Tag: Stage Performances

Soul Curry

Soul Curry

The 19th century English Composer Frederick Delius said, "Music is an outburst of the soul." Last week hundreds of music lovers from Thane experienced this outburst first hand. Like in the past, the 12th Padmashree Nataraj Gopikrishna Mahotsav held last Friday and Saturday at the Gadkari Rangayatan was an absolute treat for lovers of Indian classical music. Right from the start, the energy of the show touched the soul of those present. The inaugural performance was a Kathak performance by Sonia Parchure. The conventional Kathak performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax and finishing in a statuesque pose. Each time she ended a dance sequence in the dramatic climax that is the hallmark of Kathak, the audience broke into a deafening applause. The perfect synchronicity between the musical beats and the dancer’s steps gave an impression of an invisible connection between the musicians’ fingers and the dancer’s ghungroos (ankle bracelets) even as "once-more" requests for the tukdas and todas echoed in the auditorium.

Later, a jugalbandi (duet) between two stalwarts, namely Pandit Mukundraj Deo (Tabla) and Pandit Bhavani Shankar (Pakhwaj) stole the show. Before starting the jugalbandi, Pt Deo said, "We don’t have the benefit of a single rehearsal before the show and so whatever we will offer today is akin to a fresh recipe that has never been tried before. I can assure you that just like in the case of food you will enjoy freshness of the spontaneity of our recipe a lot more than staleness that comes from endless rehearsals preceding the show." True to his promise, what followed was a giant of a performance where both he and Pt Bhavani Shankar mesmerised the audiences with their mastery of the instruments. There were so many in the audience who were literally at the edge of their seats, humming wah-wahs in spite the show going on way past midnight. In the cool winter night, the show was indeed like a fresh, hot curry for the soul.

Expressions of Love

Expressions of Love

Love and music are inseparable twins. Love is expressed best through music. Likewise, one of music’s biggest sources of inspiration is love. Last Saturday, about 60 students of Indian classical music experienced the awesome combination of love and music at a programme organised by the city-based group called Music Circle.

Renowned classical singer Rajashree Pathak was accompanied by tabla maestro P Mukundraj Deo in her rendition of thumri, which is a rich form of classical music that is romantic and devotional in nature, and usually revolves around a girl’s love for Lord Krishna. Pathak, who is a disciple of the legendary queen of thumri Shobha Gurtu, filled the air with the sounds of love like only an accomplished singer like her can. The students benefited immensely as they got the opportunity to learn the finer nuances of thumri.

Thumri Programme by Music Circle

While on stage, Pathak narrated what she called one of her fondest memories on stage. She was playing tanpura at a concert organised by the Indian Music Group. The two performers that day were her guru Shobha Gurtu from Banaras Gharana and Nirmala Arun, mother of the actor Govinda, who was also a renowned thumri singer from Patiala Gharana. Their jugalbandi (duet) was accompanied by the tabla maestros Ustad Nizamuddin Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussain. “This event took place 25 years ago, but remains fresh in my memory. Even today I am spellbound by the reminiscence of that performance,” she said.

The 85-member strong Music Circle is run by senior students of Shri Ganesh Nritya Kala Mandir, where they learn performing arts like tabla, classical dance, or classical music. All programmes are managed by the member students, who organise one programme every three months or so. The group was formally inaugurated on 10 July 2005 at the hands of a veteran of Indian classical music, Lalaji Desai.

The idea behind Music Circle is to close the gap between the performing artists and the audience. In early days, the audience, often comprising students of music, interacted closely with the performers. But in these days of commercialisation of classical music, the artists perform on stage and have very little, if any, direct interaction with the audiences. “I felt that genuine lovers of the art should get an opportunity to closely observe, and learn from, performers who are talented but often unknown,” said Pt Mukundraj Deo, who is also the founder of the group. Deo is of the opinion that it is imperative for a student of any art to have a profound understanding of the art. “How can one render the highly expressive thumri unless you grasp its essence?” he asks.

Women of Culture

Talking about music, a group of women from Jai Ganaraj Society located in Ramchandra Nagar, Thane, were so disappointed with the remix and pop culture that has inundated our social and community gatherings that they decided to do something to preserve Indian culture.

Preserving Indian Culture

Instead of playing the routine remixed music at the annual social gathering that took place in their society, these women prepared and presented a cultural programme called “Maharashtrachi Lokdhara”, which showcased Maharashtra’s rich cultural tradition, its historical backgrounds, literature, music and art. The audience loved the programme and soon the word spread outside. In no time they began to get invitations to perform at other community events. Since then they have already given as many as 10 performances in Thane and Mulund.

