Trudeau’s kurta-pyjama, ‘Jai Hind’ win hearts at Montreal’s India Day parade
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wowed the crowd at the India Day Unity Parade in Montreal by appearing in a purple kurta and concluding his speech with “Jai Hind”.Updated: Aug 21, 2017 23:47 IST
Clad in kurta-pyjama, Justin Trudeau made his maiden appearance at an event celebrating India’s Independence Day after he became Canada’s Prime Minister and won the crowd over by concluding his speech with “Jai Hind”.
While multiple events marked the 71th anniversary of India’s independence and were held on the first Sunday following August 15, the India Day Unity Parade in Montreal was the one that drew the Prime Minister.
The reason for that was the route of the parade, which commenced at Avenue Ogilvy and ended at Parc Howard, fell within the constituency of Papineau that Trudeau represents in the House of Commons, the lower chamber of the Parliament.
Trudeau addressed the gathering and garnered applause as he concluded with “Jai Hind”.
He also tweeted, “Home in my riding of Papineau for Indian Independence Day celebrations! Long live the friendship between our two countries.”
Among those delighted at his presence was Surinder Kumar, one of the founders of the India Canada Organisation (ICO), which hosts the annual parade: “He’s not a stranger to us. But this was a great honour for us. People were crazy for him. It was a good show.”
ICO’s vice-chair Rajesh Kapoor pointed out that Trudeau spent nearly 90 minutes at the parade. He said that while the parade is now in its 15th year, Trudeau has participated on multiple occasions earlier as a federal MP and then as leader of the Liberal Party.
But what made this year’s appearance special was, he said, “This was the first time as PM.”
While the parade had been affected by rain last year, the weather this year was “great”, making for “an amazing experience”, Kapoor said.
Marching alongside Trudeau was India’s high commissioner Vikas Swarup.
“It was wonderful to have the Prime Minister of Canada participate in an India Day Parade, spend the good part of almost two hours with the community, speak in very positive terms about the contributions Indo-Canadians are making to Canada and end his speech with ‘Jai Hind’. And he seems to have a fabulous collection of Indian kurtas,” Swarup said.
The envoy drove for the Montreal parade after attending the one in Ottawa earlier in the day. The Ottawa event featured Trudeau’s cabinet colleague, environment minister Catherine McKenna. Another cabinet member, science minister Kirsty Duncan was present at the India Day Parade in Toronto, the largest in the country, and was joined on stage by a host of MPs and local politicians.
Given its popularity in recent years, the Toronto event shifted this year to a large venue, City Hall, while it featured a record number of floats representing a number of Indian states.
Trudeau was thronged along the parade’s route and as is his style, often stopped for selfies with many of those marching to observe India’s independence. He spoke briefly to those assembled at the venue, highlighting the partnership between India and Canada and extolling the achievements of the Indo-Canadian community.
He also said that as Canada marked the 150th year of confederation this year and India celebrated it’s 71st year of independence, it was “time to reflect” on the world’s two largest democracies, “one by population and one by surface area, and what we’ve learnt and what we do well”.