Dogras celebrate Lohri with fanfare in London. The event was attended in great numbers by members of different communities including the Dogras, Kashmiris, Punjabis, Himachalis, Gujaratis, Maharashtrians and other members of the wider community including POJKians….reports Asian Lite News
Voice of Dogras (VoD) hosted 2018’s first cultural event, by celebrating the J&K winter harvest festival of Lohri on January 14th. Voice of Dogras is a community organisation with a goal to encourage and promote Jammu region’s history and culture and celebrate the pluralism of J&K.
Bringing the Dogra cultural heritage to London, the event included a bonfire, traditional songs and rhymes such as ‘Todde Upar todda’ ‘ Parliye Tare Baano’ and was attended in great numbers by members of different communities including the Dogras, Kashmiris, Punjabis, Himachalis, Gujaratis, Maharashtrians and other members of the wider community including POJKians.
Mr Bob Blackman, Member of Parliament, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Anisha Safaya,a JKian and the current Mrs India Universe was the Guest of Honour. Faria Attique, a Poonchi from across the LOC was the Special Guest.
On a bitterly cold night, the Lohri bonfire brought warmth to all present, as they offered their prayers and did parikrama before dancing to the traditional beats of dhol. VOD also took the opportunity to showcase the “Chajja” tradition. Children went around with their chajjas for their Lohri from the elders, with chimes of “Deyo saadi Lohri.”
Highlighting the relevance of Lohri, and his long association with the Voice of Dogras, Mr Bob Blackman, fondly recalled his first Voice of Dogras event in 2016 and said “It’s great to be a part of the Lohri celebrations third year in a row”.
He spoke of his visit to Jammu Kashmir and to Jammu in particular, saying that he proudly wears his title of honorary Dogra. He reiterated that the whole of Jammu Kashmir is an integral part of India and lauded the excellent effort by the team of Voice of Dogras in showcasing the unique cultural heritage of the region and being the voice of the community in UK.
Anisha Safaya, a Kashmiri Pandit, who was dressed in a beautiful Dogri suit, spoke of how she was part of the Voice of Dogras family and how the state of Jammu Kashmir was a mini India, rich in its diversity of people and t languages.
Faria Attique, a POJKian and a Poonchi from across the LOC, stressed upon conflict resolution and said that war was not a solution, as she wished everyone a happy and prosperous Lohri.
Lalit Sharma, Director Voice of Dogras, UK, said “Tussien sarien gi Lohri te Makkar sakranti diyaan matiyan matiyaan mubharkhaan.”
“I believe in celebrating and keeping our culture alive, it’s our responsibility to pass it to our next generation. Being abroad this responsibility is twofolds towards our kids and the community we live in. We VODians are making sure that Dogras and Duggar culture is known to everyone around the globe, time has come to reclaim what is rightly ours,” he added.
Manu Khajuria, Founder Voice of Dogras said “ I am just back from India and after Voice of Dogras’ Malaati Event at Mubarak Mandi and our community meeting in Delhi, I thank friends and family both in London, Jammu and worldwide for their support. With Mata Rani’s blessings this was our third Lohri event in London and we successfully showcased Jammu Region’s unique culture and one of the vibrant festivals of Jammu Kashmir.