Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Indians Abroad Cherish Their Roots on Independence Day

Empire State Building lit up in colors of the Indian flag on Aug. 15, 2018

The Indian Independence Day was celebrated with pride and nostalgia by the diaspora community all over the world on Aug. 15. While several groups observed the 72nd Independence Day celebrations over the past few days, many events are scheduled for the coming weekend as well.

Indian embassies and high commissions in various countries hoisted the tricolor to mark the occasion. Other than attending the official ceremonies at these centers, persons of Indian origin organized many events to showcase and enjoy the heritage of their native country.

The fervor was there for all to see at many sites around the world, including the Empire State Building in New York, the Niagra Falls in Canada and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Dinesh Bhatia, the Counsel General of India in Toronto, shared the image of the Niagra Falls bathed in the tricolor on his Twitter handle.

People of Indian community gathered at Indian diplomatic missions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be a part of Indian flag-hoisting ceremony.

In Naperville, Chicago, “India Day” celebrations presented a colorful sight to people on Aug. 12. The event, organized at Knoch Park, presented colorful ethnic attires, musical beats and aromatic Indian food to the participants.

“One of the biggest draws to the event was Bollywood rock star Sukhwinder Singh, known for his rendition of Jai Ho, a song made popular in the movie, Slumdog Millionaire,” Chicago Tribune reported on the event, which is being organized by the Indian Community Outreach since 2015.

Gov. Bruce Rauner addressed the crowd with a few words, and then briefly joined Singh in the Jai Ho rendition, the report added.

The Indian community in New Zealand came together to celebrate India’s Independence in Auckland. The event, held at Mahatma Gandhi Centre three days ahead of the actual day, was attended by Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who acknowledged the contributions of the Indian community, and called them “true partners in the country’s progress,” indiannewslink.co.nz reported.

“The Indian community brings cultural diversity to New Zealand. The Labour Party and the Labor government respects multiculturalism and respects people of all ethnicities. Our Parliament is a true example of our multicultural approach with MPs from various communities serving New Zealand and New Zealanders,” Robertson said, according to the report.

Indian diaspora across Australia also held several cultural events to mark the occasion. Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee hoisted the tri-color at the iconic Federation Square building last week. She was in Melbourne to attend the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) 2018.

In the United Kingdom, a pro-India rally was organized to counter a pro-Khalistan rally in London on Aug. 12, and celebrate India’s Independence Day. Around 200 people were gathered at London’s Trafalgar Square to show their support for India, holding placards that said, “Sikhs for a United India” and “We stand for one united strong India.”

The Independence Day celebrations are, however, not over yet in many parts of the world.

In Toronto, Canada, a huge celebration will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on Aug. 19. The annual India Day Festival and Grand Parade, being hosted by Panorama India, with the support of the Consulate for the 19th year, is expected to draw over 75,000 people, Toronto Sun reported.

Bollywood actor Jimmy Sheirgill will be the Marshal at the parade. Malkit Singh, famously known as the “King of Bhangra,” and Canadian singer Parichay will also perform at the event, besides 300 local dancers and Panorama Idol singers, the report added.

Another mega-event will be held in Midtown, Manhattan, on Aug. 19. This year, the New York City India Day Parade, which is called the largest Indian parade in America, will mark the 38th anniversary of the event, organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) every year.

Kamal Haasan, the famous Indian film actor-turned-politician will be the Grand Marshal at the 2018 India Day Parade, which featured Baahubali actor Rana Daggubati last year.

“For three years in a row, the parade has attracted a crowd of more than 180,000 visitors. The event acts as a mouthpiece for the diverse Indian-Asian population in the United States,” metro.us reported.