Indian Community Centre (Belfast) Limited
86 Clifton Street, Belfast - BT13 1AB
Tel +44 (0)28 9024 9746
Fax +44 (0)28 9027 8922
Charity Number: XO394/81
Festival of India – 18th April 2010
Celebrating 60th Anniversary of Republic Day of India
Indian Community Centre, Belfast celebrated this mega festival at the world renowned
St. George’s Market i.e. the Covent Gardens of Belfast, on 18th April 2010. The event
was named the Festival of India. This Festival of India was the 2nd of its kind ever to be
staged in Belfast. This festival was a range of initiatives, the centre intends to undertake
through out the year 2010-11. This year the Festival celebrated the 60th Anniversary of
Republic Day Celebration. There was a colourful display of art and culture. The major
focus of the event was to introduce the diversity of Belfast with Indian colours &
flavours. Eventually, the event was hailed as the most successful Festival with a potential
to emerge as the iconic multicultural Festival of Belfast.
Objectives of the event:
1) Providing leadership:
a. We believe this festival was much required for the Indian community and
the wider community of Belfast. This Festival provided an opportunity to
rediscover the cultural diversity of the city and re-establish the trust,
friendship and social capital.
b. As expected, at least 50 organizations based in Belfast and Northern
Ireland took part in the festival. As a result Indian Community Centre
emerged to strength and establishes their long term working partnership
with them and also manages to explore new avenues of working
c. The Festival was attended by 3000 people those who turn up on that day.
This was less than last year of peak of 4000. The reason was rainy day and
lack of tourists due to the Volcanic Ashes that resulted having no flights
still the spirit was and they celebrated the diversity and taste of Indian and
2) Promoting social inclusion, cultural and environmental engagement
a. The festival was a perfect occasion for cross cultural and cross community
b. The festival provided a platform for all communities to share and learn
about each other’s cultural attributes.
c. The festival also provided an atmosphere for mutual respect among the
communities living in Northern Ireland.
d. As the Festival took place at the heart of the city, therefore, it was
supported with a huge participation from all sectors of the society.
Animating the city:
e. The festival was held on Sunday. We know normally nothing much
happens in Belfast on Sunday; therefore, Festival of India was one of those
events that can animate the city.
f. The programme attracted huge family and children participation. This
proved to be a family day out for many.
g. The Festival of India was also to be of special interest for the external
tourists. Those who were visiting Belfast found a unique opportunity to
come in terms with the diversity of the city.
3) Promoting Community led regeneration:
a. The five hour long cultural programme and seven hour long stall
exhibitions attracted the visitors and built the foundation for similar future
b. There were at least 40 stalls set up for the festival. The stalls were
predominantly by the local businesses and small entrepreneurs. For
example, someone specialising in hand made Jewellery, Chocolate,
promoting environment, local charities such as Ulster Cancer Foundation,
NI Chest & Heart Foundation and OMNI pioneer in Yoga or Indian Head
Massage were invited to set up stalls. There were also stalls on arts and
crafts that gave opportunities to the local people dealing with such items.
c. There was stall from the Indian Tourist Office promoting tourism to come
& display their products.
d. There was participation from organizations like PSNI, Wheelworks,
Shankil Leisure Centre, NICEM, Chinese Welfare Association, Northern
Ireland Tourist Board, Indian Tourist Office, Equality Commission,
Belfast City Council, Policing Board for NI., Red Cross and many other
communities from across Northern Ireland to set up their stalls as well so
that people can access to these organizations and get in touch with their
e. This Festival was just another effort of the Indian Community Centre’s
initiative to celebrate the “Indo-Irish Friendship through culture and
friendship... The success generated from the event will provide impetus to
the centre to undertake a series of cross cultural event through out the
Festival of India is becoming a landmark on calendar of celebration of festivals to be
attended. It was supported by authorities across the board. The Festival was officially
endorsed by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor, Naomi Long and His Excellency
Nalin Sourie, The Honourable High Commissioner of India. Lord Mayor instructed his
department to extend any help we need and His Excellency the High Commissioner sent
Mr Anand Kumar, Attaché Hindi Department. Mrs Monika Mohita, Minister of Culture
& Director The Nehru Centre and Mr Rajesh Srivastava Deputy Director, The Nehru
Centre promised and delivered the support.
Our other achievement was a 5 hours non-stop performance by a total of 84 performers.
