The Indian Diaspora organisations in Auckland along with the High Commission of India in New Zealand have once again come together this year to celebrate India’s 76th Independence Day.

Though India completes 75 years as an independent sovereign nation, which has been marked with yearlong “Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations globally, August 15 this year is India’s 76th Independence Day.

The day is being celebrated on 21 August at the Auckland Indian Association’s Mahatma Gandhi Centre, New North Road, and the Indian High Commission and the leaders of the Diaspora organisations representing India’s diverse communities in New Zealand have jointly extended an invitation to join in the celebrations wholeheartedly.

“I would humbly request everyone to unite together, thereby ensuring maximum presence and collaboration for this momentous occasion,” Honorary Consul of India in Auckland Bhav Dhillon said.

The diaspora organisations have worked hard to put together a cultural programme that truly reflects India’s great unity in diversity. As continuing celebrations of the Amrit Mahotsav, an added bonus this year will be a special Bhangra troupe from India that will regale audiences at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre on the day. The troupe has been organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi.

As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, students all over the world including here in New Zealand have been invited to participate in Jigyasa: The AKAM Quiz. Winning team members are eligible for a scholarship of Rs. 10 lakh each. Numerous awards by the Govt of India will also be given on the day.

“We would like this year’s celebrations to be the biggest,” says Bhartiya Samaj’s Jeet Suchdev. “It is heartening to see so many diaspora organisations coming together to celebrate our biggest national day jointly.”

Though India is a nation of great diversity with a multitude of languages and cultures, there was an underlying unity that defines all things Indian and it is important to reflect that presenting a united front, he said.

“For the past five years, all diaspora organisations have been coming together in this spirit of unity to jointly celebrate national day events in Auckland. It projects the Indian community as one united whole and avoids confusion among everyone, especially the government and official dignitaries, when in the past there used to be multiple celebrations.”

Some diaspora leaders have expressed disappointment that this tendency to host separate celebrations was being attempted again. “It gives the needlessly undesirable impression that the Indian community is divided. Differences can be resolved through free and frank dialogue,” one leader said.

Suchdev says, “While it is important to project India’s diverse character through multiple celebrations by respective diaspora organisations throughout the year, it is more important to celebrate national days like Independence Day and Republic Day to reflect the unity of India as a nation.”

Jyoti Parashar, Education Chairperson of Bharatiya Mandir said, “It is a proud occasion for us all and attending the historic event of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' in big numbers will be a great way for us to demonstrate our unity and solidarity. 

“Taking part in the event with friends and family will be our best tribute to all who sacrificed their lives for the country's independence and for us to enjoy this day today. Let us pledge to spread the word and make the event a tremendous success.”