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Indian staff and students at Massey University have been celebrating the 66th anniversary of India’s Independence Day, marked on August 15.
They joined 350 locals, including members of different ethnic communities, in Palmerston North for a vibrant festival organised by the Massey University Indian Association (MUIA) last weekend.
President of the association Dr Jaspreet Singh says the event at Speirs Centre Auditorium, Palmerston North Boys’ High School, “showcased the diversity and multiculturalism that is also an inherent character of any Indian living in New Zealand.”
“The Independence Day event was colourful and full of cultural performances from different states of India followed by delicious Indian dinner.”
Highlights included a classical Bengali dance, and Giddha dance from the Punjab state. Bollywood showed its colours with a medley of dances and songs, alongside cultural dances from the Bhutan and Nepal. A fashion show revealing the latest Indian fashion and bridal wear was followed by a quiz about India’s independence and history.
Indian Independence Day, a national public holiday in India, commemorates the nation’s independence from British rule in 1947. National flag hoisting ceremonies take place all over India by state governments, with a big national-level event conducted at the Red Fort in the capital city of Delhi where the Prime Minister of India unfurls the Indian flag, says Dr Singh, a food technology researcher at the Riddet Institute.
He says the Massey University Indian Association aims to contribute towards strengthening Indian cultural awareness, promote service, and serve as a social tie for Palmerston North’s Indian community, estimated at around 1000 people.
“One of the striking features of our association is the number of young, highly-qualified and educated members. The majority of them are born in India thus presenting a true picture of the new and modern India of present times,” he says. “We have around a 100 members, from the University and the local community. Having such an association is a very positive thing for our Indian students – they feel their culture is valued. This goes for other cultures represented here too. Massey is a very international place.”
Arthur Chin, Director International from the University’s International Office, spoke about the Indian community in New Zealand, and education and research partnerships between India and New Zealand.