January 26, 2021, being a Tuesday, a working day for most New Zealanders, Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust on Saturday, January 23 hosted the 72nd Indian Republic Day celebrations in Auckland.

The Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall gleamed with senior citizens dressed in colourful ethnic Indian dresses to celebrate the annual patriotic day.

Prior to starting the festivities, a regular meeting of the senior citizens took place inside the hall as patrons and members toasted birthdays of fellow senior citizens, sang and clapped to different activities.

Hon Consul of India hoisted the tricolour opening the Republic Day celebrations as the hall reverberated in Indian national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ in full unison.

Senior citizens stood in an attention position, while some put their right hand on their heart, and some in a salute position teary-eyed singing the Indian national anthem in its full glory.

Chants of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ roared inside the hall as more than 300 senior citizens from the Indian community, community leaders and some children celebrated the national holiday of India.

The flag hoisting was followed by a speech by Hon Consul Bhav Dhillon who reiterated the importance of Indian Republic Day who many unaware was first started to be observed in 1930, January 26 as ‘Poora Swaraj Resolution’ or ‘Declaration of Independence’.

Mr Dhillon also paid his respects to Dr BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution that came into effect on January 26 1950, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his 124th birthday, on January 23 2021.

“This day is special not just because we celebrate the 72nd Republic Day, but do celebrate this patriotic day with our seniors, youth and children as one community,” Jeet Suchdev, chairperson of Bhartiya Samaj told the Indian Weekender.

An array of cultural performances were conducted at the event on this special occasion, namely, a medley of dance on patriotic songs by seniors of Bhartiya Samaj, a dance performance by Auckland Tamil Association, a live singing performance by renowned Auckland singer Vidya Teke and much more.

Also present at the event were judge Ajit Swaran Singh, Jessica Phuang representing New Zealand Police, president of Auckland Indian Association, Narendra Bhana, Vai Ravindran from Auckland Tamil Association, Hon Consul of Fiji in Auckland Harish Lodhia, Krish Naidu representing Fiji Girmit Foundation NZ, and more.