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Adelaide’s Indian community marks its inaugural Republic Day celebrations
In Australia, 26 January is known as Australia Day, while in India it is celebrated as Republic Day. This year, the Indian Australian Association of South Australia (IAASA) celebrated India’s Republic Day by raising the Indian flag for the first time in Adelaide. The event was planned by President Adi Reddy Yara and Vice President Narayana Rai.
To raise the flag, there was a lot of preparation ahead of the occasion. Since there is no flag post outside the Indian Hall, Narayana Rai literally constructed a temporary flag pole with light materials; it was very ingeniously made. He also had to hunt down and buy an Indian flag of a lighter material as the one they had was too heavy. After many a trial and error, Narayana Rai worked out the best way to tie the ropes, roll up the flag with flower petals in it, and make sure it unfurled right.
On 26 January, some 70 people assembled at the Indian Hall, thrilled to be participating in this historic event. Everyone gathered and chattered excitedly inside, until they were asked to go outside where the flagpole had been erected, with flag waiting to be unfurled. As the flag was raised, flower petals fell to the ground, and the Indian and Australian national anthems were sung.
It is traditional for India to host a head of state or government of another country for Republic Day celebrations, like the US President, French President, and Japanese Prime Minister. For this significant event, the Mayor of Port Adelaide Enfield Council was invited, and the deputy mayor, Michael Iammarrone attended on his behalf. Narayana Rai welcomed everyone, and many speeches were given by important community members.
“As you know we are celebrating the 67th Republic Day, and this is when the Indian Constitution was introduced,” Adi Reddy said. “We are so lucky to be celebrating Republic Day as well as Australia Day.”
Mr Iammarone, who is of Italian background, said, “I know how much my community has contributed to this country, and I know your community is doing the very same thing. I just wanted to give you the message that Australia Day is just as much your national holiday as it is mine, or any other Australian’s.”
The national song Vande Mataram was sung by Seema Sreekumar. And also the flag song, Jhanda ooncha rahe hamaara. Everyone joined in singing these national songs with joy. Refreshments were served and everyone enjoyed samosa, biscuits, tea and coffee.
It was definitely agreed that all who attended thoroughly enjoyed meeting up and reminiscing about India, Republic Day, and Australia Day parades. Republic Day represents the true spirit of independent India. It is the hope of the community to continue acknowledging Australia Day as well as Indian Republic Day every year.