"Manick Sorcar at His Best – Laser Documentary on Swami Vivekananda"
Manick Sorcar with his wife (photo: Indo American News)
By Sanchali Basu Indo American News Thursday, September 12, 2013
HOUSTON : The sixth annual fundraiser of Sewa International held at the Stafford Center on Sept 8 was a resounding success being a totally sold out event thanks to the featured attraction, Manick Sorcar’s one of-a-kind unique laser documentary on the life of Swami Vivekananda.
Sewa (pronouced ‘say wah’) is a word in Sanskrit language which translates to “service above self” – essentially “Selfless Efforts for Welfare of All”. Sewa International in the USA (started in 2003) was inspired by the international Sewa movement that began in India in 1989. Internationally, it is active in 17 countries. In the USA it has 38 chapters in 20 metros and 22 states. Sewa is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity.
The Houston Chapter which started by helping Katrina refugees has grown exponentially and now has many feathers in its cap as was highlighted by the present president Manju Gupta. These include the Jefferson Award and a federal grant to empower Bhutanese refugees. The torch is now being passed on to the next president Saroj Gupta who shares a larger vision and passion to serve. She talked about the support being provided by the Americorp Vista program which is enabling Sewa to conduct summer internship programs for high school and college students, family service programs, meal delivery services, spiritual counseling and moral support, crisis management for the needy.
The husband and wife duo of Amit and Sanghamitra Mishra provide legal counseling and immunization programs for Sewa. Amit pointed out that the volunteers and recipients of Sewa are not essentially Hindu and believe in the principles of Swami Vivekananda the Nara Seva is Narayan Seva (service to God can only be rendered by service to man). Prominent contributors were recognized on stage and mementos were awarded.
Manick Sorcar was then eloquently introduced by emcee Rahul Pandit. Sorcar, although an electrical engineer by profession could not but give in to his passion for the arts whose seeds were planted at a very young age by his father the great magician P. C. Sorcar. He used to do backdrops, paintings for his dad as a child. His flair as a cartoonist has resulted in him making animation movies for children. He has received two ILDA awards which is the equivalent of receiving two Oscar awards from the laser display world.
Manick Sorcar came on stage very unassuming and down to earth and gave a brief introduction of the laser show. He was approached by the Ramakrishna Institute of Culture in Gol Park, Kolkata to prepare this program as a part of the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Swami Vivekananda. He had felt humbled by this great honor and the production has taken India and the rest of the world by storm since its completion.
The production is split in 3 parts – the first part is a Sanskrit prayer dance dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. The second part is an overture sung by Yesudas which is a composition of Swami Vivekananda in Bengali. The main show is a journey through the life of Swamiji from birth, to youth, meeting with his master Sri Ramakrishna, taking monastic vows, traveling to the USA as the first Hindu monk to speak at the Parliament of World’s Religions in 1893, lecturing around the world, founding the Ramakrishna Mission and leaving behind a huge legacy. The audience was spellbound and proved to be very emotional for several and the Houston crowd honored him with a standing ovation.
Sorcar in his own words admitted that he wakes up every day to one of Swamiji’s teachings, “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. He also mentioned that Swamiji’s idea that all sects within Hinduism and all religions are different paths to the same goal (universality of religions) is more relevant now than ever before.
The evening ended with a vote of thanks from the vice president of Sewa, Vasudev Singh for all volunteers and tokens of appreciation were presented to all the participants. A special mention was made of Kriti Dogra, project coordinator. She encouraged everyone in the audience to get involved. It was very commendable that the organization was able to raise about $80,000 by the end of the evening and there was a promise from the incoming president to match dollar by dollar if the amount exceeded $100,000. Boxed dinners were provided to all ticket holders on their way out.