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An artist's impression of the facade of the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai site. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Indian missions and expatriates in the UAE are gearing up for the grand celebrations of 75 years of India’s independence, with first-of-its kind festivities planned at the India pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai being the major highlight.

The facade of the India Pavilion at the Expo site will transform into a projection platform where stories of 75 years of India’s independence will be displayed, Gulf News can reveal.

The Indian Consulate in Dubai revealed that the external facade of the India Pavilion is made up of 723 colourful blocks capable of kinetic movements, which will showcase “an India on the move” when the Expo begins on October 1. As many as 482 blocks are rotatable. These are installed on shafts that are connected to a motor to form a particular pattern of blocks. One side of the block is white and the same shall be in the front to form a screen for Projection Mapping, the mission said while explaining the mechanism.

The India Pavilion is one of the largest pavilions and among the few that would remain as a legacy structure at the Expo 2020 Dubai site even after the six-month mega event. There will be a grand celebration of 75 years of independence — displaying facets from India’s ancient heritage, right up to future projections for the country.

The four-storey main building of the pavilion will show India’s cultural diversity, ancient treasures, achievements and leading opportunities with cutting-edge technologies.

Day-and-night displays

While the Al Wasl Plaza, the heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai site, will be the world’s largest dome-shaped 360-degree surface, the India Pavilion’s facade will transform into a box-shaped projection surface, confirmed Dr Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai. During the day, the facade will create different moving patterns. In the evening, the facade will turn into a vibrant, mesmerising show. With sound, light and projections, India will come alive on this facade.

This is what the facade of the India Pavilion will look like under daylight. Image Credit: Supplied

To celebrate 75 years of India’s independence, 75 stories have been identified, which will be highlighted for 26 weeks. Every week, these patterns will take a shape of three stories of the 25 sub-themes. The legendary stories related to India at 75 will be covered through projection mapping, said Siddharth Baraily, India’s Consul-in-Charge for Expo 2020 Dubai.

“The facade projection will cover stories related to textiles, wildlife, Indian movies, sports, art and culture, special days such as Diwali, New Year, Republic Day etc.,” said Baraily. “Civil work is complete and presently fit-out and audio-video work are in progress,” Baraily added.

Flag-hoisting ceremonies

Dr Puri said this year’s Independence Day is special for Indian expatriates and missions. “India got independence on August 15, 1947. That was the first Independence Day and this Sunday will be the 75th Independence Day. The age of India as an independent country is 74 and the coming year is our 75 years of independence, which is very special to us,” he said.

On Sunday morning, the Indian Consulate in Dubai and the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi will hold flag-hoisting ceremonies with restricted entries due to the COVID-19 protocol. However, the celebrations will be live-streamed on social media. Diplomats would also be visiting various Indian associations for the flag-hoisting ceremonies in person, which was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr Puri.

Blood donations and virtual celebrations

Various Indian community groups in India also organised blood donation campaigns and virtual celebrations in connection with the Independence Day celebrations. On Friday, the consulate officials were joined by more than 200 vounteers to donate blood at the blood donation camp organised by FOI Events at Latifa Hospital in Dubai.

Around 235 people had donated blood during a similar campaign organised by AKGMA Social Club in Dubai on August 6, said president Shanid Rehman. “Our Youth Wing is also presenting a virtual celebration including songs, dances and fancy dress presentations by our members’ families,” he added.

India consulate
The Indian Consulate building in Dubai, decorated ahead of India's 75th Independence Day celebrations. Image Credit: Supplied

Dr Puthur Rahman, president of the UAE Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), said KMCC’s units across the country have planned flag-hoisting ceremonies. “However, the seminars will be held via Zoom.”

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The Indian Consulate said it will also organise labour awareness campaigns on Sunday.

Last March, Indian missions in the UAE had begun the more than two-year-long celebrations of ‘India@75’ titled ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ (Elixir of the Energy of Independence). The celebrations, that include a series of cultural events and digital initiatives, will run for 75 weeks until India’s Independence Day on August 15, 2022, and will extend up to the next Independence Day on August 15, 2023.

As part of the community level celebrations, Abu Dhabi-based philatelist Anil Kejriwal has launched a website where works of 150 unsung Indian artists are being showcased. “The website offers a platform for the artists to show their works to the world and the best art works chosen through public voting will be given cash prizes,” he said.