Allu Arjun, the popular Southern Indian Star was the Grand Marshal at the India Day parade held on Sunday, August 21st, 2022 in New York City, commemorating the completion of 75 years of Indian Independence, earmarked as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ the celebration of eternal freedom.
Organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the annual parade returned to New York City after two years, when Covid Pandemic restricted public gatherings. The colorful celebrations at the heart of New York City was a salute to Mother India by the Indian American community.
Accompanied by his wife Allu Sneha and director Harish Sankar, the Pushpa star was greeted by more than 150,000 people and fans, who turned out to see him along the route on Madison Avenue in New York City. Eric Adams, New York’s Mayor, Randhir Jaiswal, a career diplomat and the Consul General of India in New York were among others who led the parade that filled Madison Avenue from 38th Street to 21st Street as dozens of floats showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India marched through the parade route, and greeted by enthusiastic Indian Americans, as they waved the tricolor, honoring India.
Known as the world’s biggest Indian event outside of the country, the India Day Parade gave FIA to create two Guinness Book of World Records. As per the FIA, the two events at the parade entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of flags flown simultaneously at an event and the largest ensemble of Damru, an ancient musical instrument associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, being played at a time in any given event.
The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S.
Kenny Desai, president of FIA and a seasoned veteran community leader expressed his gratitude to the community and board for trusting him with leading the organizational efforts. He said, FIA had in its own way tried to honor India by attempting the records and “making our motherland shine in our homeland.” Desai said FIA has made India proud and this achievement is a tribute to the unknown and unsung heroes of the freedom struggle.
FIA chairman Ankur Vaidya said that these records are dedicated to the global community. He thanked the community for their support without which the feat would not have been possible. The flags display, in keeping with the theme this year of honoring the Tiranga, the Indian flag, made a show of India’s universality by also including the flags of nations around the world.
Allu Arjun shared a story of having fun at the Times Square and participating in the New York India Parade on his Instagram account. “It was a pleasure meeting the Mayor of New York City. Very Sportive Gentleman. Thank You for the Honours Mr. Eric Adams. Thaggede Le,” Allu Arjun wrote and shared pictures of him with the Mayor sporting the ‘Thaggede Le’ signature mannerism which has become popular all over the world. Superstar Allu Arjun is one of the much-loved actors in the industry. His film Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1 was a box officer superhit, and earned Rs 300 crore worldwide.
More than 1,500 volunteers who had registered for the record on FIA website turned up early in the morning, the release said. In an atmosphere of patriotic fervor lead conductor Kailash Kher sang ‘Hindustan Meri Jaan Tu’ (India you are my life) with the whole gathering of thousands joining him.
The annual cultural events on India Day in the City were held through several streets on Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.
FIA secretary Pravin Bansal, who served as event chair for the attempts said that the endeavor required massive efforts and the whole team of FIA volunteers had been working day and night for the past few months especially since the logistics were a big challenge in itself.
Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.
In other events, as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the FIA NY-NJ-CT-NE organized a wide range of unique events to commemorate India’s 75th anniversary of independence. A fly-past by a 220 ft-long majestic Indian tricolor, made of Khadi, over the iconic Hudson river and the display of a giant billboard at the Times Square are among the highlights of the grand celebrations