A Celebration of Unity in Diversity

A Celebration of Unity in Diversity

With most Hindu new years falling in the months of March/April, it is only appropriate that we celebrate it together. For the third consecutive year, the city residents, regardless of their cast and creed, will come together to celebrate the Indian New Year by participating in the Bharatiya Nava Varsha Swagat Yatra, an apolitical procession organised by Shri Kopaneshwar Mandir Trust and supported by city-based educational institutes, social and religious trusts, and NGO’s.

The celebrations will begin this evening at 7pm with Deepotsav. It will be a sight to behold and savour, as the city of Thane will light up with thousands of residents stepping out of their homes, candles and diyas in their hands, to mark the end of the old year and the beginning of a fresh, New Year. While last year, it was only the Masunda lake that was lit up in this fashion, this year as many as 11 major areas across the city, both East and West, will radiate the new year’s glow. Later in the evening at 8.30 pm, non-polluting fireworks will illuminate the skies too.

Tomorrow at 7 am, the main procession will begin from the Kopeneshwar Temple and travel through Talao Pali, Ram Maruti, Gokhale Road and Petrol Pump and back to the temple, covering a distance of three km. VIPs and dignitaries and hundreds of residents will join the procession as it travels from one place to another. This year there will also be four mini-processions in far-flung locations, also being organised under the aegis of the Kopeneshwar Trust. These areas are: Thane East, Brahmand, Vasant Vihar and Kalwa. This is being done to provide an opportunity to residents living in far-away locations as they too are in integral part of the city.

In true Indian spirit, non-Hindus like Jews, Catholics, Parsis and Muslims will also participate. The Sikh community have participated with their float from the very first procession and like previous years, they will make arrangements for dinking water for everyone – a noble undertaking, especially on hot days.
 
Several dozen floats with cultural, educational and social themes will be seen in the procession. Ideal School from Rabodi will participate with its float and so will St. John the Baptist High School, which will celebrate its hundredth in 2005, and will display miniature models of its buildings. Jidnyasa Trust will display their Science Laboratory called Exploratory.

Almost 300 housing societies in the city have agreed to display common Gudis on their premises, to reinforce the atmosphere of togetherness. Three large-than-life Rangolis will adorn the city. The one at Gavdevi Maidan will be 15000 sq feet in size and watching towers will be put up for people to see it. The other two places to be decorated with Rangoli are New English School and Kalwa, both measuring about 60 feet in diameter.

The Bharatiya Nava Varsha Swagat Yatra marks the celebration of Gudi Padwa (Marathi), Ugadi (Malayali), Cheti Chand (Sindhi) Poila Baishakh (Bengali), Baisakhi (Punjabi) and many more Hindu New Years, all together. With such strong thrust on social integration, Thane city is emerging as a strong cultural hub, not just of Maharashtra, but of the entire India. The sheer intensity with which the city celebrates cultural festivals is representative of the true Indian spirit of "Unity in Diversity."   We wish all residents of Thane a Very Happy, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year.

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