Diwali, diversity, and a touch of dhol

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The Council of Indian Australians successfully positioned Harris Park as a ‘Little India’ by hosting a Diwali fair

The first edition of ‘Little India Deepavali Fair 2017’ at Wigram Street Harris Park on Saturday, 7 October, hosted by the Council of Indian Australians (CIA), went off extremely well, with various political dignitaries, both federal and state, attending the event.

Those who attended included MP representing Prime Minster of Australia Alex Hawke, Parramatta Mayor Andrew Wilson, and MPs Geoffery Lee and Jodi Mckay, as well as councilors Sameer Pandey and Susai Benjamin.

Consul General of India, Sydney, B Vanlalvawna also graced the occasion. In addition to this, there were number of community leaders and representatives from local Indian media attended the function.

Keven Conolly MP wished everyone Happy Diwali and said, “I make speeches on India almost in every Parliament session. Recently, I made two important speeches on India—the first to congratulate CIA for the excellent India Day dinner few months ago, and the second to condemn the actions of Meat and Livestock Australia.”

Mohit Kumar, president of CIA, welcomed all the guests, while event director and secretary Sanjay Deshwal gave an overview of the concept behind Little India positioning in Harris Park.

“For many years, I held on to my dream of making Harris Park a ‘Little India’. Today, that dream has been fulfilled and I am thankful to those who have helped in the journey. Special thanks goes to Dr Geoffery Lee, good friend of the Indian community, and the owners of the local businesses in Harris Park without whose support it would have been difficult to host this event,” said Mr Deshwal.

Nitin Shukla, cultural director and CIA vice president, donned the role of head MC, and highlighted the strong line up throughout the day that included various cultural and Bollywood performances, and street shows.

With Wigram Street being closed for the day, the ambiance at the Little India Deepavali fair was vibrant, colourful and unique. Multi-coloured flags were put up all over the street, food and merchandise stalls, rides for kids and local businesses were packed to the brim with customers, and the henna stalls were in demand. It was a true street festival with lots happening for people, from a yoga performance by Spirit of India, the non-stop entertainment on stage, authentic Indian food from best of the best in Sydney, to dhol, lucky draws…

Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Rodduck, who was present at the event, said, “It is a pleasure to be at an event that demonstrates that Australia is a unique country and what makes it unique is we’ve the third highest proportion of oversees born people of any of the other counties in the world, all but Luxemburg and Israel. If diversity was a problem, we should have the significant problems around but we don’t. It works and one of the reasons it works is we welcome people from wherever they come from and they make a commitment to this nation and its culture and they are as much Australians as anybody else.”

 

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