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Tuesday, September 26 2017 @ 05:10 AM AST

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Divali Nagar - world’s first Hindu theme park

by Dr. Kumar Mahabir

The Divali holiday will be observed on Wednesday October 26, 2011, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Divali Nagar, the first Hindu theme park in the world.

In the week leading to Divali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, over ten million deyas [clay lamps] are lit in homes, temples, offices, streets and parks. This festival has become the second-largest, open-air, national festival in multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago, after Carnival.

The hub of all Divali celebrations in the island is the Divali Nagar site in Central Trinidad, which was established in 1986. Indeed, the Nagar is the most-frequently visited entertainment centre in the country during Divali, second only to the Grand Stand in the Queen’s Park Savannah during Carnival.

The Nagar provides a public stage for local, regional and international performing artistes. These models, singers, dancers, musicians, choirs and orchestras entertain locals, as well as visitors from the rest of the world. The Nagar has grown to epic proportions, attracting many artistes and tourists to this international spiritual tourist destination. They come from Belize, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana and Suriname in the Caribbean. Others come from French Guiana, U.S.A, U.K., Holland and India. Prominent guests included the President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma and the two Presidents of Trinidad and Tobago, their Excellencies Noor Hassanali and Maxwell Richards.

Each year, the Nagar chooses a theme based on Hinduism and Indian culture for its presentation. The theme is researched and exhibited by Baba Satnarayan Mourya, an artist from India. Various modes of information, including designs, paintings, posters and photographs are showcased.

For nine nights, the Nagar is transformed into a blend of the sacred and secular, where the bustle of commerce mingles with the melody of prayer. Booths showcase and sell products and services to approximately 150,000 visitors. Commercial booths sell mainly Indian clothes, footwear, jewellery, accessories, music, movies, furniture, appliances, and religious and household items. In recent years, the Nagar has also accommodated an Indian Trade Fair. This is a flea market operated by about 25 businessmen from India.

The Nagar houses about 150 tents which include commercial stalls, religious booths, media houses and food kitchens. The kitchens - preparing local, hot, on-the-spot Indian delicacies - are the most popular. Pepper roti made on a chulha [earthen stove], in one of the food stalls, is extremely delightful.

At the Nagar, palmists and astrologists are sought and consulted. Mehindi artistes are in demand for decorating the hands and palms of mainly young women with artistic lines of paint. Itinerant salesmen peddle cotton candies, balloons, glow sticks and toys.

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Minister Baksh honoured for White Cane Day

(L-R) Rajendra Ramnarine, Secretary, Trinidad and Tobago Blind and Visually Impaired Cricket Association, Hon. Nizam Baksh, Minister of Community Development, Rawtie Bidassie and Thomas Bidassie, TTBVICA Member discuss an issue at the Blind Awareness Walk in Chaguanas on Saturday.
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Minister Baksh to speak at Conference on Poverty Alleviation

General News

The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Department of Behavioural Sciences in partnership with the Community Development Fund of the Ministry of Community Development will present its two-day International Conference on Poverty Alleviation 2011 on Thursday October 20 and Friday October 21, 2011 at the Learning Resource Centre in St. Augustine from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The theme for this year¡¦s conference is ¡§From Financing Micro-entrepreneurs to Debt Relief: Exploring Recommendations for Poverty Alleviation.¡¨

Minister of Community Development, the Honourable Nizam Baksh will deliver the feature address at the opening ceremony on Thursday October 20, 2011.

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Blind cricketers to honour Minister Baksh

General News

The Honourable Nizam Baksh, Minister of Community Development will be honoured by the Trinidad and Tobago Blind and Visually Impaired Cricket Association on Saturday October 15, 2011, which is being observed as “White Cane Day.”

An award will be bestowed on the Minister in a short ceremony at the end of the 3rd Blindness Awareness Walk hosted by the TTBVICA at the Edinburgh Gardens Ground in commemoration of “World Sight Day,” which is observed on October 13, 2011.

The walk begins at 7:30 am and will return to the starting point at 9:00 am. The distribution of awards is part of the organisation’s activities to mark its sixth anniversary.

Caption: The Honourable Nizam Baksh, Minister of Community Development (centre) and Ms Susan Corbett, Director Community Development Division (next to him on the right) along with members of the Trinidad and Tobago Blind and Visually Impaired Cricket Association, as they received computers for the visually impaired during a CARE cheque distribution ceremony at the Ministry’s Information, Training and Resource Centre in St. Ann’s in April of this year.

CREDITS: Information sourced from Trinidad and Tobago Blind and Visually Impaired Cricket Association
Photo courtesy the Ministry’s Communications Unit

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Community Development staff benefit from FOIA workshop

General News

The Heads and some staff of various divisions at the Head Office of the Ministry of Community Development attended a two-day training workshop on the Freedom of Information Act at its Information, Training and Resource Centre at #1 La Fantasie Road, St. Ann’s on Monday October 10, 2011 and Tuesday October 11, 2011. The workshop was hosted by FOIA officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Communications.

Participants were briefed on the history of the FOIA and provided with training manuals giving details of the Act, including how to proceed in accessing and disseminating various types of information from public authorities.

The workshop was geared towards Heads of Division and Community Development Field Officers.

Caption: Community Development staff members listen attentively to the contributions by the facilitators

CREDITS: Photo courtesy the Ministry’s Communications Unit