Organisations come together to celebrate India's 72nd Independence Day; Chch celebrates too
(picture caption: Political leaders and MPs from the treasury and opposition benches made an appearance too. Leader of Opposition Simon Bridges addressing the gathering)
India is known for its unity in diversity. A mini-Europe, sort of, with hundreds of languages spoken, every prominent religion practised, and cuisine and culture differing from region to region. That’s why when Indians move abroad, even while forming pan-Indian identity denoting associations, region-specific organisations are also very common. Like in Auckland, while there’s a New Zealand Indian Central Association, but there’s a Tamil Association as well.
But importantly, while organisations celebrate their regional festivals separately, everyone comes together to mark the three national days of India – Republic Day (January 26, when Indian constitution was implemented), Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday (October 2), and August 15, when India got its independence from the British.
This is what happened on August 12, in Auckland as well, when at the famous Mahatma Gandhi Centre the following organisations came together and marked the biggest ever Indian Independence Day celebrations in the city:
Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, Mahatma Gandhi Centre/Auckland Indian Association, Auckland Tamil Association, New Zealand Telugu Association, Telangana Association of New Zealand, Auckland Malayali Samajam, Gujarati Samaj New Zealand, Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, Telangana Jagruthi New Zealand, New Zealand Sikh Women's Association, Woman Care Trust, Auckland Marathi Association, and Bihar Jharkhand Sabha of Australia and New Zealand.
Some pictures from the event:
A bit of history:
Even though British East India Company entered the Indian sub-continent in the 1600s, it took them almost 150 years to establish their rule in India. The company rule (1757-1857) officially ended when it was transferred to the Crown, and Queen Victoria became the Empress of India in 1858, after the First War of Indian Independence of 1857. With Congress leading the charge, and Mahatma Gandhi entering the Indian freedom struggle after his return from South Africa in 1917, the Indian struggle for independence gained momentum. All-India Muslim League became a prominent player in the struggle in the 1930s and 40s, under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The British policy of divide and rule, came to fruition when British India was partitioned into the two modern states of Pakistan and India, which came into being on 14-15 August, 1947, respectively. These are the dates the two countries celebrate their Independence Day ever since.
Indian Independence Day observed at Christchurch
Like every year, Indian Independence Day was observed at Christchurch by hoisting the Tricolour and singing the National Anthem as well as the song sarey jahan se achhaa. The event was organised by Indian Social & Cultural Club at Latimer Square in Christchurch CBD. About 40 persons attended the outdoor event held from 7.30 am in spite of cold weather. Among those present were Councillor Jimmy Chen and Beth Knowles from Ara Institute of Canterbury. Nathu Rama, a senior member of Indian Social and Cultural Club and Cr. Jimmy Chen spoke at the event. A cake was cut to mark the occasion, and refreshments were served - including hot Indian tea and pakodas. It was great to note that some passers-by too joined the celebrations. A separate ceremony was held later in the day at Ara Institute of Canterbury. As per tradition of many years, AuCom Electronics, which has its head-quarters at Christchurch, flew the Indian Tricolour to mark this day. AuCom Electronics employees several staff of Indian origin, together with many other ethnicities too.
- by Shirish Paranjape, JP, and Community Board member and Friend of Multicultural Times. Also, the International Sales Manager at AuCom Electronics. (all pictures below are also courtesy Shirish)