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Vibrant Celebrations marks the 70th Anniversary of India’s Independence Day

On August 12th, the local Indian community got together at the Henderson Convention Center to celebrate the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence.  The diverse attendance of over 300 members of the Indian community and their guests were supportive and appreciative of the local Friends of India club celebrating a major milestone for India as an independent country free of tumultuous colonial rule.

Friends of India’s executive committee and the dedicated team of volunteers put an impressive concoction of festivities with an evening of entertainment, dining, shopping and socializing.  Before the start of evening celebrations, Mint India Restaurant provided appetizers of freshly prepared Idli, sambar and coconut chutney.

As a part of the patriotic celebrations, the program started with a lively parade by young energetic kids, most of them under ten years of age, holding Indian flags and outfitted in colorful vibrant Indian costumes.  The youngsters walked into the hall were welcomed to the stage with a thunderous applause from the attendees.  Shortly after the kid’s parade, Mother India (Shweta Verma) along with the impersonators of Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh (Arun Gupta), former Indian Prime Ministers – Jawaharlal Nehru (Mahendra Mehta) and Indira Gandhi (Bharti Sharma) were introduced to bring in the historical and patriotic fervor. The program started with kids singing an Indian National Anthem followed by an American National Anthem.

In a succinct pleasing speech, and an unnecessary short political statement, John George, President, Friends of India welcomed all the attendees thanking them for their continuous support for the club activities throughout the year.  John introduced the invited guests and dignitaries – Indian Counsel K. Venkata Ramana from the Indian High Commission in San Francisco; Barbara Cegavske – NV Secretary of State; Congressman Ruben Kihuen and Congresswoman Jackie Rosen.  Senator Dean Heller, Senator Catherine Cortez and Congresswoman Dina Titus were represented by their respective staffers.

Indian Counsel Ramana emphasized on the similarities of the two democracies, India and USA with a commitment for peace and global humanity.  Other invited guests thanked the growing and prosperous Indian community for their contribution to making Southern Nevada a better place to live and raise families.  Congresswoman Rosen’s long speech became more of a political campaign speech with same stale rhetoric on immigration reforms and global terrorism.  However, Ms. Rosen mentioned her commitment to the knowledge based economic cooperation between India and USA.  Congressman Kihuen talked about his immigrant roots, family hardships, American dream and India being a close American ally in Asia, while Secretary Barbara Cegavske focused on her warm relationship with the local Indian community.

After the speeches and few recognitions, the entertainment begin with Sandip Thanki on Sitar and Ahmed on Tabla followed by a Gujarati Garbha dance, South Indian dance, and Punjabi Giddha.  In a commitment to the community service, the Goyal brothers provided the audio services and were official DJ for the evening entertainment. The spacious hall was filled with range of patriotic emotions and sounds of India.

Mint India Restaurant catered the evening dinner with sumptuous Chicken Tikka Masala, Mixed Vegetable Korma, Paneer Makhani, Punjabi Chholey along with fresh Nan, Rice Pulao and couple of condiments and dessert.  Mint India also had set up a bar with multiple choices of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Thanks to Friends of India management team and volunteers for celebrating Indian cultural and social events throughout the year.  Friends of India announced the date for the next community event to celebrate Diwali on Saturday, November 11th at the Cashman Field theater.

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