Sneharagam, a heartwarming social initiative hosted by the students of National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NITC), on March 4, ushered in the festive spirit of Ragam ’18, the institute’s annual cultural fest. The event gave specially-abled children a chance to showcase their talents at the college campus and featured more than 200 students from six schools across the Malabar region.

Dr. MVLR Anjaneyulu Inaugurating Sneharagam in the Presence of Dr. G. Unnikrishnan (Left) and Student Organisers

Towards an Inclusive Society

Initiated in 2011, Sneharagam aims to spread joy among the specially-abled children of Kerala and carries forward the legacy of NITC as an institution that strives to meet the needs of the society. Designed to instill a sense of accomplishment and self-worth among the specially-abled participants through theatre, dance, singing and other art forms; the event also seeks to raise awareness and sensitize the society. An initiative that is close to the heart of each and every NITC student, present and past, Sneharagam has touched the lives of thousands of specially-abled children across Kerala.

“Through Sneharagam, we tried to bring a smile on the faces of a few children who challenge life on a daily basis. The aim was to give them an opportunity to escape from the reality for a day. It is the joyous faces of these kids that fuel us to conduct events like Sneharagam every year,” says Ben John Babu, the General Secretary of NITC.

The Spirit of Giving

The event began at 9:30 am with a presidential address delivered by Dr. G. Unnikrishnan, the Dean of Students’ Welfare at NIT Calicut. The event was inaugurated by Dr. MVLR Anjaneyulu, the Director (I/C) and Dean (P&D) of the institute. He recognized and praised the efforts put in by the Ragam team to give something back to the society. The chief guest Snehal Kumar Singh, the Assistant Collector of Kozhikode, addressed the students and remarked at how he felt mesmerized by the kind of participation for the event and the culture and tradition that NIT Calicut has been carrying forward.

A Dance Performance by Specially-Abled Children

The mood was ecstatic at the greenroom, filled with enthusiastic children who were eagerly awaiting their turn. They performed various skits, dances and songs. “When Sneharagam was started in 2011, there wasn’t much support for it and was thought of as a one-off venture. But today, as I sat at the venue and saw the contentment on the faces of the young specially-abled kids and how they did not want to leave the stage, I’m glad to be a part of this initiative,” said Dr. George K Varghese, the Faculty Convener of Ragam ’18, while congratulating the organizing students.

Despite their pressing academic schedule, the student organizers did a commendable job in executing the event. As a fundraising venture, handicrafts made by students of the college were on sale, with profits going to charity. Mementos and certificates were awarded to the participants.

The Logo of Ragam ’18

“Seeing those beautiful faces light up brought a smile to our faces and contentment to our hearts, for this was yet another surreal, successful Sneharagam, but sadly our last. The students of NITC will always aspire to spread the message that people with special needs must be treated with equal respect and given opportunities to prove themselves,” said Shekhar Shankar, the Student Coordinator of Ragam ’18.

Heralding Ragam ’18

Sneharagam marks the beginning of the countdown to Ragam ’18, one of South India’s largest college-level cultural fest. Ranging from spectacular musical galas and art exhibitions to mind-boggling literary events, scintillating dance competitions and fashion shows; Ragam offers a plethora of over 50 events – literary, musical, dance, dramatics and more. Over the years, the fest has grown into an inter-college festival attracting maestros and dedicated artists from across the country. With the motto ‘Spread the Merriment’, the fest is slated to be held March 22 to 25 and will also host a series of workshops and informal events.

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Reporting by Aravind R Menon
Special Correspondent, Kozhikode