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As Indians ready themselves to honor the 66th anniversary of its independence from Britain this August, one of Bollywood’s most coveted actresses, Priyanka Chopra is set to grace the Southern California stage to help Indo Americans celebrate the spirit of India. The annual event is organized by two groups, Federation of Indo-American Association of Southern California (FIA-SC) and United Federation of Indo-Americans of California (UFICA).
Chopra, the 31-year old former Miss World is back in the spotlight with her recent release of a new music video “Exotic” featuring rap artist Pitbull. The actress also recently released her very own “Exotic” milkshake at Millions of Milkshakes in Hollywood in late July.

Beyond her ever-expanding repertoire as an artist, philanthropist and media personality, Chopra was an obvious choice as not only the “level best celebrity for the event,” but also because she is a known patriot says Vasu Pawar, UFICA’s president who was excited about the buzz of obtaining Chopra for the event.

The event is expected to draw roughly 10,000 people on the outdoor field of Excelsior High School and apart from the celebrity focused excitement, the spirit of national awareness will be mingled with food and festivities. The event will also “honor the many who have sacrificed their lives for India’s struggle for freedom,” adds Chairperson of FIA-SC Aparna Hande.

Pawar also noted the event’s intention to not only “inculcate cultural awareness with our next generation but to also mark the importance of India as the world’s largest democracy which became the ‘pioneer of non-violence,’ and whose concept was modeled by future freedom fighters such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

This year marks the Gadar movement’s centenary and the oft forgotten role of the movement’s revolutionary involvement to win freedom will also be honored. Gadar, was a movement begun in the 1913 in San Francisco by Indians immigrants. Against the backdrop of World War I, activists gathered at local gurdwaras, recruited migrant laborers, mainly Sikhs and disseminated flyers and their own newspaper advocating independence.

The call to action to free India from British rule, soon spread not only through the United States and Canada but also to parts of Asia, assisting in the rise of small revolutionary bases in the same regions. Many Gadarites returned to India to fight the battle for freedom which was speedily suppressed by the British government. Hundreds of Gadar fighters were either captured and jailed or hanged.

The celebration will also include a traditional lamp lighting ceremony with the Consul General of India, N. Parthasarathi as the guest of honor.

Audience members can expect an evening long cultural program infused with a bevy of entertainment acts “representative of India’s rich cultural heritage” amidst the numerous booths which will offer an assortment of sundries says Pawar.

ADAA Dance Company, Nupur Dance Academy, NDM and Bollywood Step Dance are part of roughly twenty-five acts set to perform at the fair.  New entrance of multi-national sponsors such as ADP and Citi National will not only give away free gifts, but will be present as a show of support to the large Indian-American community of Southern California.

Vendors from local Indian restaurants will be present and offer tasty treats ranging from vegetarian and non vegetarian tandoori items to sweet meats.  A special kid’s corner will include train rides and jump houses, according to Hande.

FIA-SC and UFICA promote exchange of valuable information, foster mutual cooperation and concern themselves with social welfare and cultural activities for the people of Indian origin while providing an exchange of information with its sister organizations across the nation.

August 3. Excelsior High School Ground, 15711 Pioneer Blvd., Norwalk. (714) 553-1940, (909) 389-8262.