The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan –the Indian arts centre hosting music and dance performances and classes, plus an art gallery set the stage at The Bhavan in London in UK with the Indian Independence day celebrations.
India’s High Commissioner to UK, Navtej Sarna was the chief guest at the Independence Day celebrations. The other dignitaries who shared the stage were the Mayor of Hammersmith, Parliamentarians Virender Sharma, Keith Vaz and Barry Gardiner, Chairman and Vice President of the Bhavan and a large number of Indian community members.
The Indian High Commissioner said that 70 years ago, there were many who questioned India’s chances of survival, but India had proved them wrong because of precisely these values. ‘’This is an occasion to reflect and collectively thank the thousands of freedom fighters, not just the leaders of the freedom movement but also those who remained anonymous,’’ Sarna said.
It is also an occasion to thank the people who made India not just survives, but helped make it what it is today, Sarna added.
Sarna pointed out that, ‘’Nations have to work with an ideal and a focus. We were fortunate to have the Constitution that we have. The men and women who gave us a Constitution displayed unparalleled imagination that kept a huge population of incredible diversity together.’’
Furthermore, he said, ‘’The Constitution is not a dead letter but one that kept pace with the changing times. It has been amended nearly a hundred times but has kept its basic structure, to ensure that the vision of India that existed in 1947 remains to this day.’’ Sarna stated, ‘’We have to thank all these faceless people who made India a beacon for the world. Despite all that has been achieved and all that remains to be achieved, India is today a leading example. In all of human history, a democratic experiment of this level has never been done or succeeded. The economic success and prospects of India are now well recognised by most international organisations like the IMF, the World Bank. We have huge challenges of poverty, education and disease, but if we can’t face them with our resources, and our survival instincts, not many can.’’
The High Commissioner also spoke about the huge India outside India – the diaspora of which the UK’s Indian community is a shining example of success. He said, 1.5 million people, many of who came in difficult circumstances made a new life and reached the very top in politics, economy, and in the professions like the doctors and the engineers. ‘’They are critical bridges in the relationship between India and the UK. India treasures these links, these bridges, Sarna affirmed.’’
The role of the diaspora in India’s development cannot be underestimated. When PM Modi was here, his gathering at Wembley underlined the strength of the British Indian community.
The High Commissioner invited the Indian community to join him in celebrating the moment and looked forward to joining the celebrations on 21 August at the Indian Gymkhana in London.