Oman: Being away in a distant land, people miss their home, the festivals, festivities and the fun and frolic involved there. As our ancient wisdom says, culture is that which makes a human from an animal. It is our cultural roots that make us complete, shape our personality and give us our identity. Oman Amchigele Kutumb (OAK) was formed to bring together all Konkani speaking people in Oman to keep the cultural roots alive, and make the coming generation aware of the richness of the Konkani culture and heritage.
Keeping this in mind, the first Akhand Bhajan (Ekko) was conducted recently in Sri Krishna Temple, Darsait, Muscat. Nearly 500 Konkani speaking people living in different parts of Oman participated in this event. Few of them travelled from the neighboring United Arab Emirates too. Various groups took part in singing bhajans in their allotted schedule. The whole program was conducted in the traditional way as conducted in India. The well decorated lamp (akhand jyoti) stood tall in the midst of the hall. The images of Vithoba and Rukumai deities were adorned with colourful flowers including the fragrant Mangalore mallige. Special garlands made of gooseberries for the lamp and that of betel leaves for the deities were prepared by the skillful volunteers. All the participants, young and old, men, women and children joined in singing bhajans and some of them dancing to the rhythm around the decorated lamp. Authentic Konkani delicacies like jack fruit ghasshi, adgai and others were an attraction for the foodies.
Another highlight of the event was the inauguration of ‘Oman Amchigele Maadhyam’ – a newsletter for the Konkani speaking people in Oman. This newsletter which seems to be the first of its kind in the Gulf countries aims to showcase the talents, along with providing news and activities of its members. The first issue of the quarterly was inaugurated by the senior members of the Amchigele Kutumb along with Dr Samskrati Gulvady-Shenoy, Editor of Oman Amchigele Maadhyam. The first issue covers articles on the achievements of some prominent Konkani personalities of Oman. The activities and achievements of the members – be it academic, cultural or sports have also been highlighted.
What started as a small informal group of like-minded young bachelors to sing Bhajans in Muscat Temple over 20 years ago, has today grown into a bigger family with over 500 members. The young enthusiastic bachelors Anand Shanbhag, Srinivas Kini, Keshav Mallya, Manjunath Nayak, Ramakrishna Prabhu and Satish Kamath pioneered the idea of performing Bhajans in Muscat Temple two decades ago with the support of Mangaldas Kamath, Balkrishna Kamath. Over a period of time it was further strengthened by Prakash Shirur, Ganapati Pai, Mangesh Shanbhag and Sachin Kamath along with a group of enthusiastic youngsters who entered Oman a year back. Thus, the idea of Oman Amchigele Kutumb was mooted in early 2015 by way of performing Satyanarayana Puja. In order to take forward samoohikamchigele events, an informal team has been formed comprising of Balkrishn Kamath, Manjunath Nayak, Ramakrishna Prabhu, Mangaldas Kamath, Satish Kamath, Rajesh Kamath, Mangesh Shanbhag, Sunil Pai and Vasudev Pai along with some representation from young enthusiastic bachelors.
After successfully conducting the Satyanarayan Puja in early 2015, Akhand Bhajan was Kutumb’s second mega event. A fun-filled picnic is scheduled in the first week of February, and a cultural event during the second half of 2016 is planned to showcase the cultural talents of interested junior and senior amchis.
In this virtually connected era Oman Amchigele Kutumb is putting all efforts to connect the people in reality to experience, share and enhance comradeship.