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Rail cultural extravaganza arrives in Mumbai

April 28, 2010 20:58 IST

Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's pet initiative 'Sankriti Yatra,' a cultural extravangza, has arrived in Mumbai as a two-day event starting on Wednesday.

After taking over as the railway minister, Banerjee had conceptualised an exclusive committee for heritage and culture, with an objective to create a platform for inter-state cultural exchange.

"Railway is the binding force of the nation and hence it is the very medium to forge national integration through cultural events," said Saoli Mitra, chairperson of the heritage and cultural committee of the railways.

The first event was held in Howrah, Kolkata in February 2009, and Mumbai happens to be the second location.

"We have not decided on the next location, but there would be definitely more of such events in different geographical locations. Later there would be amalgamation of cultures from Bengal, Maharashtra, North-East, etc in a single location which would be true showcase of national integration," said Mitra.

The two day event kick started with the inauguration of the handicrafts kiosks located between platform number 7 and 8 of Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

The handicrafts showcased were from the various districts of Maharashtra. Later, Mitra inaugurated a song and dance performance event at the auditorium located on the fourth floor of the parcel office at the Mumbai CST.

Wednesday's itinerary had folk dances including Koli, Waghya Murali, Gondi Dhangar, Jakhadi and Gondhal among others.

The highlight of the performances on the second day (29 April) is the play Jagdamba by renowned actress Rohini Hattangadi and Asim Hattangadi. The play is based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi's wife, Kasturba Gandhi.

N Ganesh in Mumbai