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India’s 70th Independence Day celebrated at the Atlanta Consulate

By Mahadev Desai
September 2016
India’s 70th Independence Day celebrated at the Atlanta Consulate

(Photos: ByteGraph)

India’s 70th Independence Day was celebrated with great joy and national pride at the India Consulate in Atlanta. The celebrations on sunny Monday morning, Aug 15, 2016, were attended by over 200 community members including Consul General Hon. Nagesh Singh, Consulate officials, staff and families, leaders and representatives from Indian-American organizations of Georgia, corporations, and community members.

After a few minutes of meeting and exchange of Happy Independence Day greetings, Nagesh Singh warmly welcomed all and then proceeded to unfurl the Tricolor. Everyone clapped with joy and pride as the Tricolor was unfurled and flower petals gently floated onto the pristine Consulate lawn. The gathering enthusiastically joined in singing India’s national anthem “Jana Mana Gana.”

Nagesh Singh expressed how heartening it was to see an impressive turnout despite it being a working day morning. All listened intently as Nagesh Singh read President of India Hon. Pranab Mukherjee’s wide-ranging, powerful address to the nation on the eve of India’s 70th Independence Day.

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“I respectfully bow to the heroes of our independence struggle—known and unknown—who fought, suffered, and sacrificed their lives to win freedom for us. Mahatma Gandhi’s luminous leadership finally made the British Quit India in 1947….

“The passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST [Goods and Services Tax] … is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity….

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“The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society…. Polarizing debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse…. One unique feature that has held India together is our respect for each other’s cultures, values, and beliefs. … In the networked environment of today, a caring society can only be developed by harmonizing religion with modern science….

“We have to create a future which will economically empower six hundred million youth, build a digital India, a start-up India, and a skilled India. As we build an India of hundreds of smart cities, towns, and villages, we must ensure that they are humane, hi-tech, and happy places leading to the creation of a technology-driven but compassionate society…. We as a nation must nurture creativity, science, and technology. Here, our schools … have a special responsibility….

“A normal monsoon this year gives us reason to cheer… Inflation has remained below 6% and agricultural output has been stable, … a testimony to our nation’s resilience, and to how far we have progressed .... We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific….

“For all the challenges that we see in front of ourselves I have a great belief in our innate and inherent capacity as an ancient history whose soul and jijivisha—the will to live and excel—can never be suppressed…. India through its unique civilizational contribution has repeatedly conveyed the message of peace and harmony to the trouble-torn world. … On this occasion, I convey my special greetings and gratitude to the members of our armed forces, paramilitary, and internal security forces, who are at the forefront of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity, and Security of our motherland. … Jai Hind.”

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(Left) Consuls R. Srinivasan and D. V. Singh listen as Consul General Nagesh Singh addresses the crowd.

Nagesh Singh assured the gathering that India has come a long way since its Independence. We are cognizant of our challenges: poverty, illiteracy, poor health, social issues like the caste system, etc. And once you recognize these problems, half the battle is already won. Despite the problems we face—religion, language, etc.1.2 billion people in a democratic framework are moving ahead on all fronts. “Let’s all work together and not be critical of each other. Dialogue is the way forward. Rather than using virtual space, share your thoughts and ideas about India by interacting personally with us. Thank you all, and Jai Hind.”

The gathering was invited to watch an informative short documentary on resurgent independent India, showcasing 70 welfare schemes and initiatives launched by Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi in the last two years. Delicious refreshments were enjoyed by all.

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Website Bonus Feature

Link:
PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION ON THE EVE OF INDIA’S 70TH INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2016
New Delhi : 14.08.2016
http://presidentofindia.nic.in/speeches-detail.htm?541

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[The article above contains additional material not in the print and digital issues.]

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