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India Day proclamation by Governor Kemp in the State of Georgia

September 2021
India Day proclamation by Governor Kemp in the State of Georgia

As India geared up for its 75th Independence Day on August 2021, Indians in Atlanta had their own reason to celebrate Independence Day this year with even more pride and patriotic fervor. Through efforts initiated by India American Cultural Association (IACA), Governor Brian Kemp issued a Proclamation declaring August 15, 2021, as India Day in the state of Georgia. The presentation of the proclamation was held at North stairs of Georgia Capitol on August 5.

[Left] Governor Kemp with Chand Akkineni, President IACA and community members on the occasion of India Day proclamation. 

“We are honored and thankful to Governor Brian Kemp for recognizing the contributions of Indian community in the state of Georgia with the declaration of August 15th as India Day. This gives me immense pleasure as a member of the community and as President of IACA that initiated this effort on the special occasion of Golden jubilee celebrations of IACA and Silver Jubilee celebrations of FOI,” said Chand Akkineni, President, IACA who had initiated the process for proclamation.

The proclamation summarizes the significance of India’s contribution: the introduction of the concept of non-violence to the world and its Atlanta connection, IACA and its flagship event, Festival of India’s (FOI) role in showcasing India’s rich cultural heritage to the Atlantan population, the celebration of Georgia’s diversity, and the contribution of Indian-Americans to the state of Georgia.

The proclamation reads, “Stepping into its Diamond Anniversary year, ever since August 15, 1947, India’s non-violent struggle for freedom, its rejection of terrorism and extremism, and its belief in democracy, tolerance, and the rule of law have been an inspiration and beacon of hope for people around the world, including Atlanta’s very own Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was inspired by Gandhian principles; and

“IACA’s Festival of India represents diverse Indian population from various regions of India, including Georgia’s multifaceted Indian Americans who are entrepreneurs in myriad of fields, health care providers, engineers, technocrats, educators, small business owners, attorneys, judges, writers, authors and artists who continue to contribute greatly to social, economic, and civic health of Georgia; and “The fact that Georgia features in the top ten U.S. Metropolitan areas that houses the Indian American population of 137,000 as of 2019 bears testament to the fact that Georgia fosters and nurtures diversity; and Indian corporations and businesses working with Georgia to open up trade relations between them, aided by local Indian American Georgia residents binds and builds strong relations between the world’s two largest democracies.”

Neera Bahl, Director and Appellate Division Judge at Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, who played an instrumental role in the implementation of the proclamation, said, “We are grateful to our Governor for recognizing the many contributions of the Indian American Community in Georgia and honoring India on its 75th Independence Day by declaring August 15, 2021 as India Day in Georgia.”

“This is a historic and proud moment for the community to be recognized and have representation in the state of Georgia. I am thankful to Governor Kemp for acknowledging India’s contributions to the world and role of IACA in fostering community activities. I am honored to have drafted this proclamation on behalf of IACA,” said Jyothsna Hegde, editor of IACA newsletter and city news editor of NRI Pulse.

Incepted in 1971, IACA is the oldest Indian American organization in Atlanta representing a unified Indian community with diverse and dedicated membership comprising of people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Festival of India was conceptualized by IACA in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence. One of the largest South Asian events in Atlanta, the signature event continues to draw large audiences each year.

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