Wor­ship­ping God through ac­tion

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HE Raam Bha­jan, which is ded­i­cated to Lord Venkataswara, pa­tron de­ity of the Telegu peo­ple and whose abode is in the Thiru­mala Hills in Thiru­pati, has been brought to this coun­try by our fore­fa­thers from the vil­lages of Andhra Pradesh.

They came from Visakha­p­at­nam, Um­mal­ada, An­naka­palli, Gun­tur, Kak­i­nada, Voltaire, Yenkipalam, Dub­bu­palam and many other vil­lages.

They brought with them the rich Andhra cul­ture and tra­di­tion, the cuisine and the mu­sic.

The Raam Bha­jan per­formed in these vil­lages was one such fes­ti­val that to this day con­tin­ues to be cel­e­brated here in our own homes and tem­ples.

Sit­ting at the Dur­ban Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre on Satur­day and lis­ten­ing to the beau­ti­ful ren­di­tion of the Raam Bha­jans in praise of Lord Rama trans­ported me back to our own set­tle­ments where most Tel­ugu-speak­ing peo­ple resided.

Places like Pun­tans Hill, Ross­burgh, Stella Hill, Seav­iew, Mount Edge­combe, Illovo and Clair­wood.

The Raam Bha­jan was usu­ally per­formed dur­ing the month of Pur­tassi and in those days it used to be an all-night prayer from 6pm to 6am, but be­cause of se­cu­rity is­sues, these days it ends by mid­night.

Groups of peo­ple, usu­ally men, dance around a brass lamp with branches all lit up with lamps and dec­o­rated with marigold flow­ers.

This lamp is called the Bha­jan Chettu, and some fam­i­lies still possess and trea­sure this, as it was brought by their fore­fa­thers from their an­ces­tral vil­lages.

This year, in ad­di­tion to our lo­cal groups, it was good to see young­sters com­ing all the way from Gaut­eng, Coolaire Dal­ton and Mau­ri­tius, adding an in­ter­na­tional flavour to the fes­ti­val.

Praise must go to Lenny and Menon Naidoo and their team of ded­i­cated men and women who have worked tire­lessly since June 2016 to make this year’s fes­ti­val a re­sound­ing suc­cess.

Not for­get­ting the women who fried thou­sands of the tra­di­tional sweet of­fer­ings, which are com­monly called “Buru Mookulu” or “Woorun­der”.

They are a must at all Raam Bha­jans and an Andhra del­i­cacy.

We are for­tu­nate in this coun­try to have or­gan­i­sa­tions in all lin­guis­tic groups, who come hell or high wa­ter and will con­tinue to up­hold what was passed on by our an­ces­tors.

We must also support pub­li­ca­tions like POST, which I’m sure will con­tinue to re­port on the In­dian di­as­pora.

Women from the Eff­in­g­ham/Green­wood Park Andhra Sabha, from left: Nar­ish­nee Naidoo, Aariya Naidoo, Bash Naidoo, Sharminey Naidoo, Vivecca Naidoo and Pad­mini Naidu.

Mem­bers of the Mau­ri­tius Tel­ugu Maha Sabha.

Song­bird Vi­jay­luxmi Balakr­ishna and troupe.

For­mal­is­ing the cul­tural bond be­tween South Africa and Mau­ri­tius are from left, Mrs Latchayya, Lenny Naidoo, Shashank Vikram, Con­sul-Gen­eral of In­dia in Dur­ban, Har­ris Naidoo and Kr­ish Naidoo, pres­i­dent of the Andhra Maha Sabha of SA

New York bound Miss In­dia South Africa Supriya Soorju and Em­press In­dia South Africa Ruzelle Goven­der, who was crowned on Sun­day night at the Lyric The­atre, Jo­han­nes­burg.

The East Rand Raam Bha­jan Group.

Mem­bers of the Hari Narayana Bha­jana Mandi­ram.

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