India Day Festival Celebrates Independence and Indian Culture

Renaissance_Unity_Brown_TopLocal Hop Ad TOPIndia Day Festival Celebratesroyal_services Independence and Indian Culture

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 20, 2016)

Novi, MI – Nanda Sankara grew up in Chennai, India but came to The United States 25 years ago to become an engineer for an automotive manufacturing company.  He and his father were among the thousands of people who gathered at the Suburban Collection in Novi Saturday for the India League of America Michigan India Day festival.

The festival celebrates India’s Independence Day with dancing and other performances, Pledge_side_bluebooths full of colorful clothing, jewelry and home décor, as well as services.  For Sankara there are many reminders of home.

“It’s a lot of fun, good food,” Sankara said.  “In India culture it’s very diverse.  There are a lot of different people and different religions so we all live together and co-exist a lot more than people do here.  It’s a good skill to learn, to be aware of and accept others.”

He said that he came to the United States for more opportunity and education, but that he likes going back to visit and seeing friends, as well as watching his home country grow.  “There are always new companies investing there and more infrastructure developments.  It’s exciting seeing how it grows every time.  There is opportunity there too.  The economy is GT ad 05growing and I have friends that are professionals and are successful.”

Sankara ate Biryani chicken while his father had fried rice with cauliflower, and they watched the people walking among the booths.

Rama Singh came from Atlanta with others in his family to sell Indian artwork at the festival.  “We go to a few festivals around the East Coast,” Singh said.  “This is my favorite because I’ve been coming for a few years and I see it get bigger every year.”

Mahesh Wasnik, Dayalan K. and Dinesh Pal helped promote acceptance and diversity at their booth for Ambedkar Association of North America, a group that spreads Buddhist teachings, uplifting the poor, and providing “a common vehicle for the expression of cultural, educational, social and economic affairs of the people of south Asian Indian origin in North America.”

candlewickshoppeADblueThe group is organized around unfairness in the caste system. The discrimination and violence against “Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”  continues, particularly in smaller towns and villages.  The AANA says there are more than 260 million in the country that continue to be treated as second class citizens.  “We hold rallies to let people know that India needs help, and killing needs to stop. We are people of all religions but we teach about Buddhism which is not a religion, but ways to love and peace,” said Pal.  (The BBC has a good post explaining the caste system.)

India gained independence from Great Britain on Aug. 15, 1947.

To learn more about The India League of America Michigan visit http://www.ilamichigan.org/.

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