By: Dr Ratan Bhattacharjee
America is going to observe the National Celebration Day in honour of Indian Independence day. A great news for India in their Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Indian Diaspora will now celebrate the day with the Americans on the national level. In the early morning in Virgina on that day I am scheduled to meet Dr. Blondin Associate Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at Virgina Commonwealth University to meet her in person in her office who is no less super-excited on the occasion. She is an American who did her B.A. from Indiana University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before leading the Global Education Office, Dr. Blondin served as the inaugural director of VCU Globe, a global education living-learning program devoted to building cultural agility. Under Dr. Blondin’s leadership, VCU Globe received the 2015 NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award and the 2018 Andrew Heiskell Award from IIE.
Usually Indian diaspora in America celebrate Independence Day in the US. But this year the whole of America will participate in the celebration. I feel privileged to have got the invitation this year to visit the US and to stay near Washington DC in Virginia and to participate personally abroad in the National Day of Celebration. I had been a little frustrated not to be in India this year for hoisting the national flag or to attend any ceremony. This year my visit to the US is truly significant in VCU, because here as Affiliate Faculty in English in Virginia Commonwealth University. I will be able to watch how the two largest democracies of the world are celebrating on the same day. Indian Independence Day will this year be observed here in America as a National Celebration Day What a great news for my friends in India this one I felt thrilled.
Indian Diaspora in America will this year get the chance of celebrating August 15 as a National Day of Celebration. This is not limited to the Indians. In fact whole America will participate in this celebration. Shri Thanedar, an Indian American Congressman of Indian origin from the group of lawmakers introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives to declare India’s Independence Day as the National Celebration Day for the Americans as a whole. The bill was supported by Americans belonging both to the Republic and the Democratic in the Congress.
Earlier 15 August was the Relaxation Day for the Americans. Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the roses. So, on August 15, we celebrate National Relaxation Day which gives you a chance to just say no. No, you won’t be braiding Kiki’s hair. No, you don’t feel like cooking Pennywhistle pasta for the school bazaar. It’s your time to kick back and chill! But this year the nature of celebration changes, it will be a bonding the Americans will celebrate with the Indians. The resolution brought by Thanedar expresses the belief that the strong partnership between the United States and India, rooted in shared democratic values, will continue to advance global democracy and foster peace, stability, and prosperity for all nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Official State Visit to the United States on June 22 anchored the United States and India in a new level of trust and mutual understanding based on common interests and shared commitments to freedom, democracy, and plurality. He gave a wonderful speech on Democracy in the US Congress and got 17 times standing ovation from both the Republic and Democratic senators. Democratic Congressman Shri Thanedar proudly represents the people of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, which includes much of Wayne County including the city of Detroit, Grosse Pointe, and Downriver. Congressman Thanedar is passionate about fighting to improve the lives of hard working families in metro-Detroit. Prior to being elected to Congress in 2022, Congressman Thanedar served in the Michigan House of Representatives. At the State Capitol he helped pass the largest increase in per-pupil funding for Michigan Public Schools in state history. Congressman Thanedar knows firsthand how important education can be for a young person, just as it was for him.
According to the Global Affair Daily Statecraft, the Resolution was introduced by Indian-American Congressman Shri Thanedar and co-sponsored by Congressman Buddy Carter and Brad Sharman from the Democratic and Republican Party. Thanedar immigrated from India and lived in Ann Arbor for several years. According to the resolution, India is the world’s largest democracy, and it shares with the US a system where the people have supreme authority to govern. It also notes that India and the US are former British colonies. It expresses the opinion that the US and India’s strong alliance, founded on shared democratic ideals, will continue to advance global democracy while ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity for all nations.
Americans of Indian heritage improve public life in the US as lawmakers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers who diligently adhere to the values of the US Constitution and contribute to the nation’s enriching diversity, as stated in the resolution. Additionally, the resolution states that it is “proper and desirable” to celebrate with the Indian people and reiterate the democratic values on which the two nations were founded. The resolution states that US President Joe Biden requested a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In a statement, it was noted that Indian PM Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the US on 22 June established a new level of trust and mutual understanding built on common goals and shared commitments to freedom, democracy, pluralism, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. The US National Relaxation Day is now to get a more dignified celebration. I saw the Indians in Richmond too happy at this and along with them my Ameican colleagues, academicians and researchers are equally elated. The two largest democracies of the world come closer by such resolutions adopted officially in the US Congress. This may bring a message to China and Pakistan who are all the time trying to undermine India and create border tensions almost on no ground. This will also glorify India’s strong foreign policy. India a close ally to Russia earlier stood by the side of Ukraine while they got petrol at cheaper rate from Russia.
Again India is openly strengthening the bond with the US and Russia could not stop it. Nor the Indo –Russian ties are affected by the Indo – US friendship. This is a neo global non-alignment policy of India. Earl LeRoy “Buddy” Carter an American pharmacist who supported the resolution was a politician serving as the U.S. representative for Georgia’s 1st congressional district since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, Carter served as a Georgia state representative (2005–2009) and Georgia state senator (2009–2014). Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) was born and raised in southern California and represents California’s 32nd Congressional District. Sherman is currently serving his fourteenth term in Congress and has served in the House of Representatives since 1997. Congressman Sherman currently serves on three major House Committees. He is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee.
From 2019-2023, Sherman served as Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets. Prior to Chairing the Subcommittee on Investor Protection and Capital Markets, Sherman served as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. It is really a great day for the Indian diaspora here in the US that both Buddy Carter and Brad Sharman supported the resolution whole heartedly. They bring the two nations closer in a precious bonding. (The author is currently an affiliate faculty in Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond and a senior Columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com)