Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 31st 2015 Contents A7
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This year s Divali Nagar celebra-
tions will be broadcast to audiences
in India and other countries across
the globe by Zee TV network, accord-
ing 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 per-
formances by the Prema Shakti
Dancers, the Untouchable Tassa Group
and Kris Ramkhelawan from Suri-
name. Artistes from India, the US and
the Caribbean will entertain hundreds
who are expected for the festival,
including visitors from across the
Former Guardian writer, Pandita Dr
Indrani Rampersad, will be the chief
"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
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 coun-
try 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
"Today, thanks to the NCIC and
the visionary aptitudes of Hans
Hanoomansingh and a few others,
projects like Divali Nagar among sev-
eral others that the council has devel-
oped, T&T has become aware that
there is another living, dynamic cul-
tural 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 Coop-
"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,"
He said that the NCIC has recently embarked
on a programme to assist the Indian diaspora world-
wide, "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.
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 cul-
ture 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 soci-
But Divali Nagar is not only about culture or
religion. Patrons can get their hands on jewelry,
household items, clothing and even cars. The show-
case 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.
Divali Nagar to be beamed worldwide
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.
Workmen at the Divali Nagar site on Thursday, erecting a structure for tomorrow's opening. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
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