Diwali Celebrations enliven Trafalgar Square in London…. reports Ragasudha Vinjamuri
From Tyagaraja’s Telugu composition ‘Bantureeti Koluviyya’ to sizzling Hindi Bollywood numbers, from classical Kathakali to entertaining Bollywood moves, Diwali on Trafalgar Square had it all. Resonating with foot-tapping music, songs and colourful dance sequences, it was a feast to eyes and ears at London’s iconic landmark on Sunday.
Food stalls offering delicious items including tender coconut water, marquees hosting talks and activities connected to the importance of Diwali and Hindu Dharma, relevance of the festival of lights in different faiths, jewellery, arts corners, saree wearing, henna painting and various kids activities have literally emblazoned the Square. Thousands of visitors thronged the site and enjoyed the event in the perfect weather for an open air celebration. Several key dignitaries have visited the celebrations on the day, including Bob Blackman MP.
The day started with Raas Garba dance by the Raas Rebellion group in the midst of the Square, people were later encouraged to do participate as well. Ram Yaatra by children as Lord Rama and his parivaar arrived at the site culminating in a Diwali dance. The inaugural was presided by representatives of all member organisations of DIL committee, along with Deputy Mayor of London Roger Evans. Several community groups have presented interesting and eye-catchy performances during hours of beehive of activity. A range of interesting Bollywood and Garba workshops was held at the Dance Marquee behind the main stage. National Army Museum’s marquee displayed commemoration to the role Indian sub-continent had played during WW1, and paid tributes to the brave soldiers of British Empire.
What started as a humble community celebration initially 15 years ago has grown exponentially and has translated into Mayor of London’s main calendar event of the year to present a beautiful experience and reaching out to wider public. The DIL committee has committed member organisations who work for several months in harmony to put up this mighty show. Kerala Tourism had a major role to play, along with Zee TV, in this year’s program.
Satya Minhas, Chair for this year’s celebration said: “We feel humble, honoured and proud to be part of the Mayor of London Diwali in Trafalgar Square and chairing the Diwali in London planning committee. It was the biggest and best ever Diwali staged celebrations in Europe. The activity marquees and food stalls were jam-packed buzzing with excitement, melody, fun and joy. We are proud to be part of the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association – an integral part of the Metropolitan Police Service, Mayor of London office and the Diwali in London planning committee”.
The celebration was co-chaired by Varsha Mistry, also from Metropolitan Police Hindu Association.