.
The day’s program concluded with the customary Lucky Draw with fabulous prizes like, Motor Bike, Gold Coins, TVs, Music Systems, Watches, etc. plus consolation prizes, courtesy Shri Ganesh Ullal, M/s Omeir Travels, Abu Dhabi. The list of winners is also attached.
The programs were appreciated by one and all and the people are eagerly looking forward to the 10th Anniversary Celebrations next year!