Diwali pahat gets national and global audience

Diwali pahat, an integral part of city's Diwali tradition, has travelled beyond city borders and is being celebrated on a large scale in places like Mumbai, Indore and Hyderabad.

The early morning celebration through cultural programmes, poetry and dance was initiated by Tridal founder Satish Desai with an aim to promote togetherness on Diwali. "We tried to revive the essence of Diwali. The festival is not only about lights and crackers but also about culture and music," said Desai who has been organising the pahat since 1993. This year, the Diwali pahat by Desai and his team will be held at Ganesh Kala Krida, Swargate, on October 26. Veterans like Prashant Damle, Prasad Oak, Anand Ingale and Mrunmayee Deshpande are scheduled to perform.

The pahat in 1993 at N M V High School, Baji Rao Road, did not draw a large crowd. "We decided to discontinue due to the immense losses incurred in the first year. But after we shifted our venue to Balgandharva, J M Road, Diwali pahat became a big success," Desai added. The time slot has remain unchanged even after 18 years. "We did not want to intrude upon the time that people spend with their families in the evening," said Desai.

Indians in Chicago, London and Dubai are also all set to organise Diwali pahats this year. The Maharashtra Mandal in Chicago has invited some eminent artists from Pune for the same. "Cultural programmes are scheduled for the Diwali weekend in the United States," said Yuvraj Singh from Sarasbaug Mitra Mandal. Singh was instrumental in organising the first free Diwali pahat in 1996. "Sarasbaug Mitra Mandal did not want to restrict the early morning celebrations only to those who could afford it," Singh added. This year, Ketan Godbole and his team will enthrall the audience of Sarasbaug with Rang Barse, an hour-long dance performance. Subodh Bhave, Mukta Badve, Bhargavi Chirmule and Amrita Subhash will come together at the Yashwantrao Chavan auditorium, Kothrud, on October 26.

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