On the 75 th anniversary of India’s independence, the Consulate General of India in New York, along with the Indo-American Arts Council is celebrating a Special Fortnight of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav – Festival of Freedom. The week-long festival will feature prominent Indian artists in the fields of music and dance, apart from a photo exhibition. The celebration aims to bring the best of Indian thought and culture to our friends in America and through them showcase the progress of our nation as a vibrant democracy.
The festival is part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations that began on March 12 th , 2021 when Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi flagged off a march from Sabarmati to Dandi in remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March on the same day in 1930. Since then, the Consulate General of India has organized over 200 events under the aegis of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav within its jurisdiction with the valuable support and participation the vibrant diaspora community.
The festival begins on August 5th with a photo exhibition by celebrated photographer Steve McCurry at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery, who has captured India in all its beauty and mystique for over four decades. Celebrated photographer McCurrys’ most famous work is the portrait of the ‘Afghan Girl’.
McCurry has visited India over 80 times, but in his own words, he has “barely managed to scratch the surface”. India has left a lasting impression on him and inspired him to create the work that is deeply evocative.
On August 6th and 7th, breathtaking performances in Indian dances will enthrall the audience at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. Talented exponents of various Indian dance forms such as Sanjib Bhattacharya and Jagannath Lairenjam (Sapta, Manipuri-Pung Cholom), Kavya Ganesh (Contemporary Bharatanatyam), Bhavana Reddy (Solo Kuchipudi), Jin Won (Kathak) and Mythili Prakash (Contemporary Bharatanatyam) will bring the richness of Indian dance forms to the audience in New York.
On August 8th, the Erasing Borders Dance Festival, a virtual program of Indian classical as well as contemporary dances will be broadcast online.
On August 11th and 12th, a beautiful blend of East and West in Jazz will be presented at Lincoln Center by Sachal Vasandani and friends. He has assembled a spellbinding collection of artists from East and West, including Grammy Award nominee singer Priya Darshini, bassist Harish Raghavan (Charles Lloyd), Grammy-nominated pianist Orrin Evans, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, drummer Kush
Abadey and singer Vanisha Gould.
Renowned vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty, the star from Patiala Gharana, and her all-female Sakhi ensemble will present a concert at Carnegie Hall on August 13th. The Sakhi ensemble is an exemplary group of talented Indian artists that brings together voice, instruments, percussion, and dance representing the Indian woman of the 21 st century, who is modern yet rooted.
On 14th August, the Saath-Saath ensemble will perform at the Carnegie Hall, featuring flute maestro Rakesh Chaurasia, Sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee, master percussionist Taufiq Qureshi and Tabla player Ojas Adhia. The Saath-Saath ensemble brings you the spontaneity and improvisation within the discipline of Indian Classical Music that only they can produce.
The finale of this series is on 15th August, featuring India’s celebrated Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who ranks among the best in the world, along with his team of instrumentalists and the Refugee Orchestra at the Carnegie Hall.
The ensemble would present a synthesis of musical traditions motivated by Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of truth, non-violence and peace.
The Consulate General of India invites members of diaspora, lovers of India and Indian culture and American friends to enjoy this cultural extravaganza, celebrating the success of India’s democratic polity and progress as an inclusive, multi-cultural and diverse nation, one that has contributed to the well-being of its people and as much to the peace and harmony of the world at large.