Valley Independence Day Attracts large Crowd
India’s 65th Independence Day
Los Angeles, Aug 27, 2011
India Association of Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley) celebrated India’s 65th Independence Day with great pomp and show on August 27, 2011 at Birgham High School grounds. An estimated 10,000 people attended the gala event. Deputy Consul General of India Kumar Tuhin unfurled the flag followed by American and Indian national anthems.
The program was started by Chairman Raman Chadha who introduced association president Bobby Kumar. Bobby welcomed the audience and spoke briefly about India Independence Day celebration in the San Fernando Valley. He also thanked members of his Executive team and other volunteers who have worked very hard to make the event truly successful one. Congressman Brad Sherman has been attending the event regularly for several years. He greeted the audience with “Namaste”, and presented US flag to president Bobby Kumar and another to Executive Vice president Gursharan Nat.
Congressman Howard Berman spoke, “With the reforms that began in the early 1990’s, India has become a model for emerging democracies around the world, a model of democracy, pluralism, and a pillar of regional stability. The U.S.-India relationship has grown from one that was focused on what we could not do together, to the many things that India and the United States can and are doing together. The United States and India are now working together to further scientific and technological innovation, cooperate in space exploration, expand educational opportunities, improve agriculture outputs, develop clean energy technologies, expand trade opportunities between our countries, and increased defense cooperation and training exercises. Our relationship with India is one of the United States’ fastest-developing partnerships with any major country in the world.”
Congressman Berman further remarked, “As we celebrate India’s Independence Day here today, it seems only right to highlight India’s nonviolent independence movement and its leaders like Mohandas Gandhi, who remain examples to both the United States and the world, of how people and movements can alter the course of human history.”
Raman introduced association co-founder Inder Singh who talked about IRS requirement of reporting bank accounts in foreign countries for which the Offshore Volunteer Disclosure Initiative was introduced in February 2011 and which is expiring on September 9, 2011. He urged the two Congressmen to help in:
- Raising the limit of $10,000 to $25,000 as the limit $10,000 was fixed several years ago, and if cost of living index is applied, that amount could be as high as $50,000.
- Waiving off penalties for the inheritance or the money in the bank prