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Divali Nagar to be beamed worldwide

Saturday, October 31, 2015
Workmen at the Divali Nagar site on Thursday, erecting a structure for tomorrow’s opening. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS

This year’s Divali Nagar celebrations will be broadcast to audiences in India and other countries across the globe by Zee TV network, according to Surujdeo Mangaroo, public relations officer of the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC).

The annual event, which kicks off tomorrow night at the Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas, will also feature some of the soap opera actors in East Indian films broadcast locally.

Mangaroo said the international broadcast of the Divali Nagar will begin on November 1 and end on its final night of November 9, one day ahead of the Divali celebrations, the Hindu festival of lights.

The theme for this year’s Divali Nagar is Devi Maa (Divine Mother) as the NCIC hosts its 29th annual Divali Nagar with a series of social, cultural and religious programmes.

The opening night will feature performances by the Prema Shakti Dancers, the Untouchable Tassa Group and Kris Ramkhelawan from Suriname. Artistes from India, the US and the Caribbean will entertain hundreds who are expected for the festival, including visitors from across the globe.

Former Guardian writer, Pandita Dr Indrani Rampersad, will be the chief guest.

“Divali Nagar has now permanently etched its mark on the annual calendar of cultural activities and it is projected that over 100,000 patrons will attend. The figures keep growing annually.”

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, all members of his Cabinet, all MPs and senators along with diplomats and other distinguished people in the national community have been invited to attend.

Deokienanan Sharma, president of the NCIC, said that the Divali Nagar continues to be the premier Indo-Trinidadian cultural exposition that works for the preservation, promotion and advancement of Indian culture in the Caribbean.

“The NCIC was formed in 1964 at a time when Indo-Trinidadian culture was on the back burner of our country’s cultural space, with little or no recognition and as well, little or no financial support from the State, of the cultural and religious practices produced by over 40 per cent of our multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and multi-religious national citizenry,” he said.

“Today, thanks to the NCIC and the visionary aptitudes of Hans Hanoomansingh and a few others, projects like Divali Nagar among several others that the council has developed, T&T has become aware that there is another living, dynamic cultural stock being practised, now by almost the total society,” Sharma said.

Indian High Commissioner Gauri Shankar Gupta is slated to attend as well as members of the Indian High Commission, including Dr Pandey, Ameer Jeet and Chandra Mishra. 

There will be musical presentations by students of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural Cooperation.

“This year, 2015 marks a significant milestone in the annals of Indo-Trinidadian culture as the NCIC would have reached 51 years of service to all the peoples of T&T, and it is hoped that we would celebrate in a manner befitting such an occasion,” Sharma said.

He said that the NCIC has recently embarked on a programme to assist the Indian diaspora worldwide, “to establish their own Divali Nagar.” 

Divali Nagar, he said, which was initiated in 1986,  has succeeded in putting Indian culture and the whole sociology of the Indian diaspora on both the national and international landscape, and with this move, “Indian culture can no longer be ignored.”

Several diaspora communities across the globe have evinced deep interest in expanding Divali Nagar in their own communities, he said.

Packed schedule

As a precursor to the annual Divali Nagar, the NCIC will be hosting a seven-night yagna in honour of Devi Maa which will elucidate the greatness of Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi, Mother Sarsawati, Mother Kali, among several other goddesses in the Hindu pantheon. This is the ninth time Pundit Abhedanand Persad-Sharma will officiate at the Nagar. He is the seventh generation in a line of pundits going back to Madhya Pradesh, India.

Divali Nagar continues to promote the concept of multi-culturalism, national diversity and multi-religious affinity, and it has helped to promote culture and acceptance among all the various ethnic stocks in T&T, according to Pundit Ramesh Tiwari, spiritual leader of the Edinburgh Hindu Temple. 

“And Divali Nagar must continue for generations to come as it is a dynamic institution in rekindling respect for each other in this very troubled society.”

But Divali Nagar is not only about culture or religion. Patrons can get their hands on jewelry, household items, clothing and even cars. The showcase has now become a haven for any item one may need. Also, several Indian houses are specially poised to showcase their items, and they have now become fixtures. There are also banking facilities and other financial services on the spot.

The food court, one of the biggest attractions, serves doubles, pholourie, pepper roti, roti and chokas with peppery coconut chutney, Chinese cuisine, pizzas, corn soup and the like. 

“Divali Nagar has taken the shape of a mall with any and everything patrons would want which can be purchased there. It is a bargain centre. Divali Nagar has become a civilisation itself,” Utrah Ramoutar, a regular visitor said.


Other highlights for Divali Nagar will be the NCIC Queen Pageant of Miss Divali Nagar 2015 which will feature Rubaina Raghunath (Suriname), Samantha Sammy, Melissa Harrylal, Lalita Devi Dookie, Vedanta Suruj, Chandini Chanka, Kristine Singh, Chandini Campbell and Namita Balani (Belize). This will take place on November 8, while the NCIC Coca Cola Champ Grand Finals will be held on November 7. The NCIC’s National Dance Grand Finals take place on November 6, and this segment will see on stage Shalini Juteram/Karan Rampersad, Kiss Natraj, Shiv Tandava, Kaizen Shakti, Daniella Nagessar, Prem Shakti, Nritya Sangam, Bollywood, Amritam and the Swastika Dance Group.


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