News and Events
Cultural Diversity on Kashmiri Hindu Heritage Day
Miami, FL, USA, December 7 2013
The Kashmiri Community of South Florida recently added another feather to their cap when a celebration was held on Dec 7th, 2013, to commemorate the first anniversary of the “Kashmiri Hindu Heritage Day”. It was a historic moment for the Kashmiri Hindu Community when the Mayor of the city of North Miami presented the proclamation for “The Kashmiri Hindu Heritage Day” on November 17, 2012, in recognition of the resilient Kashmiri Hindus who were displaced from their homeland more than two decades ago. And this year, ‘Preserve Our Heritage” along with Kashmir Hindu Foundation, Inc. celebrated the Kashmiri culture and heritage in an event held with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, The Cultural Affairs Council, Mayor of the City of North Miami, and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.
In today’s challenging times, when so many cultures face the danger of extinction, the need of the hour is to protect and preserve our rich culture and heritage and educate the society about it. At the same time it is equally important to recognize and embrace other cultures as well. The City of North Miami, “a Melting Pot” of diverse cultures and home to many other ethnic communities, provided the perfect place and opportunity for everyone to learn and experience the Hindu Culture of Kashmir through a visual voyage as the community got together to celebrate the second ”Kashmiri Hindu Heritage Day”.
The event began as scheduled and as the guests walked in, they were greeted by an aroma of exotic Kashmiri cuisine. As the crowd mingled with each other and visited the various booths set up showcasing the different aspects of Kashmiri Hindu Culture, such as art, architecture, saints and philosophers, textiles and fashion, they also got to sample the mouth-watering Kashmiri dishes along with the ever popular, “Roth” and ‘Kehwa”. After the meet and greet, Ms. Lucia Gonzales, the Director of the North Miami Library, welcomed and congratulated everyone who had gathered at the wonderful event to celebrate our culture and heritage.
The program began with a group of children from the Kashmiri community offering the universal prayers invoking blessings from the Lord to guide us all in our efforts to create a tolerant society where all cultures can grow together peacefully. This was followed by a mesmerizing Shiv-Tandav – the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva performed by a talented young student of the community. At this time the Mayor of the City of North Miami, Ms. Lucie Tondreau was welcomed to light the traditional lamp. Amidst the sounds of conch shell, Ms. Tondreau handed the certificate of recognition to Dr. Chander Shaykher, a stalwart of the community, and acknowledged how wonderful it was to witness the beautiful Kashmiri Culture and that it was important to learn from each other’s unique traditions. There was a message from the United States Congresswoman, Ms. Fredrica Wilson, who congratulated the sponsors and told the Kashmiri Community to take pride in their contributions to South Florida’s diverse cultural reputation. There was another message from Miami Dade Mayor, Mr. Carlos Jimenez, who also congratulated the Kashmiri Community for their contributions and accomplishments in his message. These messages were shared with everyone by distinguished members of the community such as Dr. Avtar Krishan Ganju and Dr. Sanjay Razdan. As the afternoon progressed, other cultural performances showcasing the “unity in diversity” were presented one after the other.
There was a beautiful musical presentation by Ms. Gloria Chism, amazing performances by the 'Salsa-Kings',a dance group from the FIU presenting the South American and Cuban Style dancing and another performance by 'Remeeded& Anointed Vessels', an African- American Dance group presented a powerful, free spirited dance item.The next item was an awesome performance, a traditional Kashmiri dance called, “Rouff”, which was presented by the children as well as the mothers and grand-mothers of the Kashmiri community. The show stopper of the afternoon however, was a fashion show, a true history of Kashmiri fashion as it evolved through the years in terms of textiles, colors and costumes of the people. This was an item in which not only the grandparents but even grand-children of the community participated. The whole cultural program was well appreciated by the audience who joined the artists off and on as they applauded the awesome performances. Besides the cultural presentations, there was also an audio-visual presentationby Mr. Rajinder Kampasi, who comes from a great lineage of pioneers such as Pt. Vishinath Kampassi, a great artist and photographer, who was his great grandfather and Pt. Satlal Kampassi, a famous painter, who was his grandfather. Rajinderji presentedthese never before seen exquisite images of the two great pioneers and it was indeed a bitter-sweet memory for the audience as the screen filled up with images of life and culture from the valley of Kashmir.
As we came closer towards the end of the program, Mr. Deepak Ganju, Chief Editor of the famous online magazine- Shehjar, introduced a couple of books written by talented writers from the Kashmiri community. These writers play an important role as the ambassadors of our culture on the national and international scene by promoting our traditions and heritage through their writing. One such writer is Mohiniji Qasba Raina. Her book- 'Kashur, the Kashmiri speaking people', covers all about the people of Kashmir, their origin, customs, culture and their moments of glory and downfall. Another book - The Divine and The Destiny, by Meenakshi Raina, a story of a young Kashmiri pundit girl, reflects the pain of separation from her homeland, the struggle for existence and her courageous journey against all odds. Lalla- the Yogini, is a book written by the famous writer, Prof. M.L. Koul. This is a study from the perspective of Kashmir Shaivism which helps us understand the essential tenet of Shiva philosophy.
This brought us to the end of the day’s celebration, a milestone in our journey in promoting and preserving our culture and heritage in today’s times. As everyone made a promise in their heart and renewed their determination to contribute to the wonderful cause, a vote of thanks was given to all the artists, everyone who had worked to make this event a success and all the community members who had come from near and far to celebrate and be a part of this cherished event. An event which would not have even shaped up if it was not for the vision and efforts of Mrs. Chandramukhi Ganju, of “Preserving Our Heritage” foundation. Congratulations to everyone who toiled hard to make this event a success!!!
Event Video: http://www.shehjar.com/list/186/2406/1.html
Event Photo Feature: http://www.shehjar.com/list/186/2397/1.html
Awards & Recognitions: http://www.shehjar.com/content/2411/1.html
Kashmir-Vintage Images and Paintings: http://www.shehjar.com/content/2407/1.html
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Great event. We hope one day this day is celebrated globally with the same enthusiasm!
Added By Dr. Shahi Razdan
Wonderful to see Kashmiri Hindus promoting our rich cultural Heritage around the globe. Kudos to the organizers.
Added By Dalip Raina
Added By Dr. Satish Ganju
marvellous; beyond expression.
Added By romesh dass
Con-grates to all the organizers of the Heritage Day. The whole show is indeed worth high acclaim. Keep it up and serve the Kashmiri cause. God bless you, Orzoo!
Added By Mohini Qasba Raina
Congratulations! Org's In India Should Also Reciprocate. Keep it Up!
Added By Rajesh Kaul