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TORONTO: Indo-Canadian Unity in Diversity.
That’s was the theme of Panorama India-organized celebrations of India’s 64th Republic Day on Sunday at the Pearson Convention Center in Mississauga.
The new Indian High Commissioner Admiral (Retd) Nirmal Verma, Consul General Preeti Saran, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, MPP Deepika Damerla and others joined the local Indo-Canadian community in the celebrations.
The ceremonies began, with Jake Dheer of Rogers Television introducing the guests to the audience and former Idol Contest Winners – Ferzana Bohra (2010), Subash Gandhi (2012 seniors) and Anusha Shivalingam (2010) singing patriotic songs.
This was followed by `Veena Symphony’ from the Veenalyam School of Music and singing of the national anthems of India and Canada.
Then the audience were enthralled by the colourful invocation dance – Ganesha Vandana- by Menaka Thakkar Dance Company.
Jibanjit Tripathy, Chairperson of Panorama India, welcomed Admiral (Retd) Nirmal Verma and then outlined the three-fold mission of the Panorama: Educate, Celebrate and Collaborate.
To emphasize the unity in diversity was the dance `East meets West’ –a fabulous presentation of nimble footed ballet and Indian dance union – choreographed by Atri Nundy and Debbie Wilson of the Sampradaya Dance Creations.
The great Pandit Ravi Shanker, who passed away last year, was paid a befitting tribute on the overhead projector.
Then after her brief speech, Consul General Preeti Saran introduced Admiral Nirmal Kumar as the new High Commissioner of India to the gathering.
The high commissioner praised the work of Indian Panorama and the Indian diaspora in Canada to promote Indian culture and keeping its traditions alive. He said India has the world’s largest young population, and quoted President Pranab Mukherji that India has changed more in the last six decades than in the last six centuries.
This was followed by the awards ceremony for the distinguished citizen, with Tibetan chiefs presenting a shawl to the High Commissioner.
The highlight of the day was the traditional Folk Dance Competition involving various Canadian dance schools competing for the best folk dance presentation.
There was also a Children Drawing Competition, taking place at the same time.
The cultural extravaganza included performances by Kannada Sangha: Old is Gold, Ente Keralam – A bharathanatyam and Mohini Attam Fusion, Mix Bollywood Songs from Neeti Dream Dance, Yog Pranayam Demonstration by Patanjali Yog Peeth Canada, Odisha Festival Dance, Special Bhangra Dance , Bollywood dance, Lavani dance, and a host of crisp choreographed medleys.
The grand finale was by Jadoo Entertainment.
The day-long ceremonies came to an end after the presentation of trophies and the announcement of Idol Contest winners, sponsored by State Bank of India (Canada). Consul general Preeti Saran, State Bank of India President & CEO Sunil Tandon, Panorama India chair Jibanjit Tripathy and co-chair Ramesh Bangalore gave away the awards.
For the expatriates in Toronto, the day brought sweet memories and nostalgia of such ceremonies back home in India.