Eindeloos India Festival Banner

Embark on a nostalgic journey as we fondly look back at the Eindeloos India Festival 2023, a spectacular celebration that unfolded in October. This annual extravaganza transformed the cultural landscape of Rotterdam, offering a vibrant panorama of Indian traditions, arts, and performances portraiying the journey of the Sarnami Hindustani community from India, through Suriname, to The Netherlands.

Our festival icon is called Raswantia (seen in the above banner). She tells the story of an ancient civilization, whose cultural treasures were brought to the then-Dutch colony of Suriname 150 years ago. Raswantia’s legacy lives on in the current generation of Hindustanis. It is our mission to cherish, share, and preserve that essence for the future.

The discovery of Eindeloos India encompassed experiencing a range of activities, from inspiring dialogues to captivating concerts. Together, we shared the cultural identity and help shape the legacy for generations to come.

Watch the promotional video of the festival

26 oktober | Panel Discussion

In a profound event marking the 150th anniversary of the first ship carrying contract laborers from India to Suriname, we explored the rich history of the Surinamese-Hindustani community. Speakers and panelists led us through a journey of reflection inside the halls of Debatpodium Arminius.

Unraveling History:

DesiYUP founder Mahesvari Autar set the stage, delving into the departure of over 34,000 Indians between 1873 and 1916—a pivotal moment shaping the Surinamese-Hindustani community. Talking from the perspective of her own family’s experience of triumph she gave a glimpse of the strength of the women that went trough this life changing journey.

Historical Narratives:

Rosemarijn Höfte and Anita Bharos explored the Hindustani community’s story, unraveling contract labor intricacies, generational stories, and the nuanced tapestry of traditions and taboos. We questioned the nature of life for Hindustanis in Suriname—contract labor or disguised slavery?

Eindeloos India

Entrepreneurship and Representation:

Entrepreneurs Prewien Pandohi-Mishre and Rajiv Bhagwanbali discussed the significance of the Hindustani musical tradition, cultural practices, and language preservation. The discourse raised critical questions about representation, entrepreneurship, and the future of the community in the Netherlands.

Harmonies and Insights:

Nirali Kartik, a Mumbai-based classical singer, and Prewien Pandohi-Mishre graced us with their mesmerizing melodies, providing insights into the classical Indian music tradition.

This illuminating event, not only commemorated history but also sparked discussions about the present and future of the vibrant Surinamese-Hindustani community.

27 October | (H)Erkennen / Herbouwen | Expo x Storytelling

On the second day of the Eindeloos India Festival Kunsthal transformed into a haven of cultural and emotional resonance. The evening unfolded as a captivating journey through the power of love, featuring the following highlights: 

Poetic Journey with Shivali Bhammer:

British sensation Shivali Bhammer took the audience on a poetic odyssey, narrating love stories inspired by ancient Hindu scriptures. Each narrative was a profound exploration of emotions that resonate universally, offering new perspectives on the essence of love.

Musical Harmony with Annelieke Marselje and Diepak Ramjiawan:

Accompanying this cultural exploration were the enchanting melodies of Rotterdam violinist Annelieke Marselje and singer Diepak Ramjiawan. Their musical talents added depth and emotion to the narratives, creating a harmonious fusion of sound and storytelling.

Annelieke and Diepak

Q&A Session with Professor Bisschop:

As the evening’s grand finale, attendees had the opportunity to engage in a captivating Q&A session with Professor Bisschop. This interactive segment provided deeper insights into the cultural context and themes explored during the performance.

Passion, Twists, and Drama:

The spectacle unfolded with passion, unexpected twists, and a touch of drama, captivating the audience from start to finish. It was a night where emotions ran high, and the cultural tapestry of India was woven into the hearts of all present.

28 October Double Bill Concert

On the third day of the Eindeloos India Festival, visitors of de Doelen could experience the richness and inclusivity of Indian music. This evening consisted of three inspirational sessions two concerts and one interactive art exhibition. The foyer had stands with books, sustainable handmade products and delicious food.

Inspirational Sessions

The Eindeloos India Inspirational Sessions were a resounding success, featuring esteemed lecturers Savitrie Marhe, Sieta Autar-Matawlie, and Raghini Ghogli.

