Hundreds gather at Lido Beach, N.Y. to celebrate Dussehra, watch Ramayana enacted on stage

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Indo American Festivals’ volunteers and executive committee members who put in many hours and days into organizing the Dussehra Festival in Lido Beach, Hempstead, N.Y. Oct. 17, 2021, being thanked for their hard work by Dr. Rakesh Sharma. Photo: ITV Gold
. Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, lighting the ceremonial lamp at the start of the 5th annual “Grand Dussehra Festival” held in Ligo Beach, Hempstead, N.Y. Oct. 17, 2021, organized by Indo-American Festivals. Looking on, from left, are Dr. Sudha Parikh, Dr. Rakesh Sharma, and Dr. Ravindra Goyal, chair of the Indo American Festivals’ Long Island Dussehra festival. Photo: ITV Gold.

Indian-Americans gathered in the hundreds to celebrate Dussehra at Lido Beach in Hempstead, New York. The event took place Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, and was organized by Indo-American Festivals, a non-profit that has been behind many celebrations over the decades. At Lido Beach, this was the 5th Grand Dussehra.

A rapt audience including many children, watched the highlights of the epic story of Ramayan which were enacted on stage by community members dressed in royal finery.

Part of the cast members, including children, who took part in staging the Ramayan epic on stage during the Dussehra Festival Oct. 17, 2021, in Lido Beach, Hempstead, N.Y. organized by Indo American Festivals. Photo: ITV Gold

The enactments started with the meeting of Ram and Sita, Ram breaking the Dhanush, the exile of Ram and Sita, accompanied by Laxman, followed by the capture of Sita by Ravana, and ultimately the army of monkeys and Lord Hanuman helping Ram to reach Ravana’s abode, defeating him and rescuing Sita.  Fireworks and large sparklers were set off around the Ravana effigy symbolizing the defeat of evil.

The 30-foot effigy of Ravana that was installed on Lido Beach, Hempstead,N.Y., Oct. 17, 2021, made by Krishna Gopal Singhal. Photo: ITV Gold

Many stalls carrying Indian cultural products, jewelry, clothes and popular snack foods including samosas and pakoras made on site, lent the event a greater festive flavor.

Several elected officials of the Town of Hempstead came to join in the celebration. Among them, 3rd District Councilmember Bruce A. Blakeman, Elaine Philips, candidate for Comptroller of Town of Hempstead, and Nasrin Ahmad, Hempstead’s deputy commissioner, Parks & Recreation, who secured the necessary permits for the use of Lido Beach for the event. All of them wished the gathering Happy Dussehra and an upcoming Happy Diwali.

Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh and Dr. Sudha Parikh were chief guests at the event, where several community leaders were recognized. Dr. Rakesh Sharma, president of Indo American Festivals, introduced Dr. Parikh as “a big community leader in New Jersey and New York,” and thanked ITV Gold for covering festivals.

Dr. Parikh spoke of how Dussehra was an old tradition that signified the victory of good over evil. This year however, it was even more relevant because the evil of the pandemic which had affected everyone, has been almost defeated, which signified the victory of good over evil.

Some of the community leaders recognized on stage were Bachu Patel, Vibhuti Jha, and Ashok Vyas. Raj Mittal, one of the organizers at Indo-American Festivals spoke to ITV Gold about the five year of celebrations in Hempstead.

Also recognized was the man who built the 30-feet high Ravana.

The 30-foot effigy of Ravana that was installed on Lido Beach, Hempstead,N.Y., Oct. 17, 2021, being burnt with firecrackers and sparklers symbolizing the defeat of Ravana and the triumph of good over evil. Photo : ITV Gold

Dr. Ravindra Goyal, chair of the Long Island Dussehra festival,  told ITV Gold that his relative, Krishna Gopal Singhal had taken three months to build the Ravana. “This is the first Ravana in the country to be constructed in the United States,”  and not imported from India, Dr. Goyal noted. “My (relative) Krishna Gopal Singhal spent 3 months building this and welding all the pipes etc. This Ravana will last more than 10 years,” Dr. Goyal said.

A section of the crowd on Lido Beach, Hempstead, N.Y., Oct. 17, 2021, enjoying Dussehra festivities organized by Indo American Festivals. Photo: ITV Gold

Dr. Rakesh Sharma thanked all the volunteers for giving their time and devotion to organizing traditional festivals of India. “They are the backbone of Indo-American festivals. Without their support and hard work, this is next to impossible.

 

 

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