Child Beating

Metro Vancouver’s BJP supporters to celebrate Indian Independence Day on a grand scale

Published: August 14, 2014
Vancouver-Surrey

Schoolgirls dressed in the colors of the Indian national tricolor flag participate in rehearsals for Independence Day celebrations in Ajmer, India. (AP Photo/Deepak Sharma)

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Indians around the globe will be raising their country’s flag and showing national pride Friday as they mark the 67th anniversary of India’s independence.

And according to the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP), Indians — both resident and non — have a lot to celebrate this year following the party’s landslide win in the recent Indian election, which saw BJP leader Narendra Modi take out the ruling Congress Party, which had held power for the past decade.

“This is first time the [BJP] has had a majority government in India,” said OFBJP’s B.C. chapter president Aditya Tawatia. “Modi’s stature is just beyond words … he’s a revolutionary leader.

“He has brought back accountability and credibility back into Indian politics.”

According to Tawatia, who travelled to India following the party’s victory, the new leadership has brought with it a “very positive” atmosphere, both in India and abroad.

“I saw [for the] first time in my lifetime the kind of enthusiasm in people’s eyes,” said Tawatia. “They want to start their country.”

So to mark the 67th anniversary of India’s independence, the OFBJP is organizing a grand-scale event — the first of its kind in Metro Vancouver — with about 1,000 people expected to attend Surrey’s Bombay Banquet Hall Friday evening. India’s Vijay Jolly, global president of the OFBJP, will also be travelling from India to B.C. to attend the event as the guest of honour.

And while the evening is a celebration of new leadership, it’s also a place to pay homage to those who fought for India’s independence nearly 70 years ago.

“We are going to pay homage to freedom fighters who laid down their lives during the struggle,” said Tawatia. “Celebrating Independence Day and paying homage to our martyrs.”

The OFBJP event starts at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $25, available either at the door or through the organization.

Consul General of India Ravi Sankar Aisola also extended his felicitations to the Indian diaspora in Western Canada on the occasion of Independence Day.

“Several generations of Indians have fought for and made supreme sacrifice of their lives for achieving Independence. On this happy occasion, we recall their services and sacrifices with gratitude and resolve to uphold and nourish the hard won freedom,” he said.

Vancouver’s Consulate General of India will be marking Indian Independence Day with a public celebration Friday at 10 a.m. at its Howe Street office. They’ll begin with a flag hoisting ceremony and follow with refreshments and cultural programming.

Indian television network Doordarshan will also livestream India’s Independence Day celebrations, starting with the prime minister’s address from Red Fort at 6:25 a.m. (IST). The livestream can also be accessed on Doodrashan’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/DoordarshanNational

Pakistan marks its Independence Day on Thursday.

lcahute@theprovince.com

twitter.com/larissacahute

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