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Calgary’s Indian community marks Indian Independence Day

The Indian community in Calgary once again celebrated an important landmark in their country’s history.

Eighteen Indian community organizations in Calgary have come together to host an Indian Independence Day celebration at city hall.

Indian Independence Day is celebrated on Aug. 15 each year marking the nation’s freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Usually, the day is celebrated through patriotic ceremonies, flag hoisting, and cultural events.

Shalini Agarwal, President of the Uttar Pradesh Association of Calgary, believes that this celebration is one for the country itself and its long-standing history.

“This Independence Day isn’t just about the country turning democratic. It’s a celebration of our country, and how far along it’s come. We acknowledge the sacrifices that paved the way for India, and it makes us proud to be Indian,” she said.

“We want to show our children that they should be proud to be Indian, and to have them connect with their culture more.”

British colonialism in India spanned nearly two centuries, from the mid-18th century to 1947. During that period, poverty, famines, cultural suppression, and loss of autonomy were widespread.

The nation finally achieved freedom on August 15, 1947, after various nonviolent movements took place, led by figures like Mahatma Gandhi.

Two Volunteers setting up tables at Calgary’s Indian Independence Day celebration, August 15, 2023. // GUSTAVO FORNEZ FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Celebrating Freedom

Agarwal described how the various partners are celebrating the 77th anniversary of this monumental day.

“All of us came together to put on dancers, performances, music, and speeches together for today. Our goal is to celebrate the spirit of India, and its rich culture,” she said.

“The most important thing we can bring to a celebration like this is community, and the feeling of belonging that comes from being with your people.”

The celebration was free to attend, with dozens of volunteers from all different organizations running the show.

“We want anyone to be able to come and celebrate today with us. We don’t set this up each year for money, we do it for our people,” Agarwal said.

“We do this so others can join and celebrate our independence alongside us. Together, we will push forward and build a better future for our children, and their country.”