It was a festival of colours and culture at the Indian Consulate as India celebrated 75 years of its independence. Calls of 'Bharat mata ki jai' (victory to Mother India) and 'vande mataram' (I bow to thee, Mother) rang through the air as Consul General Dr Aman Puri unfurled the tricolor flag.
Hundreds of people turned out dressed in tricolours and carrying the Indian flag to celebrate Independence Day at the consulate in Dubai, with some starting to line up as early as 6.30am.
India, which gained independence from British rule in 1947, is completing 75 years of independence this year, celebrated in the country under the banner of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' (Golden Celebration of Independence). The massive festival is a 75-week countdown that began on March 12, 2021 and will end on August 15, 2023, with several ongoing initiatives to further the country's growth.
After the flag hoisting, Indian consul general Dr Aman Puri read out from the address of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which addressed India's successful response to the Covid19 pandemic and reiterated the country's commitment to helping the downtrodden and marginalized.
A special video played during the event paid homage to the achievements the country has made in several fields including agriculture, space, sport and entrepreneurship.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Aman Puri hailed the contributions of Indian expats in the UAE to the advancements India has made in the last 75 years.
"In the UAE we have the largest Indian community living outside India, three million strong and vibrant," he said. "They are making enormous contributions to the UAE economy, to the relationship between UAE and India, and of course to the Indian economy through remittances, investments, trade ties and other means. We have seen how over time, Indian nationals are playing an enormous role in every sector, be it economy, academia, sports, healthcare or politics."
Dr Puri expressed hopes of a "very bright future" for India. "We have made tremendous achievements," he said. "Today, we are the sixth largest economy in the world. Especially in the post-Covid world, we can see India as a pillar of economic stability, resilience and political stability, making an enormous contribution to different parts of the world. Our startups and innovation are recognized globally. We are looking at the next 25 years as amritkaal (golden era). As India will celebrate its centenary, you will see that India will gain its rightful position in the world."
He also called on the Indian diaspora to make a contribution to the country and celebrate its achievements.
"We are extremely proud of the work each and every Indian is doing," he said. "It is the time to remember members of the armed forces, our farmers, teachers and, of course, every single Indian that is working hard to make the country a shining example for the world."
Vibrant cultural performances added colour to the proceedings. A dance performance by students of the Indian High School traced the history of India from its independence till the present day; another performance by the students of Malhar Centre of Performing Arts paid tribute to the armed forces of the country with the Indian classic song 'Ae Mere Watan Ki Logon' (Come, People of My Land).
In addition to the cultural performances, certificates and medals were given out to winners of competitions organized by the Indian consulate. Last week, extempore speech and watercolour painting contests were conducted in which over 40+ participants competed for top honours.
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