Patriotism and the colours of the Indian flag were visible at festivities to honour the nation’s 72nd Independence Day. Members of Milton’s Indian community gathered at the Lion’s Club for a program of cultural dances, and awards for children.

The activities started off with a flag raising in front of the Centre for the Arts in the midafternoon with dignitaries including Mayor Gord Krantz, and Member of Parliament (MP) Lisa Raitt. The flag is what’s known as a tricolour. A horizontal saffron band symbolizes the country’s strength, and courage. In the middle on a white background with the Dharma Chakra symbolizing peace and truth. The green represents fertility, and prosperity of the land. Events were organized by the Canadian Indian Association (CIA). “Like Canada is a melting pot of culture and diversity, India too has so much diversity to showcase,” Nik Thakkar said. Thakkar is a member of the group’s board of directors.

Munnun Mulkani is a member of the South Asian Milton Moms group. The flag-hoisting stuck in her mind as a highlight of the day growing up. “Getting up early in the morning, and going to the flag-hoisting.” They would sing the national anthem as well. They performed a dance, and she was featured in a fashion show representing the regions of India. Her three-year old daughter prompted her to start celebrating the traditions. “I probably wouldn’t have done so much before. But now since she is born, I feel it’s important for me to be doing these activities so that she will understand,” Mulkani said. Other performances included the Kuchipuddi dance performed by two children.

The occasion is marked with parades in the capital New Delhi, and all over India. Keeping traditions alive in Canada is important to Hetal Patel. “We are in Canada. Canada welcomed us. It’s a great country, and we really appreciate it. But our roots are Indian,” she said. She sees the celebrations as the opportunity to teach the next generation about the traditions associated with Indian Independence Day. “I like my kids to know who we are,” she added.

The CIA are a not-for-profit group that are dedicated to promoting an understanding of the Canada-India relationship. For more information visit: www.canadianindianassociation.com
Photos by: Denise Cooperwhite

Laura Steiner
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