Carabram – ‘Please Do Not Encourage Divisive Community Politics’

Dancers at the controversial Punjab Pavilion at Carabram 2017. Pic: Facebook site

Open Letter To Carabram Board President Angela Johnson From Harmony Forum

Dear Ms. Johnson,

Harmony Forum Canada takes this opportunity to thank you once again for the meeting we had with you and your team on 19th March to discuss the proposed Punjab Pavilion in Carabram 2018.  You had agreed that you will present our concerns and the two proposals presented during our meeting, to the Carabram Board. We eagerly await communication about the Board’s decision.

In the interim, we have seen a report in the Globe and Mail on issues concerning Carabram 2017. We noted that last year, the issue of the Punjab Pavilion was taken up by Indian Consulate with Carabram. The matter was taken up by Her Worship Mayor Linda Jaffrey with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who as per the report was unhappy over the alleged interference of a foreign country in a domestic event. You had informed us of this incident during our meeting.

Harmony Forum feels this is an attempt to divert attention from the main issue. We wish to make it absolutely clear that we represents only the Indo Canadian Community and has no connection with the Indian Consulate. It is a registered NGO with the objective of promoting harmony within the community, as well as create awareness and appreciation of Indian cultures, ethnicity, religions and languages within the mainstream Canadian society.

Harmony Forum once again wishes to point out to Carabram organisers that the separate Punjab Pavilion in 2017 primarily focussed on a narrow religious and political agenda. Punjab is a province of India and the pavilion’s right place is in the India Pavilion. We would like to stress that Punjabi culture does not consist only that of the Sikhs community, but also includes a large Punjabi diaspora, cutting across religious, linguistic and ethnic lines.

Harmony Forum feels that a separate Punjab pavilion in Carabram encourages the divisive politics which is being promoted by some separatist elements, who form a miniscule part of our society, but who seem to be exerting undue influence in certain quarters.

This is the same politics which led to the adverse fall out, during our Honourable Prime Minster Trudeau’s recent visit to India. The entire Indo Canadian community has been deeply hurt to see Indo Canadian relations dipping to its lowest level during recent times.

Harmony Forum, while being appreciative of the Carabram Board for organizing the festival of cultures, wishes to caution about allowing local vote bank politics creating disharmony, rather than the desired unity within diversity.

Yours sincerely

Harmony Forum

  April 3, 2018