The one-hour programme, which starts with Ganesh Vandana, depicts household activities of women in rural areas. Folk songs and folk dances like powada, mangla gaur, lavni, koli, dindi, and many more are staged.

The 12 women, most of who are aged more than 50 years, manage to find time to practise regularly in spite of their domestic chores or employment duties. That they don’t charge for their shows tells a lot about their dedication towards their cause of preserving Indian culture.

Dance of the Gods

Dance of the Gods

Dance is a form of communication that brings out the innermost feelings. Indian classical dances are in fact dances of the mind and soul, more than of the body. Its exponents believe that it is an art form that has descended from heaven to earth. In fact Lord Shiva’s Nataraj pose speaks volumes about the role of classical dance in India.

No wonder then that on Monday 27 June 2005, the Gadkari Rangayatan was packed with 800-odd dance lovers from Thane who had come to watch a programme on Indian classical dance. The programme, titled "Akaar Mahotsav", focussed on the importance of technique in Indian classical dances like Kathak and Bharatnatyam. The programme started at 8.30 pm and went on for three hours during which a number of dance items enthralled the audience.

The programme was organised by Payal Nrutyaniketan, a classical dance academy in Thane, to celebrate its annual day with a theme that pays respect to Indian Classical Dance. The founder of Payal Nrutyaniketan, Poonam Murdeshwar, a Kathak and Bharatntyam exponent, has been teaching Kathak and Bharatnatyam to students in Thane for 35 years now, insists that dance is more than just artistic gestures of the body. According to Murdeshwar, it takes years to master the techniques of the various aspects of classical dance, including the utterance of dance syllables, which is as importance as the gestures. Facial expression is another important aspect of Indian classical dance that has to be mastered by students who wish to perfect the art.

It was these details that Monday’s programme tried to bring out when many of Murdeshwar’s erstwhile students performed dance numbers to an audience that kept shouting "once more" requests. Murdeshwar’s daughter Tammanna, herself a Kathak and Bharatnatyam expert, performed an item based on old film songs along with choreographer Mayur Vaidya, also her ex-student. She also did a pure Kathak number based on Hridayanath Mangeshkar’s famous Marathi song, "Tu Tehwa Tassi" along with Angad Maskar.

Murdeshwar, who has taught more than a 1000 students, learnt her art from such distinguished dance teachers as Gopikrishna, Dr Rajkumar Ketkar, Raj Rajeshwari, Madhumati and Vaishali. And her daughter Tammanna is continuing her legacy of dance. She too has learnt both dance forms and now helps her mother in teaching students.

So what made her choose a theme of technique? Murdeshwar is a firm believer of pure art form. According to her, "Once you master Indian classical dances, you will find you can very easily learn perform western dances too. Though, the opposite is not true." Even western culture has classical dances that are equally good, but unfortunately today’s generation is exposed to western pop and rock influences, she reveals. What is heartening though is that youngsters in Thane are enthusiastic about learning classical dances – a trend that’s healthy from the cultural viewpoint because Indian classical dance is not just about dance – it’s also about inculcating the Indian value system.

Gender Bender

Gender Bender

Nurturing any kind of gender bias is detrimental to the health of the society. On the other  hand, promoting gender equality in any sphere is a sign of an unbiased, forward-looking society. According to Kofi Annan, the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations and 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner, "Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance".

Last week Thane took yet another positive step in the direction of endorsing gender equality when city residents thronged the Gadkari Ranagaytan to attend a unique all-women’s musical orchestra. Organised by city based arts institution called "Onjal", it was first all-women orchestra to be organised in Maharshatra and the response of the audience attested to its success.

25 women from Thane participated in the orchestra that was based on memorable Marathi songs from yesteryears rendered by the two living legends of Indian Music, Lata Manageshkar and Asha Bhosle. Evergreen numbers such as "Kehva tari pahate", "Sanj ye gokuli" and many others were among the two dozen or so songs that the women performed to a packed auditorium which included celebrities such as Ramesh Deo and Ashok Hande. It was amazing to see a troupe comprising entirely of women – from the host and instrument players to singers and dancers – every one on the stage was a woman.
 
The script of the orchestra was carefully researched and before every song was performed, the host of the show (also a woman) revealed its history. While some songs were the results of accidents, others were so challenging that they took days and sometimes weeks to complete. There was also a one-act play by small girl called Bhairavi Goregaonkar.

