Last Thursday, on 15th August ’13, India celebrated the 66th Anniversary of its Independence Day. The Indian community in Sudan assembled in the morning at India House in Khartoum, the official residence of the Ambassador of India to Sudan. His Excellency Mr. Sanjay Kumar Verma unfurled the Indian national flag and the national anthem was sung. He then extended his warm welcome to the Indian community on the special occasion and read out the highlights of the President of India’s message to the nation. The message started with homage to Mahatma Gandhi who shaped the liberation of the nation.The Ambassador then requested the community to observe two minutes silence in remembrance of the lives lost in recent floods both in Sudan and Uttarakhand in India. This was followed by a cultural programme in which children and ladies sang patriotic songs to commemorate India’s Independence.
Kerala Cultural Activity Centre (KCA) has been organizing this annual event for the Indian community in Khartoum for the last twelve years. The aim of the event is to celebrate Eid and Onam together which is attended by more than 1000 people from the Indian community residing in Khartoum, Omdurman, Bahri and the peripheries.
The core members of KCA are from Kerala, the tiniest state in the Southern tip of India. People from Kerala are very enterprising and comprise the majority of Indian expat community in the Gulf and neighbouring countries. Onam is a harvesting festival celebrated in Kerala and is symbolized by the home coming of King Mahabali. These festivities of Kerala are recreated by KCA in this grand yearly get-together of the community at St.Francis School in Khartoum. This year it was held on Saturday 10th August in order to celebrate Eid at the same time.
The Eid & Onam Fest has become popular because KCA has not restricted the event to people from Kerala only but opened it to all Indians irrespective of their region. Thus the variety entertainment programme staged at this festival truly represents the diversity of India. New talents are discovered every year amongst children, mothers and men who perform dances, sing regional songs and recite poems. The festivities are concluded with a traditional and sumptuous vegetarian meal.
An additional feature this year was the cooking competition which was held in the morning. There were eight contestants who cooked wonderful dishes. This competition was sponsored by Petrola LPG gas the new name for Gapco.
It is worth mentioning that the Ambassador of India H.E. Mr. Sanjay Kumar Verma and his wife Mrs.Gunjan Verma encouraged the community with their active presence during the cooking competition in the day and at the cultural programme in the evening.