SoCal Community Group ‘India@75’ Spearheads India Independence Day Celebration in Norwalk
Artesia city officials and the India@75 organizing group helmed by Indian American chairman Kewal Kanda light the lamp to inaugurate the celebrations of India’s Independence Day in Norwalk, Calif. (photo provided)
India-West Staff Reporter
NORWALK, Calif. – A recently formed group, India@75, spearheaded a celebration of India’s 75th Independence Day in Southern California, billed as
“Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” and held at the Joy of Sharing Community Center here Aug. 14. The event, due to the pandemic, was live streamed and watched by an audience of several hundred, organizers said. The in-person attendance was limited to 300, with mandatory face masks.
The evening included a panel discussion on “Modern India: In the forefront of Technology.” Panelists included Indian American Alok Kumar Chatterjee, of Jet Propulsion Lab, who as interface manager helped the collaboration of NASA and ISRO on the Chandrayaan-1 mission to the moon. Others were Kamal Bhadada, president of communications and information services at Tata Consultancy Services; and Pranav Mehta, known as “India’s Solar Man,” chairman of the National Solar and Sustainable Energy Federation of India. The interesting discussion, moderated by Gunjan Bagla, CEO of Amritt Inc., had the audience listening in pin-drop silence, said the organizers. The session included the showing of a satellite launch by ISRO and the largest solar panel display in India.
During the event, there were several speeches by city officials, including Artesia Mayor Rene Trevino and council members Tony Lima and Ali Taj. Harry Sidhu pointed out that he was the first person of color to become mayor of Anaheim and urged everyone to get involved in their communities. Both Sidhu and Trevino presented proclamations from their cities to the organizing committee of India@75.
The group’s chairman, Kewal Kanda, told the audience that the event was the first celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.” He said the organizing committee at India@75 was planning a total of five programs with a grand finale in August 2022 when India complete 75 years of independence.
Several items were presented throughout the evening to mark India’s diverse cultures and honor freedom fighters. There were performances by children as well as adults highlighting the Indian cultural landscape. A youth group enthusiastically presented their expectations and thoughts about India, dressing up as Dr. Ambedkar, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sarojini Naidoo, Bhagat Singh and others. An added element to the performances was professionally orchestrated sound, light and LED screens.
Earlier, the event opened with the traditional lamp lighting ceremony and the rendering of the Indian and U.S. national anthems.