PATNA: Hundreds of Malayali families settled in Bihar have announced not to celebrate Onam this year in view of the devastating floods in Kerala which claimed over 350 lives so far and rendered around a million people homeless.
Onam, the biggest and most important festival of Malayali people linked to harvest, is set to conclude on August 27 this year.
“It’s the festival for which we wait for the whole year but we are not celebrating this year owing to flood disaster in Kerala,” South Indian Cultural Association (SICA) secretary Ajith Kumar said on Tuesday.
Instead of spending money on the festival, the organization has now decided to raise funds and send monetary helps to the flood-affected people of Kerala at this time of crisis, Kumar added.
SICA is not alone in its unique gesture. Quite many Malayali organizations, such as Onam South Indian Association, Kerala Club, Kerala Arts Committee, Nair Service Society too have cancelled Onam celebrations and are collecting funds for the flood victims.
“Onam is out biggest festival during which we organize various programmes marked by elaborate feast but this year we have decided to save the money to be spent on celebrating the festival and send them to the floods victims,” Kerala Club secretary M Mathew said.
There are some 400-500 Malayali families settled in Patna who celebrate the festival with job and enthusiasm, holding rangoli contest and organizing elegant dances.
In another god gesture, the serving and retired officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) from Bihar have decided to provide monetary help to the flood-devastated Kerala from their salary and pensions.
At an emergency meeting of the IAS Association held on Monday night, the members decided to send a sum of Rs250,000 immediately to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund while announcing to send the remaining contributions later.
As per the decision taken at the meeting, the Principal secretary-rank officials will donate Rs 10,000 whereas the secretary-rank officers will donate Rs7,500. Other IAS Association members (both serving and retired) will donate Rs5,000.
On the other hand, lawmakers from the Communist Party of India (Marxists-Leninist) announced to donate their full month salary to the flood victims.
The student community too is begging on the streets and collecting donations for the suffering people of Kerala.
The state government in Bihar has donated Rs 100 millions to the flood-ravaged Kerala.
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