26-29 October Rotterdam
Commemorative Festival for 150 Years of Hindustani Immigration in collaboration with Rotterdam Cultural Centers & Partners.
150 years Hindustani Immigration
Expo x Storytelling:
The Many Faces of Love
Double Bill Concert:
Discover & Experience,
Books, Music & Food
26 oktober | Panel Discussion
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the departure of the first ship carrying contract laborers from India to Suriname. The people from India were known for their hard work, which is why they were recruited. Once they set foot on Surinamese soil, they took over the work on the plantations from the enslaved Africans, earning meager wages. In total, between 1873 and 1916, over 34,000 Indians left their homes and families during this period. It was the beginning of the Surinamese-Hindustani community, which is also present in the Netherlands today.
What was life like for the Hindustanis in Suriname? Was it contract labor or disguised slavery? What do the Hindustanis know about their own history? Which traditions and cultural practices from India are still passed down to this day? And how are the Hindustanis in the Netherlands, whose ancestors once boarded the ship to Suriname, doing now?
After a brief introduction by Mahesvari Autar, historian Rosemarijn Höfte and freelance filmmaker and photographer Anita Bharos will delve further into the topic. What is the story of the Hindustani community? What exactly did contract labor entail? Which stories were passed down, and what remained taboo?
Nirali Kartik is a classical singer from Mumbai. She will sing a few songs and (in English) talk about the classical Indian music tradition.
In the second discussion, entrepreneurs Prewien Pandohi-Mishre and Rajiv Bhagwanbali will discuss the importance of the Hindustani musical tradition, keeping cultural practices alive, and passing on the language. Hindustanis are often called the “invisible immigrants,” but are they really? They are also known for their entrepreneurship and often hold high levels of education and leadership positions. However, they are underrepresented in the arts and sports world. What is the reason that, for example, Feyenoord has no top Hindustani football players? And that few members of the Dutch parliament have a Hindustani background? What does the future hold for the community in the Netherlands?
Host: Brenda Stoter Boscolo.
This is a program by DesiYUP and Debatpodium Arminius, made possible in part by the Fund for Cultural Participation.
Date and Time:
Th. 26 October
Students and Rotterdampas:
About the Participants
Singer Nirali Kartik is known as a pioneer of Hindustani classical music. Her singing style has made her the voice behind several award-winning films and documentaries. In addition to her dedication to Indian classical music, Nirali is also a motivational speaker.
Rosemarijn Höfte is a historian specializing in the Caribbean region. Her main areas of focus are the history of Suriname in the post-slavery period, contract labor, and other forms of unfree labor, as well as contemporary Caribbean history.
Anita Bharos is a freelance filmmaker and photographer. She works for companies and institutions in the cultural sector, focusing on projects with a societal impact. Recently, she produced the documentary ‘150 years of Hindustani immigration – through the eyes of women.’
Prewien Pandohi-Mishre is a civil engineer, entrepreneur, and singer. As co-owner of the engineering firm Prolusion BV (2007), Prewien provides consultancy services to major national contractors in the design of bridges, tunnels, and buildings, including the Rijnhaven Bridge. Born in Suriname, Prewien is also a singer and composer, specializing in Indian classical and devotional music from Suriname and India. In 2019, he completed his Master’s in Indian singing at the CODARTS music institute. To preserve the traditional Indian music tradition, he founded the Rasique Music School in 2013 and teaches singing at SKVR in Rotterdam.
Rajiv Bhagwanbali is a host, entrepreneur, and artistic director at Rotterdam Street Culture Weekend (RSCW).
27 October | (H)Erkennen / Herbouwen | Expo x Storytelling
Allow yourself to be enchanted by the power of love during an unforgettable evening at Kunsthal Rotterdam. British sensation Shivali Bhammer will take you on a poetic journey filled with love stories based on ancient Hindu scriptures. Each narrative reveals an emotion that can touch every heart and sheds new light on what deeply moves us all: love. In addition to Shivali Bhammer, the talented Rotterdam violinist Annelieke Marselje and singer Diepak Ramjiawan will accompany you on this cultural and emotional journey. And as the icing on the cake, you can participate in a captivating Q&A session with Professor Bisschop. Don’t miss this spectacle full of passion, unexpected twists, and a touch of drama. Come and let yourself be enchanted!
