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“Tales to Tell” Uniting India and Kenya on Holi

“Tales to Tell” Uniting India and Kenya on Holi

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Ananya Pal and her Tales to Tell

Tales to Tell: Stories from Nairobi Colonial Era,” an event hosted by Ananya Pal Productions and the United Asian Network (UAN) in Nairobi on the eve of Holi. Through a vibrant celebration of cultural heritage and historical resonance, the event pays homage to the shared history between India and Kenya, tracing the narratives of Indian migration during the colonial period.

In a vibrant celebration of cultural heritage and historical resonance, Ananya Pal Productions and the United Asian Network (UAN) came together on the eve of Holi in Nairobi to host “Tales to Tell: Stories from Nairobi Colonial Era.” This event served as a poignant homage to the shared history between India and Kenya, tracing the narratives of Indian migration during the colonial period.

The evening commenced with a stirring rendition of the national anthems of both Kenya and India, symbolizing the harmonious confluence of these two nations. Despite her absence, the High Commissioner of India to Kenya, HE Ms. Namgya Khampa, graced the occasion with a heartfelt video message, expressing her unwavering support for the event’s noble cause.

The stage, adorned with vibrant hues reminiscent of the Holi festival, set the perfect backdrop for the unfolding tales of yesteryears. Dr. Bimal Kantaria, Chairman of UAN and a stalwart patron of the program, delivered an insightful opening speech. He eloquently delved into the economic, political, and social dimensions of the Indian diaspora’s journey to Kenya during the colonial era, offering a panoramic view of their trials and triumphs.

Ananya Pal with the team of "Tales to Tell"

A highlight of the evening was the screening of “The Adventures of Kohli,” an animated film crafted by Ananya Pal and brought to life by Nikita Bhatti. Inspired by true events, the film served as a poignant reminder of the resilience and spirit of the Indian community in Kenya.

Ananya Pal, the creative force behind the event, skillfully led the audience on a nostalgic journey through curated anecdotes, unveiling the multifaceted tapestry of Nairobi’s colonial past. These stories, woven with threads of courage, resilience, and hope, illuminated the untold chapters of history.

Salim Amin, renowned filmmaker and son of the legendary photographer Mohamed Amin, captivated the audience with a poignant documentary. Rich with interviews of elderly Kenyan Indians, the film offered a poignant reflection on their experiences and contributions to Kenya’s rich tapestry of diversity. Through archival photographs, Amin paid homage to his father’s enduring legacy and his profound impact on documenting Kenya’s history.

Bhangra performance at the event
Bhangra performance at the event

The grand finale of the evening was a mesmerizing musical drama, symbolizing the cultural integration of the Indian diaspora in Kenya. With live performances featuring traditional instruments like the dhol, captivating recitals, and spirited dances including garba, bhangra, and southern folk dances, the stage pulsated with energy and rhythm. Directed by Ananya Pal and choreographed by Guru Anusiva and Divya Patel, the performance was a testament to the enduring legacy of Indian music and dance forms.

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Dance performance at Tales to Tell event
Dance performance at “Tales to Tell” event

Reflecting on the evening’s festivities, Ananya Pal remarked, “It’s a trip down memory lane kind of evening, sharing anecdotes about the colonial past of Kenya besides musical performances connecting Indian root music forms. It’s a great feeling to host such an evening on the eve of the festival of colors, Holi.”

Audience at the event

“Tales to Tell” not only celebrated the rich cultural heritage of India and Kenya but also served as a poignant reminder of the indomitable spirit and resilience of the human journey. Through stories, films, and performances, the event bridged the gap between generations, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of our shared history. As the colors of Holi painted the evening sky, Nairobi witnessed a celebration of unity, diversity, and the enduring legacy of cultural exchange.

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