A “Justice for Pravin Fundraising Program”, preceded by a high-profile public meeting, was organized in Chicago aimed at creating awareness about the suspicious death of Pravin Mathew Varughese, a 19-year old multi-talented student of criminal justice, the glaring discrepancies in the two autopsy reports, inordinate delay on the part of Police in apprehending the culprits even after the lapse of 20 months, problems in the legal system, and the long and painful journey of Pravin’s parents in seeking justice. These events were attended by over 1000 committed social activists and music enthusiasts.
Morton Grove Mayor, Dan Di Maria, in his inaugural address at the public meeting, said that he and his village will proactively support Pravin’s family in taking their fight for justice to its logical conclusion. Senator Mike Noland stated that he will not only write to the Attorney-General to initiate swift action in the case but will also intervene, whenever required, to ensure expeditious processing of the case. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a renowned politician, opined that justice delayed is justice denied and called upon all the stakeholders to join hands to put a concerted front to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies in future. Daya Bhai, a human rights activist from India, expressed shock over the delay in delivering justice in Pravin’s case in a country like the US, which is a global human rights champion.
Mariamma Pillai and Gladson Varghese assured that that the entire community will rally behind Pravin’s family in order to boost their morale. Lovely Varughese, mother of Pravin, gave an update on the case and the roadblocks they encountered in getting justice.
Cyriac Koovakkattil welcomed the dignitaries to the public meeting and Raju Varghese proposed a Vote of thanks.
The Justice for Pravin Fundraising Program “Rithubahar”, (Colors of Rhythm) was a state-of-the-art dance and music symphony presented by a group of renowned artists from India, including Jagadessh, a leading Malayalam Movie star, Pandit Ramesh Narayan, a famous Musician, Composer, and Singer, two eminent singers: Madhushree Narayan and Nishad, and five renowned classical dancers: Rachna Narayankutty, Athira Shankar, Dr. Anjana Jha, Sajeev, and Madhu. Vinod Mankara, a Malayalam Movie maker was Director of the show.
The singers performed hit Malayalam numbers in their booming voices and stole the thunder at the event. They captured the hearts of the audience by singing the famous songs: “Prayan maranna Paribhavangal” and “Oru Naru pushpamayi”, composed by Pandit Ramesh Narayan. They proved their multilingual musical credentials by rendering a number of melodious Hindi ghazels too and mesmerizing the audience.
The dancers presented Classical, Fusion, Mohiniyatam, Kathak, and many more dance forms. Their movements were flawless, dignified, and full of life. The depth of emotions was compelling. The spectators were floored to witness an endless variety of classical dance styles in a single show.
The orchestra, which was amazing and in sync with the powerful performances of the artists, was made up of eminent musicians, including Padmasree Mattanoor Sankarankutty- chenda (a form of drum); Prakash Ulliyeri-keyboard; Ustad Shafiq Khan- Sitar; Karuna Moorthy- Tabla; Udayaraj Karpur- Tabla; Manjunath- Drums; and Aniesh Anto-Guitar.
The entertainment program, which was vibrant, innovative, and breathtaking, reminded everyone of Pravin, as he possessed the same qualities. The enthusiastic audience responded by giving a thunderous applause and standing ovation, almost after every performance.
The proceeds of the Fund Raising Program will go to a Memorial Fund which has been created to assist Pravin’s family in their campaign to get justice and also to address preventive measures to ensure that such tragedies do not take place again.
While the Justice for Pravin Fundraising Program was organized by Pravin Action Council, chaired by Mariamma Pillai and Gladson Varghese, its Conveners were Gracy Vachachira, Cyriac Koovakkattil, and Raju Varghese.