East side story
History and culture came together in a confluence of colour at the Bandra Gymkhana over the weekend, as The Bombay East Indian Association marked 125 years. Satyajit Desai documents an evening full of community flavour, folklore and fun
An evening to remember
Members of the Bombay East Indian Association celebrated their annual night of culture and dance and also marked the beginning of 125 years of the Association on April 21, Saturday, at the Bandra Gymkhana. The event featured a full line-up of cultural performances from East Indians coming from various parts of Mumbai and nearby areas.
“We are a Marathi speaking Roman Catholic ethnic group based in and around Mumbai. Our association began in 1887, and we have come together today to celebrate our culture,” said Malcolm Correa, event convenor. The women dressed in their colourful attire with the lugra sari and traditional gold ornaments performed on various folk songs. Dance groups came from across the city and suburbs like Vasai, Manori, Utan etc. Dances also focused on different cultural groups of East Indians like the Kulbis, Samvedi Christians, Koli Christians, Salsette Christians and Wadvals. Filled to capacity, the Bandra Gymkhana ground seated numerous East Indian families as they came out to support performing friends and relatives. Sounds of children laughing and adults singing along to traditional music were prevalent throughout the program.
“This night is a platform to display our culture and history through songs, dance, attire and food,” said Professor Leela D'Souza, the President of the Association, who also talked about demanding Other Backward Class (OBC) status for the community. The evening was steeped in tradition, from attire to the traditional East Indian band and the food.
After cultural dances and songs, a modern band lead by Brynhild D'Souza played popular East Indian songs like ‘Maria Pitache’ and ‘Galyath sakhali sonyachi, hee pori konachi’. The band also played modern numbers and the people danced the salsa, jive, waltz, cha cha cha…. The crowd was loud and enthusiastic, adding to the energy and atmosphere of the event.
“The East Indian community has played an active role towards the culture of the city and are the original inhabitants of ‘Bombay’,” said CM Prithviraj Chavan who made an appearance along with MP Priya Dutt. “The East Indian community has played an active role towards the culture of the city and are the original inhabitants of ‘Bombay’,” said CM Prithviraj Chavan who made an appearance along with MP Priya Dutt.