Birmingham Town hall Painted in Indian Tri-Colour For 72nd Independence Day Celebrations
Home > Birmingham Town hall Painted in Indian Tri-Colour For 72nd Independence Day Celebrations
On August 15, 2018, billions of Indians across the world celebrated the 72nd anniversary of India’s Independence with great zeal and enthusiasm. The Consulate General of India in Birmingham held a grand celebration to mark the day, and to pay respects to the architects of the nation. 
 
To begin the celebrations, Consul General Dr Aman Puri unfurled the national flag in the Consulate premises. It was an occasion to salute the heroic and brave patriots who contributed to the creation of an Independent India. The event was marked by the rendition of National Anthem and reading out of the Honourable President of India’s message on the eve of Independence Day.
 
This was followed by a grand cultural event in the heart of the city at the iconic Birmingham Town Hall which was hosted by the Consulate General of India in the evening of 15th August. Around 800 people graced the occasion which included professionals of various sectors, Indian community leaders, business executives, media representatives, and other invited guests. Local British community representatives were also present. Prominent dignitaries such as Mr John Crabtree, OBE (Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands), Mr Mike Kapur (Lord-Lieutenant of Leicester), Dr Beverly Lindsay, OBE OD VLL (Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Midlands), Councillor Yvonne Mosquito (Lord Mayor of Birmingham), Councillor Rajash Mehta (Mayor of Telford and Wrekin), and several other Mayors and Mayoresses attended the celebrations.   Ms Neena Gill, CBE (Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands), Professor Robin Mason [Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) University of Birmingham], and Professor Asif Ahmed (Founder of Aston Medical School at Aston University and Founder & Chairman of MirZyme Therapeutics) were among the other dignitaries present at the occasion. 
 
Consul General, Dr Aman Puri in his welcome address shared his pride as an Indian belonging to the world’s largest democracy, and the oldest continuous living civilisation. He remembered the freedom fighters and martyrs for their contributions and also paid tribute to those Indians who are working consistently towards making a better India. He made special mention of the contribution of women whether in the work force or as homemakers, towards building the modern nation. He enumerated India’s contribution in the cultural, economic and scientific fields and informed the gathering of the ambitious project “Gagan Yaan” announced by the Honourable Prime Minister of India from the ramparts of Red fort. The project aims to take India’s first indigenous manned mission to space by 2022. The Consul General also informed the gathering that the world's largest government funded healthcare scheme which was announced recently, will be rolled out in September 2018. Dr Puri appreciated the role of 31 million strong Overseas Indian community, the world's largest diaspora, for being hugely successful and being a pillar of strength and resilience for the Indian economy. He quoted Honourable Prime Minister Modi that the Indian diaspora serves as a 'living bridge' between India and the world. He also informed that 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi will be celebrated from 2nd October over a two year period.
 
Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, termed the evening as a moment for remembrance of the central historical event of the 20th century South Asia, and a time for reflection. He called the day as celebration of the birth of the world’s largest democracy, a democratic rule based on one person, one vote, with no bar for race, gender or religion. He informed that over 2,00,000 people of Indian heritage, have made West Midlands their home and their contribution have been quite remarkable, with almost GBP one billion being traded between the West Midlands and India each year.
 
Councillor Yvonne Mosquito, Lord Mayor of Birmingham, commented that Independence Day is a time for the celebration of the significant contribution of Indian community to UK. She remarked that India is the jewel in Commonwealth, despite the significant challenges it has faced. She also appreciated the collective contribution of Indians, and that the Indians had triumphed where others failed. 
 
Councillor Rajash Mehta, Mayor of Telford and Wrekin, emphasised on building bridges and bringing communities together. He stated that the communities here, though diverse are united and it is the key to building a better and brighter future for the next generation. He expressed hope that the links so created will help to establish a better working relationship between Indian and British cultures of the 21st century. 
 
Ms. Neena Gill CBE, Member of the European Parliament, emphasized on the need for young British Indians to learn about the history of the country of their origin, be connected with their roots and contribute to the socio economic development of India. She encouraged the second generation British Indians to travel to India and build linkages in the fields of education, culture, trade and commerce. She also mentioned that Indian community needs to play a bigger role in British politics as there was a dearth of young leaders. She also congratulated the Consulate General of India for celebrating the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh ji, and hoped that there would be similar celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji during the year 2019.
Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) University of Birmingham, observed that that India has come a long way, and is implementing progressive policies such as GST and the National Health Protection Scheme. He however commented that the UK’s political leadership needs to put in more efforts towards improving the relationship with India. He informed that the bilateral research collaboration between UK and India has grown exponentially and that UK ranks 3rd in R&D while India ranks 10th in the world. He called both the countries as research powerhouses. Prof Mason informed the gathering that India Institute’s inaugural distinguished lecture in collaboration with the Consulate General of India will be delivered by former Foreign Secretary of India, Ambassador Dr. S Jaishankar. Ambassador Jaishankar is currently the President Global Affairs of the TATA group.
 
Professor Asif Ahmed, Founder of Aston Medical School at Aston University and Founder & Chairman of MirZyme Therapeutics, remarked that the Indian society has been multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic from time immemorial. The spirit of multiculturalism without any bias to religion or sect, has kept India united in diversity, which is the soul of India. He encouraged the gathering to do their best and serve as a bridge between India and Britain in commerce, trade and higher education.
 
The speeches were followed by an array of cultural programmes. Performers from Tanushree, Atreyee and Chitralekha dance group added colour and vigour to the evening by performing Indian traditional folk and classical dances. The message of patriotism was conveyed through poems by an Urdu poet and members of Geetanjali Multilingual Literary Circle. Singer and composer of music Jasbir Wouhra sang songs which inspired patriotism among those present. 
 
Thereafter, Consul General Dr. Aman Puri, honoured Mr. Paul Sabapathy, Former Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands for his outstanding contribution towards cohesion of the Indian and British communities in the United Kingdom. He also felicitated Ms. Piali Rai, Director, Sampad South Asian Arts and Mr. Jas Wouhra, Managing Director, East End Foods Plc. The event concluded with the singing of National Anthem.
 
Indeed, it was a day of elation, a day of remembrance of the freedom fighters, a day to cherish and respect the very gift of freedom. The world is going through uncertain times in many parts, and the geo-politics is getting ever more complex. It is time for nations to again stand together, and respect every nation’s right to be sovereign, and to promote peace in the world.