Defending democratic values 

San José Mayor Matt Mahan addresses the crowd. Photo: Sree Sripathy for India Currents/CatchLight Local.

India and the U.S. must continue to celebrate the democratic values we hold dear because they can’t be taken for granted, said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. He was speaking on Wednesday at a  flag-raising event on Aug. 16 at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda, to mark India’s 76th year of Independence. The event was hosted by San Jose District 10 Councilmember Arjun Batra, District 8 Council Member Domingo Candelas, and the Association of Indo-Americans and attended by over 150 people.

Recalling Indians who died in pursuit of India’s independence, Mayor Mahan spoke of the special relationship between India, the world’s largest democracy, and the U.S., the world’s oldest. Mahan thanked the crowd for celebrating “those dearest values that we all hold in common, and need to continue to celebrate because we can’t take them for granted.”

San Jose District 8 Councilmember Domingo Candelas addresses the crowd. Photo: Sree Sripathy for India Currents/CatchLight Local.

District 8 Councilmember Domingo Candelas said that while the  British colonial rule in India may have led to the economic depletion of its resources, “India has never let go of the rich morals, culture, and heritage”. 

“There are 400,000 Asians right here in the City of San Jose and our voice is not being heard,” said District 7 Councilmember Bien Doan. “So I am here. And I’m proud to stand next to Councilmember Batra. And I hope that you continue to support him,” he said, emphasizing that the voices of the Indian and Asian communities need to be heard.

The offices of Assemblymember Ash Kalra and Senator Dave Cortese awarded Certificates of Recognition.

In his last public appearance as Consul General of India in San Francisco, special guest Dr. T.V. Nagendra Prasad praised the Indian community in San Jose for its vibrancy. Dr. Prasad will be moving to a new role as India’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan.

Kathak dancers from the Shalini Saxena Dance Academy and Odissi dancers from iGurukul Odissi also performed at the event, and the Association of Indo-Americans treated guests to Indian food.

Sree Sripathy joined India Currents as a staff photographer and CatchLight Local Fellow as part of CatchLight's California Local Visual Desk program in June 2022. Reach out with story ideas or comments...