India's Independence Day 2016Share Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
Independence Day for India has a special significance for Canberra. It was here in the then fledgling capital that the first raising of the Indian flag celebrating their independence from Great Britain was held at midnight - I presume Australian eastern standard time time – on the eve of August 15 1947. Seventy years on we still acknowledge that day with the world’s largest democracy and anyone that’s been there must surely marvel that it works in that country teeming with people, colour and an ancient history and culture.
The flag pole is still there at the residence on Mugga Way and I have great pleasure whenever I’m there telling all and sundry that little Canberra story. And that my first horse riding lessons were with the Indian chauffeur from the High Commission who lived at our house, then called the Fairfax House, across the road and spent his time in Australia supporting his four daughters back in India to complete their education. His name was Peter and while he helped me graduate from one of Mrs. Llewellyn’s Shetlands to a larger pony, my horse riding days are lost in the mists of time.
For the 70th anniversary the Albert Hall was the venue and the diplomatic community, business, government and local Indians came to celebrate with High Commissioner Navdeep Suri and his wife Mani welcoming them all.
In his formal speech High Commissioner Suri made particular mention of the upcoming Confluence – Festival of India celebration to be held across Australia. It’s a six city celebration of arts and culture from August to November showcasing the dance, music theatre and visual arts of India and an initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi , a man who has made social media his forte and yoga among the thousands his exercise of choice. And not surprisingly this High Commissioner is also a devotee of both, seen recently leading the crowd gathered on World Yoga Day at Old Parliament House in a display of some ‘painful’ looking poses despite a bung knee.
So get amongst this Confluence and learn more about this country of extremes and excitement, colour and contrast and marvel at its history and culture that is so much older than this 70th anniversary that is just a moment in time.