Butterfly Island in the Caribbean celebrates Diwali

Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Nov 10: The picturesque little island of Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean celebrated Diwali with a difference - giving it a cultural, spiritual and economical dimension-to make it an attractive tourist and investment destination.

For three days last month, I'ile Papillon or the 'Butterfly Island", discovered by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to America in November 1493, donned the colours of India showcasing its culture and cuisine.

Not far from an old sugar factory in the town of Le Moule, where the forefathers of the Indian immigrants brought by the French from their five territories in India 150 years ago toiled for years as near slaves, green park in Gardel was turned into a little India.

Besides the traditional puja, yoga demonstrations, Bharatnatyam, Bollywood and chutney dances, the celebrations organised by Michel Narayaninsamy, President of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Guadeloupe also included business conferences and meets.

Over 3000 people of all shades and faiths participated in the festival of lights in the spirit of its motto, "better know, better understanding and better living together" with the theme of "Tolerance and Sharing."

The event attracted talented musicians from southern India, half a dozen dancers from Trinidad and several artists and personalities from the Indian Association of France led by its president Mani Balane. GOPIO and IAF plan to sign a partnership agreement soon.

James Sekar, an Indian agriculture expert from Tamil Nadu, proposed environment friendly solutions to the Guadeloupe Chamber of Agriculture president Patrick Sellin for boosting productivity and handling Black Sigatoka disease destroying the island's banana crop.

Butterfly Island donned the colours of India showcasing its culture and cuisine.

GOPIO Guadeloupe proposes to reach out to banana farmers for initial testing in the coming days.

An Indian business tourism delegation proposed development of tourism in both directions, Guadeloupe in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, and India in Guadeloupe.

The proposals received a very positive response from officials of Guadeloupe tourism committee including Marcellin Jingan and Guy Claude Germain promised to work on the proposal, Narayaninsamy said.

The Mayor of the seaside town of Saint François, Laurent Bernier invited the Indian business delegation to visit the old Meridian hotel site for which he is looking for investors for the construction of a new five-star hotel.

To make the Diwali festival an additional tourist attraction Narayaninsamy announced plans to have a four day Diwali 2014 event from Oct 23 to 26 in Guadeloupe with an international dimension.


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