SMAP Celebrates Life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Long Beach
India-West Staff Reporter
LONG BEACH, CA – The Shivaji Maharaj Antarrashtriya Parivar (SMAP) on February 25 celebrated the Maratha leader’s anniversary at the Jordan High School auditorium here. The event was attended by a nearly full house despite the inclement weather.
The event started with traditional lamp lighting followed by the Marathi drum beats called Dhol Tasha. It was a very well-coordinated drum beat by a group of over 50 people ranging from children to adults and loved by the audience. While Dhol Tasha beats were going on, a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was taken on a Palkhi in the hall.
SMAP President Ashok Madan, founder Vijay Patil, and committee members spoke about the importance of Shivaji Jayanti. Cerritos High School student and SMAP Youth President, Anika Patil updated the audience about the two clubs that were established in Mountain House High School, CA, and Seymore Highschool, CT. La Palma city councilmember Nitesh Patel delivered the keynote speech and urged everyone to maintain Indian traditions.
In memory of his late son Ankur, Ajoy Dube, a community leader presented cash awards to five students who took part in essay writing about Chhatrapati Shivaji. He announced that he will offer these awards every year from now on.
The highlight of the event was a play on stage on the life of Maharana Pratap. Beautifully choreographed and presented by Los Angeles Films Theater and Arts, it kept the whole auditorium in rapt attention. The amateur actors had taken time off from their schedules to practice and make the wonderful presentation. The audience also enjoyed the Kathak and Garba dances choreographed by Aarti Manek and Surekha Modi.
The celebration included the republication of 10 historic books written by Itihasacharya V.S. Bendrey. His granddaughter is in the process of republishing all 60+ books authored by him.