THE Penang Gujarati Association’s Diwali dinner was a joyous celebration of camaraderie, culture and community outreach.
Members and their families were joined by locals of other backgrounds for a sumptuous buffet meal and colourful entertainment.
Association president Datuk Taizoon H. Tyebkhan said the gathering, which attracted 160 guests, continued an annual tradition spanning over three decades.
Besides immersing everyone in the spirit of celebration, it also served to remind the younger generation about their tradition and culture.
There were several musical and dance performances put on by association members. In between, donations and hampers were given out to charitable organisations.
Beneficiaries this year were St Nicholas’ Home, The Cerebral Palsy (Spastic) Children’s Association of Penang and the Children’s Protection Society.
Taizoon also outlined the 32-year-old association’s hope to have its own property, and appealed to the state government to help turn that vision into reality.
Sharing the history of the Gujaratis and other North Indian communities here, he said, “They were some of the earliest traders and migrants from the Indian subcontinent.
“They are believed to have been involved in trade and commerce from the time of Parameswara and the Malacca Sultanate, and are said to have arrived in Penang around the 19th century.
“The Gujaratis and Sindhis formed a large commercial community here. In fact, the founders of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Penang were Gujaratis.
“Today, although many have moved to the capital city, a number remain here in business.
“Many from the younger generation are now professionals. Gujaratis have remained vibrant and are known to be good businessmen, achieving excellence in whatever field they are in.”
The recent dinner, held at The Gurney Resort Hotel and Residences, was marked with a diya lighting ceremony.
In attendance were Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and his wife Tan Lean Kee, as well as Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy and his wife K. Kalaiarasi.
In his speech, Chow said the state government has the interests of communities large and small at heart and values their contributions toward Penang’s economic development.
“Together with my colleagues in the state exco, we will work with you to ensure that the Gujaratis and North Indians are at the forefront of development and progress.
“Together we can transform Penang into an international and intelligent city that is cleaner, greener, safer and healthier — in short, a better place to live, attend school, work and play in, ” he added.
Chow also distributed red packets to the association’s children.
The night ended with rounds of lucky draws.
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