A Chance To Come Together

By Vaibhavi Joshi JP

Independence Day is a celebration of culture, colour and coming together for Indian Australians. To celebrate 77th Indian Independence Day, Little India Australia (LIA) hosted a Flag Hoisting Ceremony at Harris Park in the presence of respected dignitaries and a large enthusiastic crowd including kids and senior citizens. Hon Dr. Andrew Charlton MP, Hon. Donna Davis MP, Hon. Warren Kirby MP, Hon. Clr. Patricia Prociv gracing the occasion with their valuable presence.

The event in Harris Park brought together the diversely ethnic and religious Indian diaspora from various Indian states for a rich and glorious cultural celebration. Held in Sydney suburb of Parramatta. It is a place of deep belonging, going back thousands of generations, with a rich history of waves of settlement coming from across the globe – particularly from India. Today, Indians comprise the second largest overseas-born community in Parramatta. The City of Parramatta is home to one of the largest populations of people of Indian descent in New South Wales, making the Anniversary of Indian Independence an important day of celebration for the Indian community.

Those who attended, also felt that this celebration was a chance to come together and share a touch of home. President of LIA , Gurmeet Tuli along with the key Chairperson Parag Shah, Cultural Director and myself with behind the scenes key member Dipu Mistry helped created the Independence Day event as a way of keeping traditions alive for migrants in the community.

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Everyone felt deeply connected as respected dignitaries addressing the enthusiastic crowd while sharing their insights on India Australia relationship to highlighted developing nation, India. Many local residents felt that the event was not just for the Indian population, but for the broader community to “taste the spirit”. Indian Australians celebrated the 77th anniversary of independence, while some remembered the violent legacy of partition especially for Bengalis & Punjabis and maintained silence for 2 min to keep them in our prayers.

The best part of this celebration was the true community spirit. This celebration was done entirely for free for the community by community members. Narinder Singh ji and his Jaipur Sweets Harris Park served free meals for every single person who attended. Harish Velji & Aisha Amjad provided rock solid support for LIA as always. Once again, Dr Shireen Morris graced the occasion and sharing his insights about Yes23 campaign and Parul Mehta (from Indian Matrimonial) for her sweet gesture of appreciations. Harish Bhai for all his hard work with various communities in Australia. Subba Rao Varigonda & Saryu Rao from Indian Support Center for your ongoing support to LIA and your valuable presence. While Dipika Ben and Parag Bhai lead the rally of our Senior Citizen group from Rosella Park to all the way from Wigram Street to the venue with the Indian National Flag.

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It was fascinating to see patriotic vibes in the atmosphere when they were walking with “Vande Matram” and “Jay Hind” slogans.

They truly represented the importance of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” by spreading peace, love, brotherhood & Humanity in this multicultural land. We’ve been inundated with the amount of energy and enthusiasm proclaimed by the Senior Group of Harris Park.

After the Flag Hoisting Ceremony, two young kids, Adyansh Jha & Presha Avlani aged 11 years, started singing the Australian National Anthem. The best part was when the Indian National Anthem “Jan Gan Man !” was sung by two little kids (barely 6-8 year old) named Prahar Shukla and my daughter Shanvi. We are very proud of them all. Malav Wani played our National Anthem on guitar by himself and made his parents proud. All these kids are from the upcoming generation who restored our faith and gave the assurance of carrying a legacy forward and passing it to the future generations.

We started with a mesmerizing performance of “Ganesh Vandna” from Sarjan Dance Academy for showcasing this wonderful performance by two little girls with Ashika Mehta. While a little girl, Impana from Natyokthi.com, performed Bharatnatyam, another two girls from Manmohini Indian Dance School performed a Katthak dance form. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration, if I said “kids were the shining stars during this event.” However, a senior citizen named Praveen Rawal who travelled all the way from India to Australia sang a wonderful patriotic song and got the most appreciation from our senior crowd. My heartfelt gratitude goes to you all who made this event a successful one.

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While our own lovely Shobha Ingleshwar dedicated herself to music, spread patriotism in the air with her marvellous singing throughout the event. Apart from being a popular singer for more than 17 years, Shobha ji has been awarded at the community level for volunteering for seniors and for singing.

One of the most pure-hearted people, I have ever met was Shantana Deka Dutta ( her page Light_antana ) who everyone was looking for and guess why ? She was the only gorgeous lady who captured the entire event with her amazing photography skills. Bilal Mubashar joined in by filming live videography for the entire event. I cannot wait to see the amazing highlights. I am running out of words to express my sincere gratitude to Shantna for coming on board as the official photography partner.

Here is a sneak peek of yesterday’s historical event that we all will cherish forever..!!
Jai Hind!