When it comes to Diwali, the festival of light, Indians, no matter wherever they are in the world, get together and celebrate the occasion enthusiastically. This year was no exception, the Covid pandemic notwithstanding. Here in Australia, just like the previous years, Diwali was organised by the Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland (FICQ). The City Hall reverberated with the sounds of Indian traditional and Bollywood dance and music in the evening of November 22 as the Diwali 2020 festivities got underway here.
The extravaganza featuring various cultural performances was attended by many Australians and members of Indian community. Distinguished community leaders, high-profile politicians as well as the who’s who of the Indian community in the city were also present at the much-awaited event. Most notable among the VIPs were, Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minster for Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard MP, the representing the the Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Deputy High Commissioner of India P S Karthigeyan representing The High Commissioner of India Anumula Gitesh Sarma, LNP Senator of Queensland Paul Scarr and representing the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison MP, Graham Perrett MP, Federal Member for Moreton, Queensland – representing The Federal Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese MP, David Crisafulli – State Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Tourism, John-Paul Langbroek MP – Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, and Shadow Minister for Seniors, Communities and Disability Services, Cr Kim Marx representing the Right Hon. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Cr Adrian Schrinner, Dr Maha Sinnathamby AM – Patron FICQ and Chairman of Springfield city Group, Archana Singh – Honorary Consul of India in Queensland, Police Commissioner of Queensland – Commissioner Katarina Carroll APM, Aunty Peggy Tidymann, Cr Angela Owen – Councillor for Calamvale ward, Jim Varghese AM – National Chair for AIBC, Matthew Hayden – The cricket legend, all the past FICQ Presidents and representatives from FICQ member organisations, among others.
The event started at 5.30 pm, and after the ceremonial welcome of the VIPs and distinguished guests, went on well into the night. The highlights of the event were the various dance and music by several teams from within the city. The flagship event of FICQ showcasing Indian culture and music attracts thousands of Indians every year, who are there to enjoy the music and dance programs and the overall Indian festivities. FICQ has been organising the Diwali festival in Brisbane since 2010, promoting harmony and multiculturalism. Every year FICQ celebrate in a big way but this year due to pandemic it was celebrated in the iconic venue, signifying the success of the festival over the years.
President of the FICQ Shyam Das thanked the Palaszczuk Government for the multi-year funding to support the festival. In this regard he said, “We are privileged and honoured to hold Diwali in the heart of the city and share our culture and tradition, signifying our strong belief in multiculturalism and we are the most multicultural nation on earth.” His speech also emphasised the inner significance of Diwali as well as the importance of FICQ and its role.
Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minster for Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard MP, who represented the Premier said, “This celebration of light over dark and good over evil seems particularly relevant even in the turbulent year that we have had.”
On the occasion Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wished everyone good health, happiness and peace through her message to the Indian Community.