Malayalees in Kolkata have called off celebration of Onam due to the disastrous floods that have hit Kerala. The festival was supposed to be celebrated on 25 August.
The Malayalees, many of whom have been living in Kolkata for decades, are collecting relief funds to send to the flood victims.
Calcutta Malayalee Samajam (CMS), a socio-cultural charitable organisation of Malayalees living in and around Kolkata, has decided to cancel this year’s celebration.
N Gopi, secretary of CMS said, “Onam is a very popular festival among Keralites but we have decided to skip the celebration this year and send the celebration fund to the affected areas. Hundreds of flood victims are without shelter, food, water and necessities. Kerala has not seen such a disastrous calamity in a century.”
CMS has also started a campaign to raise funds from people. The society is circulating its contact details and bank account details through leaflets and social media platforms.
“We are trying to collect materials like clothes, dry foods and sanitary napkins which we will be able to send to Kerala. Our volunteers are working to help people. It is a situation where we need to work together to overcome the crisis,” said Sri Gopi.
There are around 10,000 Malayalees living in the city. Many people who have not been able to contact their relatives in Kerala have also come to the society to seek help.
CMS K. K Kochu Koshy himself is trying to help them reach their relatives. According to Samajam sources, there are many people who have not been able to contact their relatives yet, and who cannot go back because of the situation.
“There are many Keralities from Kodagu and Ernakulam who work in the city and stay near Lake Gardens, Lake Town, EM Bypass. Neither can they go back nor can they contact their people,” said the Samajam secretary.
An MNC based in Kolkata has shut down their training centre at Trivandram and launched a relief fund campaign.
Students of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Jadavpur University (JU) and many more institutions are also volunteering to collect relief for the flood victims in Kerala.