Antananarivo: The Gujarati community has organised Garba and Dandiya nights to celebrate the festival of Navaratri in Madagascar.
Bright lehenga cholis, colourful dandiya sticks and thumping music gripped the city with Dandia fever. Dressed in typical Gujarati sarees or ‘chaniya choli’ (a Guju costume) the members of the community are putting their best foot forward to show their skills in raas, garba and dandiya.
A significant number of Gujaratis, a part of the Indian diaspora, have not only been residing in Antananarivo but also other cities such as Antsiranana and Mahajunga, since more than a century.
While strolling on the streets during the ten days of Navaratri, one may easily get to hear ‘Kem Chho’ as a greeting gesture by Gujaratis.
Gujaratis occupies a significant place in the society and economy of Madagascar. They are mostly engaged in trading, construction and energy sectors of the economy. Khojas, Bohras, Ismaelis, Sunnis and Hindus, who amount to nearly 25000 of the total population of the island country, have their own associations in Madagascar.
A magnificent Hindu temple is also under construction in the heart of Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo in an area of 6000 square meters, which is likely to be completed by the end of this year.