These performers came from all sections of the community. They included members of
Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, Irish and Africa. Festival of India was truly a Festival of
Cultural Diversity. We must emphasize that despite the disruption of flights from the
main land which resulted in the absence of the our star performers from Nehru Centre
London, Kala Sangam Bradford and Virsa Punjab from London, our local artist provided
a spectacular performance. They were so good; no body noticed the absence of the Guest
Indian Community Centre is indebted to many organisations and individuals for their
support. They are:
1. Councillor Naomi Long, The Honourable Lord Mayor of Belfast for
supporting us right from day one.
2. His Excellency Nalin Surie, The Honourable High Commissioner of India.
His Excellency also took personal interest and helped to convert a dream of
Festival of India into a reality.
3. Lord Diljit Rana, The Honorary Consul of India in Belfast. His personal
guidance was invaluable.
4. Mrs Monika Kapil Mohta, Minister of Culture & Director The Nehru Centre,
High Commission of India in London. Mrs Mohta guided us to organise the
Festival of India and supplying Classical Dancers and Sitar Player.
5. Mr Rajesh Kr. Srivastava, First Secretary (Culture) Deputy Director, The
Nehru Centre. Mr Srivastava provided the much needed support and guidance
and the financial help through the Nehru Centre. Due the no Flight situation
he was not able to attend the Festival of India.
6. Mr Anand Kumar, Head Hind Division, High Commission of India.
7. Mr. Jagdish Chander, Head India Tourist Office.
8. Jeremey Adams, Community Safety Division, PSNI for pledging first
£ 5000/- in support of Festival of India.
9. Miss Edel Murphy from Arts Council of NI in helping ICC to receive much
needed £6000/- . This enabled us to invite Artists of very high calibre from
organisation like Kala Sangam and Virsa Punjab. Though they were unable to
join us due the No Flight Situation but they are going to join us on our nest
festival, Festival of Lights i.e. ‘DIWALI’ on the 14th November 2010. This
will also take place in the St Georges Market.
10. Andrew Webb for helping to procure additional funding of £2250/- to wards
the festival of India.
11. Mr. Rajesh Srivastava, Deputy Director, The Nehru Centre for £1000/- so that
we can 6 artists from London
12. Mike Gaston for putting up a wonderful openingl performance.
13. Roisin Lavery, Promotional Education Division, Equality Commission.
14. Donna Fullerton, Equality Commission.
15. Sergeant Richard Williams, Chair Ethnic Minority Police Association. PSNI.
16. Ian Carmichael and Emma of Belfast City Council for providing us with this
beautiful venue of St Georges Markets.
17. MAC Sounds for providing uninterrupted sound and vision facilities.
18. St John Ambulance.
19. Mrs Manju Tandon, Mona Seth and Vivek Tohani for being a wonderful
Master of Ceremonies.
Festival of India was supported by:
1. Office of the Lord Mayor
2. High Commission of India, London
3. Nehru Centre, London
4. Indian tourist Office, London, ( Incredible India)
5. Indian Tea Board
6. Air India
7. Honorary Consul of India, Belfast
9. Arts Council for NI
10. Awards for All
11. Equality Commission
12. P S N I
13. Belfast City Council
14. Heritage Lottery fund.
16. Belfast Visitor Centre
17. Ulster Cancer Foundation
18. Chest Heart and Stroke Association of Northern Ireland
To conclude, I would just like to say that my sincere thanks to all the participating
Artists, Volunteers, the members of the Managing Committee of the Indian Community
Centre and above all the members of the Indian Communities and other communities.
Their support and help made The Festival of India a great success.
LET’S STARTS ONCE OVER AGAIN AND GET READY FOR A BIGGER
FESTIVAL OF INDIA 2011.
Some Comments from the General Public
It is so nice to see the home grown Artists putting up such a wonderful non stop
performance. Congratulations. Belfast and Northern Ireland needs festival like Festival of
India. I am delighted to be part of this festival.
Lord Mayor of Belfast
Congratulations on such a successful event on Sunday. It would appear that your event is
growing. But this is the 2nd year I didn't win that digital TV!!!???
Promotion & Education
Congrats on successful Festival of India despite unavailability of participants from
It was a well orchestrated, well managed event and all the hard work of the volunteers
Nitin & Sonali Kadke
Lovely Show. No Regrets for not having other artists from London, our own are the
Thanks for the invitation.
Etain O'Kane <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I just wanted to write a quick message to congratulate you on a very
Successful and really enjoyable event yesterday.
I really enjoyed the afternoon at St George's Market, which obviously took a
Lot of time, effort and commitment to produce.
You created a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the food was good, and the
Entertainment well paced and varied for a range of ages and tastes. A great
Success. Thank you for a great day out.