Thousands of Indian Americans, others crowd Madison Avenue for India’s 72nd Independence Day

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Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh parades down Madison Avenue with Guest of Honor Shruti Hassan, President of FIA Srujal Parikh, Grand Marshall Kamal Hassan, Community Grand Marshall Chintu Patel and Dr. Sudha Parikh. (Photo By: Deval Parikh)

NEW YORK – Despite predictions of a rainy day, organizers believe more than 150,000 Indian-Americans and others turned up on Madison Avenue to witness one of the world’s largest India Day Parades held outside India,  hosted by the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (FIA-NY/NJ/CT) on Sunday, Aug. 19.

Each year, FIA hosts the India Day Parade on the Sunday closest to India’s Independence Day (Aug. 15) and it is the most anticipated event year-round for the Indian-American community.

With the theme “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which literally translates to “the world is one family,” Srujal Parikh, the president of FIA, paraded down Madison Avenue on the FIA float with his wife Krina Parikh, Grand Marshall Kamal Hassan, Guest of Honor Shruti Hassan, Community Grand Marshall Chintu Patel and his wife, and Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, along with his wife Dr. Sudha Parikh.

Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh with Pooja Kumar, Kamal Hassan and Kailash Kher. (Photo By: Peter Ferreira)

“I didn’t know that my father was going to be the Grand Marshall for the parade so I’m really excited for it as this feels like an unplanned family vacation,” Shruti Hassan exclaimed at the press conference held at Ripley’s…Believe it or Not in Times Square on Aug. 15.

Pyar.com was the title sponsor of the parade this year.

“It is a great honor to be a part of the FIA India Day Parade this year. It is the first year that FIA has started the initiative of keeping a Community Grand Marshall and I encourage the young generation to get involved as much as possible with the FIA India Day Parade as it shows the true strength of our culture and the relationship between two great democracies,” Chintu Patel of Pyar.com said at the Gala Dinner, which was held at Royal Albert’s Palace in New Jersey the following Monday, Aug. 20.

Float of Parikh Worldwide Media (Photo By: Peter Ferreira)

Other Guests of Honor and Chief Guests included Cricketer Vivian Richards, Bollywood Actor Anupam Kher and singers Shibani Kashyap (for the second time), Mickey Singh and Kailash Kher, as well as Shri Dwarkeshlalyi Maharaj.

At the Gala Dinner, Kashyap said she was honored to be here and Kailash Kher said, “It brings me joy that our motherland of India is being celebrated with great pomp outside of India.”

Also at the Gala Dinner, Shruti Hassan praised Indian-Americans for creating a ‘beautiful’ community outside India, noting, “it takes a lot of pride to do so.”

Float of ITV Gold (Photo By: Peter Ferreira)

At the parade, a total of 37 floats, 40 marching groups and 5 marching bands danced to beat of patriotic Bollywood songs as they waved the Indian tri-color, from 38th Street to 26th Street on Madison Ave. A cultural program followed showcasing local talent, celebrity performances and sponsor felicitations, that took place on 24th Street. Food stalls and sponsor booths were set up on 26th Street.

The Parikh Worldwide Media float was decorated with banners representing the various publications of the company, News India Times, Desi Talk, Gujarat Times, U.S.-India Global Review, and The Indian American. The ITV Gold, which is now part of Parikh Worldwide Media, decorated its float in white with a golden trim displaying images of its well-known anchors.

Other floats included: Air India, Royal Albert’s Palace/TV9, Daily News, Dunkin Donuts, the Consulate General of India in New York, Ripley’s New York, BCB Indus American Bank, Sony TV, Pyar.com, Sling TV, American Associations of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), Star TV, State Bank of India, the Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America (BJANA), Aapka Colors, Indo American Arts Council and many more.

Drs. Sudhir and Sudha Parikh being facilitated by Kamal Hassan. (Photo By: Jay Mandal/On Assignment)
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