By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 18 Nov: Nanhi Dunya ‘The International (Intercultural) Movement of Children and their Friends’ completed its 75 years on 17 November, 2021. Seventy-five years ago, on this day, Prof Lekh Raj Ulfat (founder) sowed the seeds of this movement with the intention of nurturing childhood and serve humanity. A week-long grand event is being celebrated to mark this huge accomplishment. The event began with Chief Guest Tarun Vijay, ex-editor of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Hindi weekly, Panchajanya, and former Rajya Sabha MP, lighting the lamp along with Kiran Goyal, the Chief Promoter of Nanhi Dunya Movement, Alok Ulfat, Chief Education Coordinator, and Vijay Goyal, member of Nanhi Dunya Community, and Satvika Goyal, grand-daughter of Prof Ulfat.
Tarun Vijay recalled his deep connection with Nanhi Dunya since childhood. He said, “It is here where my cultural training began, I learnt a lot from Prof Lekh Raj Ulfat.” After the cultural programme, he felt overwhelmed and said in his culminating address, “I am speechless. I have no words to describe how I am feeling. The Children have given a mesmerising performance. “I wish to take this performance to the Prime Minister.”
Despite having met with an accident, he still came to attend the event. Kiran Goyal, expressing her gratitude in the concluding speech, said, “In the process of developing Nanhi Dunya, the support and participation from all corners of society are welcome.” Alok Ulfat remembered his parents and said, “My father’s dream of contributing towards the deprived section of society has come true and we need to carry it forward.”
One of the members of Nanhi Dunya Trust, Ramesh Sharma, a renowned Gandhian, added, “If we need to keep the spirit of diversity and transformation alive, we need to nurture little worlds (Nanhi Dunya) of the youth and children.” Words of blessings, appreciation, and support have poured in from the Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu, Governor of Uttarakhand Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh (Retd), and governors of many other states, as well as friends and supporters from various parts of the world.
The colourful cultural programme began on 17 November with the performance of an inspirational song by Alok Ulfat, ‘Chalo Chale’, performed by the children from Nanhi Dunya – Vikas Nagar and Inder Road. The meaning of the song inspires everyone to build and create together. The song is now an anthem for another Nanhi Dunya event – the intercultural festival called Rang Himalaya.
These children later energetically performed the song ‘We are the World’ in the hope of a united world. The Children of Nanhi Dunya from the age of 7 to 17 under the guidance of Satvika Goyal performed a medley of 20 folk dances from different cultures of the world. Some of them, also under the leadership of Satvika Goyal, have been part of the team that represented India in Brave Kids – an international cultural festival for children in Poland for two years. Satvika Goyal has studied at Nanhi Dunya and now serves as Chief Communications and Outreach Coordinator. The cultural performances ended with Ojasya Soham Ulfat’s performance of his song, ‘Running Along with the Sky’. This song, sung by Ojasya, with lyrics & composition by Alok Ulfat, Guitar by Sangeet Charles, and Vipul Mohriyal, Programming & Sound engineering by Shubham Sahota, was released on this special day. Prof Ulfat’s grandson Ojasya, while talking about his song, said, “In an attempt to gift a song to the Himalayan Mountains, I received a gift, instead, in the form of this song from the mountains. This song is an outcome of inspirations and impressions I got from my memorable visits into the mountains, its people and cultures.” This also marked the release of his song on an online (YouTube) platform. Finally, before the ending addresses, a book on Nanhi Dunya was also released by Chief Guest Tarun Vijay, which is designed by Gunjan Sethi, a volunteer of Nanhi Dunya, under the guidance of Alok Ulfat. The Rainbow Platinum Jubilee celebrations began on 15 November evening in Dehradun with an enriching poetry session held at Nanhi Dunya Motherhouse, Inder Road. The insightful poets were Dr Ram Vinay Singh, Shahadabmashhadi, Rakesh Jain, Mira Naveli, Subodh Bajpayee, Danish Raja Dehalvi. Very prominent members of the city attended the poetry recital. The Chief Guest was Dr Harak Singh Rawat, State Cabinet Minister. He told very insightful stories while keeping his presentation directed towards children present. Dr Rawat said, “The sound ‘Nanhi Dunya’ touches the heart. Nanhi Dunya reminds me of my childhood and many wonderful heartfelt stories of my childhood and college days.” As a ritual, like every year, some members of the Nanhi Dunya community, children, teachers, and volunteers walked across the ‘Rispana gutter’ (which was once a river). Normally, over 100 children and other members of Nanhi Dunya walk together each year, singing songs, sharing stories, dreaming for an interdependent and interconnected future. This year, a small group of Nanhi Dunya community members walked on 16 November and fulfilled the ritual. On the same day, at 10 a.m., the same group gathered to perform Hawan. Later in the day, a play ‘RED & BLUE’ by Abhinav Goyal, directed by Dr Suwarn Rawat, actors Prerna Bhalla, Aarti, Aadeep, was performed for the children and other members. Nanhi Dunya movement was founded in 1946 by Prof Lekh Raj Ulfat (1920-1991) with 8 children listening to stories and playing games sitting under a tree in Dehradun. In 1953, he was joined by his wife, Harbans Sadhana Ulfat (19252001). Together with their colleagues, they attended to people’s greatest needs and strove to expand this movement. Soon, many activities and new centres started to emerge. These centres serve as schools, as well as recreation centres, and centres for ongoing learning through workshops for women and young people (including those with special needs). There are 1200 beneficiaries attending these centres between the ages of 3 and 16. Nanhi Dunya began with the intention of contributing to a peaceful, sustainable, and integrated world, where all living beings can live and grow in universal harmony. Members of the Nanhi Dunya community who were present during the event were Alok Jain, Chhaya Sharma, Rohit Shukla, Mr and Mrs Ashish Jain, Kanta Oberoi, Dr Rahul Sachan, Danuta (from Poland), Yogendra Kumar, other volunteers (Shubham, Himanshu, Diya, Surya Prakash, Atul Yadav, Prakash, Raman Rawat), teachers (Rekha, Kavita, Bhavna, Babita), old students of Nanhi Dunya, educationists and social workers. The show was hosted by Manu Ahuja. The tireless efforts and precious contributions of Nanhi Dunya for the last 75 years need to be supported. Covid precautions were duly taken and all the participants followed the pandemic rules properly. Nanhi Dunya’s message continues to inspire – ‘Let us Live to Serve the Child’; ‘Each Child Matters’.