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Diwali Mela: Over 1,000 people join festivities in Southampton

A Diwali Mela (festival) was held at Oasis Academy in Lordshill on October 15, showcasing Indian culture and celebrate the Festival of Light.


More than 150 people were involved in organising and running the event which included a fashion show of 100 years of Indian fashion, a Ramleela play which told the story of Diwali, a bazaar selling crafts and products and food stalls.


There was also a raffle with the top prize of a Nintendo Switch being awarded to a delighted winner. The raffle was in aid of  Southampton 11-year-old Ansh Agrawala who was born with cerebral palsy.


Ansh had selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery in 2020 at Great Ormond Street, but needs ongoing specialised physiotherapy to improve his movement at a cost to his family of around £1,000 per month.


Dad Nikhil, 43, a software consultant, said: ‘Ansh’s operation was a great success and he has come a long way – he no longer needs to use his wheelchair at all, and now walks with a frame or sticks.’


‘He’s able to be much more independent now – he’s started secondary school and loves horse-riding and playing FIFA – he’s also a huge fan of the Lionesses.’


‘He has physiotherapy almost every day and there is also always equipment to buy! We’re very extremely grateful to our local community for all the support they’ve given.’


The Diwali Mela, organised by Rajan and Meenakshi Jolly and Sarika Khurana, ran from noon to 6:30pm with the hope of introducing ‘Indian culture to the wider community and invite everyone to celebrate Diwali with us,’ Rajan said. ‘We celebrate every year in temples and at home, but we believe this is the first time there has been a large-scale Diwali celebration on the South Coast’. With over 1,000 guests over the course of the day, it’s likely that this year’s Southampton Diwali Mela won’t be the last!


Charity Tree of Hope is supporting the family in their fundraising efforts. Tree of Hope helps families to fundraise for children’s operations, therapies and equipment that are unobtainable via the NHS and provides access to a registered charity providing more effective and efficient ways of fundraising, unlike traditional crowdfunding.


To donate to Ansh’s fund, visit

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