Tag Archives: india

Queens Hindus to celebrate Diwali


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Buddy Singh

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

After a two-year hiatus, the annual motorcade in Richmond Hill celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali will drive down Liberty Avenue on Saturday. More than 30 cars will be featured in this celebration of the Festival of Lights, which is traditional to West Indian and Indian communities. Each car will be decorated with flowers, lights and the rich colors associated with the festival. The three best-dressed cars will be awarded cash prizes.

While the motorcade has been an annual event for more than 15 years, the excitement is heightened this year as the event could not be organized the past two years. According to Lakshmee Singh of the Divya Jyoti Association, which organizes the event, the motorcade could not be held in 2012 because city officials were unable to spare the manpower after Hurricane Sandy. In 2013, the association’s request for a permit was denied.

The organizers had to get creative and held a “nagar” or fair where participants installed booths and sold traditional Indo-Caribbean clothes, jewelry and food, while attendees enjoyed a cultural show with dancers performing to classical songs.

motorcade 2011 (508)

“This year, for the first time, we are having both the motorcade and the nagar,” said Singh.
The festivities will begin at 3 p.m. with a “havan” or prayer to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, at the Arya Spiritual Center Grounds at 104-20 133rd St. The motorcade will begin from near Sybil’s Bakery at 133rd St. and Liberty Ave. at 5:30 p.m. It will be followed by a cultural program featuring classical singers and dancers.

The Natya Tilakam Dance Company is participating in both the motorcade and the cultural show, said its founder Dana Marajh. “We are performing a fusion of semi-classical tandava [a dance form] and Bollywood,” said Marajh, as she and her team strung lights and hung curtains in preparation to decorate their car.

They are hopeful about winning the motorcade competition and already have plans for the prize money. “If we win, the proceeds will go toward a clothing drive we are doing for Halloween,” said Marajh.

One of their competitors is Singh’s Roti Shop. “We are hoping to win,” said Shivani Harryginsingh, 28, the shop’s manager, adding that the celebration is a great way for the young generation born and raised in the U.S. to stay in touch with their traditions. “You cannot be a Hindu and not know what it means,” she said. “This is not something you learn in school. You have to learn on your own. It’s our heritage and culture. We need to keep the tradition going.”
The event is free and open to people from all communities.

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South Ozone Park couple broadcasts international radio show out of home


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Two South Ozone Park residents are part of an international syndicate of DJs streaming an international radio show that plays Caribbean, Guyanese and Indian music.

And they do it all from their home.

“It’s very hot here in New York City. I trust that the music coming out of our Queens studio is keeping you cool,” Sharmin Hardeosingh said into a microphone that carried her message all around the world to millions of people.

Sharmin and her husband Amar are a part of an international radio program called Swaarg Sangeet Radio and they have their own program that features an array of music like Caribbean, Bollywood, Trinidadian and Guyanese. Sharmin and Amar, who work out of their South Ozone Park home, have been running the New York City segment of the radio since 2012 and people from all over the world can listen to the music by going on the radio’s website.

“I have the ability to make someone’s spirit high with this music,” Amar said in a whisper because Sharmin was in the next room broadcasting. “It’s a part of the Caribbean community here in Queens but also around the world.”

While Amar is dedicated to the radio program, he works at an auto collision shop during the day and DJs for the radio on the weekend. Swaarg Sangeet means “power of music” in Hindi and the company is based out of Houston, Texas, where the corporate office is set up.

The Hardeosinghs’ set-up is similar to others across the world, according to the company’s website. The company is able to have a DJ always working somewhere by setting up manned stations in Trinidad and Tobago, India, Guyana, Florida and California.

The stations tend to have a high listener population of Caribbean and Guyanese people who want to stay connected with the international community. Amar and Sharmin do this by live streaming events that occur in Queens and all of New York City.

The couple recently streamed a memorial, using a high-definition camera provided by the company, of the death of a Hindu religious leader.

“And that’s how we connect people all around the world,” Amar said. “There were so many people out there yearning to participate in the event but they couldn’t come to New York City from India or wherever else they were.”

 

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Ex-Rutgers student Dharun Ravi found guilty in webcam spy case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

A former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate’s love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim of the snooping committed suicide. Twenty-year-old Dharun Ravi could face 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced. He shook his head slightly after the verdicts were read. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi and that he did it — and told others about it — because of a bias against gays.

Read more on the verdict at NJ.com