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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
Continuing its long standing tradition of giving, SoCal based Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT KGP) alums will host Alankar 2012, a charity social filled with a memorable evening of food, dance and music featuring the legendary Snehashish Mozumdar and his SOM Jazz Band.
President Alok Chatterjee of IIT KGP will welcome guests and guest of honor Mohnish Pabrai, founder of Irvine based, Dakshana, who “is an individual whose organization has done great service to India by providing training and world class education opportunities at no cost to gifted, impoverished children to get into the IITs and empower them to change the societies they come from,” says Chatterjee.
Pabrai will speak about his successful efforts in helping talented kids with limited resources to prepare and pass IIT entrance examinations.
The evening festivities will feature 45 local artists including a local music program tribute to Dev Anand, Bhupen Hazarika and Jagjit Singh, fusion dances and what is sure to be a commanding performance from Pandit Chitresh Das’ long hailed Chhandam School, one of the largest schools of classical Indian dance in the United States.
Southern California’s music enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to witness master mandolinist Snehasish Mazumder and the SOM Ensemble from New York. Mazumder and his Indo-Jazz fusion music group will showcase his unique invention, the hybrid double-neck mandolin, and enthrall audiences with Hindustani music, bhangra, Bollywood, jazz and world music.
Mazumder has performed in many music festivals in India and has toured numerous countries. In 2002, he was invited by Pandit Ravi Shankar to perform for the George Harrison Memorial Concert held in Royal Albert Hall, London. In 2009, he performed at the Lincoln Center.
Mazumder will be joined by a renowned team of artist such as bassist Daniel Asher, Nick Gianni (saxophone), Vin Scialla (drums), Deep Singh (tabla) and Lars Potteiger (keyboard).
A lifetime achievement award will be presented to the chief guest, 1958 alum Mani Lal Bhaumik.
Bhaumik is a well known physicist from India who helped develop the first excimer laser at the University of the California’s famous Northrop Corporation Research and Technology Center.
This class of laser would eventually eliminate eye glasses or contact lenses in lieu of a speedy vision correction. Bhaumik was recently presented with India’s prestigious civilian award Padma Shri in 2011.
IIT system was founded in 1951, the first one being in Kharagpur, West Bengal in a jail where the British imprisoned freedom fighters and hanged some of them.
Since the wary days of yore, IIT KGP has mass produced distinct alums such as Dr K. Radhakrishnan, the current Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore. Arun Sarin, a former CEO of Vodafone in United Kingdom, Rono Dutta, former president of United Airlines and Ajit Singh the current Civil Aviation minister in the Indian central government just to name a few according to Chatterjee.
An estimated 200 members of IIT KGP SoCal are involved in the professional networking group and maintain connections with other professional groups for the benefit of its members, support their alma mater’s development and donate to community enhancing projects.
The group also provides support and social connectivity to new graduates in the Southern California area.
Alankar is the cultural wing of IIT KGP SoCal which seeks to “bring together IITians as well as the community at large to participate and enjoy the cultural bond which is shared,” says Chatterjee. Its aim is to bring the festival spirit modeled after the famous IIT KGP spring festival to the immediate community in Southern California.
The 10 day, Spring Festival in IIT KGP is a popular yearly event on the campus where non-IIT organizations are invited to participate in the fields of music, dance, drama and debates from all colleges around India. This festival completely transforms the campus allowing the students to mix with other community members and showcase their cultural and organizational side to others.
Saturday, May 12. 6 p.m.–9 p.m. Merage Jewish Community Center, 1 Federation Way, Irvine. $30 (includes dinner and snacks), $15 students, seniors. For tickets and information visit www.iitkgpsocal.org.