From Kashi with love: Banarasis to make NRI guests feel at home for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
The maximum number of 432 NRIs from Malaysia will attend the convention. Likewise, 375 NRIs will come from the UAE, 340 from Mauritius, 187 from the United States, 134 from Qatar and 109 guests from Oman.Updated: Jan 18, 2019 17:39 IST
Jai Pradhwani is all ready to welcome his guests at his home in the temple town of Varanasi for the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
The chartered accountant has done up his house to welcome three non-resident Indians (NRIs), who will be visiting the city to attend the convention from January 21 to January 23.
He says he is looking forward to providing a traditional stay for his NRI guests — Dr Chandrashekhar Mishra (US), Amit Wanikar (China) and Rajpal Tyagi (Oman) — who will be staying at his house in Siddhigiri Bagh area of holy town. He has his plans chalked out.
“I will receive the guests at Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport on January 21. After garlanding them, we will offer delicious Banarasi paan to them so that they may have a feel of Varanasi,” Pradhwani said.
The family has then planned to welcome the guests at the house amid chanting of Vedic mantras, drumbeats, traditional tunes of shehnai and customary ‘aarti’.
“We will shower flower petals on them and offer Banarasi delicacies like malaiyo, kheer mohan, malai paan and malai roll to them. In the morning, they will be served the breakfast of their choice as well as fruits like apple, banana, guava and other fruits,” he said.
Pradhwani has also decided the gifts for his guests — a book on Banarasi culture and heritage along with the ‘Bhagwad Gita’ and a Banarasi stole.
The maximum number of 432 NRIs from Malaysia will attend the convention. Likewise, 375 NRIs will come from the UAE, 340 from Mauritius, 187 from the United States, 134 from Qatar and 109 guests from Oman. NRIs from Germany and a few other countries too will also attend the event.
The district administration has also arranged for 450 Saraswati cottages, 120 Triveni cottages and 50 Kashi villas in the tent city for the guests. As many as 100 NRIs will stay in 50 Kashi villas. The cottages are equipped with all the facilities.
And Pradhwani is not alone is opening his home to these guests. There are over 200 families in Varanasi which will host them at their houses. According to district magistrate Surendra Singh, 350 NRIs have opted for homestay in the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some 4,150 NRI delegates from 85 nations have registered for the event, and approximately 1,000 of them will be staying in the tent city.
Purushottam Kumar Sukhwani, a professor, is also set to welcome Hong Kong-based Harzani Dayal Narayan Das and his wife at his house in Luxa. Das, he said, is a businessman, writer and a diehard follower of mystic poet and saint Kabir.
“It is a matter of great joy that we have been given an opportunity to welcome NRI guests. We will offer them Sindhi delicacy ‘karhi chawal’ along with other popular dishes of Varanasi,” Sukhwani said.
Doctoral fellow Dr Sunil Mishra and his lecturer wife Swati S Mishra of Bajardeeha area will host Poland-based guests Dr Jagdish and his wife Bogumilla Babur Gheek. The couple will reach Varanasi on January 20.
“This will entirely be a new experience for us. We will welcome them in a grand manner following the tradition of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (a guest is akin to god),” Mishra said.
Likewise, social worker Divya Ratan Chaturvedi and his wife Pratibha Chaturvedi, a teacher, have decided to serve homemade delicacies to Rajiv Chaturvedi and Pramila Chaturvedi, their guests from Australia. The couple said they make special dishes like Banarasi stuffed paratha, matar kachauri and homemade malai (cream) with bread for them.
Industrialist Ashok Gupta said he would host three guests, including US-based NRI Anshuman Trikha.
“We will serve Banarasi delicacies, including malaiyo, rabri, kachauri, lassi and baati chokha to the guests. We will show them Subah-e-Banaras (morning of Varanasi) and take them for boating. We will also take them to Kashi Vishwanath Temple for ‘darshan’. We have completed all the preparations,” he added.
Kashi DM, SSP to play hosts too
District magistrate Surendra Singh and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Suresh Rao Anand Kulkarni will also host NRIs at their homes.
Singh and his wife Garima will have London-based Dr Rajpal Singh and his wife Vijay as guests. “They will stay with us. In spare time, we will take them to ghats and temples for ‘darshan’,” the DM said.
Rakesh Pathak from the US will be Kulkarni’s guest. “Pathak is keen on knowing about Kashi, its heritage and lifestyle. We will take him to a tour of Kashi so that he may get to know about the culture of the city,” Kulkarni said.
Prime Minister Modi will participate in the event on January 22 and President Ram Nath Kovind on January 23. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will be in Varanasi on January 21.
At least 7,000 people have registered for the event, which will have Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius as the chief guest. Jugnauth is the first person to be accorded this honour who has his roots in Uttar Pradesh. Jugnauth’s ancestors belonged to Rasra village in Ballia district of the state, and he will travel to his ancestral village during his stay in India, people familiar with developments said.
Though Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, a biennial event since 2015, is held on or around January 9, the date for this year’s gathering was changed so that participants could also experience the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj and the Republic Day parade in Delhi on January 26.