Diversity of Indian languages and culture resonated in Singapore at the Prerna Awards function on January 21. Over 200 individuals took part in the competition organised by Singapore Language Organisation (SLO). Prerna Awards were given away in the competition where contestants were required to submit entries in Tamil, Hindi and Urdu under the theme ‘My Earth, My Responsibility’.
India’s High Commissioner to Singapore, Jawed Ashraf, who was the chief guest at the programme gave away the prizes to the competition winners.
Regional Language Centre auditorium served as the perfect place for the awards. Shardula Nogaja Cofounder of Global Hindi Foundation set the tone for the evening with her opening talk, “India is a Sangam (confluence) of many languages and cultures where people live peacefully among themselves. We take pride in ‘Unity in Diversity’ and we are promoting our rich and symbiotic Indian culture through proliferation of Indian languages.”
She took the audience on a sojourn of Indian languages as she recited couplet of the famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib as she shed light on the sweetness and delicacy of Urdu language.
Unko dekhe se jo aa jaati hai chehre pe raunak
Wo samajhte hain ke beemar ka haal achha hai
(As the glow imparts on my face on seeing her, she thinks that all is well)
Shardula quoted from the poem ‘Himalaya’ composed by great Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and spoke about the grandeur and magnificent scale of Hindi language reflected through high mountains of Himalaya.
Mere Nagpati, mere Vishaal, Saakar, Divya,Gaurav, Viraat
Paurush ke Punjibhhot Jwaal, Mere janni ke Him Kireet
Mere Bharat ke Divya Bhaal
(Our Nagpati (Himalayas) and Our Grandeur, Real, Mighty, Full of pride, Colossal,
Magnificent expression of Manhood, Crowning Glory of Snow, Lustrous forehead of my country India)
She spoke eloquently about the beauty of Tamil language reflected in the poems of Subramaniam Bharti.
Mamta Mandal, Founder of SLO said, “The objective of the programme is to create awareness about the rich, cultural and literary heritage that we share as a community while showcasing the upcoming talents in the field of writing, public speaking and poetry in Singapore. This is the first time a competition was held for Tamil, Hindi and Urdu on the same platform.”
The competition was held in three categories – poetry, storytelling and public speaking for three groups – for pupils aged 8-12 years, students aged 13-16 years, and for those over 16 years. Poetry recitation workshop and public speaking workshops were also conducted for the participants.
The Highly Enriched Personality award was given to Rahul Pareek in adult category, Saarthak Gupta in youth category and Mrudani Subramanian in children’s group. Prerna Best Diction awards went to Urdu participant from child age group Falak Usman, the best ideas on ‘My Earth and My Responsibility’ was won by Thaarun Thirumeninathan for Tamil story writing and the best creativity was won by Priya Jaykumar for her Tamil poem. The award for best speech was given to Rahul Pareek for Hindi.
A panel discussion was also organised during the programme. Aabid Surti, author, painter and founder of the Drop Dead Foundation was the keynote speaker who emphasized on individual action, collective impact and transparency in public speaking. Educationist and social activist Kumar Arunodaya, filmmaker, Brahmanand Singh, Marcus Lim and Candy Dell were among other panelists.