The Mill River Park in Stamford, CT on Saturday, August 6th wore a festive look as Indian Americans gathered in large numbers to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day with an annual India Day Festival. Dressed in colorful traditional Indian attire, with melodious music from the popular Bollywood world, dances depicting the wide variety of Indian culture, kite flying, spicy Indian cuisine, and booths decorated with Indian symbols and face art, the festivities were a treat to the fast growing Indian American community in the state of Connecticut.
The City of Stamford led by Mayor Caroline Simmons, along the Mayor of Norwalk, Harry Rilling, and several elected state lawmakers joined hands with the Indian Diaspora in Connecticut for a celebration organized by the Connecticut Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT).
The day-long celebrations began with the hoisting of the American, Indian, and Connecticut flags at the Government Center in Stamford by Mayor Caroline Simmons, State Senator Patricia Billie Miller, 27th District, event Gold sponsor, an investment firm 3Lines Partner, Nandu Kuppuswamy, and Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International.
During the inaugural ceremony, Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons proclaimed August 15th as India Day to commemorate Indian Independence when Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian flag at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 1947. In the proclamation presented to GOPIO, Mayor Caroline Simmons said that the Indian Independence was marked largely by non-violent resistance and civil disobedience and the Independence Day is celebrated by the Indian Diaspora worldwide. The proclamation further noted that Stamford City will honor Indian community which is an integral part of city’s diversity, success and great future.
Prominent among those who addressed and greeted the Indian American community included: State Senator Patricia Billie Miller, 27th District; Representative Daniel J. Fox, 148th District; Representative Matt Blumenthal, 147th District; Representative David Michel, 146th Dist; Representative Corey P. Paris, 145th District; and, Representative Hubert D. Delany, 144th District.
A citation by the Connecticut General Assembly honoring India’s 75th Anniversary of Independence was presented to GOPIO-CT officials. “In Recognition Of: India is celebrating its 75th Anniversary of Independence, also known as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Today, we join you to celebrate the rich history and culture along with freedom and liberty with people of India. We urge all our citizens to join us in publicly acknowledging the many achievements and contributions Indian Americans have made to the economy of Connecticut especially in IT and Technology, Healthcare and Hospitality. Congratulations on your Independence Day!”
“The India Festival is a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community that has excelled in almost all areas of life in this adopted nation of ours,” assemblyman Harry Arora, who shared with the audience his childhood in India and later on, how he continued to cherish the memories of India’s non-violent freedom movement and close partnership between Indian and the United States, the largest democracies of the world.
The program began with the singing of a patriotic songs by children. The cultural programs depicted the diversity of Indian culture and traditions. Among those who portrayed the diverse and cultural traditions of Indian traditions included Lakshmi Sujanan, daughter of Vineetha and Sujanan, former president of MASCONN.
In his welcome address, GOPIO-CT Trustee/Advisor and Chairman of GOPIO International Dr. Thomas Abraham, a veteran community leader instrumental in numerous community and professional organizations said, “The India Festival in Stamford, CT is a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community that has excelled in almost all areas of life in this adopted nation of ours,” Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and chairman of GOPIO International, who is also a Trustee of GOPIO-CT, said. “We are cultivating and developing community networking with all these younger elected officials,” he added.
In her address, Executive Vice President Dr. Jaya Daptardar described the many flagship events the organization organizes every year. “Our mission at GOPIO-CT is to be active participants in the local community through involvement in community events and local politics, and by providing services to the Indian community at large here in Connecticut.
The activities for 2022 gave an overview of several programs GOPIO-Ct offers to the larger society such as Women’s Mentoring Network, Future 5, Children’s Learning Center, Building One community, Grassroots of Norwalk/Stamford and Stamford Public Library.
The program included remarks by the honored dignitaries, brief entertainment of music, presenting a community service award and recognition high school graduates who graduated from high School and are on way to prestigious Colleges across the nation\. Independence Day Liberty Award 2022 Recipient for Service to GOPIO-CT and Community Causes was given to Ashok Nichani, past president of GOPIO-CT,
Following the flag hoisting, an India Festival comprising of colorful Folk and Classical Dances of India, Music, Magic Show and Bollywood Dances were enjoyed by one and all. There were vendors who served delicious Indian food, Indian arts and crafts, Indian clothing and other items were displayed at the Park, giving a glimpse of India’s rich and diverse culture.