In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day, a leading Indian diaspora organisation in the US will hoist the biggest tricolour unfurled at the iconic Times Square in New York on August 15. Federation of Indian Associations – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will host day-long celebrations on August 15, starting with the unfurling of the tricolour at Times Square.
The first India Day billboard at Times Square will be displayed for 24 hours, the Empire State Building will be lit in the hues of the Indian tricolour and the day will end with a gala cruise on the Hudson River to be attended by top government officials, special guests and members of the Indian-American community.
FIA had hoisted India’s National Flag at Times Square on the country’s independence day last year, the first time the Indian tricolour was unfurled at the iconic New York City destination.
FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya said the organisation intends to hoist the tricolour at Times Square every year since the event has its own significance.
“We want to continue this tradition. This year, we are hoisting the biggest tricolour unfurled at Times Square so far,” Vaidya told PTI.
The tricolour will be 6 feet by 10 feet. The height of the pole is 25 feet.
Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal will unfurl the tricolour. The event will also honour Indian-American sporting icons Abhimanyu Mishra, 12, the youngest Grandmaster in chess history and Samir Banerjee, 17 who created history by winning the Wimbledon boys’ singles final last month.
The young sporting talents, both hailing from New Jersey, are expected to be present at the event Sunday. Artists Jonita Gandhi and Mickey Singh will also be among the guests.
Vaidya said as India marks 75 years of independence, the FIA is launching a campaign focussed on ‘Unified Diaspora in America’.
“When India turns 75, we should turn the page on the partisan communities. Our goal is a unified community” that will be for the betterment of the next generation and generations to come.
“We have to bridge the gap, unify the community. We have to be the force in action,” he said.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID19 pandemic and its emerging variants, Vaidya emphasised that the relationship between India and the US will be the “most important and most vital relationship as we move into the new normal” in a post-pandemic world.
“This relationship between the world’s oldest and largest democracies will drive multiple aspects” of global growth and progress. Anil Bansal, current President of FIA, said India is launching a year-long celebration from August 2021 to celebrate the 75 years of independence and FIA will also start the celebration on August 15, 2021, by flag hoisting at Times Square and at the State Capital in Rhode Island.
He said the Empire State Building will be lit in the Indian tricolour and the Independence Day message will be displayed on the largest Jumbotron at Times Square for 24 hours.
“Today we stand proud of all the people of Indian origin, who made very significant contributions during the pandemic, all over the world. On this special day, we salute the visionaries of modern India for giving us today, a thriving multicultural country and contribution to the entire world,” Bansal said.
The FIA also organises its annual flagship event – the India Day Parade to mark India’s Independence Day in August.
Top US political leaders, lawmakers as well as prominent members of the Indian-American community and celebrities from India have participated in the annual parade that draws a crowd of thousands in the heart of Manhattan each year. However, like last year, the parade will not be held this year too due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bansal also congratulated many Americans of Indian origin, who have been appointed in the Joe Biden administration.
Former President of FIA Alok Kumar said that the reflection of the Indian tricolour on the Hudson River during the gala cruise will be a moment of pride for the diaspora and the Indian community.
Established in 1970, the FIA is among the largest umbrella diaspora organisations.