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Jason Kenney leads India Day celebrations with shouts of `Bharat Mata ki jai’ and `Hindustan zindabad’

Indian Consul General Akhilesh Mishra unfurls the Indian flag with Panorama Chair Anu Srivastava

TORONTO: In scenes never witnessed by the Indo-Canadians, defence and multiculturalism minister Jason Kenney led the crowd at the India Independence Day celebrations here on Sunday with chants of `Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and `Hindustan zindabad’ repeatedly.

It was also for the first time that the parade to mark Indian Independence Day celebrations here was led by a Canadian military band which included Indo-Canadian Lt.Col (Hon) Hari Panday.

Striking a chord with the huge Indo-Canadian crowd at the long-day celebrations by greeting them in multiple Indian languages, Jason Kenney lauded India’s diversity as a model for the world. “Canada didn’t invent diversity, India did,’’ Kenney said.

He said India is a Hindu-majority nation, but it had Dr Abdul Kalam, a Muslim, as its President and Dr Manmohan Singh as prime minister. “India is an example for the world.’’

Addressing the Indian Prime Minister as `Narendra Modi-ji,’’ Jason Kenney said Canada just welcomed him during “the first dedicated visit by an Indian minister in 40 years’’ after decades of “downgraded and frozen relationship.’’

While speaking at India Day celebrations in Toronto, Jason Kenney led the gathering in chanting `Bharat Mata ki jai’ and `Hindustan zindabad’

Referring to the bilateral nuclear deal and expansion of Canadian trade missions in many Indian cities, the Canadian defence minister said, “Our Delhi mission is the largest Canadian foreign mission in the world…and we are the only country to have a full consulate in Chandigarh…’’

Highlighting the growing proximity between the two countries, Kenney said Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s last visit to India in Nov 2012 was the longest foreign visit ever by a Canadian PM.

Immigration minister Chris Alexander and his children coming for India Independence Day celebrations in Toronto on Sunday

Kenney said Canada has welcomed nearly 300,000 new Indian immigrants and the number of Indian students has quadrupled since his Conservative Party took over in 2006. “Our relationship has never been stronger.’’

Welcoming his Canadian guests and the Indo-Canadian community to the celebrations, Indian consul general Akhilesh Mishra highlighted the special bonds between the two countries and the contribution of the 1.2 millionstrong Indo-Canadian community in promoting ties between India and Canada.

Warning Indians about forces which want to divide people, the consul general reminded them of the sacrifices by freedom fighters to overthrow colonial rule.

He quoted Bhagat Singh:
“Meri havaa men rahegi khayaal ki bijli,
Yeh must-e-khaakh hai faani rahe na rahe”.
“Watan rahe hameshaa shaadkaam aur azaad,
Hamara kya hai, rahe rahe, naa rahe”.

Calling India and Canada natural allies, the Consul General said, “While we can have any number of trading partners and suppliers of goods and technology, but Canada is a unique and very special partner for India for innovation research and human resource development. Because in Canada, both in companies and universities, innovation is not driven primarily by corporate greed.”

Canadian military band leads India Independence Day celebration parade in Toronto

The colourful Indian Independence Day parade, which includes cultural troupes from many indian states, this year was led by a Canadian military band which also included Lt Col (hon) Hari Panday. Indian Army colonel Vishesh Arora, who was in Toronto, also joined the parade in his uniform.

After the speeches and the parade, the day-long celebrations were packed with cultural performances even as food, jewelry and other ethnic ware stalls turned the heart of Toronto into a mini india for the day.

Earlier, Panorama India chairperson Anu Srivastava welcomed the gathering. Panorama India is the umbrella body of the Indo-Canadian cultural organizations.

Welcoming the huge gathering and dignitaries, Srivastava said Independence Day “is a day when we recall the sacrifices of the freedom fighters so that India would gain independence from colonialism, and take its place among the comity of nations.

“For all of us who have left our land of origin, India’s Independence Day serves as a reminder that we can and should continue to contribute to its progress and development.”

Indian consul general Akhilesh Mishra with Jason Kenney, Chris Alexander and Panorama India Chair Anu Srivastava

She said Panorama India is a platform Indo-Canadians “to collectively transform our association with India from one that is emotional to one that can lead to tangible economic development.’’

