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The long awaited finale of the Discover India Program (DIP) was held on the FLAME University campus on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

The day started with much enthusiasm and excitement as everyone was eagerly waiting to see the outcome of the prestigious Development India program. The inaugural speech by Dr. Devi Singh, Vice-Chancellor, FLAME University marked the commencement of the day. This was followed by student group presentations.

Be it the stories unraveled by the Madras handkerchiefs or the sweet fragrance of the Uttar Pradesh Attar, the black metal magic of Bidar or the Taarab stylings of Zanzibar, the traditional Ajrakh block printing or the legacy of the Indian Chinese, the great divines of Gaya and Bodh Gaya and the floored legacy of the Athangudi tiles - one found it all in the Discover India Program.

DIP is a mélange of ideas and uniqueness. The Discover India Program is an intensive, experiential learning program that enables students to explore various facets of Indian culture and heritage.

Each and every group participating in the DIP finale put their best foot forward in making their presentation as interesting as possible. Every group paid attention to detail in terms of their costumes, stationery, their style of presenting as well as the sound effects. Every group had a unique style of presenting and was much appreciated by the audience. The hard work and effort put in by the students over the months was visible.

This finale was judged by three very special guests.

  1. Ms. Manjiri Khandekar has a Masters in French from the University of Pune and has a Postgraduate diploma in Mass Communication from Sophia College, Mumbai. She has lived in 12 different states across the country and has been a teacher in various schools in Gurgaon, Jodhpur and Jaipur. Having taught different levels of the French language at the Alliance Française de Pune, she has been a professor in the University of Pune, teaching Masters in French (Translation and Swiss Literature) at the University for the last fourteen years. Ms. Khandekar has travelled to France, Switzerland and Canada to attend workshops and teachers’ training programs. Ms. Khandekar also has to her credit the French text-book, ‘Jumelage’, which, formed in collaboration with the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, is currently used by students all over India. In February 2008, Ms. Khandekar launched her own publication ‘Heritage India’, a quarterly magazine dedicated to the various aspects that make up the resplendent cultural tapestry of our country. ‘Heritage India’ has been the realization of her lifelong dream to create awareness about India’s rich and treasured legacy. Since May 2012, she has also been publishing ‘Maharashtra Unlimited’, a quarterly for the Maharashtra State Tourism Department, which seeks to showcase the state in all its glory. Ms. Khandekar’s passion in life is to gain and share knowledge so as to contribute in grooming young minds who can become productive members of society.
  2. Mr. Subodh Kerkar is an installation artist who, having experimented with different media for the past 20 years, has created a niche for himself especially in the field of land and conceptual art. After giving up his medical profession, Mr. Kerkar pursued his true passion, going on to become one of the country’s only artists doing monumental works in nature. In 1992, he founded the Kerkar Art Complex, Calangute, Goa, through which he attempts to fulfil his aim of capturing the essence of Goa in its various forms - from its waving palms and sublime seas to its pristine beaches. Mr Kerkar has also been crucial in the development in the Museum of Goa, a completely self-funded institution, dedicated solely to contemporary art.Having exhibited his work throughout galleries in India, Mr Kerkar has also put up installations in Macau, Norway, Switzerland, Dubai, South Korea, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and Australia. His distinctive style has also earned him accolades which include the First Prize in Kala Academy Art Show in Goa in 2000 and the Busan Biennale Award in 2006. One of Mr Kerkar's chief interests lies in helping art enter public discourse and engaging larger audiences by narrating history through a contemporary idiom.
  3. Ms. Annie Zaidiis a journalist, author and director, who has produced many acclaimed works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting. Ms. Zaidi started her career as a journalist with leading newspapers and magazines like Mid-Day and Frontline. Her reportage helped her develop her well-known collection of essays, ‘Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales’, which was shortlisted for the Vodafone Crossword Book Award in 2010. Her writings have also featured in publications like Caravan, Open, The Hindu , Elle, Forbes India, Femina, Marie Claire, Tehelka and the Deccan Herald. Her plays ‘So Many Socks’ and ‘Name, Place, Animal, Thing’ have been nominated for prestigious awards like the Best Script in the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) in 2013 and Hindu Metropolis Playwright Award in 2009 respectively.'Jam’ her audio play was also the regional (South Asia) winner for the BBC's International Playwriting Competition 2011. Known for her fluid and effortless writing, Ms Zaidi has to her credit the novels Gulaab and Sleep Tight and a multitude of short stories, essays and poetry which have appeared in several different anthologies. She is also the editor of the anthology ’Un-Bound- 2000 years of Indian Women’s writing’. Of late, Ms. Zaidi has also been dabbling in direction, having directed four short films, the latest one being Decibel a film about the constant clamour and noise that characterizes Mumbai as a city. Throughout her prolific career, Ms. Zaidi has worked a lot with the question,”what it means to be a woman in India.”

After each presentation, the judges asked the students questions based on their topics. All students were well prepared to answer all the questions. Their hearty involvement in the topics they were presenting was evident.

The presentations were followed by exhibitions displayed by each group. Once again each group had put up a lot of thought in their individual stalls to keep the audience engaged and interested.

The day ended with an announcement of the winner of the Discover India Program 2016-2017. The coveted Discover India Trophy was awarded to the group that scored the highest points for the entire program. Each student of the winning group was awarded a scholarship.

“The Real Madras Handkerchief”, was a well-deserved winner with real precision and attention to detail, down to even their movements synced on the sound of the weave while making their presentation.

The program concluded with a vote of thanks given by Dr. Deepa Bapat and Dr. Devi Singh. One could sense the excitement in the students’ voices as they sang along the FLAME anthem. The pride in the eyes of their parents and teachers was evident as well.

Congratulations to the Discover India Program team on the success of such a massive event.