In December last year, I got to know about a NGO called ANSH Happiness Society. They call themselves a youth organization founded in Bhopal to come up as a platform for young people to connect, explore and act. How I learnt about ANSH was pretty interesting. I was attending a program by UNICEF Madhya Pradesh, celebrating 70 years of the organisation. Their, I heard the people behind the platform – Mohsin and Kokila, speak about the concept for S4D – Sports for Development.
A few days later, as a continuation of UNICEF’s celebrations, we attended a photo exhibition for S4D at Swaraj Bhawan. Over there, we met a host of youngsters who are themselves students, but involved in this project. Varun Namdev whose photographs were also on display, explained to us how S4D works for the children. ANSH is doing this in association with UNICEF where they are identifying schools and involving the children in sports activities to teach them important life lessons like sharing, caring, supporting, trusting, being trustworthy, etc. These habits are usually not taught to these children at school or home and through sports, they get to learn lessons on morals and self-development without it being a ‘lesson’.
The young people we spoke to like Sanskar, Varun, etc told us that they were all scattered in different districts and for weeks, they spent time with the children, involving them in the games during their school times. The games were inclusive of both gender and that gave the children a seperate set of lessons which are oft forgotten – that they too need to be taught to co-inhabit the world space with the opposite sex, rely on each other, support each other and be a team instead of against each other.
Sports for Development (S4D) is an initiative of the Department of School Education, Govt of MP in association with UNICEF. As of now, 100 schools from across the state have S4D implemented in their curriculum and it is trying to break social and gender barriers by bringing people together. It also aims at breaking hierarchy and advocating inclusion.
Last Sunday, on the 12th of March, I attended a very interesting gathering of young people at Dylogg Co-working Café, Kasturba Nagar in Bhopal. We knew that it would be a programme where 10 songwriters would present their creativitiy but what we witnessed was much better.
Kokila Bhattacharya and Animesh Chaurasia had brought together this beautiful evening at their co-working space which they intend to use even more to get together like minded, creative people and help form a strong tribe in this city.
The event had more attendees than the hosts had expected which shows how much in need of such gatherings the city was. In all honesty, both my husband and I were pleasantly surprised at the level of talent our city boys showcased that evening.
The show began with Shikhar Chaudhary who is all of 18, and made time to attend the programme despite his board exams staring at him in the face. Next up was Rohan Pathak who sang some beautiful ghazals. I could manage to capture parts of Shikhar’s and Rohan’s performances and am sharing them below. One thing Rohan said has remained with me since I identify with it a lot – I am not a miserable person, but I like miserable music.
While the songs and the music was lovely, what made the evening better was that the song writers spoke about why they write and create music, who inspires them, what their songs mean to them, etc. The performers and audience seemed to be more or less in their 20s and 30s – and despite two decades (and some more) of people sitting in one room, everyone was enjoying the songs.
Parvatish came up next and sang a song he’d gifted his best friend on her birthday – Mehroom. Abin played the keyboard and presented a beautiful song. Tannison Mathews rendered a soulful number Let it be me while he played the keyboards.
Apricot, the group also performed their own composition after Bhaskar’s performance for which he’d come down from Ahmedabad. Samar Mehdi presented his own compositions Parey and Do Pal.
The event ended with Animesh Chaurasia presenting Befiqri and the event was hosted by Kokila.
Here’s wishing all the songwriters the very best in their lives. Just knowing that such talents has grown up in the streets of Bhopal makes me feel so good. And I hope Kokila, Animesh and Dylogg bring to the city more such gatherings and cultural events!