The Indian community in the US celebrated the 6ist anniversary of India's independence with Ambassador Ronen Sen unfurling the national flag and consul general Neelam Deo ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ, the world's largest stock exchange in New York.
In Washington, the Indian community gathered in large numbers on Friday at the embassy residence where Sen read out President Pratibha Patil's address to the nation after unfurling the national flag and singing of the national anthem. Patriotic songs in various Indian regional languages were sung culminating with the timeless "Sare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara."
US President George W Bush in a message lauded India's path to independence as a "great story of liberty overcoming oppression". The occasion reminds one of the "close ties" America shares with India and the rich contributions made by the Indian-American community, he stated.
"Led by Mahatma Gandhi the Indian people engaged in non-violent protests and campaigns in the pursuit of freedom... This accomplishment demonstrates that though freedom can be delayed, it cannot be denied," Bush said.
In New York, the Indian tricolour fluttered in the backdrop as Deo rung the closing bell at NASDAQ. It was the first time that a consul general has rung the closing bell at the stock market in a a testimony to India's fast growing economy.
Outside the exchange, the huge electronic board, which overlooks the historic Times Square, was lighted in saffron, white and green, with the words "India Independence Day".
NASDAQ lists six Indian companies with a combined market cap of almost $35 billion. Infosys and Cognizant are members of the NASDAQ 100 Index, which is one of the most prestigious and widely followed indices in the world.