Unprecedented crowds — numbering 100,000, according to the organiz- ers — attended the 22nd annual
Festival of India and parade hosted by the
Federation of Indo Americans of Northern
California in Fremont, California, August
16 and 17.
San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra
hoisted the Indian tricolor, flagging off the
celebrations that featured a fair, parade,
and film festival.
“This is the sixth year I’ve been hosting
the Indian flag raising ceremony at the San
Jose City Hall,” a beaming Kalra told India
Abroad. “For the first time this year, I was
joined by the mayor, council colleagues, the
consul generals of India and Mexico, Dr
Romesh Japra (FIA convener and presi-
dent) and Rajesh Verma. Although this is
the 6th year, it feels just as special as the
first year to see the appreciate crowd of
Indian Americans and other community
leaders pay tribute to the largest democra-
cy in the world while showing gratitude to
the contributions of Indian Americans to
this great country, particularly here in
About 200 people attended the flag-
hoisting ceremony, including a number of
local elected officials and community lead-
ers. The national anthems were sung by
Angela Tirado and Alka Bhatnagar.
At the fair, 126 vendors – some from as
far as New York – sold ethnic wear, and
food booths covered half of the fair ground.
There were 26 floats at the parade, and it
was led by Bollywood actors Ayushmann
Khurrana and Esha Deol.
“I am from Chandigarh and I am not
from a film industry family but anybody
who has talent can make it in our country,”
Khurrana (Vicky Donor) told India
Abroad. “You (the Diaspora) have main-
tained the value of India and culture; that
Deol danced to the theme song from
The Chhandam School of Kathak and
Alka Bhatnagar performed at the reception.
‘You have made India proud and you are
the bridge between America and India,’
bunch of separatist Sikh protesters added a sour note to the India
Day parade, shouting slogans like ‘Shame-Shame India.’
“We don’t recognize this day,” Dr Pritpal Singh, president,
American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, told India Abroad.
He said he has been coming to the parade to protest for the past 15
“This is a black day for us,” he said. “Sikhs never signed the Constitution
of India, so it may be Independence day for other Indians, but not for us.”
Quite a few young girls watching the parade seemed irked by the
“We are Sikh too, but we are Americans, and it’s embarrassing when
they shout each year,” one of the girls told India Abroad, refusing to give
her name. “Grow up, this is America. You live here. Don’t ruin the festival.”
– Ritu Jha
celebrate India in Fremont
The sour note
Scenes from the parade.
A Sikh protest at the parade.