Vibrant Indian culture illuminates FIA India Day Parade

From left, Senior Advisor to FIA Dr. Sudhir Parikh, unidentified guest, President of FIA Kenny Desai, Sri Sri Ravishankar, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, leading the FIA India Day Parade August 20, 2023. PHOTO: Deval Parikh

The heart of Manhattan was transformed into a tapestry of colors as the 41st India Day Parade, organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NYNJCT), went down Madison Avenue Sunday, August 20, 2023.

It was a jubilant celebration of Indian culture and heritage. Since its inception in 1970, this annual event has grown into an iconic extravaganza, and this year’s parade proved to be a resounding success, drawing an estimated crowd of more than 100,000 people, according to numbers provided by FIA.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh with Jacqueline Fernandes on the FIA-NYNJCT float at the Aug. 20, 2023, India Day Parade in NYC. PHOTO: Kamal Joshi

The theme of this year’s parade, “Mission LiFE,” first articulated by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, underscored a message of environmental responsibility, urging the shift towards a greener ecosystem. The parade’s grand marshal was spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar.

Women in traditional Indian sarees performing on the India Day Parade route in Manhattan August 20, 2023. PHOTO: ITV Gold

The Parade, which commenced at 12:30 pm from the corner of Madison & East 38th was led by the Consul General of India Randhir Jaiswal, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, as well as Bollywood actors Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Jacqueline Fernandez.

Some Executive Committee members of the FIA-NYNJCT, and others pose for a photo at the India Day Parade Aug. 20, 2023, pose for a photo. PHOTO: ITV Gold

The procession boasted an array of beautifully adorned floats that highlighted Indian tradition and also businesses and community organizations of the Indian American diaspora, as well as representing different states of India.

Parikh Worldwide Media float at the Aug. 20, 2023, FIA India Day Parade in Manhattan. PHOTO: ITV Gold
ITV Gold float at the Aug. 20, 2023, FIA India Day Parade in Manhattan. PHOTO: ITV Gold

Among the floats was that of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, publishers of Desi Talk and News India Times, led by Padma Shri recipient and Chairman and CEO Dr. Sudhir Parikh. “This Parade is a great celebration of how far India has come under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Our younger generations in the US need to continue to celebrate India’s heritage in the coming years,” Dr. Parikh told Desi Talk.

A contingent of NYPD officers of Indian American and other South Asian origin at the FIA India Day Parade August 20, 2023, in Manhattan. PHOTO: ITV Gold

Dancers from the Rudra Dance Academy and Hollywood, Bollywood stars like Aric Diamani and Doug Wilson, and groups of other dancers, and marching bands, people dressed in vibrant traditional apparel, cultural performances, booth fairs were part of the Parade. Representational floats of Indian states including Jammu and Kashmir, and Manipur, went down Madison Ave., as did the Siddhivinayak Temple of USA, and the Indian American Muslims of North America.

Indian American Muslims of North America float at the FIA India Day Parade August 20, 2023, in Manhattan. PHOTO: ITV Gold

In the heart of New York City, the chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ (Long Live Motherland Bharat) rang out in a display of patriotism and pride felt by Indians living abroad.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the festivities continued with the enchanting ‘Gala on the Hudson.’

Celebrations continued aboard a cruise ship several speeches were delivered by officials and elected leaders.

Consul General Jaiswal said the Parade was an occasion to celebrate America and India together and their shared spirit of democracy.

Samantha Ruth Prabhu said the Parade made her realize how rich her culture and heritage is, and that the memories of the Parade would last her a lifetime.

Mayor Adams extolled the invaluable contributions of Indian Americans to the fabric of the United States, lauding their dedication to nation-building, and recognizing their pivotal role in shaping the nation.

New York Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams praised FIA for holding exemplary events in New York City.

Grammy award winner Falu performed a song dedicated to the International year of Millets – ‘Abundance in Millets.”

Deputy Consul General Dr Varun Jeph called on everyone to unite around the theme of the Parade – Mission Life “to make our planet greener for our future generations to come.”

President of FIA Kenny Desai said that the Parade aimed to foster unity within the diverse Indian American diaspora and said it was more than just a spectacle – it was a collective call to action for a sustainable future.

Chairman of FIA Ankur Vaidya highlighted the parade’s objective, which was “to showcase our motherland India in our homeland India and also to keep the Diaspora connected to their cultural roots.”

New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, in is speech, urged Indian parents to inspire their children to participate in the political process.

New York Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Indian-American woman elected to the New York State Senate,  commended FIA’s unwavering support for the Indian community, and described the India Day Parade as one that transcends borders and brings people together in a shared appreciation of Indian culture.



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