Gujarat Reborn... In England!

Dr. Atul K. Shah
5 November 2001
Sansaar Gang

I hate gujarati school! Why do we need to speak Gujarati mum, when you can understand English? I wish we could laugh and have fun when we are learning our culture – it is all so serious! These are comments often heard from children, and parents give up on teaching Gujarati very easily. However, what I witnessed on Sunday 4th November was truly an event of a lifetime, which breaks all these taboos. A group of young professionals under the name of SANSAAR launched a new music CD of gujarati nursery rhymes and performed these on stage through colour, humour and entertaining modern music. ‘Geet-gamat’ is a unique addition to the UK gujarati cultural scene, and demonstrates the tremendous talent that we have here, so far away from our homeland in Gujarat.

In ‘Jambhubhai’s khetar’, an original composition of Sansaar, we have an opening song which makes us all laugh and sing various animal noises – a Gujarati version of ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’. ‘Nanu nanu sasalu’Enu  Naam Chhe Vimaan’, with the soft ‘Tara Dhima Dhima Aavo’, a close second. is a gentle song about a rabbit who keeps running around, and we keep chasing and trying to hold it and stroke it. The subjects of the songs are very simple and close to the hearts of children – animals, aeroplanes, horse-carts, butterflies, stars, balloons and dance. The music is diverse and easy to sing along to. My personal favourite was the aeroplane song, ‘

The lead singers Kaushik Khajuria, Tejal Potta and Rajvee Punatar are very well known in the Gujarati music scene in London and their voices add a unique touch. Both of them are parents and working professionals who are dedicated to the promotion of Gujarati culture amongst young children. Kiran has mixed and recorded the music in a very professional way.

I went to see the show with my family, and found myself dancing and singing along all throughout. The children were seated in front and really enjoyed being made to feel important. The adults in the show were acting like children throughout and the humour of the central characters Jambubhai and Jalebiben, with their lovely costumes, kept their eyes focused on stage all the time. The other adult characters included water-melon, cucumber, lemon and tomato – yummy! Although the organisers worked entirely voluntarily, the impression given was one of unique professionalism with an eye to every detail and a commitment to giving the audience the best experience. This show should tour around the whole country to Gujarati children (and parents!) everywhere – let them experience the joy our culture can give if a little humour, music and fun can be included in the packaging.

Sansaar’s young team are ambitious, not to make money but to modernise culture and make it accessible. In this project, they deserve the support of all Gujaratis, and I can easily see the CD becoming popular all over the world. The children have blessed this project with their smiles and their prayers. Now its up to us Gujaratis to turn those blessings into trees and forests of cultural renewal and replenishment so that identity is preserved and every soul gets unique nourishment to tackle any problem in life.

Jambu and Jalebi making fun of each other on stage.