The NGO Women’s Cancer Initiative-Tata Memorial Hospital, (one of the leading hospitals in the country, working on treatment, education and research in the field of cancer), helmed by Devieka Bhojwai organised “Soul Stirrings – Annual Fundraising Concert” in Mumbai. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who empathizes with the cause was the special guest for the evening and wowed the audience with a poignant speech.
Devika S Bhojwani, a breast cancer survivor herself and a prominent social activist of Mumbai started the Women’s Cancer Initiative in 2003 in partnership with the Tata Memorial Hospital. This concert was undertaken by Women’s Cancer Initiative-Tata Memorial Hospital (WCI-TMH), for supporting underprivileged women with Breast and Cervical cancers. The WCI-TMH Concert provided a platform for corporates and individuals to partner in undertaking this difficult but rewarding activity. She quoted, ‘I am extremely grateful for the support we have received over the past 15 years but there is so much more that needs to be done. Breast cancer is rising dramatically, in India, especially in the metropolitan cities and unfortunately, women come in at late stages when cure rates are lower. Events such as these, help focus on the importance of creating awareness about early detection, and help raise funds for women who do not have the means, but are determined to be well again.’
Mrs Bachchan who lends her support to the cause said, ‘I am so happy to be a part of an event that is focusing on women’s cancers in India. Women are virtually the pillars of strength for their families; their health affects not just themselves but everyone around them. It is therefore vitally important that organizations like Women’s Cancer Initiative are taking this into account and focusing more aggressively on the rising cases of women’s cancers in India and the importance of detecting them at earlier stages where they are more easily treated with a higher chance of cure.’
Manjari Chaturvedi is one of the leading exponents of classical dance in India who has extensively worked on gender-sensitive subjects through her medium of dance, exploring the many traditions woven into poetry, music and dance. The concert relived the magic of The Courtesan, a unique research and documentation exercise via which Manjari seemed to chronicle the historically remarkable role of the ‘tawaif’ in artistic life: as the muse for poets, painters, sculptors, artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers and the creative thought at large. In doing so, she seemed to claim for these maligned women the reverence due to them for their learning and their performance art; their intelligence and wit; their talent and raw sensual power. This project was a medium to draw the attention of society towards the erstwhile courtesans and how discriminatory practices impacted not only their lives but also of their families. With 300 concerts in 20 years with 24 productions around 28 countries and 385 musicians, Manjari Chaturvedi is one of the leading exponents of classical dance in India. She has taken the traditional form of Kathak to a different level altogether and has created her own style.