the-south-asian Life & Times                 January - March 2011




 Editor's Note


 Cover Story
 Kashmiri Pandits

 Eminent Pandits
 Neel Kashkari

 Veer Munshi

 Pradman Kaul

 Pandit Bhajan Sopori

 Photo Feature
 The Obamas in India


 100 years of aviation
 in India

 Mt. Kailash
 Stairway to Heaven

 In the footsteps of
 Smythe in Garhwal


 The Wild Ass

 By O P Dutta









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Day 3 - Delhi - Nov 8, 2010

The State Dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan

India's President President Pratibha Devisingh Patil hosted the State Dinner on Monday evening in honour of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Presidential Palace. The President and Mrs. Obama were formally welcomed to the dinner with military buglers and trumpeters, and escorted by a flag-carrying Honour Guard. About 175 high-profile guests attended the glittering banquet, held in a dramatically lit outdoor tent in the expansive Mughal Gardens. Dinner was a dazzling menu of traditional Indian foods, accompanied by fireworks display in honour of Diwali, dance and musical performances, including some favourites of President Obama.


Among the guests were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur, India's Vice President Mohammad Ansari, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Air Force Marshall Arjan Singh, Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita, Rahul Bajaj, Ratan Tata, and Sunil Bharti Mittal.


The massive white silk dinner tent was strung with lights and filled with candles and fragrant flowers. In her toast welcoming the President and First Lady, President Patil spoke of India and the US working together not only for economic development but also for social transformation and global security. No alcohol is served at Rashtrapati Bhavan as a matter of protocol, and the toasting beverages are generally water and fruit juice. In his toast, President Obama spoke of the ties that bind the two countries . Dinner was prepared by the chefs at Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Patil had personally overseen the menu selections, according to The Hindu.


The evening’s entertainment began with the 16-member Shillong Chamber Choir. Led by pianist Neil Nongkynrih, they enthralled the guests with English, Hindi and Khasi numbers. The wildly popular group were the winners of the reality TV show - India’s Got Talent-Khoj 2, and also won the gold medal at the World Choir Olympics.

The classical dance performances - Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Odissi - were centred on themes of vishvamaitri (world friendship) and vishvashanti (world peace).

The musical entertainment ranged from jazzed-up Bollywood hits and popular Stevie Wonder numbers, to African American Spiritual "Deep River".

 Day 4 - Nov. 9, 2010

Departure for Indonesia

Day 1 - Mumbai

Day 2 - Mumbai/Delhi

Day 3 - Delhi

Day 3 (cntd.) - State Dinner - Delhi



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