The first edition of "Seychelles India Day" celebration is a joint collaborative effort between the High Commission of India in Seychelles, Syechelles India Day celebration society and the Ministry of Culture & Tourism of Seychelles with the support of the Indian community in Seychelles as well as other business/service organizations. The celebration, an extravaganza of exhibitions, culture activities, tourism & business related events as well as presenting an entourage of Indian celebrities to Seychelles citizens, is scheduled for 4-6 October 2013. Broadly, the "Seychelles India Day" will incorporate putting on Seychelles stage an 'India-Seychelles Relations' exhibition, a Fun-Fair showcasing India, Bollywood Gala Night with Indian celebrities, i.e., actors, choreographers, dancers, singers, musicians, etc., and the workshops in related fields. Keep yourself tuned in with this website for updates related to venues, details of activities and so on.
Idea Behind Seychelles India Day
The cordial relations between India and Seychelles have existed since time immemorial and have been exhibited by many high level exchanges of visits from both sides. President Pratibha Patil visited in 2012.
In the past, President R. Venkataraman; Vice Presidents Shankar Dayal Sharma and Bhairon Singh Sekhawat; Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Defence Minister AK Antony have visited this beautiful island country Seychelles.
From Seychelles both Presidents Rene and James Michel, and Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam have visited India many times.
These visits have strengthened the multi-faceted cooperation of the two countries in the fields of education, culture, health, tourism, business, defence & security, finance and information technology.
Cultural exchanges and interactions between India and Seychelles have been there through performances of Indian cultural troupes on a regular basis in Seychelles and vice versa. Indian cultural troupes have repeated participated in the Carnivals in Seychelles. From Seychelles, the last cultural troupe to take part in the African Festival in India went in June 2012.
The need was felt to recognize the contributions made by the local Indian community, which has been a part of Seychelles social fabric almost as long as the history of the country itself. It is in this reckoning that a idea to give the image of the community of India in Seychelles a boost by showcasing the best possible talents in an aesthetic manner on a relatively bigger scale germinated.
Influence of Indian Culture
The Indians were among one of the first inhabitants in Seychelles. According to records, in 1770, five Indians were among the twenty- eight people sent by the Governor of Ile De France to establish the first settlement on St Anne Island. From then on, the influence of the Indian culture began. The first Indian settlers brought with them the culinary arts of India. The first settlement was however not successful and the 28 settlers including the five Indians were repatriated to their native land.
In the early 18th century, Indian labourers were recruited to work on the road constructions on Mahe Island and as a result of this the Indian community rejuvenated in Seychelles and again they brought with them their culture in terms of costumes/way of dressing ,dance and culinary arts. However only their culinary expertise was adopted by the Seychellois community.
In the early 1940s, with the introduction of a shipping line (B.I. as it was known at the time) between Bombay and Mombasa with a stop -over in Seychelles, more Indians arrived. They set up shops selling cooking ingredients such as the famous Indian spices from India and small industries. The culinary arts hence had a major impact on the Seychellois culture. The Indian culinary arts grew and become popular among the Seychellois community.
The Indian culture grew further as a result of inter-marriages between Indians and Seychellois people and this helped to develop the cultural diversity embracing the Indian culture on a much larger scale.