On Saturday 30th November 2013 Melbourne community witnessed a multicultural event like never before. An interactive and educational cultural event catering for all age groups, Vedic Village was held at Clayton Community Center, Clayton.
Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia (Victoria Chapter) organized this free event as a celebration and conclusion to Indian festive season. The theme of this event was Vedic culture and contemporary society. “The majority of what we label as contemporary Indian culture nowadays is in fact derived from Vedic culture, i.e. originating from the era of the Vedas, ancient Hindu scriptures and Vedic civilization (over 4000 years ago). This includes music, dance, Ayurveda medicine, Vedic mathematics, astronomy, cooking to name a few, we wanted this aspect to be given the due respect it deserves”, explained Dr Anil Kumar Asthana, Vice-‐President, VHPVIC, who developed Vedic Village concept in his presentation.
Delivered with professionalism, Vedic Village’s success was evident with 700 people enjoying the day. Supported by City of Monash and VMC, Vedic Village was attended by dignitaries, community leaders and elders. Honorary Hong Lim state MP from Clayton, Mr. Srinivasan of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, City of Monash representatives, Pundit Abhay Awasthi of HCCV, Sri Bhakta Dasa of ISKON, Mrs. Krishna Aurora OAM and numerous other Indian and Hindu community leaders were present. Smt Geeta Devi, VHPVIC President was at the helm of this event.
The event was inaugurated at 11am with VMC commissioner Mr. Srinivasan lighting the lamp at the main entrance, surrounded by a beautiful, hand-‐made rangoli (traditional coloured powder floor art). Upon entry of the building, one would find floating amongst a bustling crowd and a market-‐like atmosphere.
Vedic Village was a blend of cultural exhibitions, workshops, stage-‐shows and stalls. The cultural exhibition consisted of a display of traditional Indian instruments, supported by Manikya Veena Music School. Another area of the exhibition had a display of Swami Vivekananda – his life, work and inspirations. This year is particularly special being Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary. Another exhibit on display was a pictorial display of Vedic achievements – maritime history, ancient mathematics, medicine, the legal system and much more. These exhibitions added cultural richness to Vedic Village taking one back into time to appreciate the wisdom of this ancient culture.
At lunch time the central courtyard was transformed with fragrant smells of Indian food and melting music, which gave the event a party like atmosphere. Those who could not resist the Dhol player rhythm burst into Bahngra dancing cheered by the onlookers. The children’s corner had free face painting, craft workshops and story reading. Ladies were pampered with mehendi, saree draping and Indian costume dress ups with onsite professional photographer. It was a bright sunny day – everyone soaked in the weather and relaxed adding to the feel the celebratory atmosphere.
Concurrently a string of workshops were held throughout the day, free to the public – this included Vedic mathematics, dance, yoga and meditation and Tanjore painting. These workshops were a big hit and one in particular stood out for some – a workshop on Vedic achievements. Presented by Mr. Ganesh Jayagan and Ms. Rashmi Kesari it highlighted factual information about the discoveries of Vedic civilization and the connection to what we see around us at present. It was a valuable educational session.
During the day there were two stage-‐cultural shows held in succession. Both shows commenced with Sanskrit chanting followed by a bang of an entry of a large group of Kerala drummer dressed in traditional attire. These drummers made an astounding entry into the theatre, much to the awe of the crowds. This was followed by a traditional instrumental music presentation by Sri Sridhar Chari of Laya Vidya music school and Sri Jay Dabgar.
Children from Bala Samskar Kendras (BSK), VHP Vic’s Sunday schools presented a musical drama and dance. There were other children’s acts from the Marathi community. The children’s beautiful costumes and their facial expressions were priceless. An extremely elegant dance performed by the Telugu community was a big hit as well as the traditional Gujarati dance by Fusion Garbha group. No VHPVIC cultural show would be complete without a Bharatnatyam dance and this year Natya Kala Mandir students enthralled audience with their sharp movements.
The stalls showcased different aspects and products of Vedic culture. The Tanjore painting gallery display demonstrated intricate and elaborate traditional Dravidian artwork. Traditional Indian clothes, handicrafts, books and jewelry stalls added to the richness. One of the main sponsors, The Australian Bullion Company had a presence as well as Art of Living, who also conducted yoga workshops.
The motto of VHP Australia is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ i.e. the whole world is one family. This Sanskrit term originated from the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures) and the civilization recognized that all humans in this world are in fact one, irrespective of background. Vedic Village truly illustrated this. The participants were from varied backgrounds -‐ over fifty children and youth on stage, twelve languages and multi faith background people participated as well as from different countries of origin – truly all belong to one family.
Vedic Village was a celebration of multiculturalism the backbone of Vedic civilization and much of today’s Indian culture is owed to this ancient and advanced civilization. What better city than Melbourne to host such an event where the key message of multiculturalism and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam are being promoted and cherished.
For more photos Click here to view VHP Festival