Bhubaneswar, Nov 26 (LocalWire): Children in the country are super excited as November approaches with a day dedicated to them on 14 November, better known as #Children’s Day.
However, children in Bhubaneswar have a week to cheer with PECUC Sishu Mela being held in the capital at Ekamra Hata from 14-20 November with competitions like art, music, debate and cultural programmes.
People’s Cultural Centre, popularly known as PECUC, was envisioned in the late 80s by a group of socially-committed activists and educationists who believe in social change through voluntary action.
It was founded in 1990 by Ranjan Mohanty and his wife Anuradha Mohanty.
In this age of technology, where we see an increasing number of children hooked to tabs and smartphones, it is important to preserve and cultivate the rich and varied cultural heritage of our state, said Mr. Mohanty.
PECUC works for the promotion and protection of the rights of children, women, aged and indigenous communities as well as other marginalized sections of the society.
Local Wire talked to the Mohanty couple and presents to you 10 points which are worth knowing about this unique initiative.
1. Every year, PECUC Sishu Mela is held from 14th-20th November.
When it began in 1990, it was held in different government and private schools but since the last 15 years, it is being held at Ekamra Hata in Bhubaneswar.
2. While 14th November is popularly celebrated across India as Children’s Day, not many people know that 20th November is celebrated across the globe as Universal Children’s Day.
20th November is also marked as Child Rights Day in India, to make people aware of the rights of children.
3. In 1990, there was no state-level platform for children which allowed them the liberty to expression and creativity.
This led to the idea which subsequently gave birth to the PECUC Sishu Mela which was the first-of-its-kind event in the state offering children a stage to express their creativity, showcase their talents and get appreciated for it.
4. Children of different age groups, till the age of 18, are allowed free participation in all the events.
5. Different competitions like fine arts, music, elocution, story-writing and many more, are organized for the children, while cultural programmes featuring Sambalpuri, Gotipua, Odishi and other folk and tribal dances are organized everyday.
6. The legendary Odia musician, Akshaya Mohanty passed away on 17 November, 2002.
To pay tribute to the cultural icon, 17 November has henceforth been commemorated by PECUC by organising a music competition and event in his name during the Sishu Mela.
A child artist get awarded the coveted ‘Pilanka Akshaya’ Samman. Abhijeet Padhi received the award this year.
7. Dignitaries like the late Chief Minister of Odisha Biju Patnaik, IAS officers, High Court judges, eminent doctors and social activists have graced the Sishu Mela with their presence. Their words act as beacons which guide the children throughout their life.
8. PECUC goodwill ambassador, Bhumika Das, began her Ollywood career from this stage, where she participated as a child artist.
9. Initially the number of participants was less in number but now close to 15,000 children from varied backgrounds participate in the PECUC Sishu Mela every year.
10. PECUC is a non-profit organization which has been organizing the Sishu Mela for the past 30 years.
There has been no commercialization of this programme and participation has always been free.
It is organized every year through donations from different business houses, NGOs and other organisations.
However, as the expenses have increased, it has become difficult to meet the requirements for the event.
This year, for the first time PECUC went for crowd-funding through a website called Milaap, which helped them raise nearly 50,000 rupees for the event.