Wednesday 28th January; the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan celebrated Republic Day.
After tasty snacks, assembled in the auditorium on stage were Lord Ranbir Singh Suri, Bhavan Chairman Mr Joginder Sanger, Indian High Commissioner Mr Ranjan Mathai, Baroness Usha Prashar PC, and Vice Chairman, Padma Shri Dr. John R. Marr.
The Bhavan’s Executive Director and gentle force behind the Bhavan’s success, Dr Nandakumara welcomed guests with a prayer.
Among the audience were Sir Mota Singh Q.C. with his brother, and sitar teacher Punita Gupta with her husband.
After the prayer Mr Joginder Sanger spoke about the work of the Bhavan. He thanked the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham and Dr Nandakumara and his team.
Baroness Usha Prashar said she had been a friend of the Bhavan for over three decades. She mentioned India’s cultural and spiritual unity expressed through literature, dance and music.
She described the “Encouraging” World Bank India forecast. The Baroness said that she and other diaspora Indians, “are like the banyan tree, with roots in India,” adapting to life abroad. She quoted Gandhi; “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts of its people.”
Chief Guest the Indian High Commissioner, H.E. Mr Ranjan Mathai, said that he was honoured to be attending the celebration of India’s 66th Republic Day and that he and his wife Mrs Gita Mathai always enjoy attending Bhavan events.
Mr Mathai described India as a “Modern nation built on a vibrant cultural heritage.” He referred to US President Obama’s recent second visit to India and the close ties that had developed between India and the USA during the past eight months. He said that 2015 was likely to be even busier for P.M. Narendra Modi, who wanted the diaspora “to contribute to India’s knowledge.” He mentioned how 177 out of 193 nations co-sponsored India’s resolution to create a World Yoga Day on June 21st and that the High Commission would be celebrating the event.
He gave praise, saying “the Bhavan communicates Indian values in everything you say and do.” He quoted Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, describing the Indian Constitution as “The Holy Book of Democracy”. Mr Mathai also said that the strength of society is measured by its survival and the strength of its institutions.
Dr Marr gave a vote of thanks, and The Bhavan’s Parvati Nair introduced patriotic Bengali, Hindustani and Karnatic songs followed by Bharatanatyam and Kathak dance presentations. The Indian national anthem ended proceedings.