By Mahadev Desai
Atlanta, GA: Indian community in Atlanta celebrated India’s 68th Republic Day with great joy, enthusiasm, patriotic fervor and national pride at the India Consulate in Atlanta, on January 28, followed with a grand Republic Day reception, in the evening, also at the Consulate. The morning celebration was well attended by Hon.Nagesh Singh, D.V. Singh, R. Srinivasan, Timothy Jetty, (to name a few from the Consulate); their families, leading members of the Indian community and media representatives. After Nagesh Singh unfurled the Tiranga, the gathering sang Indian national anthem. Nagesh Singh welcomed all and said he was heartened to see an impressive turnout despite it being a working weekday morning and then proceeded to read the President of India Pranab Mukherjee’s rousing and inspiring address to the nation on eve of India’s 68 Republic Day. All listened intently as he read the President’s address, in which he noted the continuing progress by India in economy, infrastructure, education, healthcare since Independence. He mentioned the benefits of flagship initiatives like Swachh Bharat mission, programs like MGNREGA, Aadhaar, DigitalIndia, Start-up India, Atal Innovation Mission and Skill India Initiative. He shared, “India’s social cultural, linguistic and religious diversity are our greatest strength. Our traditions has always celebrated the ‘argumentative ‘Indian, not the ‘intolerant’ Indian. Multiple views thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country. More than the unison of ideas, a healthy democracy calls for conformity to the values of tolerance, patience and respect for others. “Finally he exhorted all Indians “to work harder because our motherland asks each of us in whatever role we play to do our duty; with integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty.”
Nagesh Singh then appealed to the community to interact with the Consulate to solve their problems rather than use social media to vent their grievances in abusive manner. He assured the community that the Consulate is diligently trying to improve its services and simplify the Visa procedures. He appealed the community to make more use of Consulate’s website for information, to be patient and respectful in airing their complaints and to keep the channel of dialogue open.
The attendance at the Consulate reception in the evening was larger than in the morning. The Republic Day reception was attended by most of the leading members of the Indian community and media representatives.
Welcoming the distinguished guests, Consul General Nagesh Singh said: “Your presence here shows your love and affection for the motherland.” He then said, “on January 1950, India adopted its Constitution, whereby it constituted a sovereign, secular Republic and created world’s largest democracy. The Celebration is of the Constitution because in my view it is a fundamental document which keeps a large complex and diverse country of 1.3 billion people together. It guarantees fundamental freedoms to the people. It is not confined to only political freedoms but also gender and economic equity, liberty and justice. And that is what we are celebrating here today.”
He jovially invited all to enjoy the delicious food.” I can assure you that the food is spicy and will warm you up! (Laughter) I thank you all once again for coming.” The delicious buffet under the warm canopy on the Consulate lawn was a treat indeed!
By Mahadev Desai