Community celebrates India’s 75th Republic Day
The Indian community in Wellington and Auckland celebrated the country's 75th Republic Day on Friday with plenty to sing about.
A special cultural troupe from the state of Rajasthan, which flew in from India for the event, performed the region's Bhavai and Kalbelia folk dances in Wellington and sang traditional songs. The main organisers were Auckland Indian Association and Bharitya Samaj, together with Indian High Commission.
Children from the Indian community also performed patriotic songs and dances, involving students from Swaratmika School, Natraj School of Dance, Shivam Dance Academy and Wellington Hindi School.
Friday's highlight was a rendition of the national anthems of India and New Zealand by students of Arohanui Strings on violins. The main organisers were Auckland Indian Association and Bharitya Samaj, together with Indian High Commission.
India celebrates Republic Day on 26 January each year to mark the day in 1950 on which the country became a republic and adopted its constitution - the largest written document in the world. This followed India's independence from British rule on 15 August 1947.
In New Delhi, a grand parade showcasing India's military might was held this year to mark the occasion. French President Emmanuel Macron was invited as chief guest.
On the occasion of the 75th Republic Day of India, the students of Arohanui Strings beautifully played the national anthems of New Zealand and India on violins. Photo: Twitter / India in New Zealand
Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand Neeta Bhushan, who also hosted a reception on the day attended by New Zealand Defence Force officials, highlighted the deepening ties between the two countries in terms of business, education, culture, tourism and information technology.
"On India's 75th Republic Day, I convey my greetings to the Indian diaspora and all friends of India in New Zealand, as well as thank them for their role in strengthening the relationship between our two countries," Bhushan said.
As in previous years, Indian diaspora organisations gathered at Auckland's Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Eden Terrace for a flag-hoisting ceremony, accompanied by several cultural performances.
"I am truly proud of our various diaspora organisations in New Zealand for coming together, showing our unity in diversity and celebrating our national day with great enthusiasm," said Narendra Bhana, president of the New Zealand Indian Central Association.