(New York, NY: March 29th, 2021) Holi is the national festival of colors, celebrated across India in different forms and traditions. The celebration of this colorful festival brings people of different faiths with diverse socio-political ideologies closer. This unity in diversity was experienced by participants from around the world, representing almost all continents on Earth, as hundreds of Indian Diaspora members came together virtually to celebrate the Festival of Holi on Sunday, March 28, 2021.
With the support of the Consulate General of India in New York and organized by GOPIO New York, the oldest and the first Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, the colorful celebration of Holi Festival showcased the rich, colorful and the vibrant traditions of India, bringing them at the door steps of every household, as the audience from around the world were entertained with mesmerizing music, scintillating dance performances and inspiring speeches.
In his eloquent address to the Diaspora community, India’s Consul General in New York, Randhir Kumar Jaiswal greeted the participants from around the world Holi on the occasion of Holi Festival. While describing the historical and symbolic traditions of the festival of Holi, the veteran diplomat said, ““Holi is a very beautiful festival of color. A festival that helps us welcome spring. Holi has several connotations, social, religious, political and rhythmic with nature.”
Holi has become known as India’s most vivid, joyous-festival. Holi is being celebrated in the Indian subcontinent for centuries, with poems documenting celebrations dating back to the 4th century CE. It marks the beginning of spring after a long winter, symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated in March, corresponding to the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna. On the eve of the festival, large pyres are lit in many parts of India to signify the burning of evil spirits. People often throw wood, dried leaves and twigs into bonfires, Ambassador Jaiswal explained.
Beena Kothari, GOPIO New York President poetically narrated the importance of Holi, and served as an emcee of the event. While introducing Ambassador Jaiswal as a veteran diplomat, Ms. Kothari shared about with the audience his vast his experiences in foreign diplomacy around the world. Emcee of the colorful cultural events, Shruti Bekal elegantly coordinated the celebration with participants from around the world.
Lal Motwani, Founding President of GOPIO New York and GOPIO International Coordinator At Large, and the main organizer of the celebrations today, in his address, greeted Honorable India’s Consul General in New York, Randhir Kumar Jaiswal and officials, members and leaders of GOPIO from around the world who have joined virtually to celebrate the colorful festival of Holi. We at GOPIO New York are very honored to have you with us today.
“The vibrancy of colors is something that brings in a lot of positivity in our lives and Holi being the festival of colors is actually a day worth rejoicing,” Motwani said. “Holi is considered as one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India and it is celebrated in almost every part of India, transcending every region, and people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees, Buddhists, and Jains. It represents the uniqueness of Indian culture as we, from all backgrounds stand united to welcome Spring, as Mother Nature breathes freshness into our lives and that of every living creature on Earth. Welcome to each and every one of you and wishing you and your families A VERY HAPPY HOLI!”
Three little children adorably shared with the audience their perspectives, experiences of celebrating Holi and what it meant for them. A live Bollywood medley by Anwar Hussain and friends from Jaipur, India representing a family of 12 generations serving the royals, was much appreciated and loved by all. Begum of Bollywood Maharaja from Jaipur, a famous singer who is the 1st woman from her community to perform publicly, mesmerized the audience with her beautiful voice.
Mamtha Putaswamy, Mrs India USA from the state of Connecticut, performed a medley of Bollywood dances from popular Hindi movies. Aparna Sreedhar from Paris presented a Bollywood Medley, mesmerizing the audience with her beautiful voice singing some of the very popular numbers from the ever green Hindi movies. Lasya Komirisetty, a 11 yr old, Guinness Book record holder for maximum performances on world state, performed amazingly a Kuchipudy dance. Pritisha from South Africa, a 11 yr old from a family of musicians, mesmerized the audience with her melodious voice, singling some popular Holi songs.
Miss teen India Sidhya Ganesh from the state of Washington delighted the audience with a live Holi Dance. Shristi Belwaria from New Jersey, software engineer sang classical numbers with her amazing performance on Sitar. Renu Kundem, an IT consultant from Canada delighted the audience with her melodious voice. Pallavi Verma Belwariar, a professional artists from New York sang a very popular song from the ever green Sholay movie and others. A Holi Group Dance depicting the scenes from Lord Krishna with Radha and Gopis was performed by Pandit Charka’s School of Dance from Ananad Ashram.
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International in his greetings to the community on the occasion of Holi, he introduced and acknowledged the leadership of the GOPIO International, representing several nations. Dr. Abraham pointed how the Covid pandemic has transformed our lives and it has accorded us an opportunity to interact virtually and meet with all of you. GOPIO represents 32 Million Diaspora has over 100 chapters spread around all the continents, he said.
George Verghrese, Secretary of GOPIO International, conveyed his Holi greetings, a most important festival connecting people of all Indian origin. He shared with the audience the meaning of Holi and the symbolic importance of the Holi festival. Mehen Poinoosawmy, GOPIO’s International Coordinator for Europe coordinated several of the events that were part of the Holi celebrations today.
GOPIO International Vice President Ram Godhvi from New Jersey sang a Gujarati song, taking the audience back to the villages of India as they celebrate Holi. Anoop Bhargava from New Jersey recited a beautiful poem on Holi. Vim Goyal, a Gold Sponsor of the celebrations, conveyed his Holi Greetings and how he loves GOPIO that connects people from around the world. Indu Jaiswal and Dr. Sayyed from New York complimented GOPIO for organzing such a colorful and delightful event.