Dubai: Thousands of Indian expats in the UAE braved dusty and unstable weather to watch top diplomats raise their national flag tricolour across seven emirates to mark the 76th Independence Day on Monday.
Indian Ambassador to the UAE Sunjay Sudhir hoisted the flag at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi while the tricolour was also unfurled by the Consul General of India in Dubai, Dr Aman Puri, at the Indian Consulate in Dubai, accompanied by the national anthem. Consuls from the consulate raised the flag on the premises of Indian associations in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain.
Though raising the flag is customary during Independence Day celebrations in institutions, the tricolour has assumed more popularity this year after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, urging every Indian to bring home the flag to display their patriotic spirit.
Why tricolour matters
In his speech, the ambassador said: “The day a country achieves independence is a landmark day in its history. For India, we achieved independence exactly 75 years ago in 1947 when our ‘Tiranga’, our tri-colour national flag, replaced the Union Jack. While each Independence Day celebration is important, today’s celebration is something particularly special because it marks 75 years of our independence.”
He added that Prime Minister Modi has given the call for #HarGharTiranga “because the tiranga represents, each Indian, and our dear nation. Under PM Modi’s visionary leadership, the Tiranga has come to be respected across the globe. Today, wearing the tricolour, or flashing the Indian passport, evokes respect for Indians. Global respect for the tiranga and the Indian passport are a proof of the success of India’s foreign and domestic policies.”
Quoting the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru Nehru’s historic freedom at midnight speech about “India’s tryst with destiny,” he said successive governments and generations of Indians over the last 75 years have together made India the largest, and perhaps the most vibrant, democracy in the world.
“When leading economies of the world are reeling under the impact of COVID pandemic, India is a shining example of being the fastest growing major economy of the world. We should all be proud of these achievements,” said the ambassador.
Grateful to UAE
“During the Delta wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, when our oxygen supplies ran low, it was our foreign relations which came to our rescue. The world responded instantly to India’s call for Oxygen. In particular, I wish to thank the UAE, for always being by our side when the need arises.”
Thanking the UAE Government and the Rulers of emirates for their graciousness and generosity towards the Indian community here, the ambassador said “the UAE is a manifestation of their vision towards building a country and society premised on peace, harmony, tolerance and brotherhood”.
He pointed out that India and UAE bilateral relations are also undergoing rapid and positive transformation, guided by the vision of the leadership on both sides. “Mutual trust and mutual respect have encouraged broadening and deepening of our ties and exploring new areas of cooperation.”
Recollecting the milestone achievements in India-UAE relations including the historic Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the Joint Vision Document and the announcement about the establishment of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in the UAE, he said both the countries have charted the pathway towards a shared future.
Community—pillar of strength
Lauding the vibrant Indian community, he said: “I would like to sincerely re-affirm that they are widely recognised as one of the most critical socio-economic pillars of strength of the UAE as well as of India-UAE relations. Their contributions, even during the most difficult of times, such as COVID times, have been exemplary and will act as an inspiration to Indians around the world. Their achievements make India shine and thrive on the global stage. Their contribution to the economy and development of the UAE is widely recognised, not only by the leaders and government of the UAE, but also by the Emiratis in general. Their sincerity in giving back to the motherland is a vital cog in the wheel of Indian nation building.”
Modi appreciates Dubai event
The ambassador also reminded the expats that while the big occasion calls for a big celebration, “we are also conscious about COVID pandemic which is not yet over, and the restrictions it imposes on all of us…That is why our celebrations are on a relatively modest scale. At the same time, I am very impressed by the participation of the Indian community, and the Government of the UAE, in celebratory events spread across the last 75 weeks under the banner of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.”
He appreciated those participated in the mega celebrations that took place over the week and pointed out that even the Prime Minister tweeted about the patriotic flash mob carried out in Dubai.
Retweeting the consulate’s video of a flash mob performance, Modi wrote: “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and #HarGharTiranga have captured the imagination of the Indian diaspora too! These visuals from Dubai are gladdening.”
Jaya Hey 2.0
The event in the embassy witnessed the screening of Jaya Hey 2.0, a rendition by 75 Indian artistes of the full five verses of Bharat Bhagya Vidhata, written Nobel laureate by Rabindranath Tagore in 1911. The first para of the song has been adopted as India’s national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana.’ The large audience at the embassy also sang one of the most famous patriotic songs ‘Saare Jahan Se Achcha, Hindustan Hamara.’ Winners of Independence Day competitions were honoured on the occasion.
Both the ambassador and the consul general read out excerpts from the speech of the newly-elected Indian President Droupadi Murmu on the eve of Independence Day.
In Dubai, cultural performances by students and musical troupes were also held. Men, women and children wearing tricolour attires and waving the flag shouted slogans hailing their mother land such as “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram.”