Namaste! Jai Hind!
Congratulations and Warm Greetings to the Indian Community in New Zealand on the occasion of the 71st Anniversary of Indian Independence.
Every year on August 15, the Indian Diaspora scattered all over the globe proudly celebrates the day India won its freedom after centuries of British rule.
It was not a freedom that was handed to Indians on a plate in 1947.
The Indian Independence Movement was noted for its non-violence and civil disobedience which was led by the Indian National Congress.
Remembering the martyrs
The freedom fighting movement went on for many years and the British Empire separated India and Pakistan by religious lines.
This struggle for independence and subsequent partition caused millions to lose their homes and many to sacrifice their lives.
Indians will remember the lives lost, the great sacrifices made, and the heroism of many Indian freedom fighters on this day.
The first Prime Minister of free India Jawaharlal Nehru proudly raised the tricolour Indian flag at the Red Fort in Delhi and to this day, all succeeding leaders of the country will lead the celebrations in India and raise the flag on the August 15 on this public holiday.
To the hundreds of thousands of Kiwi-Indians in this country, it gives me great joy to be part of your Independence celebrations today and to join my hands to wish you a very Happy Independence Day.
May your great country, the world’s largest democracy, continue to flourish and the tri-colour of your country fly high. You can rightly be proud of your motherland, and of the contribution of your people here in New Zealand and around the world.
Bhaarat Svatantrata Divas kee Shubhakaamanaen
Michael Wood is elected Member of Parliament from Mt Roskill and is Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Ethnic Communities.