Thursday, April 15

Anglo-Indian community in Kolkata gears up for special day

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As the world celebrates Anglo-Indian Day on Friday, the leaders of the community in the city will give a clarion call to the youths — to focus on higher studies and stay back in the country. These are difficult times and it is a challenge to the community to not only try to survive but to excel as well.

The celebrations started last Saturday and will go on till Sunday, August 4, with a grand feast at the Calcutta Rangers Club, the only Anglo-Indian club in the country.

The celebrations on Friday will start in the morning with the Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools, organising a prayer service, discussions, music, dance and feasting at The Calcutta Boys’ School. The association celebrates the day every year, but this year it has decided to rope in 74 senior members, all residents of five old-age homes in the city.

“Right from playing retro numbers and ensuring that the seniors have a good dance to feasting on favourite Anglo Indian cuisines of vindaloo, yellow rice and jhalfarezi, we have decided to make it special for the community,” said Francis Gomes, secretary of the association. The high point of the day would be the music, which will be live and played by the Calcutta Boys choir.

The celebrations began last Saturday with the Anglo Indian Day celebration dance at the Calcutta Rangers Club, Maidan tent. It saw a huge turnout. Interestingly, members stuck to conventional ballroom dancing. “We are continuing with the celebrations this week and on Sunday, we will have an Anglo Indian food festival and there will be a large spread of all the Anglo-Indian favourites that one can think of. Right from panthras to roasted pork, pork vindaloo, beef jhalfarezi, beef korma and khuska rice, you will have everything you want,” promised Shane Calvert, MLA of the community and president of the club.

In the evening, a special prayer service for the community has been organised by the Calcutta Anglo-Indian Service Society (CAISS). Four priests will read out prayers and messages for the well-being of the community will be given. “We are at an interesting crossroad now and the community will have to take guided steps to stay afloat. While on the one hand we will have to look after the elderly and the poor because large numbers in the community come under this bracket, we will also have to urge the youths to go for higher education and not think of leaving the country in a hurry, like it used to be earlier,” said Leslie Pereira, spokesperson of CAISS.

“The image that the Anglo Indian youths would grow up to be a secretary or a steno-typist needs to change now,” he added. “In our message tomorrow, we will draw attention of the community to the fact their mindset needs to change as reservations that existed for the community till 1962, are gone now. Today, one has to excel in studies to survive,” he added.

 

Source: Times of India

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