PANAJI: Well-known singer and Goa’s own Hemaa Sardesai will present an original song, written and composed by her and dedicated to the Mhadei or Mandovi river, at the ‘Mhadei Amchi Mai’ festival on Saturday (May 20) organised to raise awareness and express their solidarity in preserving the vital ecosystem of the river, which is critical to Goa’s environment and its people.
Incidentally, Sardesai’s song, also titled ‘Mhadei Amchi Mai, ‘ will open the festival at 4 pm at the Miramar beach, along with the formation of a 7 km long human chain by participants along the banks of the river, extending from the end of Miramar Beach to the Santa Monica jetty in Panaji.
The festival has been organised by the Earthivist Collective, along with the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) and the Save Mhadei Save Goa Front, with an aim to bring concerned people together to pray for the wellbeing of the river and to raise awareness of the importance of preserving its vital freshwater and biodiversity.
Activities and performances, including Bharatnatyam, theatre, jazz music, poetry, sketching, mandala-making and art presentation, will take place at the seven assembly points in the city, namely at Swimsea Resort, Caranzalem, the Crescent Miramar, Miramar Beach, Campal Swimming Pool, Kala Academy, The Art Park Campal and the Tourism Department jetty Panaji.
Citizens are requested to join the human chain in blue or white clothes and carry a blue scarf along, all colours which reflect the character of the river. Designated meeting points have been earmarked for participants according to the talukas they hail from. In the midst of the bustling crowd, six-foot-long white banners will mark the designated assembly points.
Volunteers or nodal guides will provide directions to the appropriate assembly points and offer guidance about nearby parking spaces if required. The nodal guides will be carrying a blue umbrella and wearing a blue armband and will be available to reach out for any assistance along the main road next to the assembly point.
Those requiring wheelchair access are encouraged to participate in the human chain at the Mandovi promenade, located behind the Campal swimming pool in Miramar, which has a ramp to facilitate wheelchair access. Additionally, the organisers have also urged senior citizens and children to gather at the promenade for convenience and safety.
“We urge people from all walks of life, including members of civil society, students working professionals, businessmen, politicians, and senior citizens, to participate in large numbers for the Mhadei Amchi Mai festival,” said Miriam Koshy, founding member of Earthivisit Collective.
Distinguished personalities, including well-known medical practitioner Dr Oscar Rebello, Fr. Bolmax Pereira, singer Hemaa Sardesai, social activist Patricia Pinto, theatre personality Dr Isabel Santa Rita Vaz, activist Claude Alvares, advocate Norma Alvares and environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar are scheduled to join the human chain, along with the 7,000 odd members of the public who are expected to be in attendance.