Strict patriarchs George Khan (East is East) and Baldev Singh (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge) wanted their families to live like they had in their home countries. Mrs Bhamra’s (Bend It Like Beckham) biggest ambition was to have a daughter Jessminder to cook aloo-gobhi and Anjali Sharma’s (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham) proudest moment was her son Krish singing the Indian national anthem in school. Pankaj Udhas composed a bitter-sweet melody about getting a letter from the homeland. These moments on the celluloid speak volumes about the nostalgia and longing felt by those who had to choose to leave the land of their birth for foreign shores.
Some members of the Indian diaspora got together in 1993 to cure this yearning by means of a cultural extravaganza. In the process, they thought they would also introduce the younger generation of the community to their heritage. Movie screenings, music concerts and a parade were a part of the original festival.
What started as Festival of India with only 5000 participants in its year of inception caught the fancy of several other communities living in the Silicon Valley. There were requests from many of them to feature their countries and cultures in the parade that until then carried floats and visuals of across India. Two score years later, the Festival of Globe has become an important event in the social calendar of many Americans from different heritages. In 2015, 200,000 people participated in FOG.
Like a good cultural ambassador, FOG has played a big part in bringing together people from different ethnic backgrounds who reside in Silicon Valley. It has also been a platform to raise important social issues including women empowerment, child abuse, bullying and many others.
This year’s festival has representation of more than 30 countries, and will have the theme of ‘empowering the youth against sexual crimes’. For the first time, the festival will be holding a summit to discuss the solutions to some of the biggest issues that the world is facing today. Then there’s all those regular components of any cultural festival – arts and craft, music and dance, food and fashion.
You can also be a part of the extravaganza that will take place between August 5 and August 16, 2016 in San Jose. You can also contribute towards the event at https://crowdera.co/c/ocYGjqUZ.