Tag Archives: #indianindependence

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp with the Indian American Cultural Association.

India Day Proclamation by Governor of Georgia

As India gears up to its 75th Independence Day on August 2022, Indians in Atlanta had their own reasons to celebrate this Independence Day this year with even more pride and patriotic fervor. With earnest 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 Thursday, August 5, 2021, in the presence of community leaders and representatives from various organizations of the community.

“We are honored and thankful to Governor Brian Kemp for recognizing the contributions of the 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,” said Chand Akkineni, President, IACA who initiated the process for proclamation. 

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

On August 15, 2021, India American Cultural Association (IACA) will host its 25th Annual flagship event, Festival of India at the Gas South Convention Center inviting people of Georgia to celebrate India’s Independence from the British, showcasing India at its cultural and intellectual best with spectacular performances from the finest dance, music and all performing arts academies across Atlanta and an interesting line up of seminars on diverse themes, both classical and contemporary; 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

India’s Independence Day is one of India’s three national holidays celebrated by 1.3 billion people across the country and two million in the US with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and much more; 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.”

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,” stated Neera Bahl, Director and Appellate Division Judge at Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Bahl played an instrumental role in the implementation of the proclamation.

Incepted in 1971, IACA is the oldest Indian American organization in Atlanta represents a unified Indian community with diverse and dedicated membership comprising people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. IACA has stood the test of time, braving through evolving social, economic, and political landscapes in the city and its people, Indian Americans, in particular. The multitude and multi-faceted Indian populace that call Atlanta home today are rooted in organizations such as IACA founded by its earnest pioneers who collectively carved a niche for the community, garnering adulation from people of their adopted country while paving a smoother path for generations to come.

Festival of India was conceptualized by IACA in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence. One of Atlanta’s largest  South Asian events, the signature event continues to draw thousands of audiences each year. The festival showcases India at its cultural and intellectual best with spectacular performances from Atlanta’s finest dance, music, and all performing arts academies, an interesting lineup of seminars on diverse themes, competitions, shopping, and quintessential aspect of every Indian home – food. This year FOI will be held at Gas South Convention Center on August 15, 2021, an in-person event with covid safety protocols. IACA extends a warm welcome to all interested attendees to register at foi.eventtitans.com

At a time when the community sensed the need for Indian organizations to safeguard their ethnicity and heritage, back in the 60s and 70s, IACA stepped in and continues to be an effective platform and a catalyst in bringing the community closer. Organizations such as IACA and events like FOI play an essential part in raising awareness, showcasing our culture, and shaping the perspective of American society.

“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 the role of IACA in fostering community activities. I am honored to have drafted this proclamation on behalf of IACA,” said Jyothsna Hegde, editor of the IACA newsletter, and city news editor of NRI Pulse.


 

Independence without Interdependence and Dependability?

We are at the crossroads of confused thinking about our concept of Independence.

We just have added Juneteenth to our National calendar, accepting another Independence Day, distinct from July Fourth, the day of freedom for our black brethren. American independence, celebrated on July 4, commemorates the human and historical landmarks of our great country. And the Independence Day of India, August 15, is marching close on the heels.

Too many Independence Days? Not really.

An Independence Day proclaims the victory of the human spirit which defies to be dominated by any oppressive or suppressive forces. The day might be different in different parts of the world but there is a constancy in its core.

Let us learn from the quotes on Independence

“Independence is Happiness” – Susan B. Anthony

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will. – Charlotte Bronte

I have an independent streak. You know, it’s kind of hard to tell an independent woman what to do. – Betty Ford

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of society alone, but for the development of his own self. – B.R. Ambedkar

Independence is my birthright. – Lokmanya Tilak

Common Denominator

All of the above sayings originated in a period of time characterized by deprivation of rights and oppression inflicted on the basis of gender, creed, and cast. The authors cited above reflect an assertion for being accepted as an independent. There is a ring of revolt as they reinstituted their rights, lest they will ever be condemned to endless confinement. Independence usually follows a revolution rather than emerging as a natural product of evolution. The dawn of Independence nevertheless is bound to be succeeded by the scorching heat of midday. Acquired independence is, therefore, only a battle half won. The other half is a never-ending battle to preserve its health and nurture it.

Now is the time to RIPEN our rights of Independence

We need to recognize that, as independents, we are not solo singers but partakers in a chorus playing in the world at large. Independence is our elementary right but to be enjoyed in an elemental way. As we are now painfully observing, reckless independence can lead to a shipwreck. 

We see a fractured Independence

We are most likely to turn our attention first to Asia and Africa where Democracy is most threatened. 

China, Hongkong, Myanmar, African countries rivet our attention where the fight for democracy results in mass murders. Even India seems to be shifting its values to discriminate against non-Hindu citizens. Recently, Cuba is most vociferous about gaining its independence while its most prestigious neighbor, USA, is watching its hard-earned democracy shifting to shaky ground.

We proclaimed August 15 as Svatantrya Din(Sanskrit), Azadi Din (Urdu), and Independence Day (English). It is imperative that the world has to stop nurturing the neglect of human rights.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty,” is an apt statement attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

Symbiosis: A Fundamental Law of Nature

Symbiosis is a scientific term denoting the process of one life-supporting the other. It implies that the integrity of our life will depend on our ability to function as a team to preserve and nurture all lives around us. We cannot exist without accepting coexistence as our open secret of healthy survival. Racial divides, spurious self-proclaimed supremacies, evaluations by birth, gender and geography, hatred for heterogeneity, self-destructive disregard for nature, deprivation of human dignity are all our means of mass destruction. Don’t look for them anywhere else.  They are evident on every page of human history.  Shakespeare puts it succinctly in his play Measure for Measure written in 1603:

But man, proud man, Dress’d in a little brief authority, Most ignorant of what’s most assured,

His glassy essence-like an angry ape, Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,

As makes angels weep……

A similar message is reflected in our eternal, spiritually evergreen Shanti Mantra

Om sahana vavatu…..

“Let the freed make others free” is our Vedic vow.

Disjointed independence wrapped in dark ignorance is indeed a dangerous weapon causing self-annihilation, sooner or later. Dependability with its inherent integrity is a prerequisite to achieve and preserve Independence. Let us widen and deepen our vision so that we are not condemned to see history repeat itself.


Bhagirath Majmudar, M.D. is an Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Gynecology-Obstetrics at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, he is a priest, poet, playwright, Sanskrit Visharada, and Jagannath Sanskrit Scholar. He can be contacted at [email protected]