Toronto has the largest population of Indian dispora in North America and the biggest India Independence Day celebration.
“It’s fitting isn’t it,” Dinesh Bhatia, the Consul General of India, said in his Toronto office.
Panorama India, with the support of the Consulate will host its 19th annual India Day Festival and Grand Parade on Aug. 19 at Nathan Phillips Square and the event is expected to draw more than 75,000 people.
Originally the festival was held at Yonge-Dundas Square, but the event outgrew the location and needed to move to City Hall.
In 2015 the parade didn’t have floats, but this year there will be 20 floats in the parade, which starts at Nathan Phillips Square, travels west to University Ave., north to Dundas St., east to Yonge St., then south to Queen St. and back to City Hall.
“The colourful floats are my favorite part because they are so beautiful. They take weeks to design. (Flatbed) trucks come in the middle of the night (to the Square) and are decorated in hours and ready for the morning,” Bhatia said.
The all-day program includes performances by more than 300 local dancers and Panorama Idol singers.
The Grand Parade will be marshaled by Bollywood actor Jimmy Sheirgill. This year’s headlining acts include the “King of Bhangra” Malkit Singh and Indo-Canadian singer Parichay.
There will also be an International Market place and Meena Bazaar with 100 stalls of unique clothes, food and jewelry booths as well as a Kids Zone.
“Indians will be there because they know India and will celebrate,” Bhatia said.
“For others it’s the opportunity to know more about India in fun surroundings. It’s the only place during the entire year that has the depiction of Indian cultures and values from the oldest civilization in the world. People will get to know some glimpses of India.”
The Indian culture will be represented by more than 100 community organizations.
“In Toronto, we have people from all the provinces being represented,” Bhatia said. “There are 1.3 billion people in India.”
The mandate for the day is to celebrate India’s culture and heritage and expose Canadians to that during the celebration.
“There will be so much to see and do,” Bhatia said.
INDEPENDENCE DAY A NATIONAL HOLIDAY IN INDIA
This Wednesday Indians around the world will celebrate their country’s independence.
Indians have celebrated Independence Day every Aug. 15 since the country became a nation in 1947.
It’s a day when people pay homage to leaders and those who fought for freedom from British rule.
“On August 15, 1947, we got our freedom and became an independent country and we became a republic on January 26 in 1950,” said Dinesh Bhatia, of the Consul General of India. “It took decades of independent movements fighting the British to be free. That is why it is so important to us. It was a long struggle.”
British colonialism was in place in India for more than 200 years.
Independence Day in India is a national holiday with ceremonies, parades and cultural events.
The sport of flying kites is a symbol of Independence Day and flags are flown from rooftops to represent India’s free spirit.
THIS YEAR’S NOTEWORTHY PARTICIPANTS
Malkit Singh is an international Punjabi Bhangra singer with 23 albums. Some of his songs have been featured on the big screen such as Jind Mahi which was in the movie Bend It Like Beckham and Gurh Nalon Isq Mitha in Monsoon Wedding. His trademark anthem Tutak Tutak Toothiyan is the best-selling Bhangra song of all time. During his career he has received several awards including being appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Jimmy Sheirgill is an Indian actor and film producer in Hindi and Punjabi films and is one of the top actors in his industry thanks to critically acclaimed films such as Maachis. He plans to produce and act in on Punjabi film every year under a deal he has signed with Bollywood production house Eros International.
Consul General Dinesh Bhatia has a long resume before joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1992. During his diplomatic career he had specialized jobs with the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, head of the Multilateral Economic Division and as Deputy Secretary dealing with Bhutan to name a few. He has a bachelor of engineering from Delhi College specializing in electronics and communication.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies