Amidst much fanfare, sounds of echoing drums, rich costume and imagery, the 2nd World Kannada Summit took off here under the patronage of Naavika, the global Kannada organization.
Noted playwright, actor and Jnanapeetha Award winner Girish Karnad addressed the audience and extolled the non-resident Kannadigas to look at the notion of culture differently.
"Culture is not just about the past but more about the future. It is our ability to envisage what it means for our future and that of our children. So your actions today take on a significant meaning," said Karnad.
The City of Worcester, west of Boston, where the Summit is underway woke up on Saturday morning to the sound of drums, delegates dressed in Yakshagana costumes, Kannada flags and the red and yellow colors streaming everywhere. A grand parade at the start of the day representing various Kannada organizations from across US and Canada passing through the main streets of Worcester captured the locals' imagination.
Nearly 2000 Non-Resident Kannadigas have assembled here to celebrate their common heritage and shared traditions. While on one level, the gathering showcases the rich cultural tapestry of Karnataka, there were several underlying themes that could not be missed. Promoting Karnataka as an investment destination, building technology and innovation ties across the United States and India in general and Karnataka in particular, extolling the younger generation to see the benefits of their bi-cultural heritage - all these messages were on display subtly and not so subtly.
A ministerial delegation focused on the information technology and bio-technology industries was part of the contingent that came from Karnataka. So were young heartthrobs like Yash and Radhika Pandit and established ones like Mukhyamantri Chandru from the Sandalwood film world, besides folk troupes, renowned musicians, classical singers and others.
The stage was set on Friday afternoon with an engaging Business Forum helping entrepreneurs from across India and the US connect with each other. The purpose was to foster exchange of innovations, ideas and resources. The U.S. side was aptly represented by successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists like Desh Deshpande and B.V. Jagadeesh.
Addressing the group of entrepreneurs, Deshpande, a serial entrepreneur himself, said," an entrepreneur cannot slow down when faced with barriers. It is something she/he should expect all along. You have to just railroad through all obstacles and find a way to get things done if your venture has to succeed."
When the question of the role of government in promoting entrepreneurs came up, Deshpande remarked, "the government should not choose winners and losers. The government's job is to create the right eco-system and let many entrepreneurs play together."
Deshpande sits on President Obama's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is actively involved in promoting innovation in the United States.
The serious speeches of the morning gave way to fun, frolic, dancing and laughter as the evening wore on. Flutist Pravin Godkhindi enthralled the audience with his scintillating performance. Well-known Kathak artistes Nirupama and Rajendra captivated the crowd with their magical presentation. Known for their skill to fuse the ethnic with the modern genres of dance, one of their memorable renditions of the evening was an adaptation from an original Marathi composition. It seemed to symbolize a comment made earlier in the opening remarks by Girish Karnad that the diaspora community has to effectively meld their multiple identities to succeed, referring to their regional [Kannada, Marathi, etc] Indian as well as American identities. (Global India Newswire/American Bazaar Online)