'Get Connected' London 2002
Get Connected took place at the prestigious Alexandra Palace on the 26th and 27th of October 2002 in order to celebrate the Hindu faith by incorporating a unique combination of spirituality, culture and lifestyle all under one roof.
- Alexandra Palace was transformed into seven ‘Zones’:
Chill-Out Zone: an ambient, divine zone where for contemplation and meditation, a mandir area to say a prayer in. Visitors were had the chance to take part in demonstrations and learn about yoga.
Career Zone: a recruitment fair where companies had stalls and information booths. Workshops on what the Hindu scriptures say about career-related issues (such as time management) also took place in this zone.
Food Zone: an area where visitors enjoyed food and learnt about the diversity of Indian cuisine through demonstrations. It included tasty Indian cuisine provided by Jashan.
Kids Zone: this was an area for young children to play, watch Hindu cartoons and play Hindu games. A library of children's books and comics, and regular story-telling sessions were enjoyed by people of all ages. Definitely the most popular Zone in the entire arena.
Culture Zone: a zone that encompassed a range of cultural activities, demonstrations and exhibitions on fashion, dance and music. There was a large Arts area dedicated to the rich artistic beauty of the Hindu heritage, encompassing the likes of Menndi and Rangoli. Mock weddings, regular Antakshari sessions and Bollywood Dance workshops also featured in this zone.
Health & Vitality Zone: a zone filled with information stands and demonstrations on beauty, Yoga, Pranayam, massage, Chakras, Ayurveda, vegetarianism and ancient Hindu sports.
Chat Zone: a zone dedicated to discussions and workshops on spirituality. It included talks given by many youths and respected speakers in the community on topics varying such as Science, Ayurveda, Sanskrit and Seva.
- 33 groups participated in the event from spiritual, cultural, community-based, and university-based organisations.
- The event was attended by an astonishing 9,500 people over two days.
- The stage saw 2 full days of acts from young children singing to Bollywood dance numbers.
- The opening ceremony was attended by respected leaders in the community, media representatives and prominent MP’s such as Keith Vaz.
- It took 10 months of planning, 23 big meetings, and 100’s of small meetings.
- Over 160 people participated in the event from start to finish.
- It took 1 full day to set-up ….. and 2 hours to break down!
- The event was funded totally by the generosity of the Hindu community.
Here are some photos from Get Connected London. Click on the thumbnail to get a larger version.
It is with great pleasure that I offer my support to the young members of Britain’s Hindu community. Building on the grand success of your Hindu Youth Festival 2001, you have developed an impressive initiative to ‘Get Connected’ in 2002.
The festival of Diwali has become an important religious festival in this country. It is very encouraging to see young people planning for the future of this and other festivals, and thereby ensuring the development and continuity in this country,
Possibly even more important is your commitment to ‘get connected’ with young people from backgrounds other than your own. Presenting your tradition to society at large in this way can only help the all-important cause of cultural understanding amongst the many different communities that make up the British people. This is very much the message of the ‘Respect’ programme I launched earlier this year through my Prince’s Trust, so I am delighted that young Hindus are working to preserve and develop their traditions at the same time as learning about other cultures from the environment in which you live.
It is heartening to see your vision, concern and commitment to building a strong sense of your Hindu community within the context of British society and I am so glad your Hindu Youth Initiative has produced good results and I pray it will go from strength to strength.
The Prince of Wales
Diwali is a wonderful festival. It is a time when the family is centre stage. It’s also a time for celebration and reflection about what we have achieved in the past - and our ambitions and hopes for the future.
I am delighted to send my very best wishes to everyone attending the Diwali Youth Event at Alexandra Palace. This event provides young British Hindus with an important opportunity to explore their culture and their faith. It will also give the participants an opportunity to discuss what it means to be a young Hind in Britain today.
This event gives young Hindus the opportunity to come together in the run-up to Diwali. Diwali is obviously and most importantly a festival celebrated by Hindus. But it is also a festival that contains a message for all of us, whatever our faith. Diwali is the festival of lights symbolising joy, brightness and happiness. The victory of light over darkness and of good over evil. It is, most importantly, a time of goodwill and understanding between all communities.
With best wishes at this special time. Diwali Mubarak.
Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP,
The Prime Minister