Enriching lives, connecting communities

Themes and Sections

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For Mardi Gras 2017 we are presenting the theme Reflections of India.

Reflections of India will align with National celebrations taking place in 2017 as part of the UK-India: Year of Culture, being led by the British Council. The theme celebrates 70 year’s of India’s Independence from British Rule.

Our theme has a special connection to Isle of Wight and local heritage through the links between Queen Victoria, Empress of India and Osborne House, her palatial seaside residence at Cowes.  In her later years the Queen was mostly resident on the Island, effectively running the British Empire from Osborne, and employed scores of Indian servants in the Royal Household.  Abdul Karim, the most famous of these who became her personal friend, teacher and confidant, is the subject of a new film ‘Victoria and Abdul’ starring Judi Dench, which was recently shot on location here.

The Mardi Gras parade, which will take place on Saturday 1 July, will depict 25 scenes from Classical India, Imperial India and Modern India. Artistic Director Frankie Goldspink said “we are challenging perceptions of India and aim to shift awareness of stereotypical scenes and stories to a contemporary understanding of diasporic contributions to everyday life”.

Schools and groups have been eager to sign up and present sections of the narrative, which journeys from ‘The Taj Mahal’ to ‘The East India Company’ to ‘Bollywood’ and to ‘The software capital of the World’. 10 of the sections relate entirely to our local heritage through Queen Victoria’s days at Osborne.

Partners in the delivery of the education programme that has underpinned the parade have included The Kala Chetana Kathakali Company, the IW Music Education Hub, culture specialists T-HOP UK and, for local heritage connections, English Heritage staff at Osborne House.

You can view the full narrative and sections of the parade by clicking below.

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