Manju Bhargavi conducting ‘Krishna Avataram’ Programme (Facebook Stream, Screengrab)
Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam (AMHS) was busy planning a few events when the lockdown decision was announced on August 17, 2021.
Among them were Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations on August 28, 2021 and Onam, the grandest event of the year on September 4, 2021.
Onam is the most important festival of Keralites and AMHS had organised this year’s celebrations on a large scale at Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Auckland City.
Our Janmashtami Festival would have included cultural performances, Bhajan sessions, Shobha Yatra (dressing children as Balakrishna, Gopika, Gopakumara) and a fun Uriyadi Competition.
(Facebook Stream, Screengrab) in praise of Lord Krishna
Onam postponed to November
AMHS President Chelat Divakara Menon said that the officials and members of the Samajam were disappointed when the lockdown announcement was made.
“These events were being meticulously planned for the past several months with various arrangements. All of us had worked hard to make our Onam Festival memorable with traditional items and ‘Sadhya.’ We have not cancelled our Onam Festival but postponed it. We are hoping to conduct this event by November if the Alert Level permits. Many members and guests had purchased tickets for the Festival. In addition, rehearsals for cultural performances were being held intensely, our sponsors were looking forward to the event and our community was excited. We are hoping and praying that we will get a chance to conduct this event at least in November,” he said.
Meanwhile, during the lockdown AMHS has been in touch with the members to make sure that they are safe with their families and offering them support if needed.
The Samajam has also been planning and conducting various online events.
Onam was observed virtually with fervour cultural events streamed on Facebook.
Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations were also moved to the virtual zone with bhajans, dances and the story of Lord Krishna as an Avatar of Lord Vishnu. A highlight of the Festival was a parade of children dressed as the Lord.
Dhanya Sujit presenting a Mohiniattam adaption of Poothanamoksham Kathakali Attakatha (the Story of Lord Krishna) choreographed by Soumini Varam (Facebook Stream, Screengrab)
Ganesh Chaturthi on September 10
Ganesh Chaturthi, marking the Birthday of Lord Ganesha, the Remover of All Obstacles, will be held as a Virtual Festival on Friday, September 10, 2021, with dance performances, bhajans, storytelling, a classical music concert and other events.
Also similar to last year, there is a plan to have virtual celebration of Navratri. This festival is mainly associated with the battle that took place between Goddess Durga and Demon Mahishasura and celebrates the victory of good over evil.
Virtual Navaratri 2021
Navaratri will be marked from October 9 to October 15 this year.
Last year, AMHS celebrated the festival virtually with various cultural events streaming on all the nine nights, with a combination of prayers and Garba.
We had planned a grand Navratri event this year including Vidyarambham which marks auspicious beginning of education for children and a grand event on October 16, 2021. These are however likely to be postponed owing to the lockdown restrictions. Nonetheless, virtual celebrations will be held during Navaratri 2021.
Yoga, Business Coaching, Job Support
Apart from the virtual celebrations of traditional festivals, AMHS is also organising few sessions on the Zoom platform for members at no additional cost, mainly through voluntary effort from few members.
These include a daily Yoga session for women, coaching for people setting up their business, prayer sessions for children, Ganesh Chaturthi art workshop for teaching drawing and clay modelling for children, Weekly Bhagavatam (Puranas) Class and contests.
The Samajam also has a very active job support group exclusively for members. The group’s activities include career guidance sessions for various industries and roles, with a unique approach with mentors assigned at an industry level. Participants will also have the benefit of tips and guidance to jobs in various industries. The latest sessions conducted included CV and Interview preparation, New Zealand job market dynamics, Sessions for Business Analysts and Aspirants.
Membership to AMHS is open and applications can be made on our website (www.amhs.org.nz). Members, potential members and others can follow the activities of the Samajam on our Facebook page or through subscription to YouTube.
AMHS constantly updates its activities through these channels and through Indian Newslink.
Indu Nair is a Member of the Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam.