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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

California Diary

India's Independence Day Festivities in the Bay Area
Shalini Kathuria Narang
August 21, 2007
First Published: 13:49 IST(21/8/2007)
Last Updated: 13:56 IST(21/8/2007)

In lands with a substantial Indian Diaspora, India's Independence Day is a day of community festivities that helps unite the people from various states and lingoes of India in a common celebration.

In keeping with the trend established over the years, India's 60th Independence Day was celebrated all over the various metros of US with large Indo American populace. Fairs and parades are the most common festivities.

Bay Area based Indo American community also came together to commemorate the important day and the festivities commenced on the weekend of August 11 and continued until the weekend of August 18. The diverse programming spread over two week ends gave the community ample choices in honoring and enjoying the important day of the land of their origin.

The agenda of the carnival of the first weekend included not just a parade and a fair, but also a free health clinic and a real estate exposition. The Federation of Indian Associations a Fremont based organization, consisting of over forty member associations organized the gala.

The umbrella organization has been hosting the annual Festival of India and Parade in the Bay Area for the last 15 years. A Bollywood actor or actress leads as a grand marshal of the parade and in keeping with the tradition, this year, Amrita Rao lead the procession and later addressed the gathering.

Besides a fair comprising of stalls and booths of traditional Indian clothes, music, food and other delights, the two-day pageant attracting thousands of viewers showcased floats by organizations such as Rajasthan Association of Northern California (RANA), BATA (Bay Area Telgu Association) and other community groups during the parade.

The tableaus by the myriad community organizations displayed the diverse cultural, historical and performing arts heritage of India's myriad states and depicted the strong bonds of the people to not only the nation of their birth but also to their diverse states, communities and cultures.

The Annual event is the biggest coming together of the community and helps people reconnect to their cultural roots in a communal setting. Enthusiasm and energy of the participants is contagious and depicts Diaspora's strong need for preserving and promoting their cultural, lingual, gastronomic and social mores.

The programming on the weekend of 18 August included a laugh riot by Shekhar Suman during a sit down dinner besides traditional dances, songs and other programming.

Besides the large-scale events by community organizations, some of the other programs in remembrance and rejoicing of India's Independence Day included small-scale gatherings by Indian maters with children in community centers and schools.

Though smaller in scale, yet, the importance of taking a nation's culture to the foundation of learning is a very important step in teaching the children pride in their cultural roots. In a fast shrinking globalized world, knowledge and understanding of other countries, cultures, communities and creeds is no longer optional.

Venues and trysts of the myriad events feel like home away from home and nostalgia of patriotism comes alive in not only the hues of the Indian tri color but in the spirit of the people.

Pleasure of freedom is a great gift and must be guarded to its utmost and enjoyed to its fullest. Here's wishing my motherland many, many more years of success and growth in all spheres amidst peace and pleasure of all its people.


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