Saturday, 21st May 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Festival of India set to make a debut in Nigeria

By Anote Ajeluorou
10 February 2016   |   2:38 am
INDIA is a country rich in culture and tradition anchored on religion. These would be on display come August 13, 2016 when the Festival of India will be held at Tafawa Belewa Square, Onikan, Lagos. The festival is a collaboration between International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the India Disapora in Lagos designed to bridge the cultural gap between India and Nigeria and thereby forge a better understanding between the two countries.
India youngster group, Rock Stars of India, performing

India youngster group, Rock Stars of India, performing

INDIA is a country rich in culture and tradition anchored on religion. These would be on display come August 13, 2016 when the Festival of India will be held at Tafawa Belewa Square, Onikan, Lagos. The festival is a collaboration between International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the India Disapora in Lagos designed to bridge the cultural gap between India and Nigeria and thereby forge a better understanding between the two countries.

A briefing held over the weekend to announce the festival and it attracted a large number of Indian community in Lagos, including the head of Krishna in Nigeria, His Holiness Bhakti Dhira Damadar Swami and former Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, CEO of Gaurapad Charities and chairman organising committee, Mr. Bolaji Rosoji. Rosiji explained the origin of Festival of India, and its interwoven relationship with Krishna religion, with its founder or Acarya of Krishna, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who he said brought the Ratha Yatra festival to the rest of the world.

According to Rosij, the goal of the Festival of India is to “Celebrate cultural unity and diversity for national and global peace – vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the world is one family). The Festival of India, with the Ratha Yatra (chariot) Festival as its central spectacle, has an inestimable impact on the minds and hearts of literally countless casual visitors and active participants in major cities worldwide. The Ratha Yatra (chariot) Festival originated in the holy city of Puri, India, and has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is a grand culmination of a series of celebrations spread over the summer and the monsoon month and is the most splendid of them all. The Festival of India celebrates humanity’s universal, timeless culture of devotion, focused upon the divine, leading to the ultimate harmony of being. Scholars have noted the ISKCON’s contribution to the world as ‘Devotion to God, Compassion to All’”.

He also said the festival would be an international one with dignitaries coming from all over the world. Rosiji also noted that efforts were on to get President Muhammad Buhari to attend, noting that the festival activities would include a “procession display of various Indian costumes, dressing and dance groups representing different states in India. The Festival of India will host internationally renowned traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and dramatic artists from India and Nigeria. The Science of Reincarnation, Cow Protection and free, sumptuous, vegetarian feast, unique life-changing gifts such as transcendental art and bestselling books on yoga and meditation will be available for all participants”.

Rosiji also said his organisation is collaborating with Lagos State, through its Ministry of Culture and Inter-Governmental Affairs, for a successful festival.

CEO, Gaurapad Charities and Chairman, Organisaing Committee, Festival of India, Mr. Bolaji Rosiji (third from left); leader of Krishna in Nigeria, His Holiness Bhakti Dhira Damadar Swami ‘Lighting the Lamp’ and other dignitaries at the event on Sunday… in Lagos              PHOTOS: ANOTE AJELUOROU

CEO, Gaurapad Charities and Chairman, Organisaing Committee, Festival of India, Mr. Bolaji Rosiji (third from left); leader of Krishna in Nigeria, His Holiness Bhakti Dhira Damadar Swami ‘Lighting the Lamp’ and other dignitaries at the event on Sunday… in Lagos PHOTOS: ANOTE AJELUOROU

Co-chairman of the festival, Mr. Diresh Misra, stressed the cultural diplomacy aspect of Festival of India, saying that it would enable outsiders see Nigeria differently from what is constantly played up in foreign media that hurts the country’s image. According to him, “Nigeria is not what people see or hear of it from outside. Nigerians are good people. Nigeria and India have been partners for world peace for a long time. You can’t think of a peaceful Nigeria without a peaceful India and vice versa. Let’s come together for a celebration of our diverse communities”.

Earlier, His Holiness Bhakti Dhira Damadar Swami, delivered a word of admonition to guests when he said God owns proprietorship of everything on earth and that it is the inability of man to take only the fair share due him and leave the rest for others largely through greed that fuels strife in society.

He noted that in spite of many peace conferences around the world today, peace has continued to elude man because “Peace is not something you can buy in the market because it is the property of God which can only be found in God. To be peaceful, we have to shun greed. In this world, there’s too much cheating and this denies us peace. To be peaceful we must recognize God as the owner of peace. In this festival, we’re inviting people to participate in the enjoyment of what God has”.

Guests at the briefing had a foretaste of Indian culture and music that would characterize the festival when they were treated to some music and dances. Lighting of the Lamp kick-started the programme. A child group, Rock Stars if India, treated guests to India’s rock music and dance; University of Lagos duo, Ms Precious Oroye and Mr. Abigail Tonade of Light Year Entertainment also executed a graceful Indian love dance to vigorous Indian music. Nigeria’s Fine Face gave comic touch before Fela Gold delivered inimitable Fela’s Afrobeat tunes that rocked the house.