The Resham Singh Foundation will host the Detroit Diwali Mela and Navratri on Sunday, Oct. 8, beginning at 11 a.m.

The Resham Singh Foundation will host the Detroit Diwali Mela and Navratri on Sunday, Oct. 8, beginning at 11 a.m.

Photo provided by Anil Relan

Troy prepares for celebration of Diwali

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published September 24, 2023


TROY — Troy’s South Asian community is inviting the public to join them for a celebration of Diwali taking place Sunday, Oct. 8.

The Detroit Diwali Mela and Navratri is being organized by the Resham Singh Foundation and will be hosted by the American Polish Cultural Center, 2975 E. Maple Road. It will feature traditional music and dance, costumes, a marketplace, and food, as well as a dress competition, a fashion show and an awards presentation.

“There will be a bazaar outside starting at 11 a.m.,” explained Anil Relan, the president and founder of Resham Singh Foundation. “We have, at 2 p.m., some guests of honor from Troy speaking. We have a parade outside, Indian classical dancers from 2 to 5 p.m. The Navratri is from 6 to 9 p.m., which is a Hindu religious celebration for the night. … There is no charge to attend.”

Relan said that this was designed to be Detroit’s first multicultural Diwali Mela in order to bring together the local Indian population and to allow the whole community to celebrate the year’s biggest Indian holiday together as one community.

“We have been doing this since 2019,” Relan remarked. “We couldn’t do it one year because of COVID. I was involved in a program in Lansing to celebrate Diwali, and we wanted to bring it here.”

Diwali is known as the Festival of Lights and is a celebration of South Asian Indian culture where Indian people, specifically, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Jains, celebrate victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

“The community comes together under one roof. It has many traditional moments. It is traditionally a religious celebration. Only the (religious) devotees came to our celebration in Lansing,” said Sukhvinder Kaur, the vice president of Resham Singh Foundation. “This celebration is aimed more at bringing more of the South Asian community in.”

The Detroit Diwali Mela donates all proceeds to a charitable organization each year. This year’s recipients will include the American Red Cross of Southeastern Michigan and Mai Family Services.

“We contacted the Red Cross and My Family Services,” said Relan. “They were those willing to work with us. Many other organizations have procedures that you need to deal with. These organizations don’t. The event is free to attend, but the vendors do pay to take part. That is where the money is coming from.”

Relan said that the Resham Singh Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that plans and hosts cultural events and talent shows that celebrate Indian cultural heritage while demonstrating patriotism and respect for American values.

Kaur said this has been a passion project of Relan’s, and they are happy to see it finding a welcome in the Troy community.

“(Relan) is a member of many Indian communities. Many people know him, and he has worked hard to bring such things to life,” said Kaur. “We have worked with Miindia (a communication site for the Indian community in Michigan) and we have taken out advertisements to raise awareness. We want to welcome all the community in for good food and good times.”