India’s 69th Independence Day – Jai Ho!

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Indian Independence Day marked by the Empire State Building

Indian Independence Day marked by the Empire State Building

The Colors of India in America

 

You can call it eating your gulab jamun and having it too! For Indians in America there is a special thrill in seeing small remembrances of India’s Independence Day in so many varied ways. One of the most delightful is seeing the New York landmark of the Empire State Building lit up in the colors of the Indian flag.  As the Facebook page of the big tourist attraction noted, “To our friends from India, the Empire State Building wishes you a happy Independence Day! Our lights will glow saffron, white & green tonight to celebrate the occasion and NYC’s 35th India Day Parade.”

Which brings us to the big celebration at the Indian Consulate right on Fifth Avenue which was packed with Indians as well as VIP guests from other countries. The national anthem of India was sung by noted singer Sharda who many from India will associate with the Bollywood films of their youth.  Young dancers performed to the music of patriotic numbers and the grand finale was a song by the popular Indian singer Shankar Mahadevan.

Many in the community had dressed in the Indian flag colors and guests listened to excerpts from the Prime Minister’s speech. Later Consul General, Ambassador Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay once again reiterated that all those who wished to come to the events at the Consulate were invited, with the democratization of invitations opening up the beautiful space to all those interested in India.  A big birthday cake was cut for India followed by an Indian feast for all the guests.

 

Ambassador Mulay addresses the guests

Ambassador Mulay addresses the guests

 

Indian in America

Which brings us back to eating our gulab jamun and having it too.  Is it the best of both worlds? Not so sure as there is a special joy in being in the home country on this day, no matter how many years you’ve lived away.  Many Indian-Americans grew up in India, so they remember the patriotic fever and the enthusiasm of the special, hard-won freedom. Those who were children get to re- share the memories with their American born children and American friends through documentaries and through Bollywood, which has made many patriotic films over the years.

Well, Indians in America do get to enjoy a big India Day Parade complete with movie stars, VIPs, crowds as big as India (!), waving Indian flags, Indian faces as far as the eye can see, floats decorated with Indian flair, and yes – Indian food! This extravaganza on Sunday includes enough Indian snacks from samosas to dhokla to pakoras to see you through a month of Sundays.  So all this is pretty good compensation, and for the star gazers, the grand marshals of the parade are Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Rampal.

Three Videos – A Tribute to India

In the country of Facebook, Indian patriotic videos and photos are shared again and again – so whether you live in India, America or the Diaspora, you are able to share the same visuals and audios and capture the special events.  So here for your viewing pleasure are three videos – one is an amazing rendering of  India’s national anthem by some of India’s greatest artistes.The other is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to the Nation delivered from the Red Fort. You can listen to it, even if you weren’t able to make it to Old Delhi and see it all live! And finally, a beautiful video from last year – a tribute to Mother India by the women of the film industry. Always a pleasure to watch it! So enjoy and Happy Independence Day!

Yes, Indian-Americans do get to have double the pleasure – we celebrate America in a BIG way on the 4th of July!

 

 

 India’s National Anthem by AR Rahman and noted musicians

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Address to the Nation

 

A Tribute to Mother India by the Women of the Film Industry

 

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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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