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Indian community in Atlanta celebrates India’s 75th Republic Day

February 2024
Indian community in Atlanta celebrates India’s 75th Republic Day

On January 26, 2024, the Indian Consulate in Atlanta arranged for the ceremonial flag hoisting on the Consulate’s green lawns. With Consul General Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan, his wife Renuga Devi, and other guests, the observance began with a prayer and floral offering at the bust of Mahatma Gandhiinstalled in the Consulate lawns. This was followed by the unfurling of the Indian Flag which showered rose petals as it fluttered. In a unanimous voice, all sang the Indian National Anthemwith pride and passion. Chants of Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai resounded in the air.

[Left] CG paying homage to Gandhiji

[Bottom Right] Bharathakala Natya Academy Students

AT_additional_a1__02_24.jpgSoon, all were seated inside to hear the recorded Presidential speech given by the Indian President, Droupadi Murmu. She spoke in Hindi, speaking about the sea of change brought about by the current administration and the giant strides India has taken in recent years. From hosting the G20 Summit last year to landing on the moon, the significant growth in digital pay systems, the systematic rollout of the Aadhaar Card, the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill, the modernization of the Indian Armed Forces—including the decision to allow women to sit for examinations to India's National Defence Academy (NDA)—and much more.

[Left] Deeksha School Students AT_additional_a2__02_24.jpg

After her speech, Consul Madan Kumar Ghildiyal welcomed all and introduced the newly-appointed Consul General Babu to the attendees, who then welcomed all and thanked them for visiting the Consulate and participating in the festivities. All were invited to hot refreshments of South Indian savories with dessert and tea before taking their leave and going on to their destinations. Apart from seeing the entire consular staff warmly welcoming all, the poignant moment of the morning was to have the presence of Nagendu Desai of the Indian Air Force present at this year’s festivities.

AT_additional_a4__02_24.jpgThe evening gala was equally rich in its tasteful presentation of India’s culture and global competence with a few hundred invitees, which included Consul Generals from many othernations, elected officials, and community leaders from the southeastern United States.

[Right] Emcee Ayswarya Shreedharan

The evening’s performances began with the young emcee, Ayswarya Shreedharan, inviting students of Geethu Mohandas and Vyga Shiju on stage. Mostly dressed in creamy white Indian attire, they performed the national anthems of India and the United States. The renditions were greatly applauded. ​

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Dr McCormick with CG & the entire Consular Staff with their families

AT_additional_a6__02_24.jpgDr. Rich McCormick, a decorated veteran and ER physician, who serves Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, said that he respected the hardworking, intelligent, and law-abiding Indian diaspora, not only in his District but in the State and the nation.He said he is driven to bring about a change in the law that impacts foreign students’Optional Practical Training and will help them continue legal residency.

​[Left to Right]  Trevor Jones-CG Ramesh Babuu Lakshmanan-CG France Hon Anne Laure Desjonqueres with her significant other-Mrs Renuga Devi

AT_additional_a5__02_24.jpgThe cultural performances began with the students of the Deeksha School of Performing Arts opening with “Mool Mantra,” followed by a crisp Bharatanatyam Jathi to the beautiful composition of Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan and concluded with the Bengali composition“Jaya He” depicting the beautiful meaning and essence of the Indian national anthem. The dance was choreographed by Anupa Thakurta. 

​[Left to Right]  Mrs Debra McCormick - Dr Rich McCormich - CG Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan - Mrs Renuga Devi 

AT_additional_a7__02_24.jpg“Dance: Amara” was performed by the Georgia chapter of The Odisha Society of the Americas. Bikhipta Panda and Ananya Buxi choreographed this performance which was an amalgamation of two folk dance art forms, Mondei and Chaiti Ghoda.

[Right] Odisha Society of the Americas - GA Chapter dancers​

Next, the Kathak disciples of Kumud Savla’s Nritya Natya Kala Bharati performed the Kathak Fusion “Breathless.” Beginning with an ode to Mother India on the occasion of Republic Day, Kathak fusion took the audience to classical dance mixed with the energy and modernity of contemporary India.

AT_additional_a8__02_24.jpgThe evening’s final performance was by artists of Bharathakala Natya Academy set to the powerful song Aigiri Nandini, where the dancers embody Shakthi, the divine energy of Mother India. Choreographed by Subhadra Sudarshan, the dancers gracefully depicted the various facets of Shakthi: her strength, compassion, and nurturing essence. It was quickly followed by Tamizha Tamizha, a patriotic song.

[Left] Students of Geethu Mohandas and Ms. Vyga Shiju

Consul Madan Kumar Ghildiyal offered a vote of thanks as guests came together for dinner. Mini Nair outdid herself in making this event a success. The audio-visual media was presented and managed by Sandeep Savla’s Audio-Visual Creations. The videos and pictures were taken by Magic Dust Photography.

-By Viren Mayani; pictures by Magic Dust Photography


 

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