Recalling the buzz created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Canada in April, she said, “The tremendous enthusiasm with which the Indian Prime Minister was received everywhere is a clear indication that Canada-India relations are all set to take off into a different league altogether. As Indo-Canadians, let us work together constructively to make these relations vibrant and meaningful.’’

Thousands Attend Panorama India’s Republic Day Celebration

A large number of VIPs - Ministers, MPs, MPPs and who’s who of the Indo-Canadian community attended Panorama India’s 66thRepublic day celebration on Sunday Feb 1, 2015 at the Pearson Convention Center, Brampton. Thousands of Indo-Canadians attended the event.

A beautiful display of a typical Gujarati village hut created by NatarajCultural Youth Organisation greeted the visitors at the entrance and reminded them of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence.

Several community organisations represented the various states of India like Canada Odisha Society, Marathi BhashikMandal, Uttarakhand, Uttarakhand, UPICA, Kannada Sangha, Tamilnadu Cultural Society, Konkani Association, Telugu Cultural Association, Goan Oversees association, CANOSA, Patanjali, Web Malayalee and many others. Canada India Foundation, Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce, IIT Alumni Canada and many of Panorama India’s sponsors and senior officials from CIBC, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Scotia Bankattended the Community reception to facilitate interaction with the VIPs and leading Indo-Canadians.

Ms.Anu Srivastava, Chair of Panorama India welcomed the guests on behalf of the board of directors of Panorama India and thanked the guests for their enthusiastic support. She said “Panorama India is the only umbrella organization that unites various Indian cultural associations and celebrates Unity in Diversity”.

Mr Akhilesh Mishra,Consul General of India in Torontowas the guest of honour and addressed the gathering. He highlighted the enthusiasm, dynamism and energy of the new government under leadership of Prime Minister NarendraModi. The distinguished guests included Hon.Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship & Immigration, Hon.BalGosalMinister of State (Sport), SenatorAsha Seth, Members of Parliament – Mr KyleSeeback, Mr Bob Dechert,  MrWladyslawLizo and MsJudy Sgro.  Greetings fromOntario Premier were conveyed by Liberal MPPs-MsAmritMangat, Mr Bob Delaney and MsIndira Naidoo-Harris. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie also spoke at the event. The speakers highlighted the growing trade between India and Canada and the tremendous opportunities offered by India’s rise as an economic giant. A number of well-known Indo-Canadians were present including prominent businessman Mr Deepak Kumar who flew in from Yellowknife to specially celebrate this occasion and has committed his allegiance to Panorama India.

Panorama India celebrations highlightedthe diversity of India through many dance and musical performances and included a Folk Dance Competition, Drawing Competitionfor children, food court and Meena Bazaar with a variety of clothes, food, and jewelry booths. Audience enjoyed the professional Bharatnatyam performance, Roveena’s soulful rendition of NationalAnthem and the ever popular Panorama India Idol contest.

Ms Tanya Saxena, a talented Bharatnatyam dancer from New Delhi, India and a disciple ofPadmabhushanSarojaVaidyanathan gave an excellent Bharatnatyam performance.A highly enthusiastic group of performers from Newfoundland, Bollywood Jig presented exciting dances and gave impressive display of their skills.

The folk dance competition featured folk dances from Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, UP and Tamilnadu. SG Expressions who presented “Thiruvathirakali” a folk dance from Kerala won the competition followed by Tamilnady Cultural Society of Canada.

Panorama India Idol contest received tremendous response and received more than 50 applications. The preliminary rounds conducted at Don Bosco School, Etobicoke on 18th Januaryimpressed the judges with high quality performances from many participants.The top 3 selected in each category performed in front of the capacity crowd this keenly fought contest. The Junior Idol contest was won by SwarangVatve and SangeetaRanchandran was declared the winner in the Senior Idol contest. Leading personalities in the field of Music - Mr BijoyChakroborty, MsRasika Jog and MsManjulaSrikanth judged the Panorama India Idol contest.

Mr Rajesh Gupta, one of the event sponsorshanded over the prizes to the winners of the Panorama India Idol as well as the drawing competition.

Panorama India Chair Anu Srivastava concluded the event “We are poised to grow Panorama India and this is possible only with the continued support of sponsors, Panorama’s board and volunteers”.


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