Janeo: The Hindu student admission ceremony
Indo-Caribbean Divali Publication Ltd. (IDP) wishes to announce the publication of its latest souvenir magazine – Divali 2015, Trinidad and Tobago. The theme of this edition of its annual magazine is “Janeo: The Hindu student admission ceremony.”
Also known as the upnayana samskara, this ceremony is one of the lesser known expressions of Hinduism in Trinidad since it was initially observed only by the upper caste Brahmins. The janeo ceremony is also part of an ancient tradition which has survived over generations in Trinidad, far away from ancestral India. The ceremony represents the 10th of 16th samskaras or rites of passage in the life of a Hindu.
The janeo ceremony is significant because it emphasizes the importance of teaching and learning in one’s life, particularly spiritual education. The ritual of the granting of the sacred thread marks the coming of age of a male child at about the age of twelve who is believed to be sufficiently developed to enter into the brahmacharya or student stage of life. At this stage, the initiate becomes “twice-born.” Traditionally, he would leave his natal home for his teacher’s ashram or gurukula where he would live without luxury or sense-gratification to keep his mind pure and focused. Under the strict guidance of a guru [teacher], the young boy would begin to study the Vedas and learn to recite the sacred Gayatri Mantra. The auspicious ceremony, which lasts for three days, is celebrated lavishly in Trinidad.
Mastana Bahar: the longest running (45 years) local TV talent show in Trinidad and Tobago
The theme of this year’s edition of our magazine is “Mastana Bahar.” This magazine captures the history and evolution of Mastana Bahar [Joyful Season] which is unquestionably the longest running, locally-produced TV talent show in Trinidad and Tobago, and perhaps even in the Caribbean. It is the longest running talent show when compared to competitive and non-competitive, Indian and non-Indian cultural TV programmes. Its closest competitor is Scouting for Talent which ran for 30 years (1963 – 1993) hosted regularly by Holly Betaudier. Mastana was first produced by Sham Mohammed on July 4, 1970 on Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT).
Renowned US musicologist Peter Manuel (2000) stated that “Mastana Bahar has evolved into an institution in Trinidadian culture.” And in her book entitled Music in Latin America and the Caribbean (2004), Malena Kuss wrote that since the 1970s, the local talent TV show has been a central feature of local cultural life.
At present, Mastana is aired on GISL TV 4 on Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Thursdays from 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. It is also broadcasted on IETV Channel 1 on Sundays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Visual Arts on Indian cultural heritage
Indo-Caribbean Divali Publication Ltd (IDP) is proud to announce the publication of its latest Divali souvenir magazine. Divali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, was observed as a national holiday on October 23, 2014.
The theme of this year’s edition of the magazine is Visual Arts on Indian cultural heritage. The body of work featured in this magazine presents various visual interpretations of Hindu and (East) Indian cultural heritage in Trinidad and Tobago. With a total of 26 contributing artists, this compilation showcases a mix of established and aspiring visual practitioners whose works demonstrate competence and maturity in their respective genres.
As a highly visual religion, Hinduism is mainly characterised by brightly coloured and ornamental images of gods, goddesses and deities. These and other images have captured the imagination of artists and other cultural workers. The artistic exploration of Hindu and Indian images by artists take several forms and media which include drawings, mosaics, installations, rangoli, mehndi, mixed-media, conventional and digital paintings, and three-dimensional designs.
This magazine is a compilation of artistic works by mainly Indian artists working on Indian cultural themes. The truth is that not many Indians in Trinidad and Tobago are practitioners of the visual arts. It is important that this under-representation be addressed. The presence of non-Indian artists working on this theme suggests that they have been exposed to a certain degree, and have been influenced, by Hindu and Indian culture.
Finding family roots in ancestral India
Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC) is proud to announce the publication of its latest magazine commemorating Indian Heritage Month (May 2014) in Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean). The theme of the magazine which marks the arrival of East Indians/South Asians from India to Trinidad during indentureship (1845-1917) is “Finding family roots in ancestral India.”
This edition of the magazine captures the experiences of six persons of Indian origin from the Caribbean who were successful in finding their distant relatives in ancestral India. Ramesh Ramcharan, Ramnarace Dwarika, Dev Ramoutar, Veda Marimuthu, Shamshu Deen and Vishnu Bisram share their sentimental experiences through spontaneous words and selected photographs. In their narratives, they paint a moving picture, filled with amazing discoveries and extraordinary kindness. These five men and one woman went to India separately and at different times (1998, 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2012). Their spell-binding accounts engage readers in such a way that they are made to feel part of the returnees’ personal experiences. Their stories allow readers to connect – in a very real way – to a past and a place that some people could only have imagined when listening to the stories of their grandparents. These real-life narratives are invaluable sources of information, and the accounts presented in the magazine cannot be found collectively in any book or on the internet. They contribute a unique and precious aspect to the historiography on indentureship.
