Ragam ’18, the three-day annual cultural fest of the National Institute of Technology Calicut (NIT-C) will commence from March 23. The fest has evolved into one of the largest college-level cultural fests in South India, regularly drawing tens of thousands of school and college goers.
What Ragam ’18 Has in Stock
Ragam ’18 will witness more than 150 events including competitions, performances, workshops and social initiatives – all open to college going students. There are specially-designed events for school goers and working professionals as well.
Competitions will be hosted across different categories – Literary, Dramatics, Music, Dance, Fine Arts, Quizzing, ‘Kalolsavam’ and other general events. Separate competitive events are also being hosted for photography, filmmaking, gaming and an array of other segments.
The crowd-pullers include‘Couture Boulevard’ – the inter-college fashion show competition, ‘Prodezza’ – the fireside chats and performances of established personalities who have made their niche in the unconventional genres and ‘Pronites’ – a series of scintillating live performances by popular professional bands.
The 2018 edition of ‘Prodezza’ will feature Sahil Shah, the Co-founder of East India Comedy, British Cello Player Alison Gabrielle, Ventriloquist Vighnesh Pande, mentalist Arjun Guru and Industribe, a Canadian fire and arts collective. This year’s ‘Pronites’ will host the dynamic duo of Vishal and Shekhar along with international rapper AronChupa. Adding on to the musical soiree will be the virtuoso of classical and metal music of Rishabh Seen and the popular Indian band ‘The Local Train’.
”The ‘Pronite’ and ‘Prodezza’ are the most anticipated events of Ragam and we have gotten many amazing artists over these years like Nucleya, Sonu Nigam, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Zaeden, Pritam and the likes. This year too, we are getting fabulous artists and we hope that people who come for Ragam have an amazing time,” says Sreeraj K Nair, head of the ‘Pronite’ Committee.
A Fest that Broadens Horizons
In a perpetual effort to supersede the previous year’s edition, the organisers are always also on the lookout for new ideas for events and make it grander than ever. For instance, in order to generate awareness about the issues threatening world peace this year, for the first time ever, Ragam ’18 will organise the NITC Model United Nations, emulating two committees – Disarmament and International Security Committee and The United Nations Human Rights Council. With more than 150 delegates already registered, the event is all set to be one of the highlights of Ragam ’18.
Furthering their part in social awareness and continuing the legacy of discussing important issues that plague the society, Ragam ’18 will host I-ink, a panel discussion by India’s prolific writers and thinkers on topics like ‘Fake News and How It Manufactures Opinions’, ‘The Obscureness of Adivasi Sahityam’ and ‘Aadhaar: State and Citizen’, about the controversial effects of the Aadhaar system.
Ragam also offers participants a chance to learn something different while having fun at it with a wide array of workshops ranging from Arts to Robotics. Ragam ’18 will host experts in filmmaking, robotics and the internet of things, photography, hip-hop dance, vocabulary, social entrepreneurship, ethical hacking and the likes.
A Look behind the Scenes
The preparations for each edition of Ragam begins at the end of November, when the Public Relations Committee team, formed by students who visit college campuses all around Kerala to invite them to participate in Ragam, and the Programming Committee, a committee responsible for the planning and execution of events, are formed.
“Not only NIT-C but many other colleges also eagerly await Ragam. We start off our work during the winter vacations, where each member is assigned four colleges to invite. The turnout of this year’s Ragam is expected to be bigger that what any other college’s fest has ever had. This shows that Ragam is indeed the biggest cultural fest in south India,” says Joel Joy, the head of the Public Relations Committee.
At the beginning of the second semester, all the events of Ragam are planned from the scratch with regular meetings discussing the structure of the event, the judges, the prize money, the schedule and the likes.
“Many people come back again to participate in the events. So, we need to continuously raise the standards and come up with fresh ideas for these events while maintaining the main essence of the event”, says Rahul, a member of the Programming Committee.
The Content Creation Team and the Design and Website Team are also formed to create the marketing and publicity kit for the fest. The Marketing Team gets the sponsors for the fest and any material required for the organization of the events is provided for by the Procurement committee. The practice for renowned events like Streetplay, Mime, Dance, Drama and Movie Spoof starts from the start of this semester. These events have a rich legacy behind them and the participants from NIT-C practice tirelessly as Ragam draws near. “Our practise sessions extend well up to midnight as we are ably guided by our seniors trying to get our timings and dialogue-delivery perfect,” says an excited junior practising for streetplay.
The Legacy of the Fest
The humble yet controversial beginnings of Ragam are the stuff of urban legend due to the infamous ‘Rajan’ case that rocked Kerala in the mid-seventies. Rajan, a student of the then Calicut Regional Engineering College (now NIT-C) allegedly died in police custody during the Emergency period in 1976. The single handed struggle by Prof. Eachara Warrier, Rajan’s father, against the injustice meted out to his son, marked the beginning of Ragam.
In 1977, the All Kerala Rajan Memorial Music Competition was started to commemorate his life. Later in 1987, the fest was restructured as Ragam, an inter-college cultural fest in remembrance of Rajan. The prestigious ever-rolling Ragam trophy of ‘Nataraj’, the trophy awarded to the overall champions at the fest, is considered as one of the most coveted prizes by the colleges in South India. Ragam ’18 is all set to conquer new heights with the organisers expecting a turnout of more than 70,000 during the days of the fest.
Reporting by Aravind R Menon Special Correspondent, Kozhikode