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Ottawa celebrates India's 69th Independence Day

Times of India Aug 19, 2015
By Mayurika Chakravorty

  OTTAWA: Indian Independence Day fell on a weekend this year, and scores of Indian-origin Canadians gathered in the City Hall of Ottawa, Canada's capital, to honour their homeland. The event, organized by the India Canada Association, began with Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa and Vishnu Prakash, the high commissioner of India in Canada jointly hoisting the Indian tricolour next to the fluttering Red Maple. The crowd sang broke into soulful renditions of 'Jana Gana Mana' and 'O Canada.'

  The audience was addressed by the Indian high commissioner Vishnu Prakash, mayor Watson and the president of the ICA. The mayor praised the contributions of the Indian-Canadians in Ottawa. The high commissioner urged Indian-Canadians to dedicate themselves to Canada and reminded the audience that 'by being a good Canadian, you honour India'. He also encouraged Indian-Canadians to maintain their 'cultural affinity with India and to keep their roots nourished.'

  Patriotic strains of 'Aye Mere PyareVatan' wafted in the air and a lively dance performances by young local artists followed - all of them celebrating the cultural diversity of India.
What did this ceremony mean to Indians and Indian-Canadians who came in such large numbers? For a young Indian student in Canada, Amani, this event meant a celebration of her cultural roots and helped her feel connected to home. Similar feelings were echoed by Harshita who came to Canada as a student and now works here. She dearly missed the flag-hoisting ceremony and was happy to have made it this year. Asha Mehta, an ex-president of the ICA, called herself 'a staunch Canadian of Indian background,' and said such events affirmed her roots and rich heritage while it also pleased her to know 'that her adopted country gives her the freedom to celebrate the Independence Day of her homeland.' Many in the audience shared her sentiments.

By MayurikaChakravorty

  I was born and raised in Kolkata and later went to JNU, New Delhi where I completed my M. A. and M.Phil in English. I completed my PhD from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), London, UK. Since 2010, I have been teaching in the English Department, Carleton University, Ottawa. I am also Vice President of a non-profit organization Gandhi Peace Council of Ottawa and associated with several community organizations run by the Indian diaspora.

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