‘Little India’ on Oaktree Road, Edison Celebrates 19th India Day Parade

Tamannaah Bhatia, grand marshall, greeting the crowds at the 19th India Day Parade hosted by IBA in Edison, New Jersey. PHOTO: videograb YouTube

India’s Independence Day was celebrated Sunday, August 13, 2023, in New Jersey with the 19th annual India Day Parade organized by the Indian Business Association (IBA) of New Jersey.

The long route of the parade from Oaktree Road, Edison to Iselin was strewn with hundreds of Indians who had come out to celebrate on an extremely hot day with their children and elders. It was heartening to see some watchers run and give water bottles to those marching.

The colorful parade had more than 27 floats and marches with Indian flags and American flags marching to the accompaniment of patriotic songs from Indian films. The organizing committee showed a great taste in selection of the songs.

Chief Guest Indian actor Tamannaah Bhatia rode in the first float of the IBA, greeting people and signing autographs to those who ran up to the float.

Other floats included those of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Shri Umiya Mataji Jyoti Rath, Samskar Bharati NJ, Valar Tamil Iyakkam, Northfield Bank, Vithal Mandir US, Multiple District 16, Sarvodaya Health Foundation, Sayerville GOP with both the Indian and American Flags, Mana American Telugu Association, Mahatma Gandhi Plaza, Radha Krishna Temple, Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple, Sri Sai Balaji Temple, A2Z Auto Body, Twenty/20taphouse.com, World Culture Festival 2023, TV Asia and more.

Edison Mayor Sam Joshi speaking at the India Day Parade in New Jersey hosted by IBA. PHOTO: videograb YouTube

Volunteers from the floats of Shiva Vishnu Temple and Radha Krishna Temple floats walked with boxes and plates full of Prasad which they kept distributing to the watchers standing on the side walk.

It was a treat to see the Indian Biker Group march on their motorbikes with the Indian and American flags flying in the air atop their bikes. The marching Band of the Muktajivan Swami Bapa played the Indian national anthem while marching the route, arousing strong patriotic fervor among the crowds.

One of the most impressive float was that of Hindi USA with one of the largest marching group, consisting of many young adults and grownups wearing saffron T-shirts and caps of the three colors of the Indian flags. The marchers also carried a banner stating ‘Hamari Bhasha Hamari Virasat’.

HindiUSA Float at the 19th India Day Parade Sunday, August 13, 2023 on Oaktree Road, Edison. The parade was organized by Indian Business Association of NJ. PHOTO: courtesy HindiUSA

More than 700 HindiUSA volunteers, students, and parents marched along with an attractive float decorated in banners in Hindi language, national flags and flowers with some volunteers dressed in costumes reminiscent of India’s freedom fighters, waving Indian and American flags and singing patriotic songs.

One of the banners on the HindiUSA float, “Ekta Aur Prem Ke Stambh Par Khada Hai, Isiliye Bharat Vishwa Mein Sabse Bada Hai” (Standing on the pillars of unity and love makes India the greatest in the world) became an apt slogan and many from the watchers took pictures with it in the backdrop.

HindiUSA, non-profit, has been conscientiously teaching Hindi to the younger generation of Indians for more than 20 years. Operating 27 schools across the U.S. with help of 500 volunteers, it teaches Hindi at 9 different levels to over 4,000 students, with an aim to preserve India’s language, culture, and traditions.

Representing India’s diversity and patriotism which all Indians abound in, the United Gujarati Christians of America also marched in the parade, with flags in their hands.

Indian American Muslim Council, New Jersery Chapter’s members marching at the 19th India Day Parade Sunday, August 13, 2023 on Oaktree Road, Edison. The parade was organized by Indian Business Association of NJ. PHOTO: Courtesy IAMC NJ.

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) drew everyone’s attention with its joyous march along the parade route. IAMC members, young and old and children, marched with Indian and American flags in their hands. It was perhaps the only marching group which waved a giant Indian flag along the way, while many danced around with big Indian flags.

Dressed in traditional clothing, the members carried photo banners to pay tribute to those who played a major role in India’s freedom movement, including Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Abid Hasan Safrani who was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s right hand and more.

IAMC logo banner describes it as an advocacy group guided by a passionate commitment to justice, civil rights, and harmony and it has chapters all across the U.S.

According to IAMC, this year the parade organizers had taken precautions to avoid disruptive elements that could harm the spirit and safety of the parade, which, last year, . had to be dealt with by the police departments of Woodbridge and Edison.

According to an IAMC NJ member, Tazeem Ansari, this year IAMC joined the parade “to pay tribute to the real values of India: peace, tolerance, and love for the diversity that makes the nation so beautiful.”

The parade ended with slogans of ‘Jai Hind’ as people went to visit the food and display stalls which formed part of the parade.



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