Bidar Utsav 2014

Bidar Utsav, the festival to honor the historic city, was celebrated with joy from February 1 to 3, and the numbers related to the festival were impressive. Over 200,000 people attended the three-day event, including dignitaries, members of the legislative assembly, and author Hellen Philon, who urged art lovers and civil society members to strive to protect the rich culture and monuments of the region. On February 1, Mr Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka, inaugurated the Bidar Utsav, promising to promote tourism in Bidar and release matching grant funds in light of the World Monuments Watch recognition.

Run Up
Bidar Utsav is a month-long event. The run-up included several programs, such as a career fair and a job fair. The Career Utsav had experts from 12 disciplines introduce students to various interesting courses and careers. Job Utsav provided a platform for employers to interview young people, select some for training, and distribute job letters on the spot. The cultural programs were organized for the last three days of the Utsav. In preparation, a team of senior officials and Utsav committee members visited villages to accord traditional welcomes to members of rural local bodies and women’s groups. They also went around to colleges to invite the youth to participate in the event.

Programs were held in several venues within the historic fort and outside. Cultural programs on the main stage included Indian pop music, folk music and dances, and performances by children. Indian pop stars like Mika Singh, Raghu Dixit, Javed Ali, Harshdeep Kaur, and Guru Kiran enthralled the audience with their songs. Teams also presented Indian classical music and dance, folk dances, and skits. Around 100 stalls were put up in the food court in front of the main stage where visitors enjoyed various flavors including fast food, Indian native cuisine, and Chinese dishes.

Bidar Utsav will be long remembered for the Mushayira, or Urdu poetry recital, organized on the second day. Big names in Indian Urdu poetry took part. They spoke of love, war, enlightenment, despair, and contemporary politics as a large gathering sat through the five-hour-long mushaira, cheering the writers and encouraging them to read loudly.

A photo exhibition was held in memory of Gulam Muntaqa, a senior photo-journalist who died in 2013. The exhibition featured over 300 pictures taken by Mr Muntaqa and his father Gulam Mustafa, a police photographer. The photos covered the history of the district for over a century, and Mr. Mustafa’s work included some photographs taken in the 1890s. In connection with the photo exhibition, around 22 artists from across the state produced oil paintings on canvas and water colors that were exhibited at the venue. The artists stayed in Bidar for four days and visited the monuments around the city.

Other popular activities included kid zone, a marathon, the inaugural procession, a calligraphy exhibition produced by members of a Women’s Self Help Group, and Mahila Utsav, a two day festival for women featuring cultural events and games. Multiple teams participated in Patang utsav, the kite festival, with the winning teams’ kites measuring 30 feet wide. Sporting events proved popular all around and included cricket, football, basketball, swimming, and tennis, as well as special sports event held for the physically disabled.