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Kamla: Phagwa is a season of hope
It was a photojournalist’s dream to see parents, children and some popular political figures, bathed in abeer and coloured powder (gulal) for Phagwa celebrations yesterday, at the Tunapuna Hindu School. The celebratory mood was reminiscent of Carnival season, with various shades of colours, and children full of joy engrossed in the culture of their East Indian ancestors.
No one could escape the dye-filled water guns and ‘squeezy’ bottles, as the clothing of participants looked like expressionist art pieces. There was colour everywhere as children sprayed randomly at the faces and clothing of those who dared to be clean. Tassa drums, chowtaal singing and Hindi music filled the atmosphere as Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar arrived but she could not escape the colour-happy youngsters, as she was swamped by eager children waiting to cover her with abeer.
The festivities were organised by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Saba, and other attendees included the Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters, Minister of Public Utilities, Emmanuel George, Minister of Transport Devant Maharaj, and honoree Israel Khan, Senior Counsel, who also attended Tunapuna Hindu School in his youth.
However, those distinguished guests were hardly recognisable, as they mingled with the children, holding bottles with mixtures, looking for victims to spray. The festival of spring, as the Hindus call Holi or Phagwa, was given new meaning as the Prime Minister gave her feature address. Speaking to scores of colour-coated spectators, she said Phagwa signifies new meaning and new beginnings for a brighter future.
“Celebrating events like Phagwa is a kind of renewal for the new generation. It helps us to place importance on where we come from.” Persad-Bissessar stated that International Women’s Day and its focus on rural women everywhere, is representative of what Holi celebrates.
“Phagwa is a season of hope and a time to renew our commitment to securing our future because the children here are our hope and our future,” preached Persad-Bissessar. The Prime Minister also stressed religion and culture will bring children closer to God, in this multi religious, multi cultural society, stating that “it reminds us to keep our feet on the ground and remember where we came from and who we are”.
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