Friday, 20 July 2012

Still vibrant and keeping the traditions- Chapel Road, Bandra

Still vibrant and keeping the traditions alive

The East Indian community still exists!!

Dressed in their traditional garb and festooned with inherited ornamental jewelry, the East Indians of Chapel Road toddled along from the cross at the junction of Chapel Road and Waroda Road right up to Mt. Carmels Church Bandra on 3rd June, 2012.  
A tradition revived, members of the community marched along while the band played on. On reaching Mt. Carmels Church the rosary was recited and hymns sung in the traditional dialect after every decade. 

Post reciting the rosary, Fr. Leslie Malya warmly welcomed everyone and addressed everyone present. The band continued to play typical East Indian songs and few danced to their tune, while others enjoyed palms full of channa with some refreshing drink. The main aim was to bring the community together and address the various challenges they face like the increasing traffic and FSI with reference to goathans, amongst other issues. Some of the crumbling old homes down the road have now given way to buildings and there has been an influx of various communities. Hence there has been a calling to save what the community can, before it’s all lost to history.

Many East Indians are representatives of varied committees and associations, spread across Mumbai, Salsette, Thane and even Chaul and are striving to keep the rich culture and traditions still alive.

The East Indians community still exists; the community recently celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Bombay East Indian Association (BEIA) too. In his key note address, chief guest CM Prithviraj Chavan mentioned that he knew very little of the community, which was certainly a surprise to many but literally a calling for us to do much more.

The community today boasts of a mini museum at Manori which houses traditional East Indian kitchen ware and elegant crockery. The Mumbai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP) also held its second annual East Indian exhibition within the Irla Church premises on April 14, 2012 which hosted a number of East Indian household items along with some mouth watering delicacies. It also boasted of a display of the members who have done the community proud over the years. ‘Viva Queimada’ a book which traces the community’s roots along with the history of Bombay was also recently launched.

East Indians spread across Mudh Island, U.A.E or even Canada still come together and make merry either celebrating the Church Feast, harvest festival or just enjoying some delectable EI dishes.

Besides just meeting to celebrate over song, drink and dance it’s imperative that each one of us, plays an active role, do the community proud, support each other and preserve what we still have. 

With inputs from Vernon Barrow