Arjun Batra leads Independence Day celebrations at San Jose City Hall

After a hiatus of six years, San Jose City Council welcomed Indo-American councilmember Arjun Batra in playing a pivotal role in organizing the Indian Flag Raising event on August 16th, 2023.

Batra who represents San Jose City Council District 10, launched the event by expressing his gratitude to elected officials and community leaders who were present. He acknowledged their commitment despite workday obligations and the challenges of commuting during rush hour.

The flag-raising event at the San Jose City Hall drew a diverse array of attendees that included Indo-American residents who have lived for more than 60 years in the Bay Area. More than 300 people attended the ceremony, making it the most attended flag-raising event at the San Jose City Hall. Consul General of India, Dr. T.V. Nagendra Prasad served as special guest.

Tiranga illimunates San Jose City Hall for a week

The Association of Indo-Americans (AIA) and its forty-five+ supporting organizations sponsored the event with extensive outreach, promotion, entertainment, refreshments, and tower lighting.

In a symbolic gesture that reflected the city’s recognition of the significance and celebration of the Indian flag, San Jose illuminated its City Hall Tower with the colors of the Tiranga (Indian Flag) for an entire week.

In his remarks, Councilmember Batra pointed out that the Indian Independence Day celebrations on August 15 serve as an occasion to honor freedom fighters, express gratitude, and engage in contemplation about progress and challenges. He expressed pride in fostering robust ties between the world’s largest democracy with the oldest democracy, which both enjoy a shared set of values.

Shared values foster close ties between India and the U.S.

Both India and the United States play vital roles in nurturing democratic ideals worldwide, said Batra. The values the two nations share have allowed for the seamless integration of Indo-Americans into American society – today 1.5% of them call it home.

Batra recognized the vibrant diversity of San Jose which is home to 135,000 individuals of Indian heritage. The unity within diversity, Batra emphasized, fosters prosperity within the Indo-American community which actively contributes to the nation’s welfare. Their presence is evident in an array of professions that span civic roles, state legislatures, Congress, and even the ranks of presidential contenders. Organizations like AIA further these contributions through cultural advocacy, fostering a harmonious coexistence among diverse cultures.

Batra concluded his address by wishing everyone a happy Independence Day, and urged collective dedication to preserving freedom, expanding educational access, and nurturing economic prosperity for all.

Awards & Commendations

The Association of Indo-Americans (AIA) received commendations for their excellent work from the City of San José, on behalf of Arjun Batra, California Assembly members Ash Kalra, Alex Lee, Gail Pellerin, and California State Senator Dave Cortese.

Elected Officials and community leaders present at the event

San Jose City Vice Mayor, Rosemary Kamei
San Jose City Councilmember District 5, Peter Ortiz
San Jose City Councilmember District 7, Bien Doan 
San Jose City Councilmember District 8, Domingo Candelas
San Jose City Councilmember District 9, Pam Foley
San Jose City Councilmember District 10, Arjun Batra 
Saratoga City Councilmember, Tina Walia 
Sunnyvale City Councilmember, Murali Srinivasan 
Leaders of forty-five+ supporting organizations of the Association of Indo-Americans (AIA)
President Pune sister city Suneel KelkarPresident Lead in Heels Aditi Krandikar