India’s diversity was on display at Baisakhi celebrations in India’s NY Consulate

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A vigorous Bhangra performance at the April 2, 2022, Baisakhi celebrations at the Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: Indian Consulate

Sikhs, Hindus, and others gathered at the Indian Consulate in New York April 2 for a celebration to mark Baisakhi which falls on April 14 and is observed by many religions and regions of India, and in the diaspora. The large hall of the Consulate showed the diverse cultural communities that make up India.   Children in bright yellow clothes and navy blue turbans were among the performers. There was a singing of Punjabi hymns and prayers as well as spiritual poetry by several speakers.

Several performances made the occasion a joyful one.

The celebrations also recognized the start of Navratri, the nine-day Hindu festival. It also came on the eve of the start of the 30-day Muslim festival of Ramadan.

A diverse crowd attended the Baisakhi celebrations at the Indian Consulate in New York April 2, 2022. Seen in picture are some performers along with India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, Dr. Sudha Parikh, Professor Indrajit Saluja. Photo: Consulate General of India in New York.
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Professor Indrajit Saluja spoke about the importance of Baisakhi as the day of creation of the Khalsa in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh. He noted how Sikhs now numbered some 30 million people. He thanked India’s Consul General Randhir Jaiswal for hosting the event. He called this year’s celebration at the Consulate as ‘historic’ coming as it does after the pandemic.

Consul General Jaiswal offered auspicious wishes to the Sikh community and others for their different festivals including Cheti Chand by Sindhis, Ugadi in Andhra, Karnataka and Telangana, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, as well as others in Manipur and elsewhere.

India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaisawal speaking to ITV Gold at the April 2, 2022, Baisakhi event. Photo ITV Gold

“When we celebrate festivals and fairs of India, we are celebrating the diversity of India,” Jaiswal said in his speech and noted that diversity was the strength of the community He also noted that several landmark events during India’s freedom struggle began on Vaisakhi. This year it was even more important to draw those connections as it is the 75th year of India’s independence, Jaiswal said. He stressed the need for  people to preserve, promote, nourish and nurture the diversity, and make it the basis of unity and in helping each other.

Others present at the event included noted Indian-American community members, including Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold; President of India Association of Long Island Bina Sabapathy;  attorney Ravi Batra, and community leader Ranju Batra;  Sangeet Sharma who also emceed the event; and representatives from elected officials’ offices including from District Attorney Melinda Katz’s office.

Dr. Parikh, in an interview to ITV Gold, wished everyone a happy Baisakhi, and said, “It (Baisakhi) is really a new beginning for the new year … and a great tradition to be taught to our second generation.”

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