I was Honored to meet the Amazing Mr Chris Hosein today at Reform Village.
I was amazed at what he was able to accomplish in 3 years of hosting Phagwa in his community.
This is what he had to share with me.
Chris Arshad Hosein: "I started Phagwa in Reform village three years ago ( 2017 ) when I first became the Councillor for the area.
I forged a strong bond with the people in the various communities in my district (Reform being one of them) and have always tried to have community activities to bring the communities together.
I thought since there was no Phagwa in Reform, it would be a good opportunity to fill that void whilst propagating our culture as well. It’s always been one of my favorite festivals (notwithstanding the fact that I’m a Muslim) and I jumped at the opportunity to host this event.
The first year, I became really close with the folks at the Reform Shiv Mandir and the Lower Palmyra Shiv Mandir and they offered tremendous support for the venture. But above all, my family plays an integral role as they are really the driving force behind the celebrations. They help me with everything.
Also, the neighborhood tent rental company (Richard’s Tent Rental) has been providing this infrastructure (tents, chairs, tables, etc) at no cost for the past three years.
We receive zero funding from any agency or the government and we raise funds to cover the cost of the event so his generosity is greatly appreciated.
Since the first year to now, the celebrations have grown tremendously. Each year it gets bigger and every year, more groups would make their way down to the ground to sing chowtals and perform dances etc. I think in the little space of time, our humble community celebration has quickly established itself as a bonafide Phagwa venue which many families look forward to visiting and participating in the festivities each year."
Chowtal, aside from being the name of a "taal"/"tala" or meter in Hindustani classical music, is a form of folksong of North India's Bhojpuri region, sung by amateurs during the vernal Phagwa or Holi festival.