India-Australia the best of mates celebrating 76th Independence Day

After a long Covid19 forced hiatus of get togethers at the Indian Consulate in Sydney, the 75th Independence Day was celebrated in a well-established routine of the past – flag hoisting, reading of the Indian President’s message and a cultural program of national songs and dance followed by much looked forward to people’s meet over snacks.

India’s new President, Smt Droupadi Murmu, highlighted India’s achievements in her maiden speech on the eve of India’s 76th Independence Day that the country had handled the dreaded Covid pandemic at par with the most developed nations of the world and that India’s growth was becoming more inclusive and regional disparities disappearing.

“The world has seen a new India rising in recent years, more so after the outbreak of COVID-19. Our response to the pandemic has been appreciated everywhere. We launched the biggest vaccination drive in human history with vaccines manufactured in the country itself. Last month we crossed the 200-crore mark in cumulative vaccine coverage. In combating the pandemic, our achievements have been better than those of many developed countries,” the President said.

“It is a cause of celebration not only for all of us but also for every advocate of democracy around the world. When India won independence, there were many international leaders and experts who were sceptical about the success of democratic form of government in India. They had their reasons to be doubtful. In those days, democracy was limited to economically advanced nations. India, after so many years of exploitation at the hands of foreign rulers, was marked by poverty and illiteracy. But we Indians proved the sceptics wrong. Democracy not only grew roots in this soil, it was enriched too. India can be credited to have helped the world discover the true potential of democracy.

“For a nation, particularly an ancient one such as India, the passage of 75 years is merely a blink of an eye. But for us as individuals, it is a lifetime. Senior citizens among us have witnessed a dramatic change in their lifetime. They have seen how, after Independence, all the generations have toiled hard; how we met great challenges and how we have taken charge of our destiny.

“The pandemic has uprooted lives and also economies in the entire world. When the world has been battling the economic consequences of the great crisis, India got its act together and is now moving forward. India is among the fastest growing major economies in the world. India’s start-up eco-system ranks high in the world. The success of start-ups in our country, especially the growing number of unicorns is a shining example of our industrial progress.

“But this is only the beginning. A series of economic reforms and policy initiatives have been preparing the ground for a long term. Digital India, for example, is creating the bedrock of a knowledge economy. The ‘National Education Policy’ is aimed at preparing the future generation for the next stage of industrial revolution while also reconnecting it with our heritage,” Smt Murmu said.

“India’s new-found confidence stems from the spirit of its youth, its farmers, and above all, its women. Gender inequalities are reducing and women are moving ahead, breaking many glass ceilings. Their increasing participation in social and political processes will prove decisive. At the grassroots level, we have more than 14 lakh elected women representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions.

“Our beloved country has given us everything we have in our life. We should pledge to give everything we can for the sake of safety, security, progress and prosperity of our country,” she reminded all Indians of their duty towards the nation.

The Indian Consul General in Sydney, Manish Gupta, highlighted India’s growing popularity in Australia judging from the decorations on number of buildings that joined in India’s celebrations, the foremost among them being Sydney Opera House that lit up in India’s Tricolor in the evening.

After the cultural programme there was time to meet and greet some old friends and catch up on community gossip over delicious snacks and a cup of tea.

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