It is said that behind every successful man is a woman. Seem like the opposite is also true – at least as far is this orchestra is concerned. So, although the stage was adorned entirely by women, the concept, direction, script and production was handled by men.   Mandar Tillu conceived and directed the show while Amish Kondra arranged the music. The famous Marathi scriptwriter Shirish Latkar penned the script while Balkrishna Hodekar was the executive producer. Asked why a show like this was organised, Devendra Goregaonkar, who is on the advisory committee of Onjal, said, "Usually in an orchestra, women only sing or dance. But there are women who play musical instruments and we wanted to give them a platform to demonstrate their skills. Playing the tunes of songs sung by legends like Lata and Asha requires a certain level of competency, which these women successfully demonstrated."

In his post-show speech, Ashok Hande, chief guest of the evening said, "Thane has always been the cultural hub of Maharashtra, and has given a lot to Marathi theatre. Such innovative shows can happen only in Thane." Ramesh Deo, the veteran actor who inaugurated the show, praised the all-woman troupe saying, "They have done well in a field dominated by men. My prediction is that this orchestra will go places, even across the seven seas." Such encouragement from prominent and respected individuals is sure to take the orchestra places – and with it, perhaps the reputation of Thane as a culturally rich society that respects women and men equally.

The Women Tribe

The Women Tribe

On March 07, about 40 tribal women from Yeoor and their children thoroughly enjoyed their evening playing games and having fun. They were participating in the programme specially organised for them by city-based NGO Sevadham on the eve of International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrated on March 08. The special guest of the evening was Suhasini Joshi, the famous film and TV actress who lives in Thane. Joshi was an apt choice for the programme celebrating women’s day because she is easily one of the more recognisable women achievers from the city. So much so that even the tribal women and their children instantly recognised "that famous face" they have seen on TV so many times, and were rather excited to have her among them.

Most tribal women are uneducated and would hardly understand the significance of women’s day. The fact that they played games with each other was also a rare phenomenon, because the tribal women normally do not mix with each other socially. The idea behind the programme was to bring together these tribal women and help them understand their role in their community. Sensing that this happy interaction between the women might not last after the programme, Joshi said, "You look so happy today. So why stop at this one day? Even after we leave, you must come together once in a while and organise such programmes." She asked the women how many were educated among them and told those who raised their hands to spread the knowledge by teaching others in their community.

The tribal women didn’t just play – they played to win. Prizes were given away to the top three winners in every game played. Besides, Sevadham’s partner in this effort, the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills, distributed useful items to the women and children. Bananas, Chikoos, Biscuits, Blouse pieces, and notebooks for children were among the things provided.

Savitri, one of the rare among the tribal women because of her education, came forward to thank the organisers on behalf of the entire community. She said in her tribal dialect, "We are obliged to have your patronage and support, year after year and we sincerely thank you for the same." The response of the tribeswomen to the programme shows that IWD’s ultimate objective of promoting equality and empowering women will be achieved only when women from the secluded communities begin to understand their role in the society – not by paying mere lip-service to women’s rights at seminar and functions.

A Dance Dessert
On Sunday morning, at 10 am, 300 people sat enthralled at Vasantrao Naik Hall as the trio of Mother, son and daughter-in-law, all accomplished performers, got together with a few other experts and presented an unforgettable show. The occasion was the annual day show of the Brahaman Vidyalaya branch of the reputed Shree Ganesh Nritya Kala Mandir.

First, sixty students of Kathak, aged four to thirty, presented their shows on the different aspects of Kathak. Then came the power packed performance of Manali Deo, who is the chief coordinator of the academy’s Thane branch. Manali was supported by her husband Pandit Mukund Raj Deo on tabla, and her mom-in-law and guru, Manjiri Deo who accompanied her on padhant. Vocals were by Padmakar Despande, while Atul Phadke played the harmonium. Those present described Manali’s performance as breathtaking. With Shivratri around the corner, she started with Shiv Vandana, a devotional song, in honour of Lord Shiva. Later she performed pure Katkak, which, in the dance parlance, is known as "taal-teel-taal". She concluded her performance with a thumri, a special dance form that conveys various emotions uses expressions and gestures.

For Kathak lovers, the performance of the students followed by their teacher’s show was like a full course royal meal, which ended with a scrumptious dessert. But then Sunday meals are never ordinary affairs.

An Encouraging Act

An Encouraging Act

Doing well in life is part hard work, part talent and part opportunity. Ask winners of the third one-act play competition organised by Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). The contestants of the competition would agree that being at the right place at the right time made all the difference.

Titled "Thane Mahapour Karandak Ekankika Spardha", (Thane Mayor’s Trophy for one-act play), the competition saw participation by 40 teams from Thane and neighbouring suburbs. The preliminary round was held on January 31 and February 01, from which 16 teams qualified for the final round, which was held on 14 and 15 February at the Gadkari Rangayatan. Each act last for approximately 45 minutes and the performances of the teams, which comprised of budding actors, impressed the audience and the judges alike.

For those who are not familiar with what a one-act play is, it is the theatre equivalent of a short story or film – the scope of its plot and theme is limited. A typical one-act script follows a small cast of characters dealing with a specific set of circumstances through a brief period of time. It has all the conventional elements of theme, plot, character, and dialogue. It tells a story, albeit a short one, has a definite beginning, middle, and end, and shows significant change or growth in the main character. An audience invests less of their time viewing a one-act play, so scripts can be more adventurous in subject and far more flexible in form.

The judges for the final round were Charusheela Sable Vachani, Film and TV personality and wife of Late Ajit Vachani, screen and threatre writer Ashok Patawde and Theatre Director Ravinder Divekar. TV Actress Smriti Irani and Vinayak Raut, Shiv Sena’s Sampark Pramukh for Thane city, were the chief guests at the prize distribution ceremony, which was held on the evening of February 15 at Rangayatan. Other dignitaries present at the event included Prakash Paranjpe, Sanjay Kelkar and Prabhakar Sawant.  

The first prize, which comprised of Rs 10,000 and the Mayor’s Trophy went to the play titled "The Model" organised by Kala Abhiyan from Thane. Hemangi Kavi, Nilesh Bhare and Janardhan Jadhav, won the best actress, actor and writer awards respectively for the act. The second prize of Rs 7501 went to the act titled "Aamhi Ekankika Shodhta Hai" by a theatre group in Mumbai called Sheov. "Kalki" by Savendana Parivar in Mumbai won the third prize worth Rs 5001.

Smriti Irani, in her address during the prize distribution ceremony, said that she was impressed by the quality of talent that we had in our country. She applauded the efforts of TMC is providing a platform to the promising stage artists via such competitions and also appreciated the enthusiasm of the people of Thane for turning up in such large numbers. She advised the artists to remain dedicated to their art as that was the key to success. Irani wasn’t the only one impressed. Prakash Paranjpe said that TMC’s primary role might be of providing civic facilities, but it is its moral responsibility to promote culture, which is akin to taking care of not just the physical but also the mental health of the city. He also liked the idea of organising the event at Rangayatan, which is a good omen for an upcoming actor who is presenting his or her first major performance in front of the public.  

The one-act play competition is a wonderful grooming ground for local talent. It is an opportunity for up-and-coming acting talent to present their work in public and to have it adjudicated in public. The contestants compete not only for prizes but also for a chance to go to the bigger league: professional theatre, television and films.

There’s room for learning

There’s room for learning

It’s exam time and though temperatures have been lower than normal, the anxiety level among students is registering an increase. Exam preparation is now in full swing and at such times, what students need the most is their own space, where they are free from all kinds of distractions – which, unfortunately, is rarely found in urban homes where real estate is measured in square foot. But there’s good news for students of Thane because the TMC Education Department, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Thane MidTown (RCTM) is opening the doors of a 24/7 study room especially for them.

Located in TMC school No. 12, which is situated opposite Town Hall at Tembhi Naka, the study room has a capacity of about 75 students at a time. Access to the study room will be free but students will require ID cards, which will be issued by the TMC education department on February 07, 2005. They can obtain application forms through their schools.

The study room is an extension of the Reference Library for teachers situated in the same school. The reference library was opened for teachers of primary and secondary schools on October 29, 2004. It was inaugurated by Ex-principal of Dynansadhana College, Dawood Dalvi along with Chitamani Karkhanis, who was the chief of the education department of TMC at the time.

Speaking on the timing of the study room’s launch, President of RCTM Anant Gadre said, "We wanted to open the study room in time for those students who are appearing for their board exams. We hope the facility will be utilised optimally by the students." After judging the response to the new facility study room, TMC and RCTM plan to open many more study rooms across the city of Thane, which are certain to reduce anxiety levels in students. Don’t be surprised then, if you see a marked increase in the performance of city students at board exams this year.

