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A return to form sees the ISWA Diwali mela attract large crowds
Last year I attended the Indian Society of Western Australia’s Rockingham Diwali, the first time they had spread their wings to southern suburbs of Perth. This year, wisely, instead of many satellite events they reverted back to one big festival at Joondalup’s HBF Arena, and it sure was a busy one!
The morning of the event was looking ominous with strong winds and rain storms, but the weather gods came through as the day progressed and, although it was unusually cold for spring, the rain stayed away. The crowds sure didn’t. The numbers were huge and built as the night progressed to the fireworks and dance festival.
Kids were entertained with carnival rides, henna, sweets and face painting, and everyone enjoyed the numerous food, business, clothing, spiritual and information stalls, Indian Link included. The stage was an ongoing extravaganza of entertainment featuring danced and songs from a myriad of performers, as well as fashion shows and speeches. There were also Kabaddi demonstrations and art competitions. The Premier even made an appearance and thanked the Indian community for their contribution to Western Australian society.
Indian Society of WA (ISWA) was incorporated back in 1972 and their objective is to foster the participation of Indian ethnic communities in the development of a cohesive community. They aim to assist, encourage, participate in and initiate those activities, which promote the welfare, social, cultural and educational aspects of Australian Indians. Diwali must be their biggest event and ISWA must have been ecstatic. The event is gaining more and more traction and fame each year, and the hours of effort that go into organising and funding such a large event is massive.
“Diwali means spirituality, happiness, family and coming together for the common good,” said ISWA’s secretary, Saurabh Jain. “We want people to feel this is their home away from home especially for the new migrants.”
Organisers estimated numbers at this year’s event to be at 15,000, if it was finer you could easily add another 5000 to that, and it will surely be bigger again next year.
“We are never satisfied and we always want to improve,” said Saurabh, hinting at a new venue for 2017. “Next year we want to be bigger and better increase our space for stallholders and visitors.” Everyone is looking forward to it already!