In 1992, I happened to biking to South Africa to address on, amid added things, the about-face from the ageism regime, and the bout of the Indian candid aggregation — the aboriginal by an ICC-recognized all-embracing aggregation in decades during which the Springboks were banned from all-embracing cricket. In my actual aboriginal anniversary there, I accustomed from an associate I had aloof fabricated an allurement for a pre-wedding event: Embossed on the busy allurement were the words “Huldee Ceremony.”
Over the abutting few canicule I accomplished that South African Indians, best of whom accept never visited the country their ancestor larboard ancestors ago, bless Indian rites, rituals, and festivals as grandly, if not added elaborately than Indians in India. I had never anytime accustomed a abstracted allure for a Haldi or Huldee or Mehndi commemoration in India. Their Diwali (“Deewaalee”) aloof a few weeks afore was a accomplished I was told and they ( atleast the Hindoos) additionally bless Karva Chauth, Bhai Dooj, Lohri etc.
The consequence that immigrant Indians tend to adhere to Indian festivals and anniversary with alike greater avidity abroad has been adequate during my campaign to Indian banishment territories and settlements over the accomplished three decades. I’ve abounding Deepavali, Dussera, Ganesh Chaturthi, Ugadi, Id, Baisakhi, Navroz, Rosh Hashana amid added anniversary in the US over the years. They accept gotten added bright and busy over the years.
In fact, you can get a faculty of how it charge accept cranked up in time from this piece, which I wrote 14 years ago – in 2003 – with the dateline Midland-Odessa, Texas.
October 2, 2003: The barren accompanying burghal of Midland-Odessa in West Texas is not the abode you would apprehend to see a dress call for Indian festivities. A mostly white burghal in the oil-rich Permean Basin, it is President Bush’s home town, area the alone accent you heard till a few years aback was the squeaking of the oil rigs pumping out atramentous gold. It is additionally far abroad from the archetypal Indian enclaves of New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area, not to allege of India itself.
But at a bounded aerial academy auditorium, a account of adolescent girls are practicing a Rajasthani folk cardinal by Ila Arun this week. An according cardinal of boys are chorusing a Punjabi song alleged “Soldier.” The kids’ parents, immigrants from altered genitalia of India, acquisition beneath the advocacy of the Hindu Association of West Texas, are discussing arrange for food, frolic, and added ball for the advancing days.
There is ghaghra-choli, bottle bangles, payals, and chestnut to be ordered for the girls; and shalwar-kurta and jutthis for the boys. There is a priest to be commandeered from Dallas, a baker from Houston, and a adolescent adept of ceremonies to be accomplished to bear a allocution on Dussehra and Diwali…
Come October, it’s the blithe division for the NRIs of America. Removed bags afar from home, the rapidly growing Indian diaspora, helped by annoyed distances and accretion numbers, is accepting afterpiece to its roots – or at atomic attempting to, in its own blatant way. And it does not get bigger than Dussehra and Diwali.
This year, the Indian-American association in the US was emboldened abundant to ask Bush if he could bless Diwali in the White House. Send me the capacity and what it involves, Bush responded, and I’ll attending into it.
Typically, American blaze codes do not acquiesce wanton beginning of firecrackers, but in every added aspect, the festivals of song and ablaze accept bent on in a big way amid NRIs. And they say it won’t be continued afore alike the White Abode is lit up with diyas.
Almost every ample American city, best now with Indian citizenry of over 10,000, accept garba competitions, diwali melas, and all the advertising associated with the celebrations in India. “You wouldn’t feel for a moment that you are alfresco India,” says Laxmi Tummala, a Dallas citizen whose Vijayadashmi this year included accumulation drop-in to a altered abode anniversary day to recite the Lalita Sahasranama, sing bhajans, and administer maha prasad. “The alone difference,” she laughs, “is that we do an abbreviated accelerated up version. In India, it would accept been added relaxed.”
The blithe agitation has bent on alike in almost middling cities such as Portland, Lexington etc which accept alone a few hundred Indian families. Typically, the families accumulate at a bounded temple (often makeshift) or a aerial academy auditorium. They put the kids, best of them American born, through the dandiya and bhangra paces. A lot of it is a Bollywood spin-off. Last year, the Midland-Odessa desis had the girls assuming raas garba, while the boys went for a cardinal from Lagaan, complete with apple India ensemble beat by the Aamir Khan Eleven.
There’s austere being too, abnormally in the beyond Indian enclaves. There are able dandiya competitions in Teaneck, New Jersey, and Palo Alto, California. Bengalis too bless Puja in a big way. This year, the Indian association in Austin will be hosting a dance-drama depicting the adventure of Panchali, or Draupadi, by Bharatanatyam ballerina Urmila Sathyanaranan, complete with a alive orchestra from Chennai..
It’s additionally a division of concerts, with some of the better names from India assuming actuality during the blithe month. While Prabha Atre will be singing in Milpitas, California on October 12, Ashwini Bhide will be assuming in Cambridge, Massachusetts the aforementioned day. For the Carnatic aficionados, there is a violin jugalbandi by TN Krishnan and N Rajam in Austin about the aforementioned time.
Also on the cards, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia in Portland on October 17, and Kadri Gopalnath accomplishing Carnatic on saxophone at MIT on October 26. Pandits Ravi Shankar and Jasraj are approved performers in the US. Some fat cat NRIs who can allow it are alike accepted to dance from concert to concert. Home, afterwards all, is area the affection is.
DISCLAIMER : Views bidding aloft are the author’s own.
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