A fort with watchtowers in one corner, a koli dance practice and a kabaddi match in progress — everything Maharashtrian is coming together on the Bhavan’s College campus in Andheri.
To celebrate 50 years of the state, the college’s annual intercollegiate cultural festival O2 is dedicated to Maharashtrian culture. “Our culture is so vibrant and varied but youngsters don’t know too much about it. This festival will promote our culture,” said Ritesh Shirodkar, the student head of O2. “Our theme is ‘Peaceful Maharashtra’ where we want to say that our state brings together people from various cultures.”
From the street play to the cuisine, everything in the three-day festival starting on December 13 will portray the state’s diverse culture.
“Apart from the replicating a typical Maharashtra fort, we also will have volunteers dress up in various Maharashtian attires such as clothes worn by kolis and adivasis. We will put up posters of Maharashtrian poets and sages,” said Vinit Vaidya, a coordinating faculty member.
The festival is in its fifth year and 50 colleges are expected to participate in it this year. The Bhavan’s trophy usually has top colleges vying for it. “This year the competitions will take on new flavour. For example, the elocution, which is usually in English, will now have popular state languages too such as Marathi and Gujarati,” said Jyothi Shirodkar, another coordinating faculty member. “The sports department has organised kabaddi and kho kho, both traditional games that have been played in the state for centuries, though for some reason Japan lays claim on kabaddi now.”
The festival also has a host of usual suspect events such as hip-hop and rock and roll competitions.
But do these festivals help students in any way? “It is a learning experience for students. They handle so many responsibilities. From getting sponsors to creatives and even cleaning up the college after the festival, students do everything from scratch,” said VI Katchi, principal of the college.