New Delhi, December 3, 2014: A group of 19 boys from The Scindia School, Gwalior, recently attended the Mersin Citrus Festival in Turkey at the invitation of the Mayor of Mersin, a large port city on the Mediterranean coast. The students took part in the celebrations and showcased Indian culture to thousands of international visitors who thronged the two-day event.
The Mersin Citrus Festival, organized to promote citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, had a carnival-like atmosphere. Over 50 dance troupes and musicians from various countries and local Turkish groups were in attendance. The Scindia boys represented India and delivered fascinating cultural performances based on ancient Indian traditions.
The students, dressed in traditional Indian attire, took part in the opening march-past along with delegates from 20 other countries, as over 20,000 spectators lined both sides of the road. When the boys reached the stage where Mersin’s Mayor, Turkish ministers and other important dignitaries were present, they performed a dance called Dashavatar. Its choreography was based on the theme of ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, with movements taken from different Indian dances.
On the second day of the festival, the students performed a dance based on Hanuman Chalisa. The performance, which conveyed the message of Lord Hanuman to the world, took place on an open stage, with thousands of spectators looking from all sides. Some student dancers used Kathakali costumes while others wore face masks depicting different characters from the epic Ramayana. Later, the Scindia boys delivered yet another brilliant performance – a folk song from the state of Chhattisgarh. Eight students sang the song while four others played Indian percussion instruments like khanjani, kainchi, ghunguru and khartal, much to the delight of the multi-cultural audience.
In a major highlight of the trip, the Scindia boys were specially selected by the festival organizers to visit a Turkish school in a rural hilly area. They interacted with the local school children and entertained them by playing orchestra based on Raag Bhopali with a folk flavor on dhumali taal. The Turkish students showed great interest in Indian musical instruments like sitar, tabla and manjira and had a lot of questions about India which the Scindia boys were too happy to answer.
Samik Ghosh, Principal, The Scindia School, said: “The Turkey trip was a great learning experience for our students. They got to see music and dance performances from more than 20 countries. The boys made friends with foreigners of similar age from Europe and Middle East, even though many times they had to communicate through hand signs because of the language barrier. Our students were greeted enthusiastically by the local Indian community wherever they went. The boys realized that the Turkish people are genuinely fond of Indians and movies of Shah Rukh Khan are very popular in that country. The idea behind sending our students to Turkey was to broaden their mental horizons by exposing them to a different culture in another part of the world. At the same time, we wanted to use this opportunity to give international visitors a glimpse of the rich Indian culture and mythology. Our students are immensely proud at having represented India at this popular international festival and have lot of stories to tell to fellow students back at the school.”
The Scindia School has another much-cherished connection to Turkey. Its alumni Sanjeev Kathpalia is currently Senior Advisor at the Prime Ministry of Republic of Turkey.