New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivers moving speech, continues Aug. 15, as India Independence Day

New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivering a speech about India’s 75th anniversary of independence Aug. 15, 2022. Photo: courtesy Governor’s Office

New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivered a lengthy and emotional speech to celebrate India’s 75th anniversary of Independence and crediting Indian-Americans for enriching the state with their contributions in every field.

“We’re here to celebrate Indian Independence Day. I know you know that, but I also know that this is a chance for us to acknowledge the incredible diversity of our city overall. And our state, and the many, many contributions of the Indian American community here. And we’re so lucky here in New York to have so many Indian Americans representing our levels of government,” asserted New York Governor Kathy Hochul, said on the occasion of India’s 75th anniversary of independence, according to an Aug. 16, 2022, press release from her office.

She thanked “the trailblazing Indian Americans in this room” recognizing the senior officials in her administration of Indian descent.

“We are proud that nearly 400,000 Indian Americans call New York home. More than half of them are in New York City,” she noted adding that the community is spread over many boroughs of the Empire State

“And these are the leaders, the doctors, the scientists, the engineers, the business people, the attorneys, the artists, the writers, the restaurateurs, the shop owners. They really do create this beautiful fabric and so many contributions. It really makes New York fabulous and so vibrant,” the Governor said.

She credited Indian American health professionals, the doctors and nurses, for their work during the pandemic.

“And of course, you keep us well fed with amazing food. I have to admit – I’m happy to admit, I have a husband who lives far away. He lives on the other side of the state. I see him on weekends and whenever I come home, he gets Indian food takeout because he knows it makes me happy. We have wonderful food, and we just break bread together and we’re always thinking of how significant this culture is,” the Governor enthused.

Hundreds of Indian Americans gathered to listen to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Aug. 16, 2022 morning where she spoke about India’s 75th anniversary of independence and how Indian immigrants have enriched the state of New York. Photo: Governor’s Office

Hochul went an length into the history of immigration laws and how it was only in the 1960s did the Immigration Act open the gates for Indian Americans even though they had been in the country a long time.

“So, the real opportunities came in the seventies, eighties and nineties. And that’s why we’re so excited to see so many new, new Americans coming here from India,” Hochul said, also drawing from her own Irish ancestors immigrating to America.

The Indian community, “has become such an important part of that fabric. And as your Governor, I wear that diversity with great pride. I’ve been to many, many Diwali celebrations and India Republic Day celebrations, but I’m very proud to be the first Governor of the State of New York to officially celebrate Indian Independence. Very first,” Hochul noted.

While the coming of independence 75 years ago, came at great cost, Hochul noted, it was a path toward true democracy. “And I don’t think the history books correctly tell the story of the over a million deaths and the forced displacement of over 12 million people. It was the largest mass migration in modern history at the time. And we don’t talk about that. We don’t talk about the pain and the loss that was endured to create the world’s largest democracy. So, I know for some, the wounds are still fresh. You know, the realization that what their parents and grandparents had to endure to have that elusive concept known as freedom and democracy, but they never stop persevering and fighting,” Hochul said.

Kevin Thomas, the first Indian-American elected to the New York State Senate, and Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Indian-American woman elected to the New York State Assembly, listening to the speech by Governor Kathy Hochul on the occasion of celebrations for India’s 75th anniversary of independence which falls on August 15. Photo : Governor’s Office

India and the United States of America learned from each other, she said. “We also learned from celebrating the many languages and the religions, countless, almost too many to count how many religions spoken by the 1.2 billion people. But it’s also just a statement of a community rising up, a world rising.” Hochul spoke of Indian national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and their influence on Rev. Martin Luther King.

“What I embrace and cherish about being Governor of this incredibly diverse state, and the Indian Americans who found their way here and have made us even better than we would’ve been (sic),” the Governor said.

She talked about recovering from the pandemic. “Even in the aftermath of a pandemic, it hit us hard, but I know that pulling as one people now, as one people united and a love of democracy, we will continue to do great things. And so, I thank you for being here. I say, Glory to India, Jai Hind,” the governor concluded.



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