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Tricoloured and Golden–The Setting of a World Record

Students from 23 colleges in the district took part in the creation of a world record on January 13. Close to 5,000 students gathered at Malpe beach and sang the full version of Vande Mataram. Sporting a badge with the slogan “Save Nature for the Future”, the participants created a record in the Golden Book of World Records for the highest number of people gathered in a place wearing the same badge. 

The event celebrated the 155th birth anniversary of celebrated spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda. It was organized by the  Samvedana Foundation, an organisation that has made many efforts to motivate the youth to conserve nature with awareness drives and programs such as skits and talks organised in schools.

The participants donned white clothing and gathered at the Gandhi Shatabdi ground to be a part of the procession in which a 1,750 feet long National Flag was carried to the Malpe beach. Accompanied by members of local NGOs and temples, students braved the scorching heat and enthusiastically chanted slogans as they marched to take their designated spots on the main stage at the shore. Dr G Shankar inaugurated the program and spoke about Swami Vivekananda’s contributions to the world and his youth-oriented philosophies. Prakash Malpe, the program coordinator and head of the Samvedana Foundation, stressed on brotherhood and unity in his patriotic speech aimed at the students gathered there.

Among the various dignitaries present were district BJP President Mattaru Ratnakar Hedge, CMC President Meenakshi Madhav Bannanje, former MLA Raghupati Bhat, and businessman Sadhu K Salian. Renowned singers Sangita Ravindranath, Malini Keshav Prasad, Shruthi Tumkur, and Rameshchandra, along with an orchestra, synchronised their voices to sing the national anthem with the students.

Golden Book of World Records representative Santhosh Agarwal declared the creation of the world record and handed over a certificate to the members of the Samvedana Foundation. All the participants who were part of the event will also receive certificates recognising their contribution. The event had been publicized as an attempt at setting a Guinness World Record. While the organisers had applied for it, the application couldn’t be processed in time, and hence, it was only the Golden Book of World Records that registered the feat.

Among the participants were volunteers from MIT, who had been practising the song since the start of the semester. “Managing an event like this was a different experience as it’s unlike any college fest or club. With the huge number of people and the money and tech involved, one really gets how event management works without the supervision of university officials or faculty advisors,” said Navaneeth Ganesh, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of Skylight Solutions, the Digital Communications partner for the event, who assisted in the transport of students to and from the venue.

A few of the participants expressed dissatisfaction at not being very well-informed about the proceedings, as it wasn’t made clear what exactly they would be doing there. The long procession to the final venue, for instance, came as a surprise to many.  Despite this, the hard work behind it and the final result was appreciated by most who were part of it. As the crowd sung along, there was a patriotic fervour in the air, with the sound of the waves crashing on to the beach accompanying the palpable enthusiasm among them. “It was beautiful; the background music made it even better. It was very tiring, but it was worth it. I feel more students from MIT could’ve taken part and helped make the event even more successful,” said Soumili Nandi, a volunteer from MIT.

Photos: Mihir Surti, Skylight Solutions