HUNDREDS of Indo-Canadians gathered in Calgary to celebrate India’s 74th Independence Day on August 15.
The event kicked off at 9:30 a.m. in northwest Calgary. Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure, Prasad Panda, flagged off a rally of about 100 cars led by 10 bikers. Addressing a big gathering, he expressed his warm greetings to all people of Indian origin in Calgary. The attendees followed the social distancing norms in a field. Following prayers for universal peace, there was the singing of the national anthems of Canada and India. The enthusiastic participants waved Indian flags and enjoyed some Indian snacks before Panda flagged off the car rally.
The car rally travelled for 90 minutes to the Prairie Wind Park in northeast Calgary. The venue was very well decorated to indicate the spirit of India’s Independence Day. All participants were pre-registered online. Everyone entering the venue went through a thermal scan and the screening questionnaire as per the Government of Alberta and AHS guidelines. Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, the event was limited to 200 attendees.
The event was attended by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who was the chief guest, Balkar S. Sandhu, President of Indian Ex-Servicemen Immigrant Association, was the guest of honour.
Other dignitaries included Leela Aheer (Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women), Prasad Panda (Minister of Infrastructure), Rajan Sawhney (Minister of Community and Social Services), MLA Davinder Toor, MLA Peter Singh, MP Jagdeep Sahota, MP Jasraj Hallan, Councillor George Chahal, and Raksh Joshi (President, Hindu Society of Calgary).
Kenney gave a speech. Aheer declared August as Hindu Heritage Month in Alberta and sang Canada’s national anthem. Sandhu raised the Indian flag, which was followed by singing of the Indian national anthem.
On this occasion, Indian Ex-Servicemen Immigrant Association members, Calgary Fire Department Chief, Calgary Police Service Deputy Chief, and Alberta Health Services representatives received Certificates of Appreciation from the volunteer organization.
The volunteers who organized the event included Sanjeev Kad, Sonia Joshi, Rashesh Bhagat, Gopal Saini, Jatin Bhatt, Gagandeep Singh, Kavita Bhatt, Pinak Purohit, Rajesh Chugh, and Navdeep Mehandru.
The bikers included Prabhsharanjit Singh, Trilochan Sekhon, Sumeet Joshi, and Bupender Singh along with his team.
The event acknowledged the contribution of Indo-Canadians in Alberta and the rest of Canada.