India’s 76th Independence Day celebrated by CGI Atlanta
The Indian Consulate in Atlanta celebrated India’s 76th Independence Day on August 15. The Consulate marked the completion of India’s 75 years of independence with an evening reception at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center in the Sandy Springs City Hall. The event space was enlivened by tricolor decorations, posters from the Incredible India campaign, and screens playing short videos showcasing the cultural diversity of India.
[Left] Dr. Swati Kulkarni speaking at India’s 76th Independence Day.
[Right] Governor Kemp’s representative addressed the audience.
Though smaller than previous years’ receptions, the event hall was filled with dignitaries that included representatives and senators of Georgia and other Southeastern states, city council members, mayors from cities across the Southeast, representatives of the Governor, and diplomats. Among those attending were Georgia State Senators John Kennedy and Sheikh Rahman; Consulate General of Mexico, Javier Díaz de León; Consulate General of Nigeria, Aishatu Aliyu Musa; and Mayor of Natchez, Mississippi Dan Gibson.
The emcee, Vice Consul Namita Rawal, graciously greeted all the dignitaries and community leaders present before introducing the evening’s first festivities. Rishi Gopal ushered in the first tidings of the celebration with his performance of the American national anthem which was followed by a fantastic rendition of the Indian national anthem by Geethu Venugopal and her students Akshata, Dhithi, Shruti, and Varshini.
Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consul General of India in Atlanta, reflected on India’s bright future saying, “As we take the country forward with a pledge to build a new India, it will be a secure, prosperous, and strong nation. A new India where there is equal opportunity for all, where modern science and technology play an important role in bringing glory for the nation in the global arena. It is true that India faces a lot of challenges, but we have the capacity to find solutions.” She also outlined India’s rapid growth and development in every field from economics to healthcare, from global humanitarian efforts to housing, education, and sports. She commented on India’s economic reforms saying, “There was a time where the world used to comment about red tape in India, but now they talk about red carpet.”
[Left] Dancers performing at the celebrations.
Not only did Dr. Kulkarni emphasize the importance of by discussing their joint economic efforts and shared business developments, developments, she also highlighted some of the Consulate’s efforts in strengthening the bilateral relationship between India and the U.S. by mentioning her visits to all of the states and territories in her jurisdiction, her meetings with political leaders, the Consulate’s support of Indian companies in the Southeast, and their current efforts to introduce Atlanta’s CEC Newnan educational model to vocational schools in India. She concluded her remarks by sharing many of the Atlanta Consulate’s achievements over the past few years and echoing Prime Minister Modi while sharing her image of India’s future saying, “From tomorrow onwards, the country will enter the golden period, which we call Amrit Kaal, of its independence, an era of countless new opportunities.”
Following tradition, Dr. Kulkarni also delivered highlights from the address that the President of India, Droupadi Murmi, had delivered on the eve of India’s Independence Day.
Dr. Swati Kulkarni with performers for the evening.
Her speech was followed by proclamations from Representative Carolyn Bordeaux and Governor Brian Kemp, which were read aloud by their respective representatives. Representative Bordeaux’s congressional proclamation outlined India’s steps towards independence, shone a spotlight on Gwinnett County’s large Indian population, and honored Indian- Americans’ contributions to the metro-Atlanta region. Governor Kemp’s remarks also expressed pride in Georgia’s Indian-American community and their contributions in various fields.
This was succeeded by video messages from Senator Jon Ossoff, Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson, Representative Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst.
The highly anticipated cultural events of the program were kicked off by a group from the Georgia Chapter of the Odisha Society of America that performed the Dalkhai folk dance, followed by a performance organized the Maharashtra Mandir of Atlanta, a Kathak raaslila by leading teachers from Nritya Natya Kala Bharti, and another group of performers from the Odisha Society of America and Abinaya Dance Academy who presented Project Vande Mataram. The night concluded with a series of performances by the students of Bharathakala Naatya Academy and Third Eye Dancers.
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