Dateline Desi


DATELINE DESI Yadav Association felicitates Professor Shashi KantAug2018.jpg.jpg


The Yadav Association of Canada (yaoc) felicitated the world-renowned forest economist Professor Shashi Kant of University of Toronto on receiving the Order of Ontario for his outstanding achievements in the field of forest resources economics and sustainability management at a function held at South Fletcher’s Sportsplex in Brampton.

After his be (Hons) from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India, Dr Kant began his career as a forest officer in the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department. He went on to work at the prestigious Indian Institute of Forest Management in Bhopal. He came to University of Toronto as a Commonwealth Fellow and did his Masters of Economics and PhD there. He is the recipient several prestigious awards including Queen’s Award for Forestry and a distinguished member on the advisory board of Peel College of Professional Studies.

Addressing the gathering, Dr. Kant emphasized the role of true love and happiness in our well-being. He said that external recognition and transient happiness may be possible through physical assets but internal peace and permanent happiness can be attained only through true love.

Professor Satyendra Narayan lauded the achievements of Dr Kant. “Shashiji, this is not just an honour to you, this is an honour for our community, to the entire South Asian community and to each of us here in this room,” he said. “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a small step. This honour from the Ontario government is a beginning for you. Many more such awards, honours and recognitions will follow in the coming years.”

General secretary Vikas Yadava made the concluding remarks and gave the vote of thanks.

Formed in 2010, yaoc is a registered not-for-profit organization with the mandate to promote social, cultural, economic and educational values and traditions among the community members and also to provide opportunities to the community members to integrate with other communities and assimilate with their unique sociocultural values. It has previously organized a number of charitable events including food and used clothing donation drives and raised funds for Sick Kids Hospital and Autistic Society.


For more info, contact Vikas Yadava at 416-560-8276, e-mail or visit



The seventh annual Culture Bridge Festival (formerly the Caribbean South Asian showcase) was celebrated on July 14 and 15, at the Newmarket Riverwalk Commons.

The festival venue came alive with music, food and performances showcasing many of the cultures represented in York Region and South Simcoe. It was an amazing weekend that brought together people from throughout the region and beyond, in a celebration of cultural diversity and community. Culture Bridge Initiatives, previously known as the Ranji Singh Foundation, has set out to create opportunities for meaningful social connections among neighbours in the Region.

Saturday celebrated the Sounds of India and started with young rising stars performing Bollywood and classical Indian dances. There was a great performance by 2018 Panorama Junior Indian Idol, 9-year-old Aditya Matkar. The evening featured headliners The Neighborhood Jam with artists Divya Vivekanandan, Vidhyashankar Srinivasan, Thibisan Balachandran and Garthigan Balachandran, who performed Hindi Tamil fusion music. The opening ceremony also included a bagpiper and Native Ojibway dancer, followed by fantastic performances of Indian dance by Bhangra Crew Ontario and Ensemble Topaz.

Sunday was a celebration of music from all over the world. Among the many performances that lit up the stage were traditional Chinese dance, Irish dance, and musical theater from Italy. The talented Hip Hop violinist Aaron Cheung gave a flawless performance. There were Japanese drummers, performers from Portugal and Venezuela, and the Imbayakunas, a music group from Ecuador and winners of the 2018 Aboriginal Music Award. In the evening, 2016 Grammy nominee Jason Lindo brought on the reggae and the dancing began. In addition to the music, young storytellers from Canadian Stage recited beautiful poetry of their experiences of displacement, migration, and life in a new home.

There were a variety of vendors with delicious food. Guests indulged in refreshing smoothies, snow cones and coconut water straight from the coconut. There were Beavertails and ice cream to satisfy a sweet tooth, and for lunch, jerk chicken poutine, roti, dosas, samosas, more than one could taste in a single visit. Rasta clothes and accessories, homemade wooden art, and jars of tasty hot sauce were on sale. Visitors had the opportunity to learn the basics of lacrosse, a traditional Native sport, along with a history of the people of the Six Nations.

In support of the community, donations were accepted at the festival for the Newmarket Food Pantry. The police, Community Living Central York and the AIDS Committee of York Region had their booths, and delegates from all levels of government across the Region came out to speak at the opening ceremony, backing the goal of acceptance and support for the Region’s culturally diverse communities.

Especially great was the personal interaction between guests, learning about each other’s cultures and taking part in their art and activities. The djembe drumming workshop was a hit. There is something about creating music together that speaks of harmony, of our ability to move past defining people by stereotypes, and towards understanding how much we have in common. The joy that music, food and good company can bring, and the connections that can forge between strangers is the true value of such an event. In the scorching summer heat, when the temptation is to hide indoors, the Culture Bridge Festival brought the community out to share, to mingle and to enjoy our greatest asset, our cultural diversity. People were laughing, they were trying new foods, a new instrument, or getting a henna tattoo. They were dancing and talking, and the sheer delight of children running around the splash pad was infectious.

The experience was made possible by the team of fun, welcoming and fiercely dedicated group of staff and volunteers. Culture Bridge Initiatives would like to thank the guests, delegates, sponsors and vendors.


Erica Wright, an MA candidate – Immigration and Settlement – at Ryerson University, is an intern with Culture Bridge Initiatives.