COVID-19’s despondency was thrown out of the window – to celebrate India’s Independence Day 2020. The Indian diaspora in the US made history when for the first time, the Indian national flag – the Tiranga or Tricolor was hoisted at the iconic Times Square in New York on Saturday to celebrate India’s Independence Day 2020.
India’s Consul General in New York, Randhir Jaiswal hoisted the Indian flag during a special commemoration of the Independence Day at Times Square. The event was organised and hosted by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), the leading umbrella diaspora organisation in the US.
Others who graced the occasion included Dy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha, FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya, FIA veteran and prominent Indian-American physician Sudhir Parikh, renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader H R Shah, former FIA Presidents Alok Kumar and Srujal Parikh and some other senior officials from the organisation and other community groups were joined by a large number of people from the Indian diaspora for the commemoration.
Speaking on the occasion Mr Jaiswal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has outlined India’s way forward and the aspirations to build a new India, and “we are committed to taking our country forward on the basis of those aspirations”.
“India’s Independence Day is as much a celebration of friendship with this beautiful country” he added.
Congratulating the FIA for organising the “historic event” when the Indian flag was unfurled for the first time in Times Square, he acknowledged the contribution being made the group in representing India in the US.
FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya said with the unfurling of the tricolour at Times Square, history has been created.
A large number of people, dressed in traditional Indian clothes and wearing masks, joined the celebration. Waving the Indian and American flags, the people shouted slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Hind’.
As is customary in countries where the Indian diaspora has made their home, first the American national anthem was sung, followed by the unfurling of the Indian flag and the singing of the Indian National Anthem.
Precisely coinciding with the hoisting of the Tricolor alongside the American flag, the crowd erupted in huge cheers and applause in the heart of Times Square. Without exception everyone present felt and relished the proud and historic moment.
Former FIA Presidents Alok Kumar and Srujal Parikh said it was indeed a proud moment for the American Indian community.
“The Times Square flag hoisting ceremony is a testament to the Indian American community’s growing patriotism and is a fitting tribute to FIA which is celebrating its golden jubilee year,” the FIA has said.
The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut created history on August 15, 2020 by unfurling the Indian tricolour for the first time ever at the #iconic @TimesSquareNYC to commemorate India’s 74th Independence Day https://t.co/P20YUHd7mh pic.twitter.com/6QBqCZlgyW
— FIA NY-NJ-CT-NE (@FIANYNJCTNE) August 15, 2020
In addition to the hoisting of the Tricolor at the iconic Times Square in New York, the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also organized the annual tradition of illuminating the Empire State Building in hues of the tricolour – orange, white and green.
The FIA also annually organises the India Day Parade to mark India’s Independence Day each August wherein who’s who of top US political leaders, lawmakers as well as prominent members of the Indian-American community and celebrities from India participate.
The event draws thousands of participants in the event which takes place right in the heart of Manhattan but due to COVID-19, the parade was cancelled.
The FIA was established in 1970 and is among the largest umbrella diaspora organisations.
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