High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra on Australia’s tricolour-illuminated monuments

Seeing your city’s monuments lit up in India colours in an Independence Day after-party

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It’s the morning after Independence Day 2022 and we’re still basking in that warm glow of celebrations to mark #IndiaAt75.

Topping off the festivities last night, wherever you were, was seeing your city’s iconic monuments light up in India colours.

Saffron, white and green defined the façade of 40 of our buildings here in Australia, and call us biased, but they looked simply splendid against the darkness of the night.

How opportune, for example, that it was a perfectly clear night here in Sydney for the Opera House to wear its India-themed sari. The Ashoka Chakra stood out bright and proud on the middle sail, drawing attention to itself, flanked by sheaths of the most beautiful saffron and the brightest of green on the sails either side.

Lucky it was so stunning, because it was the only NSW icon that came to the party.

But yes, boo to you, NSW, even though yours may be the most identified monument. Even South Australia offered up two monuments (Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Convention Centre).

NSW was on par with Northern Territory, with one mark on its own tally (Darwin Civic Centre).

ACT saw the Indian colours at 13 locations (including National Museum of Australia, Treasury Building and Old Parliament House); QLD at 8 locations (including the Gabba, Story Bridge, and Brisbane City Hall); Vic at 5 locations (including MCG and Bolte Bridge); WA at 6 locations (including Trafalgar Bridge and Bell Tower); and Tasmania at 5 locations (including Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre and Franklin Square).

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Australia’s Indian community spent the night sharing these pics with friends and family worldwide – a wonderful way to finish Independence Day.

This after-party of lights was a campaign spearheaded by the Indian High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra.

“It took about two months in planning,” Mr Vohra told Indian Link. “The Australian authorities were very forthcoming. In many ways they were just as invested, because alongside celebrating the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, they also view it as 75 years of diplomatic relations.”

Had he intended to make it 75 monuments, we asked.

“No, we did not start off with any particular number,” he offered. “We made it to 40. But there were other monuments (that jumped on the bandwagon), especially in smaller towns such as Townsville and Toowoomba and other smaller regional centres, and I think in the end we may well have surpassed 75 monuments.”

And which one was Mr Vohra’s favourite?

“I haven’t seen them all yet, photos are still coming through,” he replied. “It’s hard to pick a favourite, as it all depends on the quality of photographs, but I like the ones from Brisbane.”

(Cop that, Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Cricket Ground).

The High Commissioner was at the airport flying to Perth on the morning of the 16th, so there was no rest for him after the many events for Indian Independence that he no doubt attended (and organised). Which event has he enjoyed the most?

“Well, we’re still celebrating – there’s a few more events to come. But if I had to pick from those so far, it would have to be welcoming INS Sumedha to Perth. This event reached a large number of people, who all appreciated and enjoyed it. The Sumedha hosted hundreds of visitors. Its Navy Band was quite popular, even playing at the India Day Parade in Perth. That we were able to take the entire Sumedha experience to such a large section of the public, was wonderful.”

Of the 40 Australian monuments that sported India colours, we found 18 here. Can you help us complete our list? Email your pics to editor@indianlink.com.au

READ MORE: Indian Independence Day: State of Nostalgia

Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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