Mrittika, Inc. – A South Asian Center for Language and Heritage will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its founding with a musical program on Sunday, May 19, 2013 4:00pm-8:00pm at the auditorium of the Marlboro Middle School located at 355 County Route 520 in Marlboro, New Jersey.
The highlight of the program will be Indian classical and fusion music performance by the Grammy award winner musician, Pandit Viswamohan Bhatt. The maestro is going to play his enchanting Mohan Veena (modified slide guitar) for us. It would be a privilege for us and especially our next generation to see him in person and hear him perform on this unique instrument. Pandit Bhatt will be accompanied on tabla by the Tabla wizard, Pandit Subhen Chatterjee.Time permitting, there may be a Q&A session with the celebrity artists.The feature performance will be preceded by music created by three rising stars of the local Indian classical music scene, who would pay tribute to Panditji through their own musical talents: Abhik Mukherjee on Sitar, Jay Gandhi on Flute and Shivalik Ghoshal on Tabla.
The entire program will have a ceremonial opening with an INAUGURAL, where after a brief lighting ceremony, the Mrittika Language school students and guest youth artists will sing Tagore songs(Rabindrasangeet) celebrating the annual seasonal changes. It will be followed by the viewing of a short documentary on the history of Mrittika.
The program will run from 4 PM to 8 PM with two brief intermissions, during which the audience may examine a couple of stalls and buy light refreshment from a food vendor.
MRITTIKA began as Bengali Language and Heritage Center, a language school that was founded in 1989, and incorporated in 1991. One of its primary functions, ever since inception, has been to teach students Bengali-the fifth largest spoken language in the world. The organization formally changed its name to “MRITTIKA, Inc. – A South Asian Center for Language and Heritage” in 1996. Since its founding, MRITTIKA has taught Bengali to some 100+students, ranging in age from 4 to 24years. Classes at three levels — Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced — are taught without pay by Dhriti Bagchi and volunteers from the immigrant Bengali community. Students are charged a nominal sum every academic year to buy supplies and teaching materials. The school currently holds two sessions on alternate weekends in two branches-One session is held at MRITTIKA’s office at 10 Dartmoor Drive in Manalapan, NJ. And the other at the Ananda Mandir-the first Bengali Community Center cum Mandir in NJ. At 269 Cedar Grove Lane in Franklin Township, to cover a larger radius.
MRITTIKA has continued to grow in recent years as a center for cultural heritage. In that capacity, it educates its students in cultural matters through a variety of means, for example dramas, recitations, topical discussions, folklores, storytelling, music, dance, rhythmic exercises, puppetry, and audiovisual materials such as slides, films and documentaries. MRITTIKA stages student productions of dramas and puppet shows in local schools, libraries and museums. MRITTIKA was invited to Brampton, Ontario, Canada to participate in their International Festival, “CARABRAM.” There, MRITTIKA presented an Exhibition on the Dying Art Forms and Puppets of India, organized a workshop on puppetry, and sponsored a creative dance composition by one of our ex-students. MRITTIKA views these activities as an integral part of its mission to teach language and heritage to its student body and bring awareness into the mainstream.
Finally, MRITTIKA carries out its cultural instructions through the medium of arts and artworks, especially those related to native forms of artistic expression in South Asia. MRITTIKA aims to make its students familiar with folk art forms of the Indian subcontinent, such as narrative scroll painting, decorative floor painting called “alpana,” and the making of terra cotta and “shola” (pith) art objects. In pursuit of this goal, students actively participate in creative art forms, and their output, along with original artifacts sometimes brought from India, are combined in exhibitions that MRITTIKA puts up from time to time in schools and libraries.