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Entrepreneurship as a Social Movement: Real Life Success Stories

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Sur Jahan: A Journey of Love… for Music & Peace!

When the first edition of Sur Jahan, then known as Sufi Sutra, was held in Kolkata in 2011, only a few could foresee that it would go on to become one of the leading international folk music festivals of India, and that, too, a non-ticketed one…...and therefore, when a premium global music magazine like Songlines (www.songlines.co.uk) featured Sur Jahan in 2018 and put it on record that “this resolutely non-commercial festival focuses on exchange and the forging of new musical friendships,” it was a moment of déjà vu for those who saw it coming way back in 2011! The real journey, though, had begun seven years before the idea of Sufi Sutra germinated. The social enterprise behind the festival, banglanatak dot com, had started its work with Bauls and Fakirs (often referred to as “Sufis of the East”) in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal in 2004. The experience of exploring the world of these wandering balladeers, who sing songs of love, peace and equality, brought the realization th…

Countdown begins for Sur Jahan 2018

Sur Jahan (literally meaning Music World) is a unique world peace music festival of India held in Kolkata and Goa every February with the motto “Music for Peace, Music for All”. The three-day event brings together artists and musicians from home and abroad to celebrate cultural diversity through world music and facilitate exchange of ideas and sharing of experiences with the explicit aim to bridge minds and spread the culture of knowledge, understanding and tolerance. Starting its journey as Sufi Sutra in Kolkata in 2011, it was renamed in 2017 to better reflect the wide range of music genres it curates. Artists from 26 countries and 12 Indian states have participated in the festival till date. Sur Jahan simultaneously showcases creations and performances of India’s rural artists and crafts persons. In doing so, it rekindles our people’s urge to revisit and take pride in their own folk cultural heritage. The array of rich and living traditions of performing folk arts on offer, right fro…

Swayangsiddha: Rallying youths to stop human trafficking & child marriage

In an era of fast forgotten news, the headline flew past in a flicker indeed, but it did leave behind a rare trail of courage and inspiration for thousands of girls, if not more, in West Bengal! Meena, a teenager from a non-descript village in the district of South 24 Parganas, was tricked and abducted by a woman she knew through one of her classmates and neighbour. Only days before, Meena, a Class 10 student, was lucky to have attended a session of Swayangsiddha – the awareness drive underway against human trafficking organized by the district police chief at her school. Memories came rushing back and she understood that she would be sold to ‘customers’ waiting in cities like New Delhi or Mumbai, if not any other faraway land. But Meena decided not to give in and realized that keeping her cool was the topmost priority at the moment. As her abductor and her associates tried to figure out her reaction and response at the shelter where she was kept at in Baruipur, a bustling town in he…

Darjeeling and Kalimpong Folk Festivals: Celebrating Hills’ Heritage

Tucked away in a green, serene, and often surreal, surrounding on the lap of the Eastern Himalayan Range, Darjeeling is not only a requiem for tired urban souls, and the undisputed Queen of the Hills, but much more… To begin with, it is home to 14 indigenous communities who make up an amazing mosaic of pristine traditions, rituals and folk cultures that have, unfortunately, remained virtually undiscovered by the world outside.It was with this long-felt need to showcase the rich intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of the Hills that the Rural Craft and Cultural Hubs (RCCH) project of the Government of West Bengal hosted its first editions of Darjeeling and Kalimpong folk festivals in April and May 2017, respectively. Around 200 local artists participated in the event at Chowrasta Mall in Darjeeling on 5 and 6 April, while over 400 local artists and craft persons took part in the festival at the Mela Ground in Kalimpong on 27 and 28 May. An exhibition on Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, whic…