Diaspora is a word of Greek origin meaning “to sow over or scatter”. The Indian diaspora abroad is recognized for contributing to innovation and entrepreneurship, competition, economic growth and job creation. They are the cultural ambassadors of India.
The rich civilization and cultural ethos of the Indian Americans have become a part of American fabric with both countries recognizing Indian diaspora as mutually benefitting. The role of the diaspora in disseminating India’s culture is also contributing in nation branding through non-governmental public diplomats and cultural diplomats.
On the eve of 245 anniversary of the American Independence, the Indian Diaspora Washington DC Metro, a group of culturally-oriented Indians living in Washington D.C.,decided to celebrate the coveted event in a literary fashion.
The livewires of the programme were Dr. Mazzam Siddiqui, Ex-Director, Near East, South & West Asia Division, Voice of America (VOA); Umesh Agnihotri, left-arm orhodox spinner in his college days, leading voice of Vividh Bharati, presenter of popular Doordrashan (DD) film music programme Chitrahaar, Announcer, Vividh Bharati, commentator covering Independence Day and Republic Day, some international events, ex- Broadcaster, Hindi Service, VOA who covered Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s American visit and his meeting with US President Ronald Reagan from White House for DD, wrote two plays for Doordarshan, presented weekly segment ‘ Lo Aur Suno’ on social experiences of Indians in the US, staged about 20 plays in the US, three published books , God-given Family (stories), Wah re Hum aur Humare Gham/ Subah Hoti Hai, Shm Hoti Hai (book of plays.), wrote weekly column — Pataal ki Pareshani — for Sunday Mail. Equally talented Pushpa Agnihotri is a M.A. degree holder who made her debut in broadcasting through Children’s Program of AIR, Hazrat Awara, wrote a regular radio programme – Chunnu , Munnu aur Pushpa, acted in Radio and stage plays, Program Executive in AIR and ex Broadcaster (VOA) and Ali Shoeb Hasan, drama, stage producer, director and actor.There were other literary luminaries who too were involved in organizing the culturally-rich event.The programme was produced by Ali Shoeb Hasan.
Indian Diaspora Washington DC Metro is an organisation run by a group of Indian-American professionals as a socio-cultural conglomerate that organizes lectures, programs on Indian culture, literary events, human and civil rights matters, education to make global Indian diaspora aware of India’s heritage, issues and problems of developments in India and even in the Indian sub-continent. It is a vibrant organisation hosting a programme every Saturday in Washington DC.
Dr. Razi Raziuddin, one of the organisers, enlisted some prominent programmes recently hosted by the association. These notable events organised by the group included musical and poetry recitation and lectures by prominent Indians and Pakistanis on current topics back home. Among the prominent people who were invited for lectures included Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi, paternal grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, maternal grandson of C Rajagopalachari, eminent historian, The New Reality – Imperialism within Nations; Ramchandra Guha, noted writer & historian, The six fold Crisis of the Indian Republic; Prof. Romila Thapar, iconic ancient India historian at JNU, on Voices of Dissent; Prof. Aditya Mukherjee, Former History Professor, JNU, Secular Democracy in India: Historical Evolution & Current Challenges; Aakar Patel: What Desis Abroad can do; Beena Sarwar, Documentary Filmmaker, Gender & Human Rights, India-Pakistan Peace Activist, India-Pakistan: Youth, Media, Aspirations, Common Issues; Shirin & Sameer, Fighting hate with humor; Dr. Ram Puniyani & Dr. Sandeep Pandey: Promoting Democracy & Diversity; Rana Safavi: Phool-walon ki Sair– A Symbol of Syncretism Then & Now; Barkha Dutt, Saathi Haath Badhaana-A call to help the pandemic ravaged India; Playwright Danish Iqbal & Kathak Exponent Neelakshi: “Daastan-e-Begum Akhter – Raqs Ke Pairahan Mein; Danish Iqbal’s Dastan-e-Mahabharta” by Fouzia & Firoz Khan Dastango; Raza Naeem & Danish Iqbal: “Sahir Ludhianvi- Lahore ki Talkhiyaan, Bumbaee ki Parchaayiaain; Danish Iqbal & Kathak Exponent Neelakshi: “Daastan-e-Begum Akhter – Raqs Ke Pairahan Mein; Ibne Insha & his musical selenophila, by Danish Iqbal, music by the members of Lutff Group; Mehfil–e-Sher-o-Sukhan mushaira with many star poets, Preethi Govindaraj and Dr. Abdur Rahman: Mefil-e-Mausiqi and “Mehfil-e-Ghazal” with artists Shilpa Sharma, Fareed Mahmood, Alok Shrivastav and Kartikya Tripathi. Promoting Democracy & Diversity; Saathi Haath Badhaana-A call to help the pandemic ravaged India; Ibne Insha & his musical selenophila, by Danish Iqbal, music by the members of Lutff Group; Mehfil–e-Sher-o-Sukhan mushaira with many star poets, Preethi Govindaraj and Dr. Abdur Rahman: Mefil-e-Mausiqi and “Mehfil-e-Ghazal” with artists Shilpa Sharma, Fareed Mahmood, Alok Shrivastav and Kartikya Tripathi.