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January 21, 2014 > Celebrating IndiaÕs Republic Day

Celebrating IndiaÕs Republic Day

By Isabella Ohlmeyer

Republic Day holds historic value in the heart and mind of every Indian. January 26 honors the date when the citizens of India began to govern themselves by choosing their own government. The path to self-rule was not easy.

Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer, discovered India in 1498. Portuguese were the first European power to arrive to India, but they were isolated due to lack of resources to maintain an empire. The British and the French then took control in 1961. Britain ruled India as a colony and would relinquish power only after a long struggle.

During World War II, India was controlled by the British who had declared war with Germany. The Indian National Congress demanded independence from Britain before Indians joined the war effort. At the end of World War II, in 1947, Indians enhanced their political and economic power, moving on a path toward complete independence. In January 1950, the country adopted a republic and adopted a constitution, independent of British rule. The Union of India became the contemporary Republic of India.

Every year, India celebrates the adoption of its constitution on January 26. A huge parade is held in IndiaÕs capital, New Delhi; schoolchildren present cultural dances, and floats of union ministries of defense and cultural affairs commemorate this national holiday.

Indian communities throughout the world gather in celebration, including the Greater Tri-City Area. Bay Area Youth Vaishnav Parivar (BAYVP) will host an ÒIndia Republic Day CelebrationÓ at Shreemaya Krishnadham Temple on Sunday, January 26 in Milpitas. Event highlights include face painting, dancing, flag hoisting, games, and a parade. Traditional Indian cuisine and beverages will be served, such as mango lassi (yogurt-like drink), raj kachori (a flavorful chaat with stuffings and chutney) and pav bhaji (a spicy, fast food dish with vegetables).

The Federation of Indo-Americans warmly invites the public to attend their Republic Day event on Saturday, January 25 at Chabot College. Patriotic songs, dance performances, cultural programs, dignitary recognition, speeches and dinner fill out the dayÕs itinerary.

Radio Zindagi and Youth Leaders Academy will present their 8th annual India Republic Day celebration at the Performance Pavilion at Lake Elizabeth on January 25. Eight years ago, organizer Ajay Bhutoria was in search of various Indian events in order for his son to connect with and embrace the countryÕs rich culture, heritage, and history. Taking the reigns into his own hands, Bhutoria came up with the idea of starting the ÒRadio Zindagi and Youth Leaders AcademyÕs India Republic DayÓ celebration. ÒThe goal is to provide kids and youth with a platform to showcase their talent and connect with IndiaÕs rich culture,Ó Bhutoria said.

This popular event has grown from 30 to over 300 contest participants, with more than 500 people attending the event. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a kids painting and art competition for ages 4-11. Paper will be provided but participants will need to bring their own paint colors and art supplies. The talent contest competition will also take place at 9 a.m. and will feature a variety of talents, including IndiaÕs folk dances, Bollywood dancing, singing (both in Hindi and English) and public speaking. The talent contest is open to kids ages 4-11.

Folk dances and cultural performances by talented artists representing the various states in India will be held from 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. A rendition of the U.S. National Anthem sung in English and the Indian National Anthem, ÒJana Gana Mana,Ó sung in Hindi will follow. Towards the end of the event, elected officials and dignitaries, including state senators, state assembly members and city council members, will present trophies to the winners of the talent and art contests.

For those concerned about spending money, no need to worry; there will be free parking, free admission and free food at the event. If you are unable to attend, you can see a live recording of the festivities by tuning into IND-TV USA through Roku or watch at www.indtv.usa.com during the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. For further information, e-mail Ajay Bhutoria at Bhutoria.ajay@gmail.com.

Radio Zindagi and Youth Leaders AcademyÕs Republic Day Celebration
Saturday, Jan 25
9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Performance Pavilion at Lake Elizabeth
4000 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 378-0698
Bhutoria.ajay@gmail.com
Free admission and parking

IndiaÕs 65th Republic Day
Saturday, Jan 25
4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Chabot College of Performing Arts
25555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
(510) 299-9771
www.fiaonline.org
Free
Parking fee is $2 per car

India Republic Day Celebrations
Sunday, Jan 26
2 p.m. Ð 6:30 p.m.
Shreemaya Krishnadham Temple and Community Center
25 Corning Ave., Milpitas
(408) 586-0006
www.bayvp.org
Free admission and parking

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