When I first joined college, I was fascinated by the different societies working in unison towards their interests and goals. They were diverse in their field of work – some were building cool robots and racing cars, some were solely dedicated to being on the next season of India’s Got Talent with their immensely talented selves pursuing singing, dancing, acting, and whatnot. There were writing and other literary clubs, and some others which worked towards the organization of various events in the college. I was a starry-eyed fresher, impressed with the workings of the clubs and its super-talented members. I always wished to be a part of that world – you know, always on your toes, ready to work and contribute. When a certain society was recruiting new members, I instantly filled out the form with my fingers crossed. And after a rigorous interview, oh my luck – I got selected! My happiness knew no bounds. That society was SPIC MACAY.
What is SPIC MACAY?
To those who don’t know what SPIC MACAY is, let me break it down for you.
SPIC MACAY stands for the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth. SPIC MACAY is a non-political nationwide voluntary movement that organizes programmes of classical music and dance, folk arts, crafts, yoga, classical cinema screenings, heritage walks, etc inside the school and college campuses throughout the world to make students more aware about Indian and world heritage.
SPIC MACAY – Chapters
The movement has grown organically from a few inspired individuals, and therefore functions in a very decentralized manner. Volunteers at a particular place (institution, town, city) organize themselves into a chapter that meets regularly and conducts programmes and activities. Chapters and Sub-Chapters have their own independent office bearers who are responsible for the running of the chapter and encouraging the creativity and efforts of the volunteers.
Local Chapters and Sub-Chapters coordinate with their nearest City or State Chapters, to organize artiste circuits, funding etc. The State Chapters stay in touch with the center in Delhi through Central State Facilitators, based in Delhi. My college, too, has a SPIC MACAY chapter.
Vision and Mission
As the name suggests, the society works to not only promote but also imprint the Indian Culture amongst the youth who have been losing touch with it. The college’s SPIC MACAY chapter, with the support from the college administration, works for the same goals within the campus.
Events Organized by SPIC MACAY
This year, the SPIC MACAY society successfully organized 6 events, each of which was able to reinvigorate the audience, giving them a chance to experience the different aspects of Indian culture.
Sitar Performance Lecture – Demonstration
The esteemed sitarist Pandit Shubhendra Rao, ranked amongst the top soloists of India, was accompanied by tabla maestro Ustad Zuheb Ahmed Khan Saheb for the event. This event made the evening a soulful one for everyone with the mesmerizing performance on the sitar and tabla. The medley of the soul-stirring and rich sounds of the instruments left the audience in awe and wanting for more.
Chauu Dance Lecture – Demonstration
Chauu is a semi-classical Indian dance having its origins in the eastern Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. It aims at reciting the stories from the Hindu epics – the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and other Indian literature. As a part of the performance, bright fabrics, completed with heavy jewelry and embellished headgears with masks were showcased, which sent a wave of curiosity through the audience and introduced them to a new form of storytelling.
Movie Screening – Modern Times
The classic movie by the legendary silent filmmaker Sir Charlie Chaplin follows the life of a common man trying to live a peaceful life during the industrial revolution. Even though the movie follows a heavy plot, the magic of Charlie Chaplin slips through the scenes, making the audience burst into a series of laughter.
Rajasthani Folk Music Lecture-Demonstration
The Rajasthani Folk Music was performed by Anwar Khan Langa and his troupe. Music of Rajasthan has been influenced by the diversity of people in the state itself and follows traditions wherein the group of singers sit together with their instruments and sing, resulting mostly in jugalbandi. Anwar Khan Langa and his troupe performed famous tunes of Rajasthan, like Haji Re Bani Tu, Morni Baga Me and others. The jugalbandi between the vocalist and the Rajasthani instrument, Khartal, resulted in the audience singing to the tunes of famous Rajasthani Songs at the top of their lungs and tasting the culture of Rajasthan.
Movie Screening – Shatranj Ke Khiladi
The art and culture of Indian society bleed into creative fields of movies, theatre, and street plays. The famous movie by Satyajit Ray, “Shatranj Ke Khiladi’, was screened keeping in mind the same. With a storyline based on the times of British annexure of India, the movie gave the youth a chance to understand the living standards during those times. Not only that, but the rich story-line of the movie also gave the audience a chance to live the moments and taste a bit of 1850’s India.
Theatre Performance by Naya Theatre
Naya Theatre was founded by the famous Urdu and Hindi director, actor, poet and playwright Mr. Habib Tanvir. Naya theatre performed their play “Charandas Chor”, which revolves around the five vows taken by Charan Das, a thief, at the behest of his guru. While refusing to give up being a thief, he agrees to abstain from five different things, including telling a lie. Their performance made everyone laugh from time to time and the story left a lasting effect on everyone.
My experience as a member for a year has been wonderful. I get to have a first-hand experience of how events are organized, right from the selection of artists, to the arrangements, promotion and finally the execution on the final day. It has taught me the value of teamwork, and how we can rise from the ashes in times of crisis.
We get to learn about the different Indian art-forms. And as a bonus, we get to interact with the artists that perform. We have worked together as a team, and now SPIC MACAY is not just a society, but more like a family. All in all, my experience has been life-changing. I’m definitely a better person since joining the society