Toronto, May 8 (IANS) Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal will be honoured at the two-day Gujarati Swarnim Jayanti celebrations beginning Saturday in what is being billed the biggest show of Gujaratis in Canada to date The celebrations are part of the year-long Swarnim Jayanti kicked off in Gandhinagar May 1 to mark 50 years of the formation of Gujarat.
Thousands of people from the more than 100,000-strong community are expected to attend the celebrations being organized by the Gujarati Business Association of Canada and the Lalit Kala Mandal.
Apart from Rawal, many other celebrities from the entertainment world, including Praful Dave, Manahar Udhas and the whole cast of the hit serial ‘Ulta Chashma’ will also be feted at the celebrations at the Toronto Congress Centre.
‘After honouring astronaut Sunita Williams, Gujaratis will now honour Paresh Rawal with the Vishva Gujarati Pratibha Award for his huge contribution to Bollywood. The Gujarat Gaurav Award and the Proud Canadian Gujarati Award will also be conferred on Gujarati achievers,” said Gujarati Business Association president Mukund Purohit who took a delegation of four Canadian MPs to the inaugural function of the Swarnim Jayanti in Gujarat May 1.
Purohit, who was one of the two Gujarati Canadians invited by the Gujarat government for the Gandhinagar function, said, ‘This is the biggest Gujarati show on Canadian soil to this day. Thousands of tickets have already been sold.
This is a great opportunity to not only showcase Gujarat to Canadians, but also promote trade ties between Gujarat and Canada. A large number of Gujarati businessmen have set up goods stalls at the huge complex for business promotion and networking.”
Winnipeg-based businessman Hemant Shah, who was another Gujarati invited by the Modi government for the Gandhinagar function, said, ‘The celebrations are a great opportunity to promote Gujarat and Gujaratis in Canada. We should join hands to have at least one Gujarati elected as an MP in Canada.’
Shah added, ‘Gujarat should respond to Canada’s overtures to promote two-way business. Canadian minister Stockwell Day went to open the Ahmedabad trade office, but the Gujarat Chambers of Commerce has not bothered to send a team here.
More than political visits, we need more and more business people from the two sides visiting each other.”
There are about 150,000 Gujaratis in Canada, with most them concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area here. The Swarnim Jayanti organizers said the year-long celebrations will also travel to other parts of Canada.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)