Indians Bask in the Glory of Celebration on Madison Ave.

17 Aug
Drummer Having Fun in the Sun

Drummer Having Fun in the Sun

On a day where the weather felt more like Mumbai than New York City, thousands of Indians came out to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Indian Independence parade on Madison Ave. The parade is billed as the largest Independence Day parade outside of India. The excitement was building ahead of the opening ceremony as members of Parliment, Bollywood actors and traditional dancers were ready to march down the parade route from 38th to 24th Sts. The Indian population in the tri-state area has been on the rise in the last decade as the tech boom in NYC has attracted many from the other side of the globe. A parade like this helps ex patriots recapture the tradition and culture with others that might be on assignment or relocated permanently to the US. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade.  In their second year dancing in the parade was the loud and colorful Jallosh group with their signature loud drum beat to wake every one up and prepare them for a fun filled day.  India is one of the most diverse and spiritual nations and the parade reflected this amazing diversity. Many religious groups carried banners with messages helping to raise consciousness. One banner was from the Jain religion and how it inspired Ghandi’s approach to non-violent change while another reflected the unity of India and the US with images of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. together.

Dancers Working the Crowd

Dancers Working the Crowd

Parade Dignitaries

Parade Dignitaries

United in Spirit

United in Spirit

Another impressive traditional dance group was Jai Bharat with their colorful attire and loud drum beat. They were a prelude for the parade dignitaries including India Parliment member Sashi Tharoor, whose wife was found dead last year in a hotel in New Delhi. Bollywood actors Arjun Rampal and Parineeti Chopra really got the crowd worked up. Perennial favorite is the Swamibapa Pipe Band from Secaucus NJ really got into the moment and played some tunes that would have given the  Irish or Scottish pipe bands some competition. Revelers young and old and everything in between were showing their love of country and culture and more importantly having lots of fun doing so.

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Love and Peace to All

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All photos courtesy of Laura Josephson

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