Union Minister of State for Culture Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi inaugurated a three-day festival Kashi Utsav in Varanasi on 16th November 2021 to celebrate the classic heritage and culture of Kashi especially the centuries-old luminaries who are Goswami Tulsidas, Sant Kabir, Sant Raidas, Bhartendu Harishchandra, Munshi Premchand and Shri Jaishankar Prasad. MoS UP Government Shri Neelkanth Tiwari; Additional Secretary, M/o Culture, GoI Shri Rohit Kumar Singh, and other dignitaries were also present on this occasion.
IGNCA is hosting the programme on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, with the support of the Uttar Pradesh State Government and Varanasi Administration under the aegis of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive India
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of State for Culture, Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi said that it is a memorable event that the festival is being held in Kashi city. The life of Kashi is full of folk music, Vedas, science and knowledge. The objective of the three-day festival in Kashi is to make people aware of the rich heritage of the area. Smt. Lekhi further added that it is the duty of every citizen to place the proud history of the country before everyone. “This festival is in honor of the iconic luminaries of Kashi. Kashi has been chosen for this festival because of its rich cultural heritage and splendid history and resplendent beauty”, She added.
Dr. Kumar Vishwas performed on ‘Main Kashi Hun’ on the first day of festival while Shri Manoj Tiwari, Member Parliament will be delivering a musical presentation on ‘Tulsiki Kashi’ on the final day. The festival includes several devotional performances by artists like by Ms. Kalapini Komkali, Shri Bhuvanesh Komkali, Padma Shri Shri Bharti Bandhu, Ms. Maithili Thakur.
A theme has been dedicated to each day of the festival days and these are: ‘Kashi ke Hastakshar’; ‘Kabir, Raidas ki Bani aur Nirgun Kashi’ and ‘Kavita aur Kahani – Kashi ki Zubani’. The first day focused on eminent literary figures, Bhartendu Harishchandra and Shri Jaishankar Prasad. The second day will highlight prominent poets, Sant Raidas and Sant Kabirdas and the final day will have Goswami Tulsidas and Munshi Premchand as focal points.
The event emphasized these personalities from Kashi through panel discussions, exhibitions, film screenings, music, drama and dance performances. Eminent artists will be performing in the event.
A play based on Rani Laxmi Bai, ‘Khoob Ladi Mardani’, will be presented by artists from the National School of Drama (NSD) which has been directed by Ms. Bharti Sharma from NSD on November 18, 2021. IGNCA films on Varanasi have also been included in the festival. These are: ‘Banaras Ek Sanskritik Prayogshala’ by Shri Virendra Mishra; ‘Meri Nazar mein Kashi’ directed by Shri Pankuj Parashar; ‘Manbhawan Kashi’ directed by ShriPankuj Parashar; ‘Kashi Pavitra Bhugol’ directed by ShriDeepak Chaturvedi; ‘Made in Banaras’ by Shri SatyaprakashUpadhyay; ‘Kashi Ganga Vishveshvarai’ by Ms. RadhikaChandrasekhar; ‘Muktidham’ by Ms. Radhika Chandrasekhar; ‘Kashi ki Aitihasikta’ by Shri Arjun Pandey; ‘Kashi kiHastiyaan’ by Shri Arjun Pandey.
An exhibition of books and six literary personalities will be showcased in the festival; the themes of which have been planned and prepared by IGNCA and Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.
In order to ensure maximum Janbhagidari, local artists, personalities and cultural scholars will also be invited to participate and present their views and thoughts either through videos or personally in the festival. 150 artists are participating in the event.
IGNCA wishes to dedicate this festival to the people of India, wherein role of each and every Bhartiya has been instrumental in the growth of Indian nation, be it culturally, economically, socially. Through Kashi Utsav, IGNCA is not only showcasing the glorious past of the nation but also generating the awareness that India and Indians have the utmost abilities to become a self-reliant (Atma Nirbhar) nation.