Museumkaart, R’dampas, VriendenLoterij VIP-kaart holders get a discount.
Date & Time:
Fr. 27 October
€8,25 for students/CJP (max 26 years old)
Free with Rotterdampas
3015 AA Rotterdam
About the Artists
Shivali was born in London and began her career in Investment Banking before pursuing her artistic passions. She was signed by Sony Music BMG and has released two devotional albums, The Bhajan Project and Urban Temple, which reached number 1 on the iTunes World Chart. Shivali was nominated for two Global Indian Music Awards at the age of 23 and was listed in the Top 25 Under 25 South Asian Artists in England.
She also holds diplomas in Acting, Kathak (classical Indian Dance), and Ballet. As a writer, she has published in newspapers such as The Financial Times, The Orange County Register, Science & Spirituality, Spirituality & Health, Hinduism Today, Spiritual Directors International, and India Link on topics of philosophy and faith. Shivali is also an award-winning playwright and the founder of A Conscious Stream Productions.
At the age of 5, Annelieke Marselje started taking violin lessons at SKVR in Rotterdam. She studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory and graduated from the Fontys Conservatory in Tilburg in 2010.
Since 2016, she has been teaching violin classes at the pop academy of Codarts. Annelieke has collaborated with national and international artists such as Jose James, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, and others. She performs in various ensembles, including the Marselje Duo with her sister Dorine, who plays the concert harp.
Sarnami-Hindustani vocalist Diepak Ramjiawan was born and raised in Rotterdam. The young singer gave his first concerts in prestigious venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, De Doelen, and the World Forum Theatre. One concert, in particular, is very dear to him because he had the honor of performing as the opening act for Ustad Zakir Hussain. During his performance, Diepak sang the Shiva Tandav Stotram while playing the tabla.
It has been a year since he started producing spiritual/devotional Mantra Music in his own unique style. Diepak believes that music connects us with our inner self. “What this connection truly means is the listener’s personal experience.”
28 October Double Bill Concert
Experience the richness and inclusivity of Indian music in Rotterdam
This evening consists of two concerts.
Anantha – Eternal Change
Prewien Pandohi-Mishre & Ensemble
Nirali Kartik & Ensemble
Date and Time:
Sat. 28 October
17:00 – 21:00h
Act 1: Anantha – Eternal Change start 17:00h
Act 2: The Homecoming start 19:30h
Tickets are available for different tier seats:
€25 – €60
3012 CL Rotterdam
Willem Burger Zaal
Entrance Kruisplein 40
Act 1: Anantha – Eternal Change
The story of evolution is musically narrated by Prewien Pandohi-Mishre and his ensemble. Growth, development, sensory fulfillment, decay, contemplation, and liberation are the themes interpreted in a musical manner. Ancient Indian melodies are enriched with modern instruments to paint the various emotions of the theme.
At its core are Indian classical music and Surinamese Hindustani music, the heritage of Prewien, who was born in Suriname. Flowing like water that connects different styles. The traditional instrumentation is expanded with Western instruments such as acoustic guitar and double bass, and the arrangements are enriched with related music styles like Jazz & Blues.
Additionally, Prewien makes the most of the various musical traditions that have traveled from afar to the city of Rotterdam and found a place here. These styles are evolving rapidly and reaching out to each other to create exciting new forms.
Experience the richness and inclusivity of Indian music in Rotterdam and its relevance to the themes and challenges that occupy us in today’s modern world.
Prewien Pandohi-Mishre vocals & harmonium | Kries Malhoe acoustic & electric guitar | Dilip Dhoenmoen drums & percussion | Patrick Lauwerends double bass & acoustic bass guitar | Hamid Reza Behzadian Indian slide guitar & harmonica | Angel ArunA lead vocals chorus
Act 2: The Homecoming
The faces we love. The sights and scents we absorb. And the songs we hear. They all become our “Home.” To distant lands, we take our loved ones. The sights and scents become cherished memories.
But the sounds and songs?
They travel with us, wherever we go.
The Homeward Journey brings you the Songs of India – From the Ghats of Varanasi to the devotion of Meera; From the grandeur of Khayal to the romance of Thumris.
With these songs, DesiYUP takes you back to the Home of our ancestors, led by one of the leading Hindustani singers, Nirali Kartik. No matter where our home is in the world; we will always find our home in these sounds and songs.
