Rangla Punjab, a bhangra troupe from Punjab, India, has emerged champion of the Regional Bhangra Competition held on 6 September 2008 at the RELC Auditorium.

Hosted by the Singapore for the first time, the major multi-ethnic regional competition witnessed six top bhangra dance teams from Australia, India, Malaysia and Singapore coming together to vie to be the region’s top bhangra team.

The bhangra is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region of India. It is a folk dance conducted by farmers to celebrate the coming of Spring. Today, the bhangra survives in different forms and styles all over the globe, including pop music and film soundtracks.

Organised by YSA to a sell-out crowd of 500 people, the competition was a platform to showcase the talent and diversity of multi-racial teams from the region. The event had a truly multi-ethnic and multi-cultural dimension, with non-Sikhs also being members of the participating teams. The competition also showcased the colour and vibrancy of the bhangra, and helped develop greater camaraderie between people of different ethnicity and countries.

In his message in the souvenir magazine, the Guest-of-Honour, Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, stated that, “Such events contribute significantly to Singapore’s flourishing arts and culture scene. In our endeavour to transform ourselves into a global city for the arts, the government has invested heavily by putting in place key arts and cultural venues and other supporting infrastructure. However, “hardware” alone is not sufficient. We need to continue to develop the “software” aspects. I am heartened that the government’s efforts are well complemented by that of the Sikh community.”

Mr Hernaikh Singh, President, YSA, stated that, “The event witnessed multi-ethnic teams from near and afar coming to challenge each other to be proclaimed the best bhangra team in the region. More importantly, it provided an excellent opportunity for people from different parts of the region to build bonds and camaraderie. In its scope and vision, the idea of the competition was grand.”

The competition was supported by the Community Heritage Grant from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, the Youth Development Fund grant from the National Youth Council, the Lee Foundation and PA Narpani Pearavai.

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