Ken Chee Hing
AFTER an absence of two years, on account of the pandemic, the Divali Nagar returned on the nagar ground in Chaguanas, with a gala opening on Saturday evening.
Although opening night saw significantly less crowds than in years passed by, those that did show up, were treated to traditional East Indian music, songs, dance and food.
East Indian clothing, shoes and jewellery were also on offer on the market at the numerous booths.
Local VIPs including former prime minister Basdeo Panday, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell, Agriculture Minister Kazim Hosein, and Chaguanas mayor Faaiq Mohammed were present.
President of the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) Dr Deokinanan Sharma greeted the small crowd on the important stage and in reveling within the return of the celebrations, said that management of the organisation will see changes within the near future. The NCIC manages the nagar annually.
Minister Mitchell also spoke on the opening and thanked Sharma and his team for the work they’ve done over time to make sure the continued survival of the nagar.
“Their work has undoubtedly made residents more aware of traditions related to Hinduism and East Indian culture; a culture which has significantly influenced our life here in TT,” Mitchell said.
He also reminded of the essential message behind the celebration of Divali, for each Hindu and non-Hindus, which is the trumph of fine over evil. He urged everyone to benefit from the nine nights of celebration on the nagar leading as much as the observance of Divali on October 24.
“More importantly, allow us to challenge ourselves to be more peaceful, polite, and gracious to 1 one other. Allow us to proceed to walk along the trail of positivity, hope, and lightweight.”
In between these speeches, there have been performances from various cultural groups including the ZeeTV Shiv Shakti dance group led by Michael Salickram; the Dragon Boys’ tassa groujp and even a steelpan rendition of a bhajan (Hindu religious song).