CHICAGO: As part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Midwest Punjabi Association (MPA) in collaboration with the Consulate General of India organized an event in Chicago on Sunday, 1 May 2022 to celebrate Vaisakhi and pay tribute to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
Consul General Amit Kumar delivering an inaugural address commended the organizers for the wonderful program and their unique initiative to throw light on the tragic event through writings and reflections of noted authors like Sardar Nanak Singh, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. He also spoke about the impact of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on the national freedom struggle with the public sentiment across the length and breadth of India turning decisively against the colonial rule.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, Village of Oak Brook President, Tom Daily, Mayor, Village of Schaumburg and Mayor Rodney Craig from Hanover Park town also joined as honored guests . r. Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, President, Midwest Punjabi Association talked briefly about the event
The program started with rendition of Gurbani Kirtan. The BAGC team presented through Gurudev Rabindranath’s poems and songs the admiration he had for the spirituality and fearless patriotism in Punjab, which culminated in the letter written by him returning the title Knighthood.
A major segment of the program was a presentation based on the Punjabi collection of poems Khooni Vaisakhi, written by Sardar Nanak Singh, who was present at the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre on 13 April, 1919, in Amritsar.
The poem was published in 1920, banned soon after, and was essentially lost for the next 60 years, when it was rediscovered. This segment featured a message from Ambassador (Retd) Navdeep Singh Suri, who is Nanak Singh’s grandson and has translated the poems into English. Four noted local Punjabi poets recited poems from – Khooni Vaisakhi – with a power point presentation in the backdrop.
The third segment featured a Kathak dance performance based on poem “Jallianwale Bagh mein Basant” written by noted Hindi poet, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. The final segment featured a poetry session with prominent poets of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.
The event was attended by 200+ people. At the initiative of the Consulate, several Indian American associations namely, the Federation of Indian Associations-1980; Bengali Association of Greater Chicago (BAGC), Punjabi Cultural Association, Michigan; Kalman de Ang Sang; Urdu Samaj of Chicago; Dramatech of America; Guru Ladho Re Seva Society, Wisconsin; Swera (Sikh Women Era); Saneevani4U; Indian American Association; Punjabi Americans Organization, Artists Association of North America also joined and contributed to the presentations made at this program.