Divas connect, far from home - Biharis in Michigan celebrate state centenary with litti and nostalgia
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- Published 2.04.12
|Members of MIBIHAR and guests enjoy programme at St Paul’s Latvian Church in Farmington Hills, Michigan, on March 25. Telegraph pictures|
The camaraderie of Biharis crossed several boundaries as the state completed 100 years of existence.
A day after the people of Bihar converged at Gandhi Maidan from March 22 to 24, their counterparts in faraway Michigan gathered at St Paul’s Latvian Church in Farmington Hills, a northwestern suburb in Metro Detroit, to celebrate the centenary year of their homeland. Bihar Divas 2012 was organised in the United States by MIBIHAR — Friends of Bihar and Jharkhand in Michigan. Over 150 people took part in the event, which was organised on March 25.
The Bihari diaspora was treated to a variety of cultural events and delicious cuisine, including litti-chokha and malpua.
“Organising and participating in Bihar Divas gave us a feeling of immense pride and joy. We always try to promote Bihari culture and heritage among the people from the state settled in Michigan. Bihar Divas was the perfect occasion for the same. While everyone enjoyed the celebrations, the involvement and enthusiasm of youths was highly appreciable,” said Saurabh Kumar, a member of the organising committee of MIBIHAR.
The programme started with an informative audio-visual clip on the culture, heritage and development of the state. This was followed by lighting of the traditional lamp by Dr Anand Prasad, born in Buxar and a professor of internal medicine in the department of oncology at Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, and Jaldhar Prasad, born in Motihari and a retired civil engineer from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. “Both of them are among the first few Indians who settled in Michigan in the late 1950s,” said Saurabh.
The event saw a number of cultural programmes, including recital of the Bihar state prayer — Meri raftaar pe suraj ki kiran naaz kare — and the state anthem — Mere Bharat ke kanthhaar.The cultural programmes were followed by musical and dance performances. Chitra Sridhar, a professional Indian singer in Michigan, entertained the guests with Bollywood numbers. The event ended with a DJ dance.
“As all of us know Bihar was carved out of the Bengal presidency in 1912 by the British. And the state has completed the glorious journey of 100 years now, which gives the people of Bihar and Jharkhand a lot of pride. The programme was very well conducted and the food, especially the litti was a big hit,” said Rachna B. Kumar, another member of the organising committee of MIBIHAR.
The programme concluded with a vote of thanks by guest speakers — Dr Syed Taj, who was born in Gaya and is Michigan’s 11th district Congressional candidate, Mumtaz Haque, a native of Patna and a former teacher at Notre Dame Academy. Haque is also the producer-cum-host of Manoranjan — an Indian radio show in Michigan. Among others were Dr M. Omair, John Stewart, Murali Bheemanapalli and Sunil K. Choudhary from Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University, all of whom are scientists at University of Michigan working on Gangetic Dolphin Protection Initiative.
“It was a pleasure to attend the function. The decoration, songs and food were amazing. Litti chokha reminded us of our homeland. This was like a mini-Bihar,” said Abhai Bardaiyar, one of the participants and a native of the state.