For hundreds of millions of Indians, August 15 denotes a day of pride, joy and more importantly, freedom. Since the Nation attained independence from Britain 64 years ago, the country has carved for itself its own political, economic and social destiny, preserving traditional and cultural values.
Despite almost a third of its population submerged in proverbial poverty, despite the destructive forces of terrorists, detractors and the disenchanted and despite the increasing incidence of corruption in everyday life, India has not only retained its democratic values but has also emerged as a major economic powerhouse of the world.
While the US, Europe and much of Asia are immersed in financial woes, the world’s largest democracy enjoys a sound economy, capable of managing its affairs without external assistance. India’s economic growth remains the envy of the world and its projected public expenditure of $US 1.5 trillion on infrastructure development over the next five years would make it the most progressive country in the world.
History may be witnessing the completion of another cycle of developments and events, bringing India to the top of the world yet again.
Materialistic advancement alone is not the cause for celebration in India.
Practicing sovereignty and remaining steadfast in its values and beliefs in a world that is often bullied by the so-called wealthy and industrialised countries, requires grit and courage and India has demonstrated that it is a Nation that has self-respect, dignity and honour.
For people from India settled across the world, Independence Day has special relevance, bringing back memories of a peaceful Freedom Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and the benefits it has accrued to the country over the years. Although various forms of violence (triggered both by external and internal elements) unfortunately affect India’s teeming millions, the Country has, by and large, maintained its character as a peaceful Nation.
There are many other factors that encourage Indians, be they living as expatriates or as citizens of other countries, to celebrate the occasion with pride and joy. Auckland based Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust provides an opportunity to do so every year.
There is a certain passion and commitment with which its Chairman Jeet Suchdev organises the ‘festival’, complete with a Parade featuring ‘Mother India,’ a flag-hoisting ceremony, patriotic songs, an entertainment programme and of course inevitable speeches.
It is one of the few occasions in the country at which political parties close ranks and other associations get involved, patronising a truly national event.
This year’s event will be held on August 14 from 1030 am at ASB Theatre in Aotea Centre in the Central Business District.
Mr Suchdev appealed to people of all ethnicity and beliefs to commemorate the occasion as a joint festival.
“We should celebrate India’s concept of ‘Unity in Diversity,’ which is also relevant to us as New Zealanders. The flag-hoisting ceremony will be held at 1030 am, followed by a cultural programme,” he said.
Many other organisations will also celebrate India’s Independence Day but none of them had sent us information as we went to press.
Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust Project Manager Indu Bajaj said the Organisation will celebrate India’s Independence Day on Wednesday, August 17 from 11 am at the Shanti Niwas Seniors Centre, 14 Spring Street (next to the Dolphin Theatre) in Onehunga.
Further details can be obtained from her or other officials of the Trust on (09) 6221010.