‘Integration’ key to India Fest
SLIGO’S INDIAN ASSOCIATION IS GROWING ALL THE TIME, AND INDIA FEST 2017 IS ALL ABOUT INTEGRATION SAY ORGANISERS
THE Indian community in Sligo have for a long time organised some of the most colourful events in Sligo’s entertainment calendar..
This year, the group has organised ‘India Fest’ - a celebration of music and dance on October 21st at the Knocknarea Arena, during Diwali, the festival of lights.
All proceeds of the event will go to the North West Hospice, and tickets are available from the Hawk’s Well Theatre on 071-91-61518 or www. hawkswell.com or from the North West Hospice, Wine Street on 071-91-70523.
Event co-ordinator, George Chadda, explains the event: “India Fest is an Indian performance of music, dance and martial arts and is supported by Sligo Live. It takes place the weekend before Sligo Live but it coincides with Diwali, the Indian festival of lights,” he told The Sligo Champion.
One of the main reasons for the event, he says, is integration. The Indian community in Sligo have always been keen to integrate into society here.
“There are two main reasons for the event taking place. The theme really is integration through music. A lot of Indians settled here in Sligo and surrounding counties and they want to live peacefully and they want to do that by integrating into society. We’ve chosen music as way of integrating.
“It’s a regional event so people from the North West and further afield are more than welcome to attend.”
With all proceeds going to the North West Hospice, George says that association members want to give something back to the Hospice.
“The second reason is that the proceeds of the event go to the North West Hospice. There has been reason for Indian people to use the Hospice and they feel strongly about the great service and support they received and they want to give all of the proceeds to the Hospice.”
This is the first event of this type for the association, although they have held many of their own events before and have participated in celebrations in Sligo such as St. Patrick’s Day parades.
“We have run many events before, but a lot have been around Indian celebrations. This is the first event of this type that we’ve undertaken. We’re encouraging everyone to come out and join us.
“There will also be active participation from the audience in the last dance of the evening. We want people to get involved.
“The dance that would be very familiar to people would of course be Bollywood. Soul Beats will be performing that on the night.”
There are over 200 members registered with the Indian Association, and that number is growing all the time.
George is a member of the Chadda family, who were the first Indian family in Sligo.
His father Johnny, well known thanks to his dedication to Sligo Rovers, moved to Sligo in the 1950s.
Nowadays, the Chadda family can share their culture with the numerous other Indian families living in Sligo.
“We have 247 registered members in the Indian Association but it’s hard to put a figure on the amount of Indians living in the area.
“When my family moved here in 1953, they were the only Indian family here. It’s a population that is growing all the time. We have new members coming in all the time and they are working in IT, Research and Development, medical, a wide range of professions.”
He says that the network of Indians living here are a huge help to anyone who moves over.
It’s vital that we have this group. It’s a great support to people who are coming from India. They can link up with people and network, and also they can share their culture and integrate with others.
“I’m in the Whatsapp group and I can see people being added into it all the time. It’s great that there is a community.”
And George says the group has made huge strides since its inception.
“This is the Indian Association’s 11 th year. My late father was one of the founding members. I feel we have made great strides in Sligo. We have actively participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Fleadh, Yeat’s Day and more.”
For more on India Fest check out ‘INDIA FEST 17 ’ on Facebook.
Indian snacks will be available on the night also.
Indian Association Fest 2017 launch: Divya Anil Kumar, Shilpa Sivadas, Neeta Khetarpal, Gouri Bhanja, Pooja Arun, Nidhi Anilkumar and Neha Arun. Pics: Donal Hackett.