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Lucknow: Kerala Samajam cancels Onam programme

The Kerala Samajam in Lucknow has cancelled their Onam programme this year in view of the devastating floods in Kerala, said an official.

lucknow Updated: Aug 21, 2018 11:42 IST
Rajeev Mullick
Rajeev Mullick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh,Samajam
“Onam is a festival of Kerala that celebrates rice harvest. It is also a celebration of hope and prosperity. This year, the festival will be more to do with prayers than celebrations.”(AFP)

The Kerala Samajam in Lucknow has cancelled their Onam programme this year in view of the devastating floods in Kerala, said an official.

Onam is on August 25, but the function in Lucknow was to be held on September 2 at CMS auditorium, Vishal Khand, Gomti Nagar. The event has now been cancelled, said Jenson James, president of Kerala Samajam.

“We have planned to raise funds up to Rs 5 lakh for relief work in Kerala,” he said. Kerala Samajam, Lucknow joint secretary, Gopa Kumar Pillai is carrying out relief work in Kerala, he said.

Onam is a festival of Kerala that celebrates rice harvest. It is also a celebration of hope and prosperity. This year, the festival will be more to do with prayers than celebrations, said Keralites living in Lucknow.

They added, “Every year, each member of the community eagerly awaits Onam. This is a festival where the entire community comes together for the celebrations. However, this year the feeling is not the same.”

In more than a decade, this is for the first time that Kerala Samajam in Lucknow has decided not to celebrate Onam. In 2005, this organisation did not celebrate Onam because of Tsunami that left several southern states and Sri Lanka devastated in 2004.

Lucknow is a home for more than 1,000 natives of Kerala. But many of their extended family members, relatives, friends, cousins and others are still in Kerala. Families in Lucknow are praying for the safety for their friends and family in the flood-hit state.

According to the organisers, it is difficult to celebrate Onam at a time when hectares of crops have been destroyed while air, rail and road transport have been disrupted and thousands are stranded.

“Most of Kerala is inundated and over two lakh people have been shifted to various relief camps across the state. There is no point to celebrate the festival,” said a Keralite who lives in Lucknow.

“Kerala is experiencing the worst floods in a century. At a time when the devastating calamity has claimed lives and thousands of people have been rendered homeless, our conscience did not allow us to celebrate when the entire state is mourning,” added James.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 11:42 IST