100,000 visit T&T; Diwali exposition

October 25th, 2011 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Port of Spain, Oct 25 (IANS) More than 100,000 people thronged an annual exposition over 10 days to celebrate Diwali in this Trinidad and Tobago capital.

The exposition, called Diwali Nagar, was organised by the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC).

Deokienanan Sharma, NCIC president, estimated that despite the state of emergency in the country, in excess of 100,000 patrons visited Diwali Nagar Oct 16-25.

Emergency was declared in the country Aug 21 to curb a string of violent crimes.

Of this Caribbean island nation’s population of 1.3 million, around 44 percent are of Indian descent. Their forefathers were brought here between 1845 and 1917 to work on sugar plantations.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar visited the exposition before she left Wednesday to attend the Commonwealth Prime Minister’s Conference in Australia.

The theme this year was “Lord Rama-His Life and Times”.

“This is the 25th year of Diwali Nagar which …attracts patrons from all parts of the Caribbean, US, Europe and India,” said Sharma.

Sharma said that over 100 booths reflected the many facets of the Indian diaspora items like clothing, jewellery, cuisine, and home furnishings.

There were plays depicting the life and times of Lord Rama.

“Diwali Nagar continues to be the Indian diaspora’s premier socio-religious and cultural presentation annually,” said Sharma.

Surujattan Rambachan, the minister of foreign affairs and communications, called for the establishment of an authentic Indian heritage village.

Winston Dookeran, finance minister, described the annual Diwali Nagar “a formidable and momentous statement on the Indian diaspora in Trinidad and Tobago, which aims to promote the concept of diversity in its fullest manifestation”.

(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at paras.r@ians.in)

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