Bangla Loko Mela 2010
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Shafeen Mustaq: The Bangladeshi Australian Welfare Association (BAWS) hosted a mela (cultural fair) at Seddon Park in Glenfield on Saturday 27 March 2010. The event was a well organised and fun filled fare for families and friends of all cultural backgrounds.
The mela started a little past noon and was slow to pick up due to the afternoon heat. Undeterred the members of parliament, the Mayor of Campbelltown, Aaron Rule, and several other community representatives gave short speeches to the crowds encouraging the diverse and rich cultural experience and wealth of wisdom and experience that the Bengali community adds to the society. There was also a speech regarding the new community watch initiative which aimed to address the growing violence and theft in the area. The participation and approval of the local community members as well as the announcement of such an initiative showed that Bengalis in the Campbelltown area were catalysing change in their uptake of and participation in activities that enhanced community welfare. As the evening became cooler everyone came out in their finest to listen to the band, the speeches and watch the amazing dancing and singing performances by local talent.
There were rides for the kids, clothing and jewellery stalls, Mendhi and book stalls and of course food stalls. The wonderful aromas of a wide variety of food wafted through the field carried by a soft wind that caressed the curious visitor and assailed them with a whiff which made mouths water. From satay sticks to samosas, Dhal puris to jhal muri, from pan to pani puri and tandoori to haleem, there was no end to the wide array of possibilities for ones palette. Banoful sweets also had a stall which would especially excite the sweet tooths out there with rasgullas and chom choms designed delectably on display.
The mela was a huge success and a hit with families, friends and neighbours, many from non Bengali backgrounds who came out of curiosity and left with a better understanding of Bangladeshi culture and traditions and of course a taste of our unique cuisine. It integrated items of interest to the young and old, the Bengali and the non-bengali and provided them with an opportunity to interact and experience a cohesive and friendly environment. Congratulations to the BAWS for such a wonderfully organised and executed event which allows us to practice, display and retain our cultural heritage.