Ajit – Vivekananda Maitri Utsav: Khetri

Seminars and cultural programmes organized under ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ by Ramakrishna Mission, Khetri Rajasthan during July 29 – 31, 2022.

            The three-day programme was divided into seminars and talks delivered by experts well versed in the areas of history, culture, heritage, knowledge of museums (museology), traditional practices in water conservation in Rajasthan, the participation of the Shekhawati region in the freedom movement and most importantly the contribution of Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore to freedom movement and nationalism. Renowned speakers/ experts made presentations on the specific subjects allotted to them.

            The afternoons were devoted to various activities like exhibitions of Rajasthani architecture and heritage, conducting heritage walks through the ancient Havelis and Baolis of Khetri town.  In the evenings, professional cultural groups from various parts of Rajasthan such as Manganiyars and some groups even from Madhya Pradesh presented vignettes of traditional Rajasthani and other folk and classical instrumental music as well as traditional dance forms and vocal music.

            The early morning on the last day i.e., 31st July 2022 saw a traditional Rajasthani group rendering soulful devotional songs of Indian saints and poets against a breath-taking backdrop of Panna Talab [an age-old water harvesting structure constructed under the aegis of enlightened rulers of Khetri Riyasat]

            The 3 days programme including the cultural programs in the evenings was meticulously coordinated and organised. The above programmes were attended in a very enthusiastic manner by town people, local school and college students, teachers, various professionals and dignitaries. The chairperson of the Khetri Municipality, the local Sub-Divisional Magistrate, and the in charge of Khetri Police Station all attended the functions depending on their convenience.

            The AKAM celebration generated enthusiasm and inquisitiveness among school and college students, and teachers about the rich cultural heritage of the Shekhawati region in general and Khetri town in particular. The entire programme also highlighted and underscored the deep personal bonding which was established between Swami Vivekananda and Raja Ajit Singh of Khetri. In fact, the central theme of the 3 days ‘AKAM’ program was about highlighting this bonding which developed between Swami Vivekananda and Khetri town residents in general and Raja Ajit Singh of Khetri Riyasat in particular, towards the end of the nineteenth century and a few initial years of the twentieth century. The role of Khetri Riyasat and its enlightened king Raja Ajit Singh in making it possible for Swami Vivekananda to travel all the way to the USA for attending the World Parliament of Religion conference in Chicago, USA thereby helping India to become the undisputed spiritual leader of the entire world through the vision and dynamism of Swami Vivekananda is required to be remembered and saluted repeatedly.

            The message which was generated during these 3 days ‘AKAM’ festival in Khetri was transmitting this historical fact not only to the residents of Khetri town and the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, It was sending the clarion call of this unique bonding between the Raja[king] and the “Runk” [penniless sanyasi] to India and the world. It was this message which highlighted the role of Khetri, the people and its ruler in the spiritual upliftment and revolution of not only India but the entire world through the herculean efforts of a Yugacharya— Swami Vivekananda.

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