Airy Praise
It is believed that artists and creative people require appreciation more than oxygen to survive. If that’s right, then Thane’s very own Tabla Maestro, Mukund Raj Deo, received the equivalent of a few gallons of fresh oxygen recently, after his splendid jugalbandi (duet performance) with another Thaneite, young Rashmin Bhagwat. At the recently held 85th All India Marathi Natya Sammelan organised by Akhil Bhartitya Marathi Natya Parishad, at Dombivli, which was inaugurated by none other than Big B Amitabh Bachchan, this year’s programme president, Suresh Khare offered a remarkable eulogy to Deo. Khare, who, along with the rest of the audience, was so spellbound by the Deo’s mastery over tabla that he said, "When you play the tabla, the beats don’t sound like beats at all – they seem to speak a language of their own." The words were like a breath of fresh air for Deo, who filled in his artistic lungs with it and his chest swelled with pride.

When the soul dances

When the soul dances

The evening of December 3rd was, in many ways, an unforgettable one for lovers of classical dance. The Gadkari Rangayatan, which staged the 11th Padmashree Nataraj Gopikrishna Sangeet Mahotsav, was jam packed with Kathak enthusiasts.
 
City-based Shree Ganesh Cultural Academy organises this annual programme in recognition of Dance Master Gopikrishna’s immeasurable contribution to the art of classical dance. Manjiri Deo, veteran dance teacher from Thane, who founded the Academy, was a student of Gopikrishna. Last Friday, when she performed on stage, she deliberately chose steps and moves that the great master had taught her. So enthralled was the audience with Deo’s performance that several times the auditorium resonated with requests of "once more".

When 68-year-old Asha Joglekar was awarded the lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the field of dance, Manjiri Deo’s husband, Sriram Sripad Deo, who hosted the programme, requested his wife to present the award. But Deo’s response was, "I am too insignificant in the presence of my Guru (Asha Joglekar) and I don’t think I am worthy of presenting an award to her." Joglelar, in turn, said in her speech that she would have been honoured to receive the award at the hands of one of her most talented students (referring to Manjiri Deo). It is this humility that is the mark of great individuals.

The evening was an unforgettable experience for lovers of classical dance from Thane. And why not, it was Indian culture at its best.
 
Go get it!
Here is an update on the National Science Congress, where students from Thane have often outperformed the others. Once again this year, our city is set to make a powerful impression at the national round of the Children’s Science Congress. As many as four projects, have reached the ultimate round – the highest from any one city. A remarkable achievement considering that there were a total of 800 entries from all over Maharashtra, out of which only 30 will represent the state at the national round, to be held in Guwahati between 27 and 31 December 2004. As usual, President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is scheduled to inaugurate the event.
 
Another unique aspect of this year’s congress is that for the very first time the Municipal Corporation Schools from Thane participated and one of the four projects selected for the national round is from TMC School No. 2. The project, titled " Ice Candy – The health Hazard" and guided by Sushama Rege, analyses the quality of water used to make ice by vendors of ice candy.
 
What’s more, Thane District coordinator Mrs. Sandhya Dharde, a teacher from Smt. Savartividevi Tharni High School, Vartak Nagar, has been chosen for The Best Performance Award.
 
Thane based Jidnyasa Trust, which is State Coordinator of National Children Science Congress for Maharashtra actively supported all projects from Thane. Surendra Dighe, Managing Trustee of Jidnyasa says, "We got valuable support from TMC’s Education Department and the Pollution Control laboratory, which testes water samples and provides results promptly. Of course, there were many individuals too, from schools, colleges and other organisations whose support made this possible."
 
That the students of Thane are bright is a known fact. Time and again, they prove their mettle against the best brains in the country. Let’s all wish the participants all the very best for Guwahati. Go get it!

This happens only in Thane

This happens only in Thane

When Bal Suranchi Mehfil gave their first performance in the last week of May, nobody had anticipated that the all-child orchestra will be received so well. Today, the group is receiving invitations to perform not just from around Thane and Mumbai but from cities all over Maharashtra – Pune, Nasik, and Ratnagiri to name a few. The orchestra is unique because it has 60 child artists from Thane city, aged between five and 15 years, working in harmony, to pack a three-hour entertainment programme with Marathi folk songs, modern songs (including film numbers), traditional folk dances like lavani, solo-act plays, and more. There are seven singers, 35 dancers, 2 mono-actors, and 16 instrument-players in the orchestra. The show is directed by Professor Mandar Tillu and the music is arranged by Amish Kondra. The child-orchestra is an initiative of Thane Bal Samvedana, an organisation for children in the field of performing arts and culture.
 
