They Came From Many Countries and Faiths … But Shared the Joy of Diwali


By Sandhyia Gosine

QUEENS, NY — The Interfaith Council for Community Development (ICCD) held it’s Diwali Celebration on Saturday, November 10th 2018 at Starlight Pavilion, located at 130-05 101st Avenue in Richmond Hill NY.

ICCD collaborated with the American Bengali Hindu Foundation, Bruhud Seniors, New Haven Ministries and Shiva Mandir. The afternoon of festivities was opened by the ICCD’s founder and past President, Mohamed Hack who was deputizing for ICCD President Arsalan Mohamed. Mr. Hack welcomed everyone and introduced the Emcee for the afternoon, Rose Deonarine, who is a prominent radio host, realtor and of course, a professional emcee.

Youth members Kavish Gangarampandy, Ashwir Gangarampandy, Ryan Mahadeo, Suraj Ramoutar and Shiv Ramoutar of various temples graced the stage with beautifully sung bhajans. Nayana Chetram also gave a beautiful synopsis of the festival’s origin.

The afternoon proceeded with a diya-lighting ceremony accompanied by prayer led by Pandit Shivernand Gosine, Asst. Secretary of the ICCD Board, Naro Bally from Arya Spiritual Center and Pandit Subash Tapar.

Senator Leroy Comrie (District 14) was also in attendance and concluded the event by presenting awards to the honorees: newly appointed Commissioner of City Planning Raj Rampershad who happens to be the first Indo-Caribbean American to hold this position; Anoop Dhanpat of the Trinidadians and Tobagonians USA; Reena Gyawali; Dipa Nath; Aksher Patel; Jarnail Singh; and Ricky Singh.

The event was a clear indication that the Interfaith Council for Community Development is heading in the right direction. In an effort to unite communities; Nepalese, Bengali, Indian as well as Guyanese and Trinidadian Hindus, Muslims and Christians were all brought together to celebrate this auspicious festival for the first time in one room. The Festival of Diwali, which ironically signifies the triumph of light over darkness as well as, knowledge over ignorance, has certainly shed its auspicious light on this mission.

The Next event is a Pre-Thanksgiving Senior Luncheon, set for Monday, November 19th 2018 from 11:00am – 3:00pm at Masjid Omar Ben Abdel Aziz (MOBAA) Community Hall 88-29 161st Street, 1st Fl. Jamaica, NY. Many take aways for everyone.