Jai Hind!: Indian Americans Celebrate India's Independence Day
Indian American communities across America marked India’s Independence Day with pomp and fervor. However, one visitor had comments about how we can make our surroundings and the land we now call home, a better place. Siliconeer presents a photo essay.
(Above): Bappi Lahiri (with mic) at the Fremont celebrations singing his famous numbers. Also seen next to him on the right is Dr. Romesh Japra, convenor of the Fremont festival, Aug. 14. [Photo: Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer].
(Above): A person depicting the ‘Anti-corruption Movment in India’ at the parade in New York. [Photo: Mat McDermott]
(Above): Susmita G. Thomas, Consul General of India, San Francisco hosted the Independence Day celebrations at the Gadar Memorial Hall on Aug. 15. [Photo: Ashok K. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): Visitors at the Fremont festival, Aug. 14. [Photo: Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): A person at the parade in New York. [Photo: Mat McDermott]
(Above): India's Consul General Susmita G. Thomas addressing the audience at the Gadar Memorial in San Francisco, Aug. 15. [Photo: Ashok K. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): A colorful display of Indian flags at the Fremont festival. [Photo: Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): Entertainers doing a Bhangra dance at the Fremont festival, Aug. 14. [Photo: Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): Visitors flock the booths, Fremont Festival, Aug. 14. [Photo: Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): An artist at work at the Fremont festival. [Photo: Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): A booth at the Fremont festival. [Photo: Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): Young Janam Gupta holding the Indian tricolor outside State Bank of India's Fremont branch. The bank held an art contest to mark the Independence Day. [Photo: Ashok K. Gupta | Siliconeer]
(Above): Janam Gupta shows off his art of the Indian tricolor at State Bank of India's Fremont branch. The bank held an art contest to mark the Independence Day. Janam won a prize for this work. [Photo: Ashok K. Gupta | Siliconeer]
A Visitor’s Outrage: ‘Why? Please Ask’
Do we want to go to the Festival of India in Fremont, CA? It is an exhibition of a parade, mela and cultural shows on August 13-14 for India’s Independence Day celebrations. For our kids, it’s a good occasion to show them their roots, traditions, history, heritage and culture. “We should show support for our community,” my heart said. Bappi Lahiri and Mallika Sherawat are guests of honor, there will be lots of entertainment, why should not we go?
Music, festivities, expos, dances, and a conglomeration of people – all enthralled the extravaganza that was at Paseo Padre Pavilion. My son and I went on August 14 but missed the parade that went around the block at noon. I later learnt that the only music rendered in the air during the parade was chants from the ISKCON float which added spiritual reverberations to an otherwise silent display of multicultural milieu that ironically India is made up of.
Booths on almost anything one can imagine were open for business. Colorful display of saris, lehengas and gold jewelry adorning sun baked skins of Indian women and the aroma of samosas, idly-dosas, Chole-Bhature floated in the air. While some gulped Rajasthani Thandai, and traditional nimbo-paani, for me, it was a day to suck on tri-colored snow cones. Promoting solidarity on Indo-American federation as well, San Jose Council Member Ash Kalra was spotted sitting on the stage as one of the chief guests.
This being an Independence Day celebration of India, I was hoping to see enactment of events from freedom struggle on stage or exhibits on historical events, but for the “Vande Matram” chants in the air, I saw none on the day we attended. However, dances from many different states rocked the audience to tunes in Telegu, Tamil, Oriya, Punjabi, Hindi, Marathi, Gujrati, Bengali – to name only a few languages. Leaving the audience enjoying the stage performance, we drifted towards the food pavilion. With mouth watering sizzling dosas on our plates, as we stepped inside the food court. This is what we saw . . .
(Above): The mess at the dining area. [Photo: Anu Sharma]
Why? Please ask . . . Why a vast number of trash cans placed all over remained half filled? Why a vast majority never cared to clean their mess? Don’t talk of recycling, this is a clear-cut display of lack of civic duty towards each other.
The Federation of Indian Associations did a marvelous job in organizing this 2-day event for us. While majority of us follow allegiance to our adopted land as we celebrate occasions; while many well established Indians offer need based counseling such as doctors lending their services; while almost all of us work hard on academic and professional excellence – but then, why do we forget our simple civic duty towards each other – something as simple as clean up.
As I left the arena, I spotted this little girl throw away used dinning cutlery in the trashcan as her family cleaned their table. If she can do it, why can’t they?
(Above): A child at the Fremont festival does the needful. She is seen here cleaning up after her food.