Nirali Kartik: vocals | Yama Sarshar: Tabla | Madhav Haridas: Saxophone, Bansuri & Woodwind instruments | Akash Parekar: sitar | Prewien Pandohi-Mishre: harmonium
About the Artists
Nirali Kartik is a talented Indian classical singer; she has had a significant impact on the world of music with her enchanting voice and profound understanding of the rich traditions of Indian classical music, including Khayal, Drupad, Thumri, and Sacred songs. She has performed at prestigious venues and music festivals worldwide, captivating audiences with her sublime voice and immersive stage presence.
She is a vocalist, composer, writer, and an excellent educational expert. She is also the current global brand ambassador of Unilever Taj Mahal Tea, previously represented by Ustad Zakir Hussain. As a recipient of the Shrestha Sadhak Awards by the Gujarat Sangeet Natak Academy and the Guru Gangadhar Pradhan Award, Nirali can seamlessly switch between genres, showcasing her versatility.
Singer and composer Prewien Pandohi-Mishre specializes in North Indian classical and devotional music from Suriname and India. He frequently blends Rāga music with modern musical styles. In 2019, he completed his Master’s in Indian singing at the CODARTS music institute. To keep the traditional Indian music tradition alive, he founded the Rasique Music School and provides vocal lessons at SKVR in Rotterdam.
Prewien has collaborated with international artists such as Vasuda Sharma and Nirali Kartik. Recent performances in Dutch theaters include concert series like Rāga Vani, Sacred Songs Festival, and Festival Muses of Mindfulness at the Doelen. In 2019, he appeared on the VPRO program ‘Vrije Geluiden,’ and in 2020, he was featured in the NTR program ‘Iedereen Verlicht.’
Yama Sarshar is an internationally acclaimed Tabla player. Yama was born in Sydney, Australia, into a musical family from Kabul, Afghanistan. He received his initial training from his father, Ustad Sarshar, and further guidance from the legendary late Ustad Alla Rakha Khan Khan Saeb. Currently, Yama is studying under Ustad Fazal Qureshi and Ustad Zakir Hussain. Yama performs worldwide in various music genres and is always in high demand.
ParraMasla Music Festival – “Yama is an amazing musician who captures you from the moment he starts to perform.”
SMH newspaper Australia – “Yama is a natural musician who is always a pleasure to watch perform.”
Born in France, Madhav Haridas was initially trained as a jazz saxophonist, as well as in Gypsy and Balkan music. After falling in love with Indian classical music, he lived in India for almost 15 years, where he practiced Hindustani and Carnatic music on the bansuri (Indian flute), alto saxophone, and soprano saxophone. He initially studied under saxophonist P. Haridas Dogra in Karnataka and later in Varanasi under the guidance of vocalist P. Devashish Dey. He performed extensively in India as a classical and fusion artist. Through collaborations with many musicians from around the world, he developed his unique style in Indian classical, Balkan, Middle Eastern, and jazz music. For the past four years, he has been living in Israel, where he performs, teaches bansuri, and collaborates with many artists. Current projects in Israel: Zohar Fresco Quartet, The Turbans, Baba Ganesh, Sangam trio, Haqawalia.
Akash Parekar began playing the sitar in 2011 at the age of 18 and is now an exciting British sitar player. His musical background in Western classical music has influenced his innovative playing style. Akash has been on stage since the age of five and has grown into a creative musician.
He is a disciple of the renowned sitar player Ustad Dharambir Singh MBE and has received guidance from other great musicians. Akash has been involved in various collaborative projects, including performances at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and the Glastonbury Festival. Currently, he performs both in the United Kingdom and internationally and is working on his debut album.
29 October | Discover & Experience | Books, Music & Food
Join us on the final cultural journey of this festival at De Bijenkorf, 3rd floor, from 14:00 to 17:00, where you can immerse yourself in the world of ‘Endless India.’ Enhance your shopping experience as Steven Bissesar enchants with soulful piano ragas, participate in a creative session with illustrator Alissa Lubrano, and indulge in sweet treats from Cakevana. Best of all, this event is free, so mark the date on your calendar for an unforgettable fusion of culture and shopping!
Date & Time:
Tickets: Free entrance
De Bijenkorf third floor