Governor Wes Moore declares January 26, 2023, as Republic Day of India in Maryland

Lt. Governor of Maryland, Aruna Miller addressing the gathering at the Southern Asian Seventh-day Adventist Church on January 28, 2023, in Silver Spring, Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Silver Spring, Maryland: Maryland’s first Indian-American Lieutenant Governor, Aruna Miller, who is also the first to hold the position in the nation, highlighted the importance of the US-India relationship and urged citizens to proactively engage to progress both democracies.

Miller spoke at the Southern Asian Seventh-day Adventist Church on the occasion of India’s 74th Republic Day celebrations on January 28, 2023, where Embassy of India’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador Sripriya Ranganathan, Maryland’s Secretary of State nominee, Senator Susan Lee, and Montgomery County Executive, Marc Elrich also addressed the gathering.

From left, Marc Elrich, Susan Lee, Sripriya Ranganathan, Aruna Miller, and Elisha Pulivarti at the Southern Asian Seventh-day Adventist Church on January 28, 2023, in Silver Spring, Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

On the occasion, Susan Lee, the first Asian to be nominated for the top post, presented an official proclamation from Governor of Maryland, Wes Moore, declaring January 26, 2023, as Republic Day of India in Maryland. The proclamation read, “The celebration recognizing Republic Day of India is a long-cherished tradition throughout the world. Maryland is proud to join with the Indian American community in this annual observation of community spirit and harmony as we commemorate Republic Day of India.”

Pointing out that India is home to 1.4 billion people, the world’s major religions, with the population speaking over 1600 languages and dialects, Miller said, “But what binds this diverse country together is its Constitution. A Constitution that secures all its citizens’ justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity. So, it’s a great honor to be here to celebrate the world’s largest democracy in the world’s oldest democracy.”

“We know that democracy cannot exist on its own. It’s not a place where it’s on autopilot. It requires every one of our engagement. It requires your voice. It requires us to stand up and speak for those that have been cast aside and marginalized,” said Miller. “It requires every one of us to have the courage when we see our brothers and sisters of any religion being attacked or discriminated against. That’s how democracy works with your engagement.”

Ambassador Ranganathan recalled the sacrifices made by Indian freedom fighters who fought against colonial rule to make India a reality. “And looking back over these 75 years of our journey, we can see how far we’ve come… And I think in that context it is a matter of utmost pride to me as a woman, that the women of India have made immense strides. This is something that we take not only a lot of comfort, but also draw a lot of confidence.”

Ranganathan congratulated Miller on her historic election and emphasized, “Indian diaspora in the United States is really our pride and strength,” while seeking the diaspora’s continued support in strengthening the US-India partnership.

Lee, who commended Miller for exceeding expectations and creating history stressed “I have to say it’s not because she is the first, it’s because she is the best of the best. Don’t you agree? That’s why Maryland is such a great state to live and work and educate our kids.”

“When we celebrate the Republic of India and how we got here, and how freedom and justice prevail over a former colonial government, where we could take control, and we could form our own destiny,” Lee said, thanking the President of US-India SME Council, Elisha Pulivarti, and Pastor John Daniel for the invitation to celebrate.

During his address, Elrich praised the civil rights movement and nonviolence resistance by Mahatma Gandhi and for Dr. Martin Luther King for adopting it as a model in the United States. “And that was clearly something that was inherited from the Indian tradition. So, you’ve played a role, not just within your own country… [but for] the rest of the world as a model for how to move forward and how to advance society. So, I want to thank you for all that…” he added.



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