Joint Eid & Diwali Celebration in Fremont
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The Indian and Pakistan community of San Francisco Bay Area created history when they jointly celebrated Diwali and Eid Al Fitr on the Thanksgiving eve, on November 24. The event was held at the lavishly decorated banquet hall of the Chandni Restaurant in Newark, CA.

The event, a brainchild of a successful Pakistani businesswoman, Yasmeen of Bemisaal Boutique, was also part of an effort to promote people-to-people contact in order to strengthen the current peace moves between India and Pakistan. The Bay Area has taken a lead in these efforts. The San Francisco-based United Religions Initiative is sponsoring a peace train from India to Pakistan on January 12 to promote peace in South Asia.
When I reached the Chandni Restaurant at the scheduled time for the program, I was rather disappointed that there was no hustle bustle of a show outside the banquet hall. There were few people in the hall. However within one hour, the hall was almost full. After a delay of an hour or so the show began and kept the guests’ attention focused on the attractive performances.

L to R :Mimi Shukla,Charanjeet,Anisha Bakshi,Sameena Ali and Raj Nagam

Sameena Ali was the mistress of the ceremony. This year Eid Al Fitr and Diwali fell on the same day, November 12. Sameena Ali reminded the audience that the two events fell on the same day after 40 years. She assured the audience that there would be many interesting items in the program for every age of people. The show proved that she was right.

The program included a live music show that was professionally organized and presented. Ali Shahabuddin, brother of Pakistan’s famous music director, Kareem Shahabuddin, was the director of the music show. Malkit Singh demonstrated his skills on tabla.

Anisha Bakshi, who holds a Master’s degree in Music, began the music program with a mystical rendition in her melodious voice. On peoples’ demand she presented a number of songs and mesmerized the audience. She was followed by two male artists, Charanjeet Singh and Raj Nagam, who presented popular songs in Urdu and Punjabi. Another singer, Mimi Shukla thrilled the audience with her melodic voice. Popular ghazal singer, Sunil Khanna, was the last singer of the music show. He drew wide applause for his rendition of ghazals and geets.
Another interesting item of the music show was a classical dance presented by Richa Shukla. It drew wide applause for her perfect movements.

Participants in the joint Eid-Diwali function

A Fashion Parade was the main attraction of the colorful evening which actually stole the show. There were two sessions of the fashion show at which young volunteers presented latest dress designs for men and women. There was pin drop silence when the models passed through and staged the catwalk. There were latest designs for gents as well as ladies with bright colors in latest fashions. Not only the designs and color schemes of the dresses attracted the audience but the presentation of the models too was found to be highly professional. Many in the audience admired the skills and professionalism of Yasmeen who spent a lot of time in training the models and perfected them with last minute rehearsals. The fashion show was almost a replica of the shows which one often watches on the TV.

Although the Eid and Diwali had passed 12 days ago but the show created an atmosphere of an Eid and Diwali Mela. Another attraction of the joint Diwali and Eid Show was a Meena Bazaar. One corner of the spacious banquet hall of the Chandni Restaurant was reserved for display of artificial jewelry and boutique. It was a busy corner where people got dresses and jewelry at bargain prices.

At the end, Sameena Ali thanked the sponsors of the Diwali and Eid Show, particularly Sherri Stoneberger of Re/Max Executive Realty, Jvanjee Insurance of San Jose and Fremont Printing for making this historic event possible. She also thanked all fashion show volunteers who played a key role in making the show a success. Sameena Ali also thanked Raana Faiz, producer of the popular Pakistani radio program of San Francisco, Hamrahi, for promoting the event to strengthen peace in South Asia. Hamrahi Radio this month completed 24 years of its broadcast. Sameena Ali also thanked Pakistan Link for providing extensive coverage to the Pakistani community activities and thus encouraging the community’s social activities. She also thanked the management of the Chandni Restaurant for providing excellent service and delicious food. Sameena Ali expressed the hope that the Sa n Francisco Bay Area community will witness such India-Pakistan people-to-people contact events in the future also.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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