By Dr. DHANPAUL NARINE
The Phagwah Parade is the biggest street festival in Queens, New York. It started 32 years ago and has become a permanent fixture in the calendar of the City. The founding fathers and mothers of the Parade envisioned a time when it would encapsulate all religions and faiths in the celebration of good over evil, light over darkness, and the heralding of Spring. They would be most pleased to know that the Parade has attracted a wide cross section of the community that has kept the message of peace and love in the observances.
The Phagwah Parade Committee 2020 comprises the Federation of Hindu Mandirs and the Arya Spiritual Center. The Committee held its annual press conference earlier in the week at Villa Russo’s to outline plans for this year’s Parade. Members of the 102 and 106 Police Precincts were present, as were officials from Radio Zindagi, The West Indian and New York 1 News.
Co-Chair Herman Singh welcomed all, and after the introductions, Naidoo Veerapen read a short statement in which he invited the community to come out and be a part of this year’s Parade.
It was pointed out that the route has been extended this year to 123rd Street and that for the first time a woman will be one of the Grand Marshalls. She is Co-Chair Bahen Vedo Basdeo, a long serving member of the Committee. The other Grand Marshall is Pandit Ravi Ramsamooj of the Arya Spiritual Center.
The Precinct pointed out that the throwing of items from floats to members of the public is dangerous, as it can lead to accidents. It also stressed that people should refrain from the playing with powder on the Parade route and that it should be reserved for Smokey Oval Park. The Committee has agreed to work with the community on these recommendations. The Phagwah Parade is scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 22, 2020, starting at 133 Streets and Liberty Avenue.
The formation takes place at 10:00am. The Committee would like to see as many floats as possible in this year’s Parade. Members of the Committee are Herman Singh-Co-Chair, Bahen Vedo Basdeo-Co-Chair, Balram Rambrich, Doodnauth Dasrat, Naidoo Veerapen, Romeo Hitlall, Dr. Dhanpaul Narine, Naro Balli, Prakash Persaud, Sagar Rajpal, Navin Phagu, and Anup Ramnauth. The irrepressible Todd Greenberg, Attorney-at-Law, is a wonderful friend of the Committee, whose legal advice is valued.
For more information on this year’s Phagwah Parade please contact 1347 624 7200, 917 749 7700, or 917 714 7596.