Independence Day celebrations galore

By Vijay Badhwar

Sydney Morning Herald’s columnist Matt Wade wrote on August 15: Australia’s India diaspora has trebled in size during the past 10 years and continues to grow. He quoted from an expert report on India’s potential for Australia by the former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Varghese, that one in 50 people now living in Australia is India-born.

So, Indeed.

It used to be a ritual some years ago to have the flag-hoisting of the tricolour on national days at the Indian Consul General’s residence. It used to be an intimate affair where everybody knew everyone else.

But, no longer so. Although the old-time nationalists are still there, they are scattered among the new community.

The flag-hoisting ceremonies have also multiplied with the venue for the morning ceremony over the last few years now moving to the Indian Consulate in the CBD. The NSW Government celebrated India’s Independence Day on August 9 this year at the Parliament House, as well there was flag-hoisting at Parramatta entertainment quarter later in the day on August 15, and an evening reception at The Calyx at the Royal Botanic Gardens hosted by the Consul General.

In the morning ceremony at the Indian Consulate, the format was the same: flag-hoisting followed by national anthem, President’s message to the NRIs read by the Consul General, songs and dances of national fervour followed by casual chats with old friends over Indian snacks.

The Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind, said in his message on the 72nd Independence Day, “Our Tricolor is a symbol of our national pride,” also a day to renew our resolve to fill the gaps that still remain in our national building project.

Freedom is a broader concept. It’s not fixed and finite – farmers growing food, army and police personnel serving the country – they all are upholding our civic freedom, he said.

“Every citizen of India who does his or her duty sincerely upholds the principles of our freedom struggle.

“Every Indian who does not jump the queue and respects the the civic space and rights of those ahead in the line also lives up to the principles of our freedom struggle,” Mr Kovind said.

The President, in his address, stressed on the importance of Gandhiji’s principle of ”˜ahinsa’: the power to stay your hand is far greater than the power to strike with your hand and ”˜hinsa’ has no place in the society.

In the evening, Indian Consul General in Sydney, Mr Vanlalvawna and his wife, Dr Rosy L. Huma, invited guests at The Calyx, Royal Botanical Gardens, to celebrate the spirit in the midst of music, plant and animal displays.

Dr Nihal Agar of Hindu Council of Australia and UIA president, Sreeni Pillamarri, wished everyone a Happy Independence Day.

Dr. Rosy Huma (middle) with Sheba Nandkeolyar and a guest

Dancers from Nartana School of Dance  

After the national anthems of Australia and India, Mr Vanlalvawna said, “Following India’s freedom 71 years ago, there were apprehensions whether independent India and its democracy would survive. Although young India faced many challenges, but survive it did. Now in its 71st year, India has not only strengthened its economy but is a vibrant country and the fastest growing economy. We are at the crossroads of very important times in our relations between India and Australia which has the essential ingredients of a multicultural society.”

The Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams, said he had great respect for the growing Indian community here, the family values they hold, their hard work and contribution to Australia.

Guests mixed and mingled as dancers by the Nartana School of Dance, Newcastle, entertained with a classical performance followed by a folk dance from Himachal Pradesh.

Short URL: