43 Primary Schools Perform At 2019 Chowtaal Sammelan

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Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, March 20, 2019: If the surest sign of a thriving culture is the support and participation of younger generations, then last Saturday’s (March 16) Chowtaal Sammelan points to a very promising future for Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural heritage.

The Chowtaal Sammelan marks the start of the annual Republic Bank Baal Vikaas Vihaar which the Bank has hosted in partnership with the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) for the past 11 years.

Every year, the students of the SDMS’ 43 primary schools gather at the SDMS’ headquarters in St. Augustine, to perform Chowtaals before friends, loved ones and a panel of judges. The judges evaluate the performances based on a range of criteria including drama, dance, rhythm and the presentation and creativity of the costumes.

SDMS Chairman, Ramlogan Palloo explained that the Chowtaal Sammelan started in 2005, when the Secretary General of the SDMS, Shri Satnarayan Maharaj realised that the art form was slowly dying and anticipated that cultivating a love of the tradition among the country’s youth was the key to keeping it alive.

Today, the Chowtaal Sammelan is not only a mandatory activity for all schools of the SDMS, but also a rite of passage for the young students who eagerly participate in the Republic Bank Baal Vikaas Vihaar each year. With the official launch of the festival behind them, the students have now returned to the primary schools to focus on preparations for the Baal Vikaas preliminaries and finals which will take place in May and June respectively. In delivering remarks at the event, Republic Bank’s General Manager, Internal Audit, Ria Dass-Mungal described the Chowtaal Sammelan as a character building experience that “develops strong positive values and helps our young people to form deep and lasting connections to our history and culture.” She also shared the Bank’s pride at being “a part of something that preserves our traditions through the cultivation of the minds and talents of our children.”

March 28, 2019
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