Indians in Gulf celebrate I-Day with array of programmes

August 16th, 2008 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

Dubai, Aug 16 (IANS) The over 4.8 million strong expatriate Indian community across the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries celebrated the 62nd anniversary of India’s independence with a wide array of programmes. The celebrations, which started with official flag hoisting ceremonies in various Gulf cities Friday morning, culminated with colourful cultural programmes late at night.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the highlight was a classical dance recital by veteran Bollywood actor and acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer Hema Malini and her two daughters Esha Deol and Ahana Deol.

The programme, ‘Parampara’, organised by the Indian Business and Professional and Business Council (IBPC), showcased the Indian classical dance forms Bharatanatyam and Odissi.

Around 1,000 people, including top dignitaries and envoys to the UAE from around 25 countries attended the programme.

Earlier, India’s Ambassador to the UAE Talmiz Ahmad hoisted the tricolour at a function in Abu Dhabi, which was attended by over 450 people, while Consul General Venu Rajamony did the honours in Dubai.

A cultural programme following the flag hoisting ceremony in this west Asian metropolis was attended by around 5,000 expatriate Indians.

In Muscat, India’s Ambassador to Oman Anil Wadhwa hoisted the Indian national flag and read out excerpts from President Pratibha Patil’s speech. The ceremony at the embassy was attended by over 500 members of Indian community.

Children from all five Indian schools from the capital region participated in a cultural function at Indian School Darsait. A tree planting ceremony was also held with volunteers of the Art of Living foundation.

In the afternoon, a cultural programme entitled ‘Khushbu Meri Maati Ki’, a nostalgic journey back to the motherland, was also organised by the embassy at its auditorium. Coordinated by Shubarna Bose, a well-known Odissi dancer in Oman, the show was put up in collaboration with Nrityanjali, a non-profit organization engaged in promoting Indian culture.

The programme was an assortment of patriotic songs and folk dances. A musical programme ‘Gazaala’ - fusion of ghazals was also organized on the embassy lawns in the evening. Bollywood singer Roop Kumar Rathod and Fazal Quereshi, accompanied by other fusion musicians, performed.

In Bahrain, over 500 people attended a function at the Indian embassy in Manama where Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty hoisted the tricolour.

Flag hoisting ceremonies were also organised by expatriate Indian organizations like Bahrain Sree Narayana Cultural Society, Gurudeva Social Society, Kerala Social and Cultural Association, Bahrain Keraliya Samajam and Kerala Social and Cultural Association.

The Kannada Sangha held a mega cultural event at the Indian Club in Manama, which paid a tribute to martyrs of the country’s freedom struggle.

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) organised a classical Indian cultural programme at the Indian school, Isa Town. The highlights of the programme was an Odissi dance recital by Jyoti Shrivastava. It also featured Hindustani music by Pandit Dinanath Mishra.

In Doha, India’s Ambassador to Qatar George Joseph hoisted the tricolour at the Indian Cultural Centre. The ambassador’s address was followed by the rendition of a patriotic song in Hindi by MES Indian School students under the baton of music teacher and composer P.J. Beilbey.

A new website of the Indian embassy in Qatar was launched to mark the occasion.

Separate functions were also organized by MES Indian School, Birla Public School, Shantiniketan Indian School, Noble Indian Kindergarten and Qatar Malayali Samajam.

In Kuwait, Indian Ambassador M. Ganapathi hoisted the flag. This was followed by a cultural programme in which schoolchildren gave various performances.

India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia M.O.H. Farooq hoisted the tricolour in Riyadh. In the evening, a reception was held at the Indian International School.

In Jeddah, newly appointed Indian Consul General Sayeed Ahmed Baba hoisted the flag at the official function in that Red Sea coast city.

Apart from these programmes, major newspapers in the region brought out special supplements to mark the occasion, including thick glossy full-fledged magazines.

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