SPIC MACAY is a non-political nationwide voluntary movement that organises programmes of classical music and dance, folk arts, crafts, yog, classic cinema screenings, heritage walks, etc. inside school and college campuses throughout the world to make students more aware about Indian and world heritage. This initiative makes education more holistic and meaningful as it highlights all that is abstract, subtle, inspiring and mystical in the world teaching one to look within oneself. SPIC MACAY runs on the energy of volunteers who come from all walks of life - students, teachers, housewives, professional and retired people, young and old. Nishkam Seva is a key aspect of the movement.
My last twenty-seven years of journey with SPIC MACAY has been a journey of exploring self. It has been a very soulful one. Though initiated into Music and Dance from early childhood at home by parents, SPIC MACAY did nurtured and stroked my creative pursuits.
Our core events are the hundreds of concerts or lecture demonstrations that we organise throughout the year. Masters of different forms from classical music, dance, folk music and dance and world heritage come to educational institutions and perform for the students. Lec Dems provide the stage for an informal interaction between the students and artistes, and help to create & fine-tune a future audience.
Our rich heritage and culture is well embedded in our crafts and in folk. Indian folk and craft is full of variation and multiplicity in terms of themes, forms, and styles. The folk forms have contributed significantly in the development of the classical forms of the country. SPIC MACAY conducts various folk performances like Baul, Pandavani, Ottanthullal, Yakshagana, Qwwali etc all over the country to inspire the youth. Different craftsmen continue to influence our heritage with various crafts such as Puppetry, Painting, Carving and Fabric Colouring etc.
SPIC MACAY organizes inspiring and informative talks by enlightened persons from various walks of life. The topics maybe as varied as the arts, environment, philosophy, development, spirituality, literature and the folk arts. These talks are held periodically in sub-chapters and chapters throughout the year. An ideal setting for the talks is the weekly meeting, which not only enlivens the meeting but also provides inspiration to the SPIC MACAY volunteers.
Yoga, greatly neglected as a form of inner growth, is fostered in SPIC MACAY Yoga camps. These are generally conducted by authentic yogacharyas with the goal to provide one with a balanced development of the physical, mental and spiritual being to attain perfect harmony. Holistic Camps are live-in camps where students and others stay for a given period of time away from their hum-drum normal routine to experience another way of living focused on simplicity, good health and spiritual training.
Spic Macay organizes Heritage Walks in different parts of India, where group of students (accompanied by an expert or historian who explains the importance of the place and events associated to them) walk and explore the place, reliving not only the past but a living tradition. The real essence of the city is unearthed as these walks highlight a vast range of architectural styles, and trace the city’s social and cultural history.
Plays have been considered as the mirror held out to the face of the society. This mantle of being the contemporary society's reflection has been taken over, in part, by cinema. SPIC MACAY holds screenings of cinema classics by great directors like Satyajit Ray, Charlie Chaplin and Akira Kurosawa.
The SPIC MACAY Gurukul Scholarship scheme began in the year 1986 to enable students to have a glimpse into the age-old guru-shishya tradition. It is an attempt to expose school and college students to a way of life with people who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of their work with single-minded devotion. Through this scheme, SPIC MACAY provides a student with the rare opportunity to go and stay with a guru for a month during summer vacations (May /June/July) and observe the ethos that exists in a completely different system of education and living than the student’s own.
Virasat is one of the main cultural festivals of SPIC MACAY, comprising an eclectic mixture of all aspects of Indian Cultural Heritage. Virasat, literally meaning heritage in Hindi, was launched for the first time in Dehradun in 1995 and is held annually during the first half of the academic year. Educational institutions across the country and abroad, celebrate this annual affair. Currently, there are over (number of events in a year) events being conducted under the Virasat banner. The events showcase a wide variety of Indian culture, beginning from the folk and classical dance and music forms, to cinema screenings, heritage walks, handicraft workshops, theatre programmes etc.
SPIC MACAY runs on two wheels: conceptual & organizational. The weekly meetings oil both these wheels regularly. The Weekly Meetings are an integral part of the voluntary movement where the volunteers from all walks of life meet for organisation and conceptual purposes. Usually the weekly meeting is organised on every Friday/Saturday at a specific venue where all the members of that chapter meets together to plan about the current and upcoming events of that chapter, share their experience in organizing and preparing for the events, exchange posters and banners for different events to happen in different institutes and discuss the issues related to the movement in a global and national perspective.
Different regional groups of SPIC MACAY chapters hold conventions at various times of the year at large educational institutes to gather all volunteers at a common location to rejuvenate and plan together at a larger scale. There are state conventions held in each state twice a year and an annual National Convention which is held every year during the summer vacation in the month of June. Conventions follow a rigorous schedule starting with Yoga early in the morning, interactions and workshops during the day and ending with concerts in the eveningThe goals of these conventions is to bring the youth from the entire country and from all walks of life in a common platform, where they can exchange ideas, share experiences and get inspired to propagate the movement in the year ahead.
The National School Intensive is a week-long annual event of SPIC MACAY held exclusively for school-children. Students are given a remarkable opportunity to see and learn from various maestros and renowned artistic geniuses, an experience that is both intense and inspiring. They are also provided more than a peek into India’s rich cultural tapestry with concerts, workshops, talks, cinema classics and yog sessions. Around 200-400 children (accompanied by teachers) from schools around the country gather at a host institution (usually a school) for this week long gurukul.
Rural School Intensive (RSI) is a new initiative of SPIC MACAY to include the hitherto neglected rural children. SPIC MACAY is making a concerted effort to consciously include students from rural areas, corporation and government schools by organizing an increasing number of programmes. This initiative can have a profound impact on the mind of the young child, in making them more aesthetically inclined and imbibe values of discipline, focus, humility embodied in Indian culture. Most children will remember this experience life-long as they get exposure to rare artforms from the state and other parts of the country. In this direction, in Oct 2011, SPICMACAY organised its first ever Rural School Intensive in Narendrapur village, Siwan district in Bihar.
"Music in the Park” series in collaboration of SPIC MACAY with NDMC initiated in September 2004 is part of the Community Outreach Programme. The objective of this series is to celebrate our composite heritage, and to bring awareness about a peaceful and clean environment to the people of our country. Late Pt. Ravi Shankar, late Bismillah Khan, Smt. Kishori Amonkar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Dr. L. Subramanium, Smt. Shubha Mudgal, late Pt. Kishan Maharaj, Smt.Girija Devi. Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia and many more have mesmerized the people of our country through this series.
SPIC MACAY & Doordarshan have come together to host a national level Indian Classical Music competition in the form of a Reality Show, that aims at promoting and popularising Indian classical music and rewarding the best young practitioners of classical music. This National Competition will be broadcast all across the DD network, including DD National & DD Bharati. A first of its kind in India and possibly the world, the show will go on air soon.
Donate for SPIC MACAY - A message from Dr. Kiran SethI urge you all for a little support for SPIC MACAY in its 39th year since its inception. The intangible domain in which we are largely working is getting increasingly sidelined. Things that are abstract, subtle, very inspiring and very mystical are being replaced by the obvious. Please try and see that this does not happen for otherwise the best of what we can offer to the world will either get lost or will mutate beyond the basic reason for its existence.