Indian Idol singers entertain crowds at Jackson Heights, NY Diwali Mela

74th street in Jackson Heights packed with diverse audiences enjoyed the free music concert by singers from Indian reality show Indian Idol who performed at the annual Diwali Mela organized by the Jackson Heights Indian Merchants’ Association on Sunday, November 6, 2022. Photo : courtesy Darshak Gosalia

Jackson Heights Diwali Mela was back in its glory after a whole year of doubts about the pandemic’s much feared return. Organized Sunday, November 6, 2022, by the Jackson Heights Indian Merchants’ Association (JHIMA), the large crowd-drawing event was held on 74th street between Roosevelt and 37th Avenues, the area which was known as Little India erstwhile.

Hot Jalebis were fried for customers at the 33rd annual Diwali Mela held Sunday, November 6, 2022 on the 74th street in Jackson Heights.
Photo: courtesy
Darshak Gosalia

More than a thousand people of various cultures gathered at the Mela proving Jackson Heights’ name as a melting pot of the largest number of ethnicities in New York. The biggest attraction of this year’s event was the musical performances of singer Salman Ali of the Indian Idol fame and of Tanmay Chaturvedi, Rishabh Chaturvedi and Prachi Shah. Salman Ali is the winning singer from the Indian reality show, Indian Idol. Ali was also the first runner-up in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs. Tanmay Chaturvedi is the 2018 reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa contestant, while Rishabh Chaturvedi is a singer from Indian Idol and The Voice India, and Prachi Shah is a singer from Indian Idol.

Artist Manoj Vyas (left) presented Indian Idol singer Salman Ali (center) with a portrait of his painted by Vyas and President Shiv Das (right) of the Association at the concert at the Diwali Mela on 74th Street in Jackson Heights organized by the Jackson Heights Merchants’ Association on Sunday, November 6, 2022.
Photo : courtesy
Harita Vyas

The singers were invited and sponsored by Kanu Chauhan, the Chair Person of the Association. Chauhah is known for sponsoring and organizing of public entertainment shows featuring film stars and singers. Other Committee members of the JHIMA who had worked hard to make the Diwali celebration a success include Vice President Karan Verma, Treasurer Virender Kanwar, Chairman of the Board of Directors Deepak Verma, Director Mahipal Singh Esq., and Director Mohinder Verma.

“It was amazing to see how Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis all were swaying on the tunes of Salman Ali’s singing,” said Manoj Vyas, a local painter and multi-media artist who lives in Jackson Heights. Vyas also met with Ali and presented him his portrait painted by Vyas.

Chief guest Ram Dass Athawale, Union Minister of State for Social Justice, in India, congratulated and applauded the merchants for their contribution to New York City’s economy. Mayor Eric Adams of NYC had sent representatives and citations to honor notable persons.

The street was packed with audiences from all over New York. Shiv Das, President of the Indian Merchants’ Association in Jackson Heights told News India Times that police had to stop more people from entering the street so as not to create uncomfortably large numbers. “Police were everywhere, patrolling and taking care of the security,” Das said. Das said all the old merchants on the street, Patel Brothers, Amba Jewelers, Kunal Jewelers and others who have been on the location for over 30 years had sponsored the event. “We all work together, play together and make money together,” Das said.

The Committee Members of Jackson Heights Indian Merchants’ Association who all worked hard to make this year’s Diwali Mela a grand success. Photo : Courtesy Karan Verma

Vice President Karan Verma told News India Times that JHIMA has been organizing Diwali Mela which has become a big cultural event in Queens. “It is the first time that Diwali Mela reached this magnitude,” Verma said. “It is the first time we brought artists from Indian Idol and the response was tremendous,” he said. “We have been organizing the Mela for many years with an aim to showcase our cultural traditions and spreading light and joy at Diwali time,” he said.

Das said that the free concert by the four artists who came from Mumbai stole the scene. “Everyone was there, Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, and Nepalis, all together enjoyed the music immensely,” Das said. The concert started at 1:00 p.m. and continued non-stop till 6:00 p.m. Afterwards, people visited the stores and stalls, which included food stalls of hot jalebis and chhole puris and chaat, clothing stalls with varieties of special occasion readymade clothes, stalls selling artifacts and costume jewelry. Over 40 trees of the 74th street, dedicated to Indian woman astronaut Kalpana Chawla were lighted up for the 33rd annual Diwali Mela in Jackson Heights.

JHIMA Diwali Melas have become synonymous with fun and food for many years. The shopping experience at the stores which have been in business for many years in Jackson Heights also reflects traditional courtesy and salesmanship. “We treat our customers with respect and work with them to make their shopping a joyous and satisfactory experience,” Verma said.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here