FIA-Chicago celebrates India’s 77th Independence Day with an impressive parade

From left, India’s Consul General Somnath Ghosh, FIA-Chicago President Dr Rashmi Patel, Kanishka Soni, an Indian actress and model from Mumbai, Mayor of Chicago Brandon Johnson, Parade Chair Smita Shah, FIA Trustees Kanti S Patel & Kanti N Patel. PHOTO: courtesy FIA-Chicago (All Photos by Asian Media USA)

The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-Chicago), founded in 1980, hosted an impressive India Independence Day Parade on Devon Avenue, (popularly referred to as ‘Little India’) on August 5, 2023.

This event was a joyous celebration of India’s 77th Independence Day anniversary, drawing thousands of people, hailing from different corners of the Indian subcontinent, in a display of the diversity of that nation, a press release said.

Consul General of India Somnath Ghosh, and President of FIA-Chicago Dr Rashmi Patel with Executive Committee Members, and Trustees of FIA-Chicago which was established in 1980, at the India Independence Day Parade Aug. 5, 2023 on Devon Ave., Chicago. PHOTO: FIA-Chicago

For the Indian diaspora, Independence Day celebrations are close to the heart, a moment of exultation as the nation reflects upon its achievements and honors the contributions, struggles, and sacrifices of countless individuals who laid the foundation for its hard-fought freedom.

FIA Trustee Bhailal M Patel, left, Kanishka Soni, an Indian actress and model from Mumbai in the float, and FIA Trustee Satish Ghabhawala, at the India Independence Day Parade on Devon Ave., hosted by FIA-Chicago, Aug. 5, 2023. PHOTO: courtesy FIA-Chicago

At the Chicago FIA parade, the air reverberated with the names of revered freedom fighters, and leaders of the freedom movement of India.

FIA-Chicago President Dr Rashmi Patel with Members of Executive Committee and Trustees, at the Aug. 5, 2023, Indian Independence Day Parade in Chicago, on Devon Ave. PHOTO: courtesy FIA-Chicago

For Indian Americans, India has emerged as a powerful nation, a beacon of democracy, a vibrant and colorful place where space exploration and information technology rub shoulders with ancient traditions followed the world over like yoga and meditation. Plus, India has now secured its place among the top five biggest economies, organizers noted.

“The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) remains steadfast in its mission to kindle the flames of awareness among the youth, ensuring that the echoes of India’s struggle for freedom resonate through the generations,” organizers said in the press release. “The FIA aims to inspire young minds to forge a profound connection with their roots,” they added.

Kanishka Soni, an Indian actress and model from Mumbai, accompanied by other eminent officials, led the parade. The Consul General of India Somnath, alongside FIA-Chicago President Dr. Rashmi Patel, unfurled the Indian national flag to the strains of the national anthem.

Chief guests included Consul General Ghosh, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, Mayor of Lincolnwood Jesal Patel, and Parade Chair Smita Shah.

Desi Talk Chicago, published by Parikh Worldwide Media, took part in the India Independence Day Parade Aug. 5, 2023, held in Chicago, hosted by FIA-Chicago. Seen in float is Executive Vice President of PWM Bhailal M. Patel. Joyful ISKCON devotees danced alongside. PHOTO: courtesy FIA-Chicago

The parade floats displayed diversity in the Indian American communities, religious institutions, and business organizations. Groups such as the Gayatri Mandir Parivar, Karni Sena of Chicago, Shree Jalaram Mandir, Umiya Mata Mandir, United Telugu Christian Community, Multi-Ethnic Task Force, Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) & UMAS, CK Motors, Hi India, Patel Brothers, Care for Soul, Sardar Patel Foundation, Sahil, Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam, Rep. Kevin Olickal, Desi Talk/ISKCON, and Republic Bank, were represented.

The floats were vibrant and colorful and some had intricate designs. The Maharashtra Mandal of Chicago members, resplendent in traditional attire, performed traditional activities that added an authentic touch to the festivities, the press release said.

Emcees at the parade were Hina Pandya, Kruti Pandya, Khyati Valladares, and Twinkle Patel welcomed each float and thanked them for their participation. President Dr. Rashmi Patel, in an emotional address, extended heartfelt appreciation to every individual who joined the procession, and to direct and indirect supporters, participating organizations, mandirs, and businesses.

Trustee Director Satish Gabhawala acknowledged the “indispensable support” of the Chicago Police, dedicated volunteers, enthusiastic participants, the accomplished executive board, and the FIA trustees.

Executive Vice President Nitin Patel paid tribute to the diverse and dynamic Indian diaspora of Chicagoland.

The procession also featured walking groups full of enthusiastic youth and women participants.

Organizers distributed over 3,000 drinks of lassi to everyone at every float.

The India Independence Day parade is a flagship event of FIA-Chicago, an umbrella organization of some 50 community and non-profit organizations. It holds a wide range of community events through the year.

The Indian National flag will be flying at Daley Center in downtown Chicago on August 15th, the actual Independence Day of India. A Gala Banquet is scheduled to be held Saturday, August 13, to celebrate India’s independence.



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