On Ramleela: Free Open-Air Folk Theatre
Indo-Caribbean Divali Publication Ltd (IDP) is proud to announce the publication of its latest Divali souvenir magazine. Divali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, was observed as a national holiday on November 2, 2013.
The theme of this year’s edition of the magazine is “Ramleela: Free open-air folk theatre in Trinidad and Tobago.” Ramleela is perhaps the oldest living form of free outdoor folk theatre in the Caribbean. It definitely holds the unrivalled record of being the only play to have been performed at dozens of venues for over 100 consecutive years in the region. Produced by community groups throughout the country, villagers all serve without the expectation of payment. The attractions include the performances of actors in their glitzy costumes, their opening parades through the streets, their rhythmic stylized dancing, the colourful stage décor, the spectacular giant effigies, and the thunderous tassa drumming. Villagers play the roles of animals, clowns, humans, saints, gods and demons through masks, costumes, props, gestures and body movements. They do not speak but mime to the songs and dialogues of a pundit [priest] who narrates through a loudspeaker in Hindi and English. The performance takes place in a large flat space in a playing field fenced off by bamboo trunks. The spherical “stage” allows the crowd to have unrestricted view from all vantage points. The final scene of the play climaxes with the torching of the 30-foot effigy of the giant demon, Ravan. He turns into a towering inferno in the dark night until he totters and comes crashing down to the ground with thunderous applause from the audience.
Major Indian-inspired Festivals of Trinidad and Tobago
Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre Co Ltd (ICC) is proud to announce the publication of its latest magazine commemorating Indian Heritage Month (May 2013) in Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean). The theme of the magazine which marks the arrival of East Indians/South Asians from India to Trinidad (1845-1917) is “Indian-inspired Festivals of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Few countries in the world offer as many multi-cultural festivals all year round as Trinidad and Tobago. The range of festivals is reflective of the diversity of the people in the multi-ethnic society who can trace their roots to Africa, India, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Although East Indians form half of the population of the twin-island republic of 1.3 million people, not many visitors witness the variety and abundance of their colourful festivals. Indian-inspired festivals are of Hindu, Muslim and Christian origin, and include Divali, Eid-ul-Fitr and Soopari Mai. The first two festivals are observed as national holidays in addition to Indian Arrival Day. Other Indian-based festivals include Ram Leela, Phagwa, Shiv Raatri, Ganga Dhaaraa, Kartik, Janam-ashtimi, Ganesh Utsav, Ratha Yatra, and Hosay. All of these festivals have been adapted to suit the modern times and local environment. These Indian-inspired festivals form an integral part of the multi-ethnic society and add colour, enthusiasm, harmony and character to Trinidad and Tobago.
The Brilliance of Indo-Trinidadian Literary Writers
Indo-Caribbean Divali Publication Ltd. ( IDP) wishes to announce the publication of its latest souvenir magazine – Divali 2012, Trinidad and Tobago. The theme of this edition of its annual magazine is “The Brilliance of Indo-Trinidadian Literary Writers.”
After Carnival, Divali is the second largest open-air national festival in multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago. The Hindu Festival of Lights is celebrated by lighting of thousands of deyas [clay lamps] on decorative designs of split bamboo tubes. The lights twinkle in the shadows of free public performances by actors, models, drummers, dancers, musicians and singers. During the days and nights preceding Divali, non-Hindus and non-Indians actively join in the celebration by lighting deyas, wearing Indian clothes, and partaking in eating traditional Indian foods and sweets.
From the 1930s, Seepersad Naipaul and his family began to establish themselves as the first literary dynasty, not only among Indo-Trinidadians, but also among writers throughout the English-speaking Caribbean. Seepersad was followed by his son Vidia (VS), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, and has been the only Trinidadian to claim this internationally coveted prize so far. The Naipauls have been followed by writers up to this day such as Neil Bissoondath, Rabindranath Maharaj, Ron Ramdin, Raymond Ramcharitar and Kevin Baldeosingh. Acclaimed women writers include Rajandaye Ramkissoon-Chen, Madeleine Coopsammy, Lakshmi Persaud, Ramabai Espinet, Shani Mootoo and Niala Maharaj. It would surely be akin to blindness not to notice the happy coincidence of the literary success from these women, and the ground-breaking appointment of an Indian woman as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago in the person of Kamla Persad-Bissessar.