Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 8:
Jitendra Haripal— the original male singer of Sambalpuri folk song Rangabati— performed the cult number for the first time outside India during western Odisha’s agrarian festival ‘Nuakhai Bhetghat’ celebrated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday.
The acclaimed singer was the chief attraction of ‘Nuakhai Bhetghat UAE-2016’ organized at Indian Consulate Auditorium by the Western Odisha Community of UAE.
The non resident Odias across age groups dressed in traditional Sambalpuri attire enjoyed the moments to their heart’s content.
The event began with the rendition of Samalei Vandana followed by prayers and offering of ‘Nua Dhan’ to Goddess Samaleswari by Anurag Bhushan— the Consul General of India, Dubai— and Jitendra Haripal.
Beginning his address with Nuakhai Juhar, Anurag Bhusan said: “I am delighted to attend the ‘Nuakhai Bhetghat’ celebrations. It is a great initiative and I am happy to see that Western Odisha Community in UAE is preserving its cultural and traditional heritage by organizing such celebrations.”
The role of ‘Kuladevi’ (family deity) is very important in our lives. Whenever I go to my native place, my father takes me to Kuladevi temple. Worshiping ‘Mother Nature’ and worshiping ‘Goddess’ is embedded in our lives. Nuakhai creates bonding and togetherness and I feel happy to be associated with these types of cultural and traditional celebrations, he added.
The auditorium reverberated with the beats of Sambalpuri songs, dhol, nisan, tasha, jhanj and other events of the cultural extravaganza. One of the unique programmes during the event was the recreation of the famous ‘Dhanu Yatra’ of Bargarh at the foreign soil.
The much-awaited moment arrived with the Haripal’s performance which set the stage on fire. The audience danced to the tunes of melodious song in gay abandon.
“I am overwhelmed to witness that Nuakhai Bhetghat is being celebrated in the UAE in such a grand way and that everyone was so excited and enthusiastic about it. Nuakhai is not only a festival but it’s an occasion of worshiping Maa Samalei and sharing happiness and togetherness with each other. I am feeling as if I am in Sambalpur celebrating Nuakhai in my motherland,” Haripal expressed after his performance.
To commemorate the event, a desktop calendar depicting iconic images and culture of Western Odisha was unveiled by the chief guests. The diplomat also felicitated Haripal and his team with mementos.
As a parting gift, the guests were given a bag containing the desktop calendar and a packet of traditional sweets including Aarisa, Dantri Khaja, Khir Gaja, Pheni and Boondi Laddoo. These sweets were specially made in Sambalpur and flown in for the special occasion.
This event is definitely a very proud moment for the Western Odisha Community of UAE which always focuses on spreading awareness about the culture and traditions of its motherland. The community feels honored that they are the first Probasi Western Odias who got the opportunity to see Rangabati being performed live on foreign soil. Nuakhai celebrations in UAE have started since 2014 and its scale is growing with each year, a member of the organizing committee said.