Munroe Road Hindu School New Baal Vikaas Champions

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Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, June 18, 2019: The headquarters of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha came alive in a burst of song, dance and colour for the conclusion of the 34th annual Baal Vikaas Vihaar Festival on the weekend of June 8-9. Munroe Road Hindu School and Reform Hindu School scooped the first-place trophies for Group A and Group B respectively.

Republic Bank has supported the festival for a decade as part of its commitment to empowering youth through culture and the arts through the Bank’s Power to Make A Difference Programme.

Riah Dass-Mungal, Republic Bank’s General Manager, Internal Audit described the festival as “An experience that inspires positive qualities in our youth. Qualities that will serve them well in their studies, their other extra-curricular activities and adulthood”. She added “The opportunity to develop a close relationship with our history, our culture and the teachings that have been passed down to us, is one of the most important gifts that we can give to our young people. This is what Baal Vikaas has done for generations.”

Baal Vikaas began in March of this year with the Chowtaal Sammelan which included performances of seasonal festive folk songs, typically sung during the festival of Phagwa. The festival’s 43 participating schools then proceeded to the preliminary stage of the competition which was staged at various schools across the country from May 20-24. In the final stage of the competition the schools competed across a number of categories including the Chaalisa Test Piece; Gita Slokas; Folk Songs; Bhajan Singing; Dance; Classical Singing and Instrumental.

On the final day of competition Ramlogan Palloo, Chairman of the Baal Vikaas Committee described the festival as a must-see experience. He explained that the end of the experience was bitter-sweet because “Normally when festivals like this come to an end people cry because they don’t know if they will live to see another”. However, he also marvelled at the growth of the festival which he said is being noticed around the world.

Growing fame aside, it is undeniable that after 34 years of existence Baal Vikaas is a rite of passage that has now introduced generations of Trinidad and Tobagonians to important aspects of our history and culture, thereby ensuring that these traditions will continue to be enjoyed, by future generations.

June 24, 2019
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