British Indians have set a new Guinness World Record by painting the largest Indian flag outside India. IndiaGBnews Rahul Laud reports.
MORE than 3000 people of Indian origin have gathered at the Indian Gymkhana Club in Hounslow, London to set a world record to mark India’s 69th anniversary of independence.
Families representing a broad cross section of Indian states and communities joined together to set the world record by painting the 370sqm flag using 60 litres of paint. They were supported by the Indian High Commission, UK Asian Business Council (UKABC) and several other charities and cultural groups.
The flag, which is the size of almost one-and-a-half tennis courts, is the largest painting to be created entirely using wooden blocks beating the previous record of 220sqm.
The huge canvas will also not go to waste, as it is being sent to the Indian charity Sarva Jana Hitaya – which provides education for children living in slums – to be used as the cover for a new shelter.
The event, which attracted a crowd of 10,000, was addressed by local parliamentarians and senior members of the Indian High Commission and guests including Indian MP Ram Vilas Paswan and prominent British Indian businessman Rami Ranger.
Indian MP Shazia Ilmi was also present on the occasion who had travelled to London to participate in the event in addition to her other official commitments.
Speaking to IndiaGBnews, the Chairman of UKABC, Mr. Taha Coburn-Kutay said: ‘’This historic event raised money for two causes: Sarva Jana Hitaya whose main aim is to provide education to children from low income backgrounds and the Swach Bharat Campaign: Green India, Clean India.’’
He said that more than 3000 people helped paint the Indian flag and all who participated will be awarded certificates. The paint and canvas was provided by UKABC.
High Commissioner of India in UK, Navtej Sarna attended the launch of the special bus service for the event by Air India. Tara Naidu Air India’s UK chief also announced a new direct flight to Ahmedabad from London.
Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, UK and Europe CEO at Indian NGO the Akshaya Patra Foundation UK said: ‘’We engage with the British Indian community at a grassroots level. We are immensely grateful for the support the community has shown us in sponsoring schools, events and meals for millions of children in India.”
At the event, Akshaya Patra served food along with Midlands Asian TV (MATV) to more than 5000 people. Bhawani added:‘’It was wonderful to see how food brings community together and how our community loves the authentic taste and feel of our simple cuisine. Akshaya Patra believes that appropriate food and AnnaDan can create massive transformation in the society for the better.’’
Shazia Ilmi MP from India said: ‘’On the occasion of India’s 69th year of Independence, it is a great privilege for me to be a part of a historic event in the UK – where the Indian community has come together to paint the world’s largest Indian flag outside India.
The Indian Diaspora in the UK has been driven by its entrepreneurial spirit and has made a mark in every walk of life be it business, politics or culture. It gives me immense pride to celebrate this milestone year with the 1.5 million strong Indian community in a country with which we have had a long standing relation with.
We are going through uncertain times – but as a country we have shown that unity in diversity is our greatest strength, with people from various backgrounds, religions, castes and creed living together as one nation.’’
British Indian MP Virendra Sharma said: “I am proud to once again support the fantastic celebrations of Indian Independence day at the Gymkhana Club. Every year there is a special display and demonstration which everyone in attendance always enjoys, but this year we have an extraordinary feat, the public participation painting of the biggest Indian flag ever painted.’’
Lord Patel of Bradford, said, ‘’Independence Day is a day of great celebration for the people of India no matter where they live in the world and this year, 2016, is of particular significance as India is commemorating its 69th Independence Day. The people of India have achieved so much in the past 69 years. India is one of the fastest growing nations of the last decade and has undergone major, economic, political, cultural and social change. Such change never comes easily and we face a range of major challenges, including tackling poverty, and improving education and housing. However, the people of India today are defined by multiple languages, religions, and ethnicities and I believe that this puts us in a unique position of strength and we can take India further towards peace, positive growth and greater prosperity. ‘’