Sieta Autar-Matawlie captivated her audience with interactive presentations, taking them on a journey of awareness and action. She challenged people to step out of their comfort zones and explore, hand in hand with her, the small steps they could take to make a difference. Sieta Autar-Matawlie and the Abhilasha Global Serve Foundation demonstrated how one person and one organization can make a significant impact on the lives of many.

Active in the Council for Religion and Philosophy in Rotterdam, Savitrie  Marhe contributed to promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding. A cherished heritage deeply rooted in her family is her grandmother’s collection of jewelry, which is over 150 years old. These pieces were not only precious in an aesthetic sense but also served as financial security. In times of need, the jewelry could be sold or pawned, allowing families to acquire land, build homes, or start new ventures like agriculture and trade. The entrepreneurial spirit also runs in Savitrie’s family.

Raghini Ghogli, a talented visual artist and high school art teacher, is a creative soul who weaves her artistic vision with profound personal significance. In her inspirational talk, Raghini took her audience on a personal journey, sharing her story and opening doors to introspection by asking the simple yet profound question: “What makes you happy?”. In a world where we often get caught up in the daily grind, Raghini encouraged self-reflection and the courage to pursue what makes our hearts sing.

Raghini empowered her audience to embrace their own passions and dreams, just as she has in her art. She demonstrated that happiness and fulfillment can be found in pursuing what makes our hearts resonate.

Interactive Artwork Expose

Especially for Eindeloos India, Ragheni developed an interactive art installation called ‘Pani, Wattra, Water’. The artwork invited concert attendees at De Doelen to take a selfie with the installation surrounded by the musical instruments Dholak, Dhantaal, and Harmonium.

Visitors of the event were able to interact with the artwork and discover glimpses of Sarnami Hindustani culture. Many also took pictures with the artwork, capturing moments of cultural exploration and artistic engagement.

Act 1: Anantha: Eternal Change

The story of evolution was musically told by Prewien Pandohi-Mishre and his ensemble in the concert “Anantha – Eternal Change”. Growth, development, sensory fulfillment, decline, contemplation, and liberation were the themes interpreted musically. In this concert by Eindeloos India, ancient Indian melodies were enriched with modern instruments to color the various emotions of the theme.

Credits: Prewien Pandohi-Mishre vocals & harmonium | Ronald Snijders flute | Kries Malhoe acoustic & electric guitar | Dilip Dhoenmoen drums & percussion | Patrick Lauwerends contrabas & acoustic bass guitar | Hamid Reza Behzadian Indian slide guitar & harmonica | Angel ArunA leadsinging & ladies quire Pooja Guptar | Arti Ramman | Deniz Schelfi

Act 2: The Homecoming

The Homecoming brought 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, Eindeloos India took you back to the Home of our ancestors, led by one of the leading Indian singers, Nirali Kartik. No matter where our home is in the world, we will always find our home in these sounds and songs.

Credits: Nirali Kartik: vocals | Yama Sarshar: Tabla | Madhav Haridas: Saxophone, Bansuri & Woodwind instruments | Akash Parekar: sitar | Prewien Pandohi-Mishre: harmonium

Watch the music clips from the concert 

See more images from the event

29 October | Discover & Experience | Books, Music & Food

The Grand Finale of the Eindeloos India Festival.
We wrapped up the festival in style at de Bijenkorf Rotterdam on the final day.
Music filled the air as Steven Ashwin enchanted the audience. Kids had a blast coloring images from the delightful book ‘Radha’s Eerste Concert.’ And, to add flavor to the experience, everyone got to savor delicious vegetarian bites crafted by CakeVana.
All this, while enjoying a prestigious shopping spree at de Bijenkorf!

29 October | Workshops | Indian Classical Singing and Harmonium

Indian classical singing by renowned Indian vocalist Nirali Kartik

In this workshop, you learned the essence of the Khayal singing style from the renowned Indian singer Nirali Kartik. You explored the Indian music system and the Indian notation system Sargam. You also received an introduction to the Indian rhythmic cycles called Tala. The specific musical ornaments used in this style of music were explained and demonstrated.

Sponsors and Mediapartners

Kooijman Autar Logo
Fonds voor Cultuur Participatie