Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, has reaffirmed the government of Seychelles’ support towards the Seychelles-India Day which has now been added on the country’s calendar of national events, alongside Festival Kreol and Carnaval International de Victoria. He said Seychelles needs to be proud of each of the five branches that makes them the Seychellois nation that they are today, adding that the country’s government recognizes the important contributions that Indians have played in building the island state they have today.
The government of India donated a sum of two million Indian rupees to the Seychelles Indian Association. The money will be used for the annual Seychelles-India Day celebrations held during the month of October.
A check for the same amount was presented last Friday to the Chairperson of the association, Ramu Pillay, who also heads the Organizing Committee of the Seychelles-India Day celebrations. The check was presented to Mr. Pillay by the Indian High Commissioner, Sanjay Panda, during the launch of the fourth Seychelles-India Day held at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles.
This was in the presence of the first President of the Republic, Sir James Mancham; Designated Minister Vincent Meriton; several other ministers; Secretary of State Barry Faure; Indian High Commissioner to Seychelles Sanjay Panda; other members of the diplomatic corps; as well as principal secretaries and chief executives of various departments, and members of the Indian community in Seychelles, among others.
In his address before handing over the check, Mr. Panda said in recognition of the efforts and contributions of the Seychelles Indian Association that has spearheaded the spectacular Seychelles-India Day celebrations during the last three years, the government of India has given a special grant to the association.
As part of the Seychelles-India Day celebrations this year, the event’s Organizing Committee launched a commemorative stamp. The launch of this new stamp was held at the International Conference Centre last Friday during the official opening ceremony of the fourth Seychelles-India Day celebrations.
The stamp which costs R10 features the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple located in the Seychelles capital of Victoria. It is the only Hindu temple in the country and was built in 1992. The flags of Seychelles and India are also featured on the commemorative stamp which is now on sale. The Seychelles Postal Services has partnered with the Seychelles-Indian Association to launch this new stamp.
Finance, Trade and Blue Economy Minister Jean-Paul Adam was given the honor to launch the new stamp along with the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange; High Commissioner Panda; and the Director of Operations at the Seychelles Postal Services, Barbara Esther.
Chairperson of the Seychelles Indian Association and of the Seychelles-India Day celebrations’ Organizing Committee, Ramu Pillay, said the stamp has been launched to show the friendly ties that exist between the two countries. Mr. Pillay added that the Seychelles-India Day is a celebration of our historical ties with India and the committee wanted something that will mark this national event, adding that the temple was chosen because of its cultural and touristic value.
“We chose the Indian temple because it’s never been used in such way before, and many tourists visit the temple on a daily basis, hence are familiar with this iconic establishment in the country. When they send a post card to their friends and families abroad, they will be promoting Seychelles India-Day through this new stamp,” he said.
The Director of Operations of Seychelles Postal Services, Barbara Esther, said the last time they issued a commemorative stamp was over two years ago. She said that Indian Ocean Association opted for the stamp in its quest for something that would also showcase the good relation between Seychelles and India. “They designed the stamp themselves choosing what to put on it and the postal services facilitated the process, making the final product what it is today,” said Esther.
Many of the Indian Ocean archipelago’s 93,000 mixed population can trace their roots back to one or more ancestors with Indian heritage. The stamp was but one initiative announced as part of efforts to add value to the place India holds as part of the country’s cultural diversity.
At Friday’s launching ceremony, the Seychelles Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St.Ange also announced that plans are underway to build a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Victoria. According to hubpages.com, statues of Mahatma Ghandi – often referred to as the apostle of non-violence – have been erected in more than 70 countries across the globe. Minister St Ange said, “We believe as a country that the influences set by Mr. Ghandi is something that needs to be treasured.”
The launching of the Seychelles-India Day was attended by both Seychellois and Indian nationals, who were treated to music and dance performances by guest artists from India.
The Indian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Sanjay Panda, congratulated the Indian Association of Seychelles for giving the event the cultural importance it holds today. “So far it has been a fairytale journey, after that a national event, now it’s going to grow further in stature,” said Panda, who seized the opportunity to announce his departure after being the Indian High Commissioner for the last two years.
This year’s edition of the annual event will proceed with a free musical gala night on Saturday evening, while cooking enthusiasts were treated to a culinary session with the help of an Indian chef earlier on Saturday.
For more information on Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange, visit alainstange.com
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).