New York: Thousands of Indian-Americans
living in the New York area have gathered at Madison Avenue
for the annual India Day parade to commemorate the 65th
independence day of their homeland, and used the occasion to
extend their support to activist Anna Hazare`s anti-corruption
The 31st `India Day Parade`, organised by the Federation
of Indian Associations, saw Bollywood stars and politicians
rub shoulders with the Indian population living in the
tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as
Madison avenue was flooded in shades of the Indian tricolour.
Actress Rani Mukherjee was the grand marshall for the
parade, which is touted as the biggest Indian parade in the
Noted classical singer Pandit Jasraj, actor Gulshan
Grover and singer Shibani Kashyap were also present at the
parade that ran for 10 blocks in the heart of New York city.
Supporters of Hazare`s Lokpal Bill also turned out in
large numbers for the `Walk Against Corruption`.
Wearing the `Anna cap`, the supporters waived banners and
placards and shouted slogans of `Remove corruption, save
India`, `Enact strong Lokpall Bill`, `We want Jan Lokpal`, `We
are with you Anna Hazare` and `India is with you, the world is
with you Anna.`
Vamsi Veeramachaneni of the `India Against Corruption`
organisation said that Indians living abroad are
"frustrated" to see the growing level of corruption in India.
"All the Indians have gathered here to support Anna
Hazare as he represents the future of a corrupt free country.
We want to see a corruption-free India.
We have had independence for over 60 years and we are yet
to tackle corruption, which continues to be the biggest
problem in the country," he said.
Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo, who is of Indian
descent, was the guest of honour at the parade.
The parade comprised floats by US-based Indian
organisations and dance performances showing the cultural
diversity of India.
Mukherjee waived out to the crowd and said it was
"fabulous" to see Indians living abroad celebrate their
independence day with such fervour.
Seeing the large turnout of Indian-Americans at the
parade, Mukherjee said she felt as "if I am in India today."
FIA said Mukherjee will preside over a ceremony at the
Empire State building where the tower of the iconic New York
building will light up in colours of the Indian flag.
Mukherjee will also ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ
stock exchange on Monday. Last year actress Preity Zinta had rung
the bell at the exchange in Times Square.
The parade`s official theme was `My Earth, My Home` and
sought to raise awareness about environmental pollution.