By Managing Editor Kevin Lee
The 8th edition of annual flagship cultural program of Embassy of India, Seoul ‘SARANG– The Festival of India in Republic of Korea’ will be held from Sept. 30 through Oct. 14, 2022 in offline mode at various locations across the country after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting in 2015, SARANG has emerged as a prominent Indian cultural festival, introducing India's colorful and diverse heritage and has, since then, grown in size, scale and popularity, promoting India’s soft power in its truest sense and contributing to its rich civilizational legacy and cultural vibrancy.
The word SARANG has a very meaningful interpretation for both Koreans and Indians. SARANG in Korean means ‘love’ and for Indians it refers to ‘diversity representing different colors of India’. As a part of this festival, it is our endeavor to showcase the rich cultural diversity of India represented through various art forms including dance, drama, music, films and cuisine. This depiction of India in its entirety captures the hearts and minds of the local community in Korea and strengthens the love and friendship between the people of the two countries.
This Festival has been organized every year since the year 2015 in partnership with various local bodies. The aim has been to introduce Indian dance, music, film, cuisine and art to the people of Korea. We have succeeded to a great extent in this quest and SARANG has now become a much looked forward event in the Korean cultural calendar. Usually, it extends for over a month and travels through different cities of Republic of Korea.
In 2022, the Cultural performances in different cities of Republic of Korea will feature an Odissi dance performance by a troupe led by Ms. Kunjalata Mishra, an accomplished Odissi dancer and recipient of prestigious Braj Ratna and Braj Gaurav Samman. Musical rendition will be led by renowned vocalist Ms. Sunanda Sharma of Benaras Gharana, accompanied by leading musicians who will play traditional Indian musical instruments such as Tabla, Harmonium, Sarangi and Tanpura.
In addition, the cultural ensemble in Seoul (Oct 4) will also feature a medley of Indo-Korean fusion music by Aram Lee on daegeum (Flute) and percussionist Min Wang Hwang on Janggu (traditional Korean drum) performing with the Indian instrumental music group led by vocalist Sunanda Sharma and her accompanying artists. Fusion of Indian Classical dances - Odissi and Kathak will also be presented by Korean dancer Ms. Beena Keum, who has been trained under the guidance of great Odissi Master Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and Indian Kathak dancer Ms. Sonali Roy, a disciple of legendary Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj.
The celebrations become special this year also because of the fact that it coincides with the 75th anniversary of India’s independence as a nation. To mark this joyous occasion, a series of events are being organised including cultural performances, workshops; art fairs and cultural booths; games and hands on experience etc. with local partner Korean Institutions and also for promoting cultural ties with Indian Diaspora in Republic of Korea with a special focus on relevant themes to the India-Republic of Korea partnership.
Along with cultural performances, a special photo exhibition on India’s Humanitarian Assistance during the Korean War which included the deployment of an Army Medical Unit and the Custodian Force of India, will also be organized at the Nami Island recognizing the special contributions of India towards restoration of peace in the Korean Peninsula. All events are open to public and will also be live streamed on Indian Culture Centre’s social media handle. Details of the performances are given as below: