The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the Tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut held a press meet June 12 at the Indian Consulate to kick off festivities for its annual India Day parade. The 33rd edition of the parade, themed “March for Lasting Peace,” will be held Aug. 18 down Madison Avenue in New York City. In choosing that theme, the FIA wanted to promote India’s deep-rooted democratic traditions among youth in this country, according to Ramesh Patel, the group’s chairman.
“The India Day Parade is a symbol of India’s unity and rich diversity,” Dnyaneshwar Mulay, consul general of India in New York said.
“It represents the principles India wants to carry to the world. This event enables us to create a footprint in the world.”
The function at the Consulate featured speeches by FIA members as well as Indian cultural performances.
“The parade has become an institution and platform where we are empowering the second generation of Indian-Americans to appreciate the heritage and culture of India,” said Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Padma Shri, who has been a grand sponsor of the parade for several years.
“First, the importance of democracy is highlighted and how hard it was fought for. Americans in the U.S. can appreciate the 5,000-year heritage of India.”
There will be floats again this year that highlight the heritage of individual states in India.
The Grand Marshal for the parade as well as other dignitaries and celebrities who will attend will be announced in a few days. Among those confirmed to attend is former Indian Army Chief V.K. Singh.
Other festivities organized by the FIA to mark India’s Independence Day include the colors of the Indian flag lighting at the Empire State building, ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in New York and a gala banquet at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, N.J., on Aug. 19.
The FIA has been representing Indian Americans in the Tristate area for 43 years now.
In a couple of years, it will begin to put together a social committee to commemorate its golden jubilee.
Later this month, members will meet with lawmakers of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans in Washington, D.C. to discuss issues faced by the community.