News Release

Cherishing Cultural Heritage


Lovers of traditional north Indian culture gathered 16 March, Saturday evening in Delhi to enjoy the annual Celebration of Classical Dance and Music sponsored by The Indian Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Culturally Active Delhiites (CAD).

The evening opened with vocalist Dr. Shalini Ved performing semi-classical Hinudstani music accompanied by the tabla, harmonium, santur and sarangi. She delighted the audience with romantic, highly improvised pieces sung in Hindi as well as Urdu.  Dr.Ved is Associate Professor of Music at DGPG College, Kanpur and Director of the Lakshmi Devi Kala Academy.

Pandit Deepak Maharaj and Smt. Shalu Srivastava performed a series of exciting Kathak dance duets during the second half of the program. Both demonstrated their mastery of the north Indian dance form which combines rhythmic foot movements and hand gestures as well as dramatic facial expressions to tell legendary stories. 

The performers played to a venue filled to beyond capacity and their connection with the audience was palpable. 

Prior to the performances, the guest of honor, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, was felicitated by President Suresh Ramakrishna, head of the Church in the Delhi area and Bradley Hansen, President of the India, New Delhi Mission of the Church. 

Dr. Pathak, the founder of the NGO Sulabh International, is well known for his invention of a low-cost environmentally friendly toilet and making it accessible to millions of people in India. He has also been a staunch advocate for the human rights of manual scavengers and other marginalized sectors of society. Sulabh was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize (for 2016) earlier this month by the Government of India for these efforts.

This was the third concert organized by CAD and sponsored by the Church in as many years. 

CAD is a group of like-minded and like-hearted people of varying ages and vocations who have joined hands primarily to enjoy together the rich cultural activities as well as the heritage that Delhi has to offer.

Anand Maheshwari, founder of CAD explained, “Our goal is to create and evolve an audience that can truly assimilate, understand and enjoy the various genres of Indian Performing Arts. We appreciate the support of the Church for this annual concert.”

President Ramakrishna expressed his view of the importance of cultural heritage noting that “Keeping traditions alive is important for teaching the next generation about our past and helping them establish an identity. Traditions link individuals to their family and place of origin, giving them a sense of security.”

“I brought my two teenagers tonight to hear and see these performances,” he continued. “This traditional culture is what we are made up of.  My children had never seen some of the instruments played or experienced this style of singing and dance. It was wonderful.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a worldwide organization active in some 160 countries. There are approximately 14,000 members of the Church in India compromising 45 congregations. Members of the Church are committed to seeking out and supporting “anything that is virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy.”  

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