PARSIPPANY, NJ - On August 17th, a special ceremony took place at Town Hall in Parsippany-Troy Hills. More than 150 people assembled at the municipal building for the second annual Indian Independence Day Celebration. The event is held to commemorate its independence from British rule and its birth as a sovereign nation in 1947.
Most of the crowd attendants were in fact Indian-oriented township residents. Parsippany is known for having a high population (over 30 percent) of South Asian-oriented resident, mostly from northern India. And last Saturday, it seemed like a small area of New Jersey transformed into another country.
“Thank you so much for being here,” said Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano, who acted as the master of ceremonies during the celebrations.
“We are grateful to be here in Parsippany that has such diversity.”
In collaboration with the township, the event at Town Hall was organized by the Indian-American Seniors Association of Morris County (IASAMC), a non-profit organization that is committed to the well-being and quality of life of Indo-Americans in their senior years. And for August 17th, the group strove to recognize a landmark event in India’s history.
“We gather here to celebrate our Independence Day,” said Raj Patel, IASAMC president.
“We have such an opportunity in front of all of you and I feel extremely proud to have our second event. We hope to make it bigger next year. Today, we are united as one Indian community. It is a blessing for all Indians. It is a day we got freedom from the British Empire and we remember all the lives that were sacrificed for all independence.”
The celebration include two flag-raising ceremonies for both the American and Indian flag, with both national anthems performed. Following this, attendants were treated to an array of performances featuring Indian traditional songs, dances, and cuisine. Some performances were conducted by young students of the Swarali Music Academy, based in Parsippany.
“This Independence Day comes from a long struggle and many sacrifices,” said Hari Kundram, a former lieutenant in the Indian army and an IASAMC member.
“Let us not forget these men. Thank you all for being present.”
And those that were present, Indian or not, from children to adults, we’re indeed happy to be at the celebration. This included 18-year-old Indian Parsippany resident Sneha Ranade, who sang the U.S. National Anthem.
“I’m honored to be here and sing for all my fellow Indians,” said Ranade.
“I look to them and they are my role models. And I’m just thankful.”
Ranade is a student of the George Washington University, from Washington D.C., where she majors in public health and minors in music. She had driven from the nation’s capital all the way to Parsippany just to sing for the Indian Independence Day.
Vandana Karale was another Parsippany resident who enjoyed the event with friends and family.
“I feel really great and privileged to see this great celebration,” said Karale.
“I also humbled that the Parsippany government would allow this to happen in our community.”
And Mayor Soriano himself was happy to see the whole diverse community, Indian residents or not, come together at Town Hall for the celebration.
“This celebration is not just for the Indian population, but the whole Parsippany community,” said Mayor Soriano.
“I am moved by the crowd applauding the American flag just as loud as they did for when the Indian flag was raised.”
Sponsors of the Indian Independence Day celebration included Artista Care Indian Program, Green Hill Pharmacy, Collabera, Ficke & Associates Inc., Insurance Agency and Indus American Bank.
For more information on the Indian-American Seniors Association of Morris County and their latest activities, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/IASAMC/.