Sham-e-Ghazal Community Event Draws Packed Crowd to Music Melange

0
135

May 3, 2012

Special By Geeta Goindi

Potomac, MD, April 29 – The music medley by the Sham-e-Ghazal group, on a pleasant Sunday, drew a packed house in a strong show of support for the senior members of our community who must be accorded the highest level of reverence.

May 3, 2012

Special By Geeta Goindi

Potomac, MD, April 29 – The music medley by the Sham-e-Ghazal group, on a pleasant Sunday, drew a packed house in a strong show of support for the senior members of our community who must be accorded the highest level of reverence.

Dr. Sambhu Banik welcoming Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao to the fourth annual Sham-e-Ghazal music show, in Potomac, Maryland

‘An Afternoon of Music’ featured performances by some 16 members of the team whose latent talent and skills have been honed and nurtured by the stalwart of our community, Dr. Sambhu Banik.  This local annual event, now in its fourth year, has become so popular that there was standing room only in the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center, home to the Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao (in the foreground, second from left) with members of the Sham-e-Ghazal group in Potomac, Maryland

The turnout was impressive by any standards.  The distinguished guests included: Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao; Dr. Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State for Policy and External Affairs, the highest position occupied by an Indian-American in Maryland; Mr. N. A. Prasad, Minister of Consular Affairs at the Embassy of India; Delegate Aruna Miller (Democrat), the first Indian-American woman elected to the Maryland General Assembly from District 15; and Dr. Harbhajan Ajrawat who has the distinction of being the first Indian-American elected President of the Maryland State Medical Society (MEDCHI), a huge honor.

While Ambassador Rao did not deliver any formal remarks, her presence alone lent weight to the community congregation.  She stayed long enough to enjoy some performances, commend the organizers and participants, and greet the gathering.

Looking around a packed room, Minister Prasad noted, “India’s strength lies in the soft power, not the military power that we have”.

At the Sham-e-Ghazal event are seen, from left to right: the coordinator Dr. Sambhu Banik; Mr. Sunil Singh and Dr. Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State for Policy and External Affairs, Maryland

Dr. Rajan Natarajan, who never spares any effort in reaching out to the community, extolled “the multi-talented singers of Sham-e-Ghazal”.  He recalled attending the event last year, but mentioned that this one is extra special as he was addressing the audience in an official capacity.  Conveying greetings from Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, he presented a proclamation to Dr. Banik applauding the efforts of the Sham-e-Ghazal group and its contribution toward cultural diversity in the state.

Delegate Aruna Miller, rightly described as “a rising star” by Dr. Banik, and warmly acknowledged the aptitude of the participants.  “Thank you for turning this ordinary Sunday afternoon into an extraordinary afternoon filled with talent”, she said.  “Like a fine bottle of wine that has aged, you have perfected your talents to everything that they can be today.  Thank you for sharing your talents and giving us a glimpse of your souls”.

At Sham-e-Ghazal’s fourth annual show, on Sunday, in Potomac, are seen, from left to right: Delegate Aruna Miller (Democrat), the first Indian-American woman elected to the Maryland General Assembly from District 15; Mr. Prabhjot Kohli; and Dr. Harbhajan Ajrawat who has the distinction of being the first Indian-American elected President of the Maryland State Medical Society (MEDCHI), a huge honor

Delegate Aruna Miller presented a citation from the Maryland House of Delegates to Dr. Banik “recognizing your leadership to the Indian-American community, your tireless work for people with intellectual disabilities and reminding each of us that music is the language of spirit”.

With unmistakable pride in his voice, Dr. Banik informed that the response has exceeded all expectations with over 340 people gracing the event.  “Sham-e-Ghazal was primarily developed to establish fellowship among the senior citizens in the Washington area”, he explained.  “In the beginning, a few ladies got together; then a large group was formed.  A seed was planted.  Now, it has developed into a family affair.  We meet every month.  It has inspired and encouraged other groups of people to do the same because seniors also have tremendous talent hidden in them.  Someone has to learn how to bring it out.  They have the ability to sing, to entertain, and that is what I have proven for the last five years.  If you give them an opportunity, develop confidence in them, they can sing in public and they have done just that”.

At Sham-e-Ghazal’s fourth music event are seen, from left to right: Dr. Suresh K. Gupta; Mr. Sunil Singh; and Dr. Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State for Policy and External Affairs, Maryland

Dr. Banik stressed, “Seniors are the treasure trove in all respects, including music.  That is one of the things I want to emphasize to the readers of INDIA THIS WEEK and EXPRESS INDIA.  If somebody is really keen to help others, it is possible even with people who are parents, grandparents and great grandparents”, he said.

We would like to mention that the Sham-e-Ghazal event was well organized, beginning on time.  The performances flowed smoothly, one after the other, in quick succession.  Once again, the senior stalwarts of our community have set a precedent for others to follow!  Kudos to them and even more power!

At the Sham-e-Ghazal annual event are seen from left to right: Dr. Suresh K. Gupta; Mrs. Maansi Gupta; Mrs. Satinder Ajrawat; and Dr. Harbhajan Ajrawat, first Indian-American elected President of the Maryland State Medical Society (MEDCHI), a huge honor

The program began on an auspicious note with Mrs. Rita Pahwa rendering the bhajan, ‘Tere Naam’.  This was followed by a Holi song ‘Morey Kanha’ by Mrs. Shashi Arora and the semi-classical ‘Radhi Ke’ by Mrs. Kumud Mathur.  From the Bollywood staple, there were: ‘Ishq Hi Rab Hai’ by Mrs. Maansi Gupta; ‘Kuch Na Kaho by Dr. Suresh K. Gupta; ‘Na Yeh Chand Hoga’ by Mrs. Satwinder Sidhu; ‘O Maine Pyaar Kiya’ by Mrs. Shilpa Shah; ‘Unchi Unchi’ by Mrs. Kamlesh Gulati; the title song from ‘Barsaat Ki Raat’ by Mr. Murli Mathur; ‘Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki’ by Mrs. Anil Vaid; ‘Yaad Kiya Dil Ne’ by Mrs. Promila Banik and Dr Mahajan; ‘Mere Mehboob’ by Mrs. Brij Ahluwalia; and ‘Jalte Hai Jiske Liye’ by Mrs. Vibha Nayar.  Mr. Manohar Gulati sang Ghulam Ali’s popular ghazal ‘Hungama Hai Kyun Barpa’.  For the grand finale, a number of performers joined Dr. Anil Mahajan in ‘Pardah Hai Pardah’, the super hit number from the film ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’.  Providing deft accompaniment were Mr. Kadavil Sreekumar on the keyboard and Mrs. Kumud Mathur on tabla.

Talented artistes of the Sham-e-Ghazal group, from left to right: Mrs. Anil Vaid; Mrs. Rita Pahwa; and Mrs. Kumud Mathur in Potomac, Maryland

We queried Dr. Banik about the name Sham-e-Ghazal which denotes a particular genre of music and yet most of the items were vintage Bollywood numbers.  “You are right”, he replied.  “It started with ghazals.  After a year, it became a multi-dimensional program.  But, the name stuck.  We didn’t want to change it because everyone came to know about it”.


 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here