BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Photos by Krish Photography
GA: Kannadigas in Atlanta are suddenly feeling aimless! Yes, the 7th
AKKA World Kannada Conference concluded successfully this Labor Day,
garnering rave compliments from guests for food and arrangements by
volunteers of the hosting organization, Nrupathunga Kannada Koota.
by the traditional banana and coconut branches’ enclave at the
entrance, volunteers extended a warm welcome to over 3000 guests. The
festivities kicked off on Friday August 31 with the lighting of the
lamp and an invocation to Lord Ganesha.
Dignitaries at the
event included Indian Ambassador to U.S.A, Her Excellency Ambassador
Nirupama Rao, Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty, Jnanpith
award winner, Dr. Chandrashekara Kambara, Consul General of India in
Atlanta Hon. Ajit Kumar, Hon Chairman, KDA, Dr. Mukhyamanthri
Chandru and a host of others.
woke up a colorful parade “Meravanige” with a folk dance theme
presented by all participating Kannada Kootas on Saturday. H.E.
Nirupama Rao, Sudha Murty, Dr. Chandrashekara Kambara, Dr.
Mukhyamanthri Chandru and S. Pradeep Kumar inaugurated the
“I’m Karnataka’s daughter-in-law” declared H.E.
Nirupama Rao, in her inaugural address, adding that her growing up
years in Karnataka had widely influenced her. “There is a special
relation between India and the US.” She said adding that the NRIs
residing in the US play a major role in maintaining those relations. We
are joining hands in the fields of Science, Technology, Fuel,
Healthcare, Agriculture and much more and all of this is not possible
without your involvement, she added.
Murty shared her own experiences about changing public views about
Indians in America and pointed out that Indians residing here were
vastly responsible for it.
Earlier, on Friday, Hon Ajit Kumar
addressed the Business Forum at AKKA on the topic, ‘Advancement of
Indo-US Business Relations - Indian Consulate's Role’. The keynote
address at the forum was by OfficeMax CEO Ravi Saligram. The panel also
included many distinguished guests. The CME forum had accomplished
speakers from Emory University, Southern Osteoporosis Center, Doncaster
Royal Infirmary, UK, MBMC, ST.Louis, Washington University, St.
Louis, VCU, Virginia and GRD Health.
activities began later in the day with introduction of visiting artists
from India, National Anthems of India and USA followed by a kick off
dance item by Natya and Stem Dance Company led by Ms. Madhu Nataraj.
The lighting of the lamp ceremony was followed by Karnataka Vaibhava,
dance drama on history and culture of Karnataka. The highlight of the
evening included melodious rendition of Kannada movie songs by ace
singers Archana Udupa, Manasi Prasad and Nagara Srinivasa Udupa.
night prime rocked the hall with two different genres of music,
devotional by Vidyabhushana and contemporary by Raghu Dixit, both
transporting music lovers to another world.
Various other forums
kicked off including Literary, Charity, Singles Mingle, Spirituality,
Sports, Women’s and Youth. Singing competition for aspiring singers–
AKKA IDOL 2012 – Haadu Baa Kogile had about 35 contestants
participating from across the US and three winners Saanika Mahashetty
(Junior), Pranitha Kaaginele( Teen) and Seema Murthy Kasturi (Adult)
Youth Forum had various activities and winners
were announced. Dance AKKA Dance, a dance competition with 28
contestants declared their winners.
Various sports champions were announced were also announced at the event.
Show Shringaara showcased fusion of east and the west with colorful,
classy clothing backed by slick choreography, luxurious backdrops and
Kannada literary enthusiasts had a wonderful opportunity
to mingle with legends in the field with various activities including
an evening with Dr. Kambara, poetry recitation and competition with
famous poet DundiRaj, debate competition and quiz competition and many
more programs with Prajavanni Executive Editor Padmraj Dandavate by and
for kids including talks on media, TV and the theatrical world with
cultural icon T.N. Seetharam.
Cultural programs galore included
instrumental recitals, Janapada sangeetha, yakshagana, sugama
sangeetha, and classical dance and music and more.
Vendor Booths displaying clothes, accessories, jewelry, real estate,
Karnataka tourism, and various other merchandise were available for the
guests to shop around.
“Thank you is inadequate to express our
gratitude but we hope you accept it. Beginning from receiving our
guests at the airport till we said good bye last night to our guests,
you all poured your hearts. You all did it with a sense of pride and
definitely not just a duty. No doubt the triumphant success will be
etched in the minds of all of us for years to come.” Dr. Ramaswamy, the
convener of the convention said in thanking volunteers for their time
“We thank all special guests, artists, journalists
who made it for the event and made the international culture
programming very rich in the event. We specially thank Sree. Kappana
and I.M. Vittallamurthy for setting up a very good cultural line up
which ensured we did not miss the movie stars much. Certainly they
could have closed our event in style.” Srivijaya Srinivasa, co
Elaborate menus, exclusive forums catering to
various interests certainly compensated for some program scheduling
shortcomings. It would not be an exaggeration to say that a
successful milestone has been set in the history of Atlanta’s
Nrupathunga Kannada Koota.
AKKA (Association of Kannada Kootas
of America) is non-profit, educational, linguistic and cultural
organization to integrate, coordinate, network and unite the activities
of all Kannadigas and Kannada Kootas for promotion and preservation of
Kannada language and culture in North America. The 1st AKKA world
conference was held in Houston, Texas hosted by Kannada Vrinda of
Houston in the year 2000 with 2000 attendees. The 2nd AKKA World
Kannada Conference held in Detroit, Michigan in 2002 hosted by Pampa
Kannada Koota scaled AKKA to greater heights, with more than 4000
Kannadigas attending the conference. The successive WKCs held in
Orlando, Florida, hosted by Srigandha Kannada Kootain 2004, Baltimore,
Maryland in 2006 hosted by Kaveri Kannada Association, Vidyaranya
Kannada Koota of Chicago, in 2008, and Brindavana Kannada Koota of New
Jersey in 2010 have always gathered thousands of attendees, gaining and
propagating rapid momentum and keen interest in each consecutive