United colours of Kannada deluge Belgaum

United colours of Kannada deluge Belgaum

The City had never witnessed, nor did the organisers expect, the veritable sea of humanity that joined the procession that began at Veera Soudha (the venue where Mahatma Gandhi presided over the 1924 Indian National Congress Session) to Belgaum Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS).

The mass procession which was launched by Home Minister R Ashoka began with pooja to State deity Bhuvaneshwari before taking her in a procession on the giant tusker Balarama, who has been carrying golden Howdah during the world Famous Mysore Dasara and has been a prime attraction in the City.

Though the organisers had stated that they had expected one lakh visitors, the number which stood on the streets of Belgaum braving the scorching sun had exceeded the number almost touched over 1.7 lakh.

As an event of strategic significance, the WKC is second in 87 years in Belgaum, the last being the 1924 session of the Indian National Congress. Right from 11 am when the procession began till 3 pm when it ended, traffic was off all along the route, making it the day of the pedestrians.

The official carrier for Dasara, Balarama, carried the howdah seated with the idol of Bhuvaneshwari giving a royal touch to the procession accompanied by two other elephants Krishna and Sudha. Mounted horses platoon of Mysore police, gaily decorated horses, women carrying 1001 ‘Kumbhas’ added colour to the procession.

Folk artistes in breathtaking costumes performing various traditional dances with impressive energy  - Chande, Dollu, Pooja Kunitha, Karadi Majalu thrilled the spectators with their their art. Their enthusiasm was infecious with people joining them in a improptu jig, while residents from buildings across the Congress Road, the first point of the procession showered flowers on the procession.

Even as pro-Kannada slogans echoed the skies of Belgaum, it was a fact that people spoke all the way in Marathi and displayed the bond between two languages as several Marathi-speaking people stood aside waving yellow and red colour flags, soaking in the festive atmosphere.

 "We have heard of and seen many events being conducted in different parts of the State, but the procession of such a stature and grandeur being staged during the World Kannada Conference (WKC) has set a new precedent of grand celebrations," said a Marathi speaker.

Be it septuagenarian Veerappa Melvanki, a retired teacher, or the teenagers who thronged the streets of Belgaum, all were left speechless by the range and diversity of presentations in the procession comprising the traditional dances by costumed artistes from across the Kannada land.

Kannada colour: An impressive procession was taken out to mark the inauguration of World Kannada Convention in Belgaum on Friday. dh PHOTO/ANAND bAKSHIMelvanki, from Neginhal village in Bailhongal taluk in the district, said he had never seen
such a grand procession or celebration, and remarked the WKC procession even surpassed the annual Mysore Dasara procession.

“I have attended many events during my teaching career and post-retirement, but this is mindboggling,” said Melvanki.

"I had never imagined that I could be witnessing it in my hometown. I have no words to express by happiness, but can only say it's altogether a new experience," said young Gopal Deshpande.

With his eyes shining, Krishna, a marketing professional, said “a dream has been realised.” A group of women, too shy to give out their names, trilled: “We can’t tell you how excited we are.”

For Pankaj, Rutuja and a clutch of other children accompanying their parents, elephant Balarama carrying the howdah was the highlight. “We have seen him only on television and photos, but seeing him from close is something else. We can’t wait to share this experience with our friends who are not present to enjoy it,” they bubbled.

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