‘Red Fort Festival – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata,’ a 10-day cultural extravaganza hosted at the iconic Red Fort from March 25 – April 3, 2022, was organized by the joint collaboration of Ministry of Culture and Dalmia Bharat Group as part of the ongoing Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Government of India was the guest of honor at the closing ceremony of the festival. “‘Red Fort Festival – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ has set a very high standard, globally, with its unique showcase of our nation’s rich culture and heritage. Indeed, it has proven to be an incredible experience for over 1,50,000 visitors,” rejoiced Goyal. Congratulating the organizers, he added, “Even more commendable are the opportunities that the festival created, post-COVID, which is testimony to how we are collaboratively moving towards a ‘New India.’ I hope that corporates such as Red Fort’s Monument Mitra, Dalmia Bharat Limited, will join us as we strengthen our focus on the welfare of our people without losing sight of our glorious legacies.”
Over the course of the 10 days, the Red Fort Festival offered a spectacular cultural fusion showcasing India’s rich history and a kaleidoscopic diversity in art, heritage, culture, cuisine and much more. The festival featured live performances from the likes of Eka Band, Gharana Fusion, Nizami Brothers, Dr. L Subramaniam, Papon, Yuvraj Hans, Raghu Dixit, Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, Shaan, Chetna Bhardwaj, and Salman Ali, among others. “We have come a long way from being bestowed the honour of being Red Fort’s Monument Mitra, to conceptualising and making our pathbreaking initiative ‘Red Fort Festival – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ a resounding success,” asserted Puneet Dalmia, Managing Director, Dalmia Bharat Limited. Extending his gratitude to the Government of India, he added, “We are grateful to the Government of India for giving us this opportunity to share our rich cultural history and heritage on a world stage such as the Red Fort and to enable the sustenance for our communities by creating job opportunities at the fest. We will continue to serve our country in the best way possible.”
Apart from the live musical performances, other major highlights at the Red Fort Festival included a ‘Projection Mapping Show’ about India’s history on the exterior walls of the Red Fort with narration in Divya Dutta’s voice, a 360° immersive experience ‘Yatra’ highlighting India’s preeminence as the oldest living civilization, a unique and interactive exhibition ‘Bharat Gaurav’ taking viewers through the achievements of ancient Indian icons and India’s significant achievements since Independence, an extravagant ‘Cultural Parade’ choreographed by Maitreyee Pahari featuring multiple Indian dance forms, The Satrangi Art, Craft and Textile Bazaar featuring the grandeur of the country’s vibrant arts and craftsmanship, a culinary explosion of regional cuisines at Khau Gali, Khelgaon and Khel Manch hosted by Emcee Bharat Jain, and curated song and dance performances that pay homage to the country’s unity in diversity.
The festival’s inauguration ceremony was graced by Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development of India. “The ‘Red Fort Festival – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ is the manifestation of what the honourable PM, Shri Modiji envisioned as the beginning of a new India with everyone playing a role in it. Today, I see that vision being realised through this cultural extravaganza. On behalf of proud Indian citizens, I congratulate the Red Fort Monument Mitra – Dalmia Bharat Ltd for this wonderful initiative,” said Irani.
Famed Sufi singer Ghulam Waris Nizami performed with his young nephews Faizan Hasan and Zeeshan Hasan Nizami as part of the festival. Ghulam Waris Nizami has performed all across the globe including the Royal Albert Hall but performing at the Red Fort as part of the celebrations of 75 years of Indian independence held a very special place in his heart. “I consider myself very fortunate to be born in India and I also want to breathe my last here. This is one of the most memorable moments of my life that I am able to perform live at the Red Fort as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration. I am grateful to the Ministry of Culture and Dalmia Bharat Group for giving me this wonderful opportunity,” rejoiced Waris Nizami who was quite upbeat despite the absence of his brother, the veteran Sufi singer Ghulam Sabir Nizami, who had been indisposed.
The members of the Eka Band, Hitesh Rikki Madan (Vocals & Guitars) and Lokesh Madan (Vocals & Bass) were chuffed to be back performing live after the pandemic and that too at the Red Fort as part of the Bharat Bhagya Vidhata Festival. Eka calls its music ‘Swatantra Rock’, which the group describes as “music beyond boundaries”. For their performance at the Red Fort, they had prepared a very special set list covering a mix of originals, popular Hindi / Bollywood, sufi, celebratory and patriotic songs from across eras and genres.
While sharing their experience of performing in front of a packed audience at the Red Fort, the members of Gharana Fusion, Susnata Har (Ethno Guitar and Vocal), Arnab Roy (Flute), and Argha Dey (Tabla, Percussion, Cajon & Bols), rejoiced the amazing experience of performing live at the world famous historical Red Fort alongside other great artists. They thanked the Ministry of Culture and Dalmia Bharat Ltd for inviting them and also praised the combination of different art forms of India, crafts section, street food stalls, kids zone, etc. that the festival offered. They started the show with the worship of the ‘Mother’ form and then continued with the elements of the celebration of life and environment, showcasing the different cultural influences of the band members from different lands of India, multi-rhythmic patterns. They ended the show expressing the love for Delhi, its people and with a salute to the Red Fort.
Dalmia Bharat Limited has been selected as a ‘Monument Mitra’ to adopt and develop tourist amenities at the nation’s iconic 17th-century heritage site, Red Fort by the Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). “The inaugural ‘Red Fort Festival – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ highlighted our culture and traditions as has never been seen before. The underlying idea was to enable visitors, and especially our youth, to build connections between our nation’s current progress and our ancient glory, by understanding values that are India-centric as well as globally relevant. We are grateful to our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Modiji, and the Government of India, for giving us this opportunity to serve our nation as a Monument Mitra and we are confident that everybody that visited the event took back with them unique and unforgettable experiences that bind us as a nation and a community,” averred Dalmia.
Committed to celebrating the history of India, the Red Fort Festival – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata is planned as an annual event with underlying themes like freedom struggle, national integrity, cultural heritage, sustenance for communities, and ideas, resolve and achievements at 75 and beyond.