ceremony of the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial - Programme Note
Prime Minister, Sri RAJIV GANDHI, was assassinated in May 1991 at Sriperumbudur,
later, a splendid memorial in his memory was dedicated to the nation by
His Excellency, The President of India, Sri ABDUL KALAM on October 10,
from professionals in various disciplines, the landscaping, the monolithic
stone memorial with an inset portrait of Rajiv Gandhi in pietra dura and
the seven majestic pillars that encircle the memorial, invoke Indian craftsmanship
and design at its best.
ceremony was choreographed by ANITA RATNAM and involved school students
from Padma Seshadri, Sishya, students from city colleges, as well as sloka
students from the city's Vedapadasalai, members from Koothu-p-pattarai
and south Indian nadaswaram and conch artistes.
the national anthem by noted singer JAYASHREE RAMNATH, an interfaith prayer
was sung, followed by "bhoomi" slokas by the Vedapadasalai students. A
long citation on Rajiv Gandhi in Tamil, English and Hindi moved on to a
short speech on him. Students representing the seven pillars - the seven
ideals of humanity, Satya, Dharma, Nyaya, Vigyan, Tyaga, Shanthi and Samriddhi
- then spoke in English and Tamil of the qualities they upheld and embodied.
of India then formally dedicated the memorial to the nation, amidst the
sonorous blowing of the conch. After a short speech by him, another
group of students holding a red fabric, enacted the last walk of Rajiv
Gandhi, with pulsating drumming by the Thudumbu drummers from Koothu-p-pattarai.
Two students then ran around the arena holding aloft the national flag.
Jayashree Ramnath wrapped up the show with another rendition of the national
"It was a challenge
that sprung up unexpectedly. When Romi Chopra, a consultant who handles
major outdoor events first broached the subject, it was supposed to be
a very quiet and small affair. But then it became much larger with the
President of India accepting the invitation to open the memorial," acknowledged
Anita, while speaking about the project. "I was honoured to choreograph
the details for the ceremony but it was a real nightmare of logistics with
security detailing being the biggest one! We had only 5 days to rehearse
and I must say the students cooperated so well with the daily travel to
Sriperumbudur and the blistering heat to beat! We enjoyed it completely
and I'm sure it will remain a striking memory in the whole team's minds..."
and moving ceremony won appreciation from all the dignitaries present.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Ms Priyanka and Mr Rahul Gandhi were especially touched
and made it a point to meet the entire team and thank them individually,
followed by exclusive photo shoots with the group!