Over five thousand people, who used to come every year from the Greater Sacramento area and further away in the California-USA, to witness the Independence Day celebrations organized by Indian Association of Sacramento (IAS) for the past15 years. This year, Independence Day Celebrations event which was scheduled to be held August 15th, 2020 wascanceled by “IAS”, in the interest of public safety due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the United States, Indian-American organizations celebrate their motherland’s Independence annually at numerous venues, with parades, and other functions. This year, all in-person events are obviously out of question due to Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing measures in place. Many celebrated them online, thanks to new online meeting technologies.
On Aug 15th, 2020 at 5PM, IAS unfurled the Indian tricolor flag in the lawn area in front of California State Capitol. On the same day at 4PM, IAS conducted a car parade at State Capitol, Sacramento with approximately 50 cars. Satheesh Nagaraja, Co-lead of parade decorated his car with colorful Indian flags and led the car parade. Other Indian-American participants decorated their respective cars with tricolor flags and rallied around the State Capitol for about 30 mins. According to IAS President Shivesh Sinha, “It will be the first time ever that India’s tricolor will be unfurled at the iconic CA State Capital venue in all its glory. On this very special day when our mother country is celebrating her 74th birthday, I wish you a very happy Indian Independence Day”.
“This year’s Independence Day will mark a new chapter in IAS’s history, organizing India Day car parade, and an online India Day event to celebrate India’s Independence Day,” organizers said. IAS Board of Trustee Dr Bhavin Parikh said with the unfurling of the tricolour at CA State Capitol Building, history has been created. A large number of people, dressed in traditional Indian clothes and wearing masks, joined the celebration at the Lawn in front of CA State Capitol building. Waving the Indian and American flags, the people shouted slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Hind’. The Indian national anthem was sung by the crowd. The crowd erupted in huge cheers and applause as the Indian tricolour flag was raised in front of CA State Capital, alongside the American flag, commenting that it was indeed a proud and historic moment for all.
IAS vice president Bhaskar Vempati said it was a historic moment for the Indian community that the tricolour was unfurled for the first time in front of CA State Capitol. “It is indeed a proud moment for all of us,” he said.
Several participants in the car parade commented, “The India Day Parade is very much in line with the CA-American Story”, “There’s other parades and events like Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day, Cesar Chavez Day… The India Day Car Parade is one more colorful piece that makes up the mosaic of CA-Indian American life”, “It is a grand car parade, good for our people, culture and community. It is not feasible in this age of coronavirus to have a large crowd, Thanks to IAS for conducting this parade peacefully”. Paresh Sinha, Lead of India Day parade thanked everyone who participated in the car parade beating the heavy day time temperatures in Sacramento.
Later that day on 15th, at 6PM hundreds of members of the Indian-American community-based in Greater Sacramento & across the world participated in the IAS Virtual India Day Celebrations live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube. They all were mesmerized by watching colorful rich Indian cultural performances for about 3 hrs non-stop and congratulated the cultural show participants. Deputy Consul General of India at San Francisco’s Indian Consulate, Mr Rajesh Naik attended IAS India Day virtually and wished Sacramento Indian Community on the occasion of 74th Independence Day. Naik spoke about the services provided by the consulate and how they are trying to help people to make it easier for them to get what they need. Mr Rajesh Naik, who took charge at the consulate in late August, is a career diplomat from the 2010 batch of the Indian Foreign Service. IAS thanked everyone for supporting IAS’s new way of celebrating India Day during COVID-19 pandemic. For those who missed the IAS India Day event, IAS encourages them to enjoy the event records using these links.
Established in 2005, Indian Association of Sacramento is one of the largest umbrella organizations in the Indian community. Since 2006, the IAS has been organizing India Day annually, which showcases India’s cultural heritage and history. Since its inception, IAS raised over $160,000 funds for helping out several non-profits in and out of the USA. This year IAS raised $12,000 funds and assisted needy people living in Greater Sacramento with face masks, meals, groceries, medical and school supplies. IAS marketing representative Venkat Nagam suggested the readers visit the IAS website: http://www.iassac.org/ for more information about IAS and it’s events/activities spread throughout the year.