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A cultural confluence comes alive in US' Phoenix as Indian diaspora celebrate 'Discover India'
All images by Soumyadev Sarkar/IBNS

A cultural confluence comes alive in US' Phoenix as Indian diaspora celebrate 'Discover India'

| @indiablooms | 23 Nov 2023, 12:18 am

Phoenix/IBNS: About 8000 miles away from its shores, the vibrant culture of India came alive this weekend in this US city when the aroma of desi cuisine and the joyousness of Bollywood gigs blended with the pride of a community basking in the glory of its lunar conquest.

When the Indian diaspora in the US state of Arizona got together in the capital city Phoenix to celebrate their diversity and progress, the message of the Indian success story was loud and clear.

The event ‘Discover India’ was organized by the India Association of Phoenix (IAPHX), a non-profit, non-religious, and non-political organization, meant for community outreach. Besides aiming to preserve India’s heritage, the organization extends its support to those in need within the community in Arizona, home to over 100,000 Indo-Americans.

After a lull of more than two years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the association’s signature outdoor event was held in the heart of the city on a bright sunny day with a wide number of Indians in attendance.

One of the most significant objectives of the event is to promote peace and camaraderie amongst the community bringing it together to make new acquaintances and networking besides witnessing some colourful performances by the diaspora celebrating the country’s diverse cultures, food, and traditional attire.

The theme for this year’s celebration was ‘Shining India’ which was aimed at reflecting India’s recent achievements, including Chandrayaan 3’s soft landing on the Moon’s south pole for the first time as well as the country’s economy securing the 5th spot in the world.

“India’s cultural heritage is a kaleidoscope of diversity, permeating every aspect of life- religion, language, art, architecture, dance, music, cuisine and clothing. Discover India showcases the diverse Indian music and dance forms while at the same time offering a sampling of ethnic jewellery and clothes," Radhika Siva, President of India Association of Phoenix said in her inaugural message.

"As always, you will not want to miss the flavourful cuisine from different regions of India,” she added.

Staying true to its objective, the event started with the National Anthem and progressed amidst beautiful performances being presented by Indians living in Phoenix belonging to all age groups.

No wonder Bollywood songs dominated a major part of the performances besides some magnificent presentations of Kathak, Bharatnatyam, and Odissi dance forms.

A major highlight of the cultural event was a short skit portraying the classic Mughal-e-Azam film.

Participants included toddlers, young adults, and even mothers coming together to showcase their talents.

Interestingly, the spectators were not Indians alone as a large number of Americans joined in the celebrations, staying loyal audiences till the very end of the 8-hour-long programme.

Since no Indian celebration is complete without food, one of the biggest highlights of the event was food stalls surrounding the entire circle of the Scottsdale Civic Centre, the venue for the event.

Right from the north Indian cuisine comprising chicken tandooris, seekh kebabs, chhole bhatures to south Indian delicacies like dosas attracted big queues of not just Indians but American visitors too. The icing on the cake was the availability of Indian street chaats, sweets like jalebis as well as sugarcane juice and mango lassis.

Apart from food, there were stalls selling Indian traditional clothes and accessories.

Speaking on the occasion, Executive Adviser of India Association, Venkat Kommineni, said: “The India Association’s Youth Committee is renowned for providing opportunities to enhance leadership skills and foster organizational attitudes among the youth. Numerous active participants in the India Association have undergone transformational experiences with many securing prestigious The Flinn scholarships.”

He highlighted how the India Association helps young minds avail the scholarships and ensures that it collaborates with several other organizations with similar objectives.

“Certain individuals within the organization, despite lacking formal titles, consistently contribute their efforts annually. Both the board of directors and numerous volunteers invest significant family time as volunteers to organize events and expand the network for the benefit of all,” he told IBNS.

The dazzling event culminated in the evening, lighting up the Phoenix Valley with some dhaak and dhol players making chorus music representing the Maharashtrian culture. To add the flavour of it, the participants adorned beautiful Maharashtrian traditional costumes along with pagdis (turban) on their heads.

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