Ekal charity music concert: 100 Years of Bollywood

Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation presents 100 Years of Bollywood, a live audio visual musical journey Saturday, May 16, at 6 p.m., at Greenwich’s Central Middle School, 9 Indian Rock Lane.

This year, Ekal concert features well-known Indian singers, Milind Oak and his troupe of six classically trained singers who are performing all over USA to help raise funds for EKAL. The singers will draw from a repertoire of Indian songs from 1913 to 2015, demonstrating the long journey that Indian Music has had.

Indian movie songs or Bollywood songs are a staple of all Indian movies. They range from the classical types steeped in the ancients beats of India, to the typical bollywood songs with all the spicy beats of today. Even western fusion songs have their place in this music-loving film industry. The concert includes a delectable Indian dinner from Paradise Biryani along with heritage camp childcare.

This concert has been held for about five years in Connecticut. Every year, the Indian community from Connecticut gets together to organize a not-for-profit Charity Music concert show for EKAL. Ekal is a volunteer organization that strives to increase education levels in the rural villages of India where there is no access to even the most basic amneities like flowing water, education and healthcare.

The idea for Ekal India, was first conceived in the early 1980s by the late Dr. Rakesh Popli, a nuclear physics professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. He decided to leave this prestigious position to find a way to be of greater service to his country. By working with other intellectuals also interested in transforming rural India, Popli concluded that the most effective method was through the betterment of their education.

Due to the lack of accessible public government schools and pressing agricultural labor needs, the village children had very limited schooling options. Popli and his team pioneered the idea of the one-teacher school (OTC) in the Gumla District. Working with his wife, Mrs. Rama Popli, a primary education specialist, they developed the first syllabus for the Ekal school.

The Ekal Connecticut chapter started about two-three years ago, when a couple of friends had a small get-together. A small discussion led them to speak with the Ekal Vidyalayas and join up as volunteers. The friends realized that they could get their friends and family together and contribute in whichever small way they could. They were assigned the task of organizing the EKAL Indian music concert. “A small discussion led to this EKAL Connecticut Chapter,” said Hasit Parikh, a senior Ekal volunteer and resident of Trumbull. Today, there are as many as 30 families — husbands and wives who are involved with the EKAL Connecticut chapter volunteering time and money for a cause.

Platinum event sponsors are Manipal Foundation and Warshaw Capital, LLC. Supported by CAPI (CT Physician Association), HindiUSA, Wilton Hindu Temple, Norwalk Gurudwars, SAMAR, HSS-CT.

For tickets, at $20 adults, $10 children under 12, visit ekal.org. Cost includes concert, dinner and KIds Heritage Camp.

Information: Dr. Rakesh Shreedhar at [email protected], 203-354-2742, ekal.org or on Facebook: Ekal Connecticut.

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