The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) is now celebrating its 57th year as the pioneer institution in the promotion of Indian culture in all its forms. Its premier presentation remains the annual Divali Nagar which has attracted 100,000 patrons during its nine-day show.
Formerly, the National Council of Indian Music and Drama was founded by the late, Narsaloo Ramaya , Bisram Gopie and Indian-born Pro. B. Battacharya which set the national stage in July 1964, and was later transformed into the cultural giant which now provides a slew of cultural activities in such areas as dance, music, song, drama and a network of religious observances, unparalleled in the cultural history of Trinidad and Tobago. It is now, perhaps, the most prolific and closely-knitted cultural fixture not only in our own landscape, but its message, adaptability and sustenance in the Caribbean, North America, and it has given a serious fight to similar organizations in India.
We must commend the pioneers of Divali Nagar which captured the national and later the international imagination for its prescriptive outlay in October 1986. The leadership in the that major cultural and religious masterpiece included Hans Hanoomansingh, Deokienanan Sharma, Bob Ramaroop, Sahadeo Partap, Joe Ramkissoon, Pundit Rampersad Parasram and Chandarnath Singh.
Notable cultural programmes over the years included top notch entertainers from India, Jamaica, Suriname, the Netherlands, Europe, and of course our own singers and dancers and dramatists, and of course, our own talented performers and entertainers. They have emblazoned their immortal footprints in this country’s landscape through the NCIC and Divali Nagar. It has given another voice for our local entertainers.
The NCIC under the leadership of Dr. Hans Hanoomanisngh and now Dr Deokienanan Sharma continued to be the vehicle to advance the cause of Indian culture, Hinduism and its manifold activities.
With Divali Nagar, Trinidad and Tobago were able to show its true strength and diversity, which until then the Indian diaspora seemed to be a miniscule human entity in the land, despite being here 176 years today. The NCIC gave a new hope and new direction and a new meaning to the Indian diaspora. Divali Nagar gave a renewed strength and visibility to not only the Indian diaspora, but to the national citizenry. It is in a penetrative mood.
The NICIC was able to assembly people of all ethnic, religious and economic and cultural identities at Divali Nagar which has now become the flagbearer in the thrust towards a nation of diverse strengths, capability and purpose.
No one can deny that through the NCIC, there has been a new acceptance of our national diversity both at home and abroad, and this has not been the case in the political landscape, even up to today. But, the NCIC continues to lead the pathway towards the concept of total nationhood, which is very from our grasp. And whilst the NCIC is not a political or social force, it continues to provide a network of activities toward this goal. What the NCIC has been able to do in terms of reigniting the total reawakening today, it is mt fervent hope that the soil has been tilled and it is up to new leaders of this organization to continue onwards. It is my fervent hope that we must continue to keep vigil on the promotion and acceptance of Indian culture as the way forward in the coming decades, perhaps beyond the 22nd century.