Abu Dhabi, Dubai: Indians in the UAE will mark India’s 70 years of independence by attending 70 events in various emirates through the next one year.
Top Indian diplomats in the UAE announced the launch of the events during the Indian Independence Day celebrations on Tuesday.
The Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate in Dubai will work together to organise 70 events across the UAE in the next one year, Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News.
The ambassador in his speech highlighted the excellent relations existing between India and the UAE and said the Indian community in the UAE are the first beneficiaries of such improved relations.
Consul-General Vipul said while addressing the ceremony in Dubai: “We would be organising at least 70 programmes spanning India’s strides in various fields such as art and culture, economy, education, science and technology and sports. We will be organising these programmes in various emirates in association with our business and professional bodies, as well as Indian associations and other Indian community organisations. These programmes will also showcase the India-UAE partnership which is today at historic heights,” he said.
Hundreds of Indian expatriates gathered at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai to celebrate the occasion. Patriotic Indians chanted slogans praising their motherland before the Indian flag was hoisted by the ambassador and the consul-general on the respective missions’ premises.
People wearing clothes in tricolour, the young and the old, women and men sang their National Anthem. The top diplomats also read out excerpts from the Indian President’s address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day.
Expatriates shared their joy of attending the celebrations in the UAE. Deepika Sahoo, 44, an engineer from Odisha, said the annual event at the embassy during her 18 years in Abu Dhabi always reminded her of the spectacular army parade she had witnessed as a child. “My father was a senior officer of the India Army and it was a wonderful experience to attend the army’s Independence Day celebrations,” she said.
Mousmi Mukherjee, 44, an Abu Dhabi resident from West Bengal, and her son, Keshav Mukherjee, 17, said the event always made them nostalgic and they felt that India always beckoned them back. “We always want to go back to India,” they said.
Bindu Nair, 39, a homemaker from Kerala, was delighted to watch her two children, Aanchal Arvind, 11, and Yash Arvind, 9, singing the national anthem at the event. “As they study at non-Indian school, we make it sure that they grow up in Indian culture,” she said.
Zakir Hussain, 28, a painter from Karnataka, said he felt proud of India’s development in all sectors on the occasion. Sudheesh P. Madhu, 38, a foreman from Kerala, said it was an occasion to celebrate the nation’s secularism and diversity.
Ramdas Rao and his wife Sapna, who run their family business in Dubai, came to the consulate with their two children born and raised in Dubai.
“Dubai is a home away from home. You don’t feel you are away from India. But still, this is the day we feel the spirit of India more in our hearts. And this is the day our children who live away from the country can learn more about their motherland and feel connected to their roots. The efforts of the consulate to bring out that spirit really need to be appreciated,” said Sapna.
Munish Kumar, an assistant manager with an interior fit-out company, also came along with his wife and two young children with the very purpose of getting the new generation closer to India.
“We bought the tricolour stickers and flags over the weekend and kids were very excited to take part in the event. Coming from Sharjah, we had to wake up at 4am to be on time for the 8am function in the consulate. We are so happy to see the happy and smiling faces of our fellow Indians celebrating the country’s rich history and heritage.”