Toronto-Brampton, July 16 (Odisha.in) Reunions of old friends, feasting on sumptuous foods, and arguments about everything under the sun quite as feisty as at the school or, college in Orissa...Only, it was all happening in Canada’s Flower city Brampton.
More than 1000 Oriyas from North America, India and globally descended on famous Rose Theatre July 3-5 to join in what has been rated as the biggest Oriya cultural show outside of Orissa making it felt like mini-Orissa.
Proudly hosted by CanOSA (Canada Odisha Society of Americas) a non-profit socio-cultural organization in Ontario since 1971, the 39th Annual OSA (Orissa Society of the Americas) Convention, a three-day long cultural extravaganza, began here on Thursday afternoon with registration and Mehfil night.
On Friday morning the inaugural ceremony began with the singing of national anthems of India, and Canada.
Welcoming and introducing the guests Governor of Orissa- His Excellency Mr. Murlidhar Chandrakante Bhandare, Honourable Mr. Kalyan Jena - Chairman, Indian Railway Board and Chairman International Union of Railways, Paris, Honourable Mr. Akshya Parija - Chief General Manager, Business Banking National Bank of Oman, Honourable Satish Mehta, Consul General of India, and Toronto, Convener Dr. Gagan Panigrahi said the annual OSA convention is an opportunity to display and share the pride and rich heritage of the Oriya culture and pass it on to the next generation in North America.
In his inaugural address, Governor Bhandare, praised the role of OSA in preserving and propagating Oriya culture in North America and the achievement of Oriyas in different professions.
He encouraged the members of OSA to fly higher and higher and act as the ambassadors of Orissa to bring the ancient culture to North America and urged not to forget their nest i.e. mother Orissa.
He pointed out that in spite of having natural resources Orissa is a poor state and urged the nonresident Oriyas to give a helping hand in improving the quality of life of Orissans through education.
With India on an irreversible path of becoming a super power, Indian Railway Board Chairman Mr. Jena said, the Oriya community in India and abroad will help realize the dream of true modern India.
Mr. Jena emphasized the role of Indian railway in world economy and national integration of India. He pointed out the recent unprecedented growth of Indian Railway and how it is playing a role in shaping world economy.
Indian Consul General Mr. Satish Mehta praised the creativity and artistic ability of Oriya people who were responsible for building finest temple in the world and lauded the passion of the expatriate community behind the OSA. He added “The future is very bright for India,” and encouraged patrons to renew their connections with India.
In their dazzling opening performance, Sushree Mishra Kar and her dancers cast a spell on the audience as they captured all nuances of social and cultural life in Orissa,
Thereafter, around 20 kids and their group competed against each other for the best artistic talent for the coveted Subrina Biswal Award followed by a Theme dance “We love you Orissa!” based on the Convention theme Orissa: Our Land and, Our people.
Batteries of Odissi performance by world renowned Sujata Mohapatra and Manabhanjan depicting Rasa Lila of Krushna and Radha by Sushree Mishra Kar and her group, Niharika Mohanty presenting Abhinaya on Krishna’s tandava mesmerized the audiences.
Another theme based program “Romance & Love” brought together participants from different chapters of OSA expressing profusely amorous sentiment.
Saturday highlighted with Promod Patnaik Inter-chapter drama competition showcasing some of the best performances. Before the closing, audiences were taken aback by the mythological musical drama Karnarjuna, based on great epic Mahabharat was presented by the Canada chapter
Apart from the cultural show, Seminars focusing Odisha Development and Education, women’s forum, Spirituality & Religion and Health, Wellness and Yoga Therapy, youth activities included Quiz, dance& DJ, Water Sports, Magic shows, Comedy show & OSA Idol, Senior felicitation. A souvenir was published to mark the occasion.
Awards were given to talented youths and adults in recognition of their contribution to academic excellence, community work, cultural activities etc.
The Rose Theatre entrance and lobby were decked with watercolour paintings depicting scenes from Odisha. People too were decked in traditional garb and finery of Odisha.
Farewell hugs were exchanged and eyes grew moist after the light and music dimmed at Rose Theatre at the end of the convention.
When the last strains of the closing song Rangabati died, those expatriates who came from far and near for this annual event expressed sadness they compared with Vijaya Dasami, the last day of the Durga Puja. Traveling annually to city after city in the US & thrice to Toronto, OSA is growing with the community over the years.
All in all, it was, as one delegate said: 'Except for Ratha Yatra, this surely is the biggest Oriya event anywhere in the world.'