FIA Raises TriColor in New York’s Times Square on 75th Independence Day, Youngest Grandmaster Abhimanyu Mishra Honored
Hundreds of Indian Americans attend the FIA-NY,NJ,CT India Independence Day celebration Aug. 15 in Times Square in New York. (photo provided)
India-West Staff Reporter
India’s 75th Independence Day was celebrated in full regalia in New York as the Federation of Indian Associations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Aug. 15 unfurled the country’s tricolor flag in Times Square.
This year’s tricolor was the biggest one ever to be unfurled at the iconic destination, according to a news release, noting the flag measured at 6 feet-by-10 feet, hoisted on a 25-foot flag pole.
The day’s ceremony began with the playing of the American national anthem. Consul General of India Randhir Jaiswal then hoisted the tricolor as the Indian national anthem played along, with hundreds of Indian American community members looking on, the release noted.
On the occasion, Jaiswal conveyed his wishes to the Indian community, friends of India and all “those who are deeply connected” to the country. He thanked the Indian American community and FIA in particular for leading these celebrations, the release noted.
Jaiswal felicitated New Jersey’s Abhimanyu Mishra, who is now the youngest Grandmaster in the history of chess. Mishra also received a proclamation from the office of Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams.
FIA president Anil Bansal called it a privilege to be living in the U.S. where they have the freedom that they “as Americans can celebrate our history, culture and love for our motherland.”
Besides Jaiswal, those who addressed the gathering included FIA chairman Ankur Vaidya; Deputy CGI-New York Shatrughna Sinha; Captain Amandeep Singh Sandhu, who is the only Indian American in the New York police department and first Sikh captain in the country; FIA board member Anand Patel; Jackson Heights representative in the New York City Council Daniel Dromm; and district leader from Queens-New York Neeta Jain.
Also during the festivities, Jaiswal unveiled the “India at 75 Cricket Cup” by the “22 yards court,” a non-profit that promotes cricket in North America.
A special performance was presented by the band Dhol Tasha Pathak of Maharashtra Mandal who had come all the way from Michigan to participate in the celebration, the release said.
In another first, FIA reserved the biggest jumbotron at Times Square for the display of Independence Day messages and other images related to India. The jumbotron was reserved for a full 24 hours, the news release said.
As part of yet another celebration, the Empire State Building was lit up in the colors of the Indian National Flag on the evening of Aug. 15.
The celebration continued into the evening with FIA’s annual gala aboard a yacht on the Hudson River, which was attended by dignitaries, special guests and FIA members.
The night was also special for the Indian city of Ahmedabad, from where the flag, and all other paraphernalia used during the celebration, had been sent to New York.
The entire consignment had been put together and shipped for FIA by Gracia Marcom, an advertising agency in the city. According to Gracia Marcom managing partner Rohit Korat, they supplied the flags and other items for FIA New England as well, the release noted.
Elsewhere on India’s 75th Independence Day, in Washington, D.C., at the Embassy of India, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu unfurled the tricolor, which was followed by the national anthem.
In his remarks, Sandhu underlined that it was an occasion to rededicate oneself to transforming the dreams and aspirations of 1.3 billion Indian people into reality, according to an embassy release.
The ambassador also highlighted Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, being celebrated to mark 75 years of India’s Independence. He noted that India–U.S. relations have come a long way; however, given the true potential of the relations, there is a lot more that could be done.
He expressed keenness to connect the youth of both the countries, including through education and knowledge partnership. The celebrations, including a cultural program, were attended by representatives from the community in-person in accordance with health guidelines, while many Indians, members of the Indian American community and friends of India joined virtually, the release said.