Delighting Fijians

Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vishvas Sapkal, second from left, was instrumental in getting the Aarug band from Chattisgharh in Central India to Fiji. Picture: SUPPLIED

Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vishvas Sapkal, second from left, was instrumental in getting the Aarug band from Chattisgharh in Central India to Fiji. Picture: SUPPLIED

AFTER presenting varied forms of cultural activities in Fiji, “Namaste Pacifica: A Festival of India”, brought to Fiji a popular folk band Aarug from Chattisgharh in Central India.

Fiji was delighted by the Aarug folk band’s Chhattisgarhi folk music and dance. Their performances were held in Suva, Labasa and Ba.

This group was led by super actor and singer Anuj Sharma , who has presented traditional Chhattisgarhi folk music.

I had the privilege to be mesmerised by their performance and had a chance to interact with the singer.

As Sharma himself said: “Aarug is a word from the Chhattisgarhi language which means untouched, sacred, pure, virgin etc.”

Their group is a musical bouquet from Chhattisgarh with a presentation of selected folk songs and music. This includes some very popular songs which have entertained people for many decades.

Sharma said: “I have found some similarities between Fiji-Hindi and the Chhattisgarhi vernacular. Many words which are spoken in Fiji-Hindi have similar meaning to words in the Chhattisgarhi vernacular.”

He also said: “The similarities are not restrained itself to language but also found in the cuisine and recipes of Fiji-Indian food and that of Chhattisgarhi.

“There are some similarities in Fiji-Indian attire to that of Chhattisgahi clothes and dressing style. The ornaments worn by men and women also have some commonalities. Besides this, food habits are also similar to the Chhattisgarhi habits.”

Super performance in Fiji

Sharma performed some enlightening Chhattisgarhi folk songs. These included Guruvandana, Ramayan Dohe, Durga Bhajan, Nirguni (Kabirdas), Nachori, Adivasi geet, Karma, Dadariya and Suva.

Their performances had their audiences so spellbound that performances scheduled for one hour carried on more than three hours.

A special feature of Aarug was that they used only traditional Chhattisgarhi musical instruments. These instruments are quite different to the modern technologically-advanced instruments which reignite the traditional folk music of Chhattisgarh.

In Fiji, their regional rich tradition of folk music and dance introduced a new aspect of Indian culture in Fiji for the first time.

Enthralling performance

Sharma is the founder and director of Aarug’s music ensemble. He is a highly popular singer of Chattisgarhi songs and also the most popular cine actor of Chhatisgarhi films.

With a profound singing talent, he has acted in nearly 30 Chhattisgarhi films as the lead actor. His stage performance had audiences spellbound and attracted many not just in India but also in Fiji.

He is also the lead performer of this band arriving in Fiji with 11 other artistes; six musicians and five female singers. Many of Chhatisgarhi songs have been sung in Bollywood movies and have gained huge popularity all over the world.

Conclusion

Huge thanks to Namaste Pacifika: A Festival of India, which was an initiative to celebrate 70 years of India’s independence with cultural programs, tourism promotion events, seminars and conferences held around the globe. This cultural carnival would not have been possible in Fiji without the acknowledgment of Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vishvas Sapkal.

He successfully implemented this six-month mega event giving Pacific Islanders the chance to be mesmerised by the performances of international standard artistes.

Governments, organisations, sponsors and supporters who made the successful event possible need to be acknowledged for giving Fijians the privilege to witness and take much delight in the performances of international actors, singers, dancers and other artists.

? Bhawna Kundra is a French and business management teacher and MYP assistant co-ordinator at International School Nadi. The views expressed are hers and not of this newspaper or her employer. She can be contacted on bhawna.umatt@gmail.com.

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