With the central message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family), the India Day parade here this year hopes to bring together for the first time communities from other South Asian and Caribbean nations to participate in the largest parade outside India to mark the country’s Independence. The 38th India Day Parade, organised by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, will be held on August 19 and run through several streets of Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organisations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by Indian-American children.
India’s Consul General in New York, Sandeep Chakravorty, said that the parade has come to reflect and symbolise the strength, vibrancy and diversity of the Indian community in the US. It also highlights the role the community has been playing in strengthening India-US relations.
Alluding to the current immigration environment, Chakravorty said it is important to showcase to the US as well as to the world that India and the Indian diaspora bring a lot to the table. “It is important to assert our presence, our identity and show that we are united. The golden days of immigration are over, we have to now make this our home and strike roots here. We have to show that we are responsible citizens of this country,” he said at a Curtain Raiser ceremony for this year’s parade organised yesterday at the Indian Consulate in the city.
Underscoring that the parade will be “inclusive” and invite participation of various ethnic organisations, Chakravorty said he will encourage India’s South Asian neighbours and Caribbean nations along with their Consul Generals, Ambassadors and members of the communities to also be part of the parade.
Srujal Parikh, the current President of the FIA, said the parade showcases the rich cultural heritage of India, bringing the homeland closer to the second and third generation Indian-Americans. Parikh, an IT manager in the New York Police Department and trustee of the NYPD Indian Police Officers organisation, told PTI that this year, he is looking to unite people from various ethnic and national backgrounds and bring them together for the parade.
He said he has reached out to high-level officials from Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Caribbean countries in New York and is expecting participation from them in the parade. Eminent Indian artists Kailash Kher and Shibani Kashyap will attend the parade and FIA has also partnered with UNICEF-USA this year, Parikh said.
“We are reaching out to people from all faiths and background, underscoring the theme of unity in diversity in the parade,” he added. The parade, which is the world’s largest India day parade outside India, will reach 1.4 million viewers who will watch it live, he said.
Chairman of FIA-NYNJCT, Ramesh Patel, said the parade is a celebration of not just the Indian heritage but also pays tribute to the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for India’s independence. “We have to tell their stories of valour to Indian-American children and the younger generation. We have to pass the torch of our heritage to the young generations,” Patel said.
Every year thousands of people from the Indian diaspora converge in the heart of Manhattan in their traditional finery to celebrate India’s Independence Day. The day-long celebration also includes special food stalls, cultural extravaganza and floats by various Indian organisations based in the US.
Popular celebrities and artists from India are invited every year as chief guests and grand marshals for the parade. Actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah Bhatia, Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade in previous years.