Several foreign envoys to India, including from Denmark and Afghanistan, joined External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in celebrating the massive Navratri festival underway in Vadodara in Gujarat and praised India’s rich culture and heritage.
They shared their excitement after participating in the festivities, which saw thousands of people perform Garba, a popular dance form held during the Navaratri. With the presence of foreign delegates, the well-organised event likely bolstered India’s soft-power image across the globe. “I am so full of joy and happiness… I wish all Indians across the world a happy Navratri and may the light break the darkness,” Danish Ambassador Freddy Svane said.
“It’s so fantastic, so amazing, it is just awesome. This is incredible India indeed, I just love it,” said the High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana to India, Gilbert Shimane Mangole.
At the event on Saturday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also performed an ‘aarti’ of Maa Durga.
“It is a matter of pride that we have come here with officials of different countries. As the Navratri festival is on, they will spend the day enjoying festivities. They are excited to see the development here,” Jaishankar said after meeting the delegates and ambassadors.
Russian Ambassador Denis Alipov also attended the festivities and called himself “Russie Rajdoot”. “Bohot shaandar mahotsav hai (It’s an incredible festival),” he added.
The High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji, Kamlesh Prakash, was amazed to participate in Garba. He said, “Garba shows why people in Gujarat are happy, Modi magic is of course there to galvanize people like a magnet.”
“India and Tanzania have a special connection as most Indians living in Tanzania come from Gujarat, so this is a special moment for me,” said Tanzanian High Commissioner Anisa K Mbega.
“I thank all Gujaratis from the people of Afghanistan for giving us such love and respect,” said Afghanistan’s Ambassador Farid Mamundzay.
The Navratri festival celebrates the victory of good over evil as Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasura. The 10th day of Sharad Navratri is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
During the nine-day festival, devotees worship Maa Durga’s nine incarnations to seek her blessings for a prosperous and joyous life. During these nine days, people observe fast, recite shlokas, wear new clothes, and offer ‘bhog’ to the goddess.
This year, Navratri started on September 26 and will conclude on October 5.