After rain ruined garba events on the first few days of Navratri which began on October 1, several organisers have decided to host such nights till October 16. Garba nights are usually organised only during the nine-day period of Navratri festivities.
Bhupendra Patel, president of Gujarat Dyestuff Manufacturers’ Association, said, “This year, the committee had decided to host a Navratri event for families of our members, but due to heavy rain on October 6, we had to cancel the event. We have to reschedule it for October 11… it is not a commercial event and open only for our 1,400 members across Gujarat. We have rearranged the event with a project cost of Rs 13-14 lakh.”
Last month, The Indian Express had reported about a garba event in Bharuch, organised by Hindu and Muslim business partners, which had to be shelved after protests by the VHP and other saffron organisations. Referring to that episode, noted singer-performer Arvind Vegda added, “This year my first show in Bharuch got cancelled because right wing groups objected to a show organised by a trio of Muslim-Hindu developers… Later, I was to perform at Sabarmati Riverfront, but again it was cancelled, so I will be performing post-Navratri on October 15 for GDMA… Currently negotiations are on for a show on October 16 for a few community associations in the city. While, we incurred loss on the first few days of Navratri, we did not ask for money from organisers as garbas got cancelled due to rain. Instead, I will be performing between October 12 and 15. There is a trend of hosting ‘ratri after Navratri’ events right after the nine days of festive fervour, but these events are usually non-commercial and generally hosted by associations, families and clubs.”
Malay Shodhan, a city-based event organiser, said: “The first four nights were definitely affected and many events were rescheduled for October 11 and October 15. Traditionally, garba events are held on the festive occasion of sharad punam, which falls on October 16 this year. We had to reschedule a couple of Navratri events for this week, owing to rain playing spoilsport.”
The Gujarat Government’s Vibrant Navratri Garba held annually at GMDC grounds in Ahmedabad is, however, ending on Monday. N Srivastava, (IFS) MD and commissioner, TCGL(Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd) said, “We cannot extend Navratri celebrations as it is connected to rituals and traditions, but owing to heavy rain lashing the city, at least 3 days of Navratri were lost and the venue was closed.”
Garba singers from the state who travel to the United States for extended Navratri-Diwali bashes held there by the Gujarati diaspora also had to reschedule their plans, thanks to the extended Navratri events back home.
Popular garba singer Sanjay Oza said,”Three of my shows that had been cancelled owing to torrential rains in the first week of October… These have now been rescheduled between October 11 and 16. I was supposed to fly to the US after my last show on October 10, but I had to postpone my US plans to help put organiser who had to cancel grba events on the first few days. I will leave for the US after October 20.”