Sumana Adak :
The joy of autumn festival ‘SHARADOTSAB’ has blunted little by little in the world. The colourless atmosphere of Sharadotsab has spread, and it has not been left out even in exile. COVID-19 has consumed Scotland’s happy days. Under the auspices of the Scottish Indian Arts Forum (SIAF), the “Dussehra” festival, the destruction of evil is been celebrated every year on Princess Street, Edinburgh. Many star faces used to be seen on this annual festival every year; in presence of consulate general of Indian Embassy, Lord Provost Frank Ross, every year the SIAF President inaugurates the event. Their sole purpose is to present cultural events in every part of India. The SIAF has been doing this for 25 years with all Indians in Scotland. Every year the ‘Fire Festival’ was one of the most attraction of ‘Dussehra’ organized by SIAF.
This has been going on for so many years, but this 26th year of celebration is completely different. This organization is involved in multiple social activities throughout the year. The SIAF has already come forward with the help of the ‘Edinburgh Lothian Health Foundation’ to address the COVID-19, as well as the SAIF in collaboration with the Scottish Association of Bengali Arts and Sanskritik Heritage “SABASH” made relief fund to help the victims of the super cyclone “Amphan” in West Bengal. This is not the end. During the lockdown, the organizer of this organization worked with a professional artist group Cosmic Dance, and they organise an online dance competition event called “Nrityanjali”. Competition was a huge success with participation from all over Scotland and across multiple age groups. SIAF also arranged a live concert on Facebook with renowned harmonium artist Suvendu Bandopadhyay.
One event after another in Edinburgh has been cancelled this year due to worldwide evil onslaught. Every events like ‘Dol utsav’ to ‘Durga Puja’ have been done online, even “Dussehra”. There has never been such a gloomy time on the soil of Edinburgh. The SIAF has decided to conduct ‘Dussehra’ festival online on 25th October this year as per the government instructions. This year’s event will be seen everywhere on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. According to the members, this year’s cultural programme of SIAF will last for about two and a half to three hours, which will start with last year’s recorded video of ‘Dussehra’.
The main event will be various programs like cultural songs, dance, dramas, etc. Several Indian artists will be attended from all over the United Kingdom. The speeches of prominent Scottish personalities will be broadcast by recorded and also in live. The purpose of this organization is to bring together Indian culture and art. Whether it is visual or not, this organisation has kept its own culture. Committee President Abhijit Chakraborty said that “It has been a disappointing year for all of us around the world with this pandemic still prevailing. So many of our loved ones have lost their lives and situation is still very concerning. We are one of the well-established ethnic minority charity organisations in Scotland trying to uphold our culture and identity for the past 25 years. We are Pan India, ours is a multi-religious organisation covering the length and breadth of India. We have tried our best during these difficult times by organising and taking part in couple of charity events, organised few digital events and now Digital Dussehra. We are lucky to have the support of the community here in Edinburgh along with the support of Edinburgh Council and the local government.
We are very grateful. I hope that things return to normal very quickly and I wish everyone good luck and best wishes during this festive period.” Hopefully next year will be even better.