Biggest-ever India Day Parade in New York

New York (IANS): Thousands of people from the Indian diaspora, Bollywood celebrities and Indian politicians were part of the spectacular 35th annual India Day Parade in New York.

Billed as the biggest Indian parade outside India to celebrate the 69th Independence Day, the event kicked off on Sunday with a Scottish-style bagpipe band in kilts — flying an Indian flag.

The India Day Parade took place along a 13-block stretch of Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan city, news portal reported.

Actor Arjun Rampal was the Grand Marshal at the parade while Parineeti Chopra was the guest of honour at the event attended by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, India’s consul general Dnyaneshwar Mulay and former union minister Shashi Tharoor, among others.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) Band and the India Temple organisation’s band played the national anthems of India and the US.

Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag was the guest star cricketer in the parade.

Music composer Shankar Mahadevan, TV actors Aamir Ali and Sanjeeda Sheikh and Indian-origin American singer Jeffrey Iqbal were also seen in the parade.

The parade ran through 20 streets in Madison avenue and featured tableaux by various Indian-American organisations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young children.

In his brief remarks, Khattar, accompanied by consul general Mulay, congratulated the huge gathering of Indians and lauded the achievements of the diaspora.

“Indians have the perfect balance between modern and traditional and have great cultural values,” said Parineeti.

The parade ended in a colourful Indian fair which featured cuisine from India, and stalls showcasing Indian handicrafts and textiles.

The parade has been organised here since 1981 by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA).

The FIA of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is one of the largest umbrella organisations in the Indian community and represents over 500,000 Indians.