Festivals to celebrate and voices to hear

Good Times

After the massive success Festivals of South Asia Inc had last year, with four back to back events that celebrated every aspect of India from its culture and faith to its fashion and film, Sarika and Hari Yellina seem to have even bigger and better plans to carry their vision forward in 2016.

What was even more inspiring about the festivals was that some were organised with almost no support from sponsors or government. The first FOSAI festival – Holi – which turned out to be Australia’s largest ever Holi festivities with more than 18,000 people in attendance, for instance, was hosted with no support from the government, but with the support of OFBJP and members of the Patel Samaj and Gymkhana Club. In December, FOSAI’s festival themed around Bollywood dance and music went ahead despite the challenges of performing in 42 degrees of heat.

Just goes to show how far vision and values can take people.

It’s a similar story of vision and determination in some of our other stories this issue too. Pallavi Sinha, for instance, a lawyer turned voice of the Indian community, who says she has always believed in “standing up for and giving a voice to the disadvantaged”. As an advocate of social justice she takes on subjects that most members of the community are hesitant to broach whether domestic violence or mental health issues.

Then you have Dharmesh and Nitin, two banking executives who ‘banked’ everything they had to see a dream fulfilled. The two took over a pub that was tottering to oblivion, and turned it into one of the most happening watering holes in Melbourne’s CBD. It wasn’t easy, say the two owners of the Irish Times, but they stuck it out, and now that the times are good, they are planning on branching out into outdoor catering.

In the end, I suppose, it’s just about taking dreams ahead, a step at a time.

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