India Day Parade Photos
Beautiful Parade Celebrating Indian History & Culture
I attended the 44th annual India Day Parade in Manhattan on Sunday. As you can see by the photo at right, it was a colorful event full of peace, love and cultural enchantment, which are a few of the hallmarks of Indian culture.
It was a large parade including about 40 floats, 20 marching groups and six bands. We photographed Mayor de Blasio appearing at the stand to make a few remarks. And a number of food vendors as well as a number of cultural attractions were stationed where the parade terminated, in Madison Square Park, to provide food and entertainment from 3 pm to 6 pm.
The Indian Day Parade was started in 1981 making this years parade its 34th year. The parade was started by the Federation of Indian Associations [FIA] which, according to Jay (Jaswant) B. Mody [one of the parade officials I met at the event], the FIA started in 1974 / 1975 under a different name. The parade celebrates Indian independence from Great Britain on August 15th of 1947. Pakistan, which was a part of India prior to independence, was granted its independence from Great Britain on August 14th, 1947.
Federation of Indian Associations also celebrates the 26th day of January which is the Republican Day of India [the day the Constitution of India passed into law]. The Federation of Indian Associations also raises funds to help families and to donate to catastrophic situations at home and abroad. As of 2006 more than 300,000 Indian Americans lived in the tristate area and the Indian immigrant population continues to grow. The Federation of India Americans main office is in Jackson Heights in Queens. And significant Indian communities may be found in Edison & Jersey City in NJ, in Stamford and New Haven in Connecticut, and Jackson Heights and Manhattan in NYC.
Click here to read a report about events leading up to India's Independence and the India Day Parade in Manhattan NYC with photos. Story and photos by Michael Wood.
India Day Parade Photos
Great Parade Celebrating Indian Culture
Please see the introduction for the India Day Parade in Manhattan. The following is a history of how India lost and then gained its independence. The lesson is beware with whom you trade and always be sure to keep more than one option available even if it means short term losses.
In the 1600's and 1700's the British East India Company brought great wealth, employment and resources to Great Britain through the exploitation of the India subcontinent. The English set up their first colony in India in 1619. Over time the British East India Company established many outlets, first along the water accessible regions. The British East India Company worked with the ruling Moguls in establishing trade of various foods and silk / cotton fabrics for English woolen and metal goods. During this century the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Shah in honor of the death of his third wife. The Taj Mahal is considered to be one of the finest examples of architecture, incorporating Islamic, Ottoman Turkish, Persian and Indian architectural styles.
As Great Britain was the reigning naval power, the British East India Company used English technology and skills to control of the waterways to enforce their positions first vis a vis the Dutch and Portuguese in the 1600's as the company fought what were called the Spice Wars and later against the French in the 1700's over trading posts primarily in what is today Bangladesh.
The British East India Company relied heavily upon British military and naval power, so much so that in the early 1700's the British government began to assume a role in the governance of the British East India Company. In 1786, Major General Charles, Earl Cornwallis became one of the Governors of India following his defeat in the American Revolutionary War [see what might have happened here]. He is credited with establishing a pattern of governance that enabled the executives to become very wealthy.
As the Mogul Empire control continued to erode during the 1700's and 1800's; a number of British East India Company traders / executives returned to England with incredible wealth. In 1833 the British established a de facto Indian government to consolidate their control of the subcontinent. Within years of its establishment, the government issued a decree stating that the land of deceased rulers - who had no named heir or in cases where the heir was declared incompetent - was to go to the government.
In 1857 there was a rebellion by British trained Indian army personnel. The rebellion was triggered by a change in bullet grease which was said to use cows and pigs grease, which are forbidden animals to Hindus and Muslims. But, as history teaches us, rebellions and wars aren't really about cultural issues but rather about money and power and in this case huge economic disparities between classes of people. In history, the religious and cultural issues are almost always used to strike a resonant emotional chord to motivate the masses to fight and die for 'the cause'. Following the quashing of this rebellion, the British East India Company was closed and the British government took over.
Near the end of the 1800's, educated Indians established the Indian National Conference advocating for some Indian participation in the governance of India. By the early 1900's the British responded to a growing interest by educated Indians to play a more active role in their governance by establishing state governing councils in which Indians could advise. Following World War I, Indian agitation for greater control in their own governance began to grow, due in part to Woodrow Wilson's advocacy for the self-determination of nations in tandem with the creation of the League of Nations.
In the 1920's the English were losing control over India. In the early 1920's Mahatma Ghandi initiated the Non-Cooperation Movement where Indians were encouraged to boycott purchases of British goods, make their own and stage cultural protests. His effort was supported by the Indian Naitonal Conference. Mahatma Ghandi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammed Jinnah emerged as the growing troika of Indian leaders in the Indian National Conference.
On December 31, 1929 the INC declared India's independence. In 1930 Ghandi, a pacificist, practiced civil disobedience and staged a 250 mille long march where he publicly made salt which Indians were forbidden to do. He recruited marchers from his ashram, rather than the INC, as they were trained in the practices of non-violence. Ghandi's example sparked millions of Indians to begin engaging in acts of civil disobedience. Within a month, 60,000 Indians had been jailed for breaking the salt laws.
In 1935 the Government Act of India was introduced providing Indians with the rights to elect an Assembly which would have a say in everything except Defense and Foreign Affairs. In the elections of 1937 the Congress Party, lead by Nehru, won 8 of the 11 provinces and Hindus refused to join coalition governments with Muslims. The Muslims, long suspicious that they would be sidelined by a majority Hindu population were concerned about the outcome of independence. In 1934, Jinnah forseeing this fissure, left the INC and joined a cultural group, the Muslim League.
World War II put things on hold. In 1947 the British declared they would be vacating India in 1948. In August 1947 both Pakistan and India nations were created. Following the division of what was once India, there were violent outbreaks as many Hindus and Muslims decided to move out of geographies where they lived and were in the national minority. Ghandi staged a hunger strike in Calcutta to end the fighting. He came close to death, before the fighting stopped.
In January 1948, a fanatic Hindu assassin shot Ghandi. The assassin believed Ghandi should not be compromising / collaborating with the Muslim Jinnah. Ironically, Ghandi's death brought general peace.
Ghandi set an example for all humans - regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion or political beliefs - about how to behave as a human. One of my favorite edited quotes of his is:
"Live the change you want to see." And this is what he specifically said:
"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
We'll post a photo slide show at a later date.
Parades In Manhattan NYC
Click this link to go to a photo slide show of the India Day Parade Manhattan NYC.
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