Indians mark I-Day with patriotic songs, speeches and dance


Indians mark I-Day with patriotic songs, speeches and dance
Indian expats gathered at the embassy in Abu Dhabi on the 70th anniversary of Independence Day. - Photo By Ryan Lim

Dubai - About 600 members of the Indian community from all walks of life - students, teachers, businessmen, professionals, workers and others - attended the 70th Independence Day function at the consulate

By Saman Haziq and Anjana Sankar

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Published: Tue 15 Aug 2017, 11:25 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Aug 2017, 3:52 PM

Scores of expat families and even office-goers celebrated Indian Independence Day across the UAE on Tuesday.
In Dubai, people headed to the Indian consulate in Bur Dubai early morning to enjoy the Independence day festivities.
About 600 members of the Indian community from all walks of life - students, teachers, businessmen, professionals, workers and others - attended the 70th Independence Day function at the consulate.
The programme began with the flag hoisting by Consul-General of India in Dubai Vipul amid patriotic chants. This was followed by the national anthem and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind's speech read out by the consul-general. The speech emphasised on how much "we owe to the freedom fighters who made great sacrifices to bring us here, to give us free India where we are free to imagine and build our nation anew".
Reiterating the president's message, the consul-general said: "This is a day of remembering our freedom fighters and the soldiers who sacrificed their life to help us get our free India. This is also a day when we should recommit ourselves to contribute to our beloved country's development and progress in whatever manner we can."
Talking about why this year's Independence Day is special, he said: "We plan to celebrate the completion of 70 years of our independence through the next one year starting today in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. We should be organising at least 70 programmes spanning India's strides in various fields such as art, culture, economy, eduction and sports. We will be organising these programmes in association with our business and professional bodies as well as Indian associations and other Indian community organisations. I encourage all of you to keep connected with us."
He added: "These programmes will also showcase the India-UAE partnership which is today at historic highs. On the completion of 70 years of our independence, we should also thank the leadership of the UAE for giving such good atmosphere for Indians to live here and carry out their business and employment. I am sure in the years to come, with the vision of our leadership, our bilateral relationship will continue to grow from strength to strength and all of us will be able to contribute to the development of our mother country India as well as the country that gives us our sustenance - the UAE."
Shilpa, who had come to the consulate to take part in the celebrations with her five-year-old clad in tricolour clothes, told Khaleej Times: "This day actually reminds us that we need to be thankful to our soldiers and freedom fighters because of whom we are enjoying our freedom. And now since we are living away from our country, we value it more and in fact, we have enjoyed it more celebrating here. The patriotic gathering here at the Indian consulate made us feel as if we were in India. The speeches, songs and dances all took us back to India and got us a bit emotional too."
Hundreds at the packed consulate auditorium sang patriotic songs, danced and waved the tricolor flag at the one-and-a-half hour cultureal programme.
Patriotism at its high
In Abu Dhabi, nostalgia for their motherland mingled with pride as hundreds of Indian expats watched their national flag being unfurled at their mission on Monday morning.
Patriotic slogan filled the air as community members, dressed in white, green and saffron, gathered at the mission to celebrate the 71st Indian Independence Day.
The national anthem was sung, and the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri read out the Indian president's address to the nation on the eve of the Independence Day.
Pooja Chacko from Jammu Kashmir said she was at the embassy to watch the flag-hoisting with her five-year old daughter, Pranavi, to inculcate Indian values in her. "We grew up watching and attending these kinds of patriotic events. If we do not inculcate these values in children, they will feel disconnected with India when they grow up," said Chacko.
Anushka Parve, who studies in Canada, said she was at the embassy as she had not seen an Independence Day flag-hoisting before. "I have always been a proud Indian. It makes me really proud that it has been 71 years since my country got freedom," said Parve.
Suresh Prabhu, a businessman who has lived in the UAE for the last 38 years, said he has watched India grow into a world power with immense pride. "Now India is unstoppable. Our economy is growing by leaps, and as an expat I am happy and proud to call myself an Indian."
In harmony with the spirit of the Independence Day, Suri's speech was laced with calls to achieve 'Sankalp Se Sidhi' a New India by 2022. He also highlighted the excellent relations between India and the UAE and thanked many Emirati and other foreign friends of India who had conveyed good wishes on India's Independence Day.
The ambassador also drew attention to various new initiatives taken by the embassy towards Indian community's welfare, particularly the workers and those living in far off areas. Introducing his colleagues to the community, Suri said it is the right of every Indian to approach the officials if they face any difficulty. He urged the community members to make use of the 'Open House' programme of the mission in which people can meet any official of the embassy without appointment between 9am and 12pm every working day.
The event culminated with a short cultural programme at the embassy auditorium. Members of the Indian community and children from schools in Abu Dhabi sang patriotic songs and gave dance performances.

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