Jamshedpur, Sep 27: The nine days of Navaratri celebrations mean prayers, traditional dance, music and decorations by the many communities that reside here, giving the city a different look. Multiculturalism comes to the fore in the city when Navaratri celebrations get underway.
The city, these days, is gripped with Dandia fever. Various organisations are caught in the fervour of the Navratri Utsav celebrations. A variety of cultural and entertainment programmes are being organised in the city.
While such sights are common at ‘dandiya nights’ every year, it is the mammoth crowds this time around that, organisers say, have taken them by surprise. All venues across the city have registered an impressive daily footfall ranging anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000, during the inaugural days, leaving organisers optimistic that the numbers would further increase over the weekend.
“Contests like the best dressed participant or best dancing couple are a regular feature at our event. We also have attractive prizes and gifts for other games to keep everybody occupied,” said Jayesh Amin, a functionary of Gujarati Sanatan Samaj.
It may be mentioned that the festival of Navaratri is celebrated by Gujarati community which is a part of Hindu Community, and very famous for Dandiya raas and garba ras.The Gujarati Sanatan Samaj, parent body of Gujaratis in the city is also celebrating the festival in traditional manner at its premises in Bistupur.
“Specialty of this festival is that Gujarati people follow typical rituals by getting ‘Garbo’ which is a small pot made up of sand very well decorated with colors and other decorative stuff and call it ‘Mataji’ which means Goddess named ‘Ambema’. As Gujarati’s keep a small ‘Diva’ (Small Candle type Fire light) inside the ‘Garbo’ which has several holes inside for air ventilation,” said Ramesh Shah, a senior functionary of the samaj.
Dressed in typical Gujarati sarees or chaniya choli (A Gujju Costume) the members of the community are putting their best foot forward to show their skills in raas, garba and dandiya.Ranpara further said that the participants of the ‘navratri utsav’ would be judged on the performance and attire. On the last day of the function they would be felicitated.
Old timers from the over a lakh rich Gujarati samaj of the city say that dandiya shows have been an integral part of Navratri celebrations since the time people from the community started migrating to Jamshedpur with the formation of a steel plant. “But the festival took a bigger form only in the late 1950s when thousands of Gujaratis came looking for business opportunities here,” said Kantilal Patel, who has been living in the city for over 60 years.
“A majority of youngsters today have taken their culture and traditions for granted. Some live by the culture of another country altogether. Many are so busy with education and other priorities in life that they sideline traditions. It’s time we worked to preserve our traditions,” said another senior member of the society.
Gujarati Samaj, has plenty of competitions lined up for the nine nights of Navratri. From the best aarti in a thali to the best chaniya choli, there are competitions galore for each of the nine nights for both genders and all age groups.