celebrations of the indian cultural month form part of singapore

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					Celebrations of the Indian Cultural Month form part of Singapore's 25th
Anniversary. Like the Chinese and Malay Cultural Months, the festivities of the Indian
Month are planned as a showcase of Indian culture, heritage and form. Indian culture has
an ancient and varied history; no amount of spectacle or quantity of programmes can, at
any one time, do justice to the richness of such a culture.

But an intensity of concentrated activities can demonstrate at least some of the rich
traditions and inheritances, promote an awareness of the diversity within the unity of
Indian culture. Indians from all over India, their original homeland, and from all walks of
life, have been an integral part of Singapore's dynamic evolution into a thriving
metropolis of mixed cultures and ethnicities.

Sometimes ritual practices and artistic performances have been brought into this new
nation in their pure form, sometimes with modifications and adaptations, but in all
instances there is an unmistakable Singapore ness, if only because the leading players
have been Indians whose roots in Singapore go back well into the nineteenth century and
the early part of this century. The Indian Cultural Month celebrates, among other things,
the Indian contribution to the mosaic of Singaporean culture.

The variety and range of activities for the Indian Cultural Month speak for themselves.
The Cultural Procession, marking the Opening of the Month on the 25th of March,
highlights the fundamental basis of Indian life: UNITY IN DIVERSITY. Encompassing
music and dance and manifesting itself in the vigor of open entertainment, the Cultural
Procession reflects the multi-ethnic nature of the Indian community in Singapore.

Colourfully decorated floats as well as individual demonstrations of human agility and
style go together in harmonising the plurality of Indian customs. Combining energetic
performance with creative artistic expression, the Cultural Procession crystallizes, in a
single programme, the joy the Indians of Singapore feel being part of this vibrant
Republic.

Programmes for the Indian Cultural Month aim to reflect the rich variety of Indian art and
culture and give popular expression to Indian linguistic and artistic traditions. Many
different aspects of Indian culture receive due recognition during the Month. Falling
broadly into the four categories of Language and Literature, Heritage and Science,
Visual Arts, Performing Arts, the activities of the Month aim to draw as wide a
participation from all Singaporeans as is possible within extenuating constraints. Guests
from overseas add prestige and flavor, giving Singaporeans a unique opportunity to
experience things Indian in a way not previously undertaken.

  Hence, for example, the Indian Cultural Village. Lasting for about a week, the Village
offers a chance for everyone to rediscover aspects of Indian heritage and Indian
aesthetics. Built with the objective of projecting the lifestyles of different ethnic groups
within the Indian community in Singapore, the Village serves as a focal point for
depicting various Indian customs and ceremonies, professions, foods, artifacts and
literary publications.
No experience of anything Indian is complete without reference to Indian cuisine. The
FOOD FIESTA is for the discerning palate. Here taste the sheer delights of Tamil,
Ceylonese, Punjabi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Bengali cooking – precooked and freshly cooked.
Rare and exotic, popular and traditional food items form the staple of the FOOD
FIESTA. Savories, crunchiness, jams, pokies, lassi, sarbat, massala tea overwhelm; as do
the settings and spices and pots and pans that all go to make up Indian food. Video
displays of Indian cooking and a cookbook of rare and not-so-rare recipes add to the
interest and the satisfaction.

  If Indian food is critical to the Indian experience so is Indian music and dance. Here
there is spectacular colour and gaiety, rhythmic sounds and graceful movement. Unique
instruments allow the human voice, the human body to charge emotions across the wide
spectrum of our existence; tones and moods are captured in memorable moments of
performance. Music and dance specially created and expressing a truly Singaporean
identity offer themselves as instances of creativity and excellence. Performances by
world reputed foreign artistes enhance the experience. Occasions for merging East and
West, fusion music and dance, come alive during the Month and realise poetic dreams,
poetic rhythms, poetic movements. From the classical to the contemporary, from the
religious to the almost-provocative secular, from individual to group, from region to
nation, Indian music and dance shows what a brilliant and wonderful world we live in,
where the comedy and tragedy of the human experience is beautifully incorporated into
traditional and experimental sounds and forms.

 The most widely used of the Indian languages in Singapore is Tamil- this complex and
scintillatingly difficult language comes from South India with a history and a literature
that defy definition. The fascination for and with Tamil extends to a great many
Singaporean Indians, scholars and non-scholars, writers and readers. The Indian Cultural
Month takes cognisance of this and includes in its fare poetry readings, a Seminar on
Tamil language and a literary Night which dramatises outstanding aspects of Tamil as
manifested in poetry, prose and drama. Tamil, as one of the four official languages of
Singapore, has always played a vital role in the growth and development of the

Indians in this country and so it is fitting that the Indian Cultural Month pays tribute to it,
and makes its rich heritage available to all who are interested.

Indian Science and Indian Medicine have held their own for ages, though it is
significantly in modern times that their inimitable depth and range have been accorded
the recognition they deserve. The ancients knew what they were about and in these fields
the Indian contribution is nothing short of remarkable. During the Month, learned
discussions of Indian scientific and medicinal advances, take pride of place as scholars
from near and far meet to share with the public their views and knowledge. Specially
designed exhibits make more visual and concrete the abstractions associated with science
and medicine. As the world becomes more used to the special insights provided by Indian
science and medicine, Singaporeans get a rare chance to come into close contact with
them during this Month.
There is so much more that the Indian Cultural Month contains. Exhibitions of arts and
paintings, demonstrations of Indian Martial Arts and Traditional Indian Games,
launching of new books, variety concerts: one cannot be exhaustive. The Month,
designed not so much to be all-inclusive, as to be broadly representative and
comprehensive, promises to go down into Singapore's history as a living witness of the
joy and pride that Singaporean Indians derive from being part of a nation dedicated to the
perseverance and continuity of a rich and extraordinary culture.



By: Kirpal Singh

				
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posted:2/27/2010
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