Navratri in India is renowned as a festival of dance and music. People from all walks of life come together to play ‘Garba’ and ‘Dandiya’ the traditional folk dance for nine nights with lot of fanfare.
While most people enjoy playing in the festival thoroughly there are certain sections in the society who are hesitant to be a part of the larger crowd. Dance lovers with hearing impairment often miss the festive fervour. “Most people with hearing impairment do not find it comfortable to play Garba with other people. They often get into an uncomfortable situation when the music stops and they continue dancing.,” said Alka Akolkar, President, Navratri Navyuvak Mandal for the Deaf (NMMD) .
Realising the difficulty that they undergo a group of four people with hearing impairment in 1992 started NMMD, This was initiated with the intention of providing a platform and comfortable ambience for them to dance their hearts out. Every year on ‘Dashera’ a full day program is organised exclusively for them.
This year NMMD celebrated their Silver Jubilee with participation from 500-600 deaf people. Adoring the traditional folk costumes they participated in the competitions exclusively organised by them. “Even though the individuals cannot hear the music, they understand the vibrations”, said Bhumika Akolkar, interpreter and daughter of Alka.
Alka herself is a passionate Garba dancer and looks forward to this event every year because she does not go to other Garba events. Apart from the dance activities the event also has different contests, games, competitions for the visitors to be a part of.
Each individual has the ability to bring out their passion in a way. Dance is one of the most powerful forms of expression which does not require any vocal language to be understood. Participants from various parts of the country have been coming together to be a part of this event not only for its dance but also for an opportunity to connect with like-minded people.
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The CSR Journal Team