Although the producers and the director are adults, everything else is carried out by the kids themselves – singing, dancing, instrument-playing and solo-act plays. For instance, Adit Pandirkar does a four-minute long mono act, while Bhairavi Goregaonkar enacts a short extract from the play "Tee Phulrani" written by the legendary playwright P L Deshpande and immortalised on stage by the late Bhakti Barve. Even the compere is a 12-year old girl named Skhada Patkar. Although the show, which popularly known as Marathi Vadyavrinda, is performed entirely by children, it is by no means meant only for children. People from every age group enjoy the orchestra and in fact are also in awe of the performances of the kids.

The husband-wife duo of Vinod and Varsha Pandirkar decided to produce this show because they found that many children are gifted with different artistic faculties but they don’t get the opportunity stage their talents. And if the reactions of the audience are any indication, then the talent is amply demonstrated. In the inaugural show at Gadkari Rangayatan, producer-director Ashok Hande (of Mangal Gani Dangal Gani fame), was all praise for the professional way that the show was presented. Hande said in his speech, "I have been in the business of stage shows for 14 long years and I haven’t been able to achieve what these kids have in such a short period of time. This can happen only in Thane."

It’s true that the city’s vibrant heritage stimulates and encourages innovative initiatives like Bal Suranchi Mehfil by Thane residents. Hande statement echoes the sentiments of thousands culturally conscious residents of Thane who witness many such initiatives that are organised in the city time after time and then say: "This happens only in Thane!"

Spreading the Wisdom of Yoga

Spreading the Wisdom of Yoga

Ghantali Mitra Mandal (GMM) is known for helping people relax through Yoga. On January 26 however, the GMM members and their friends, families and associates found themselves relaxing. And causing them to relax was 72-year-old veteran TV anchor-cum-writer Mohini Nimkar. Nimkar, who is remembered for her long career as an anchor with Doordarshan from 1973 to 1993, was invited by GMM to stage her solo-act play Hasya Dindi, a light Marathi comedy that everyone present thoroughly enjoyed. "What a nice, relaxed evening. The play helped us forget all our worries," was sentiment echoed by the many who attended, among them prominent Thaneites.

The occasion was the celebration of the foundation day of GMM. 39 years ago, on January 26, 1965, Yogacharya Shri Krishna Vyavhare set up the Ghantali Mitra Mandal, a non-profit institute, with the sole objective of creating awareness about the benefits of Yoga Sadhana.

GMM has certainly come a long way since it humble beginning when Vyavahare Guruji, without neither money nor resources, decided to impart Yoga training. The task seemed uphill. But he was empowered with the knowledge he had gained under the guidance of Yogacharya Kaba Sahasrabudhe. So, much against the wishes of his wife, he sold his home furniture and began his first Yoga classes at home. Today, the institute has established itself firmly in the field of Yoga training. It has played an important role in promoting awareness and inculcating practise of Yoga among hundreds of Thane residents. Every morning, from 6 to 7 am, classes for a government recognised one-year comprehensive training course are held. Its teachers’ course for Yoga has initiated thousands of Yoga Teachers in and around the city since 1971.  

In 1988 GMM found a permanent place for its operations at the Sahyog Mandir. Since then it has become even more active in spreading the ancient knowledge of Yoga through workshops and seminars. Focused programmes for obesity, asthma, blood pressure mentally challenged children, senior citizens and other stress related health problems are regularly held. About 200 odd volunteers and 50 teachers attached to GMM conduct various short and long courses throughout the year at various places in Thane and also in Ghatkopar where GMM has a centre. 16 permanent members of the management work with dedication so that the benefits of Yoga reach out to as many people as possible.

Sujata Bhide, who is the secretary of GMM and also the editor of their publishing division, says, "We regularly organise Yoga camps to teach Mantra Sadhana, Swara Yoga (music therapy through Yoga) and other techniques. Our aim is to set up a research centre for the benefit of Thane residents."

GMM also has a culture division which Culture Division which organises cultural programmes to spread the knowledge of the Upanishads, karma yoga and so on. Their children’s division teaches how to use Yoga to improve memory and to develop a well-rounded personality.

Worldwide, Yoga has become synonymous with stress reduction and healing. But it’s expensive to learn this ancient wisdom in countries like the US.   Thanks to institutes like GMM, you need not worry about going bankrupt if you wish to learn Yoga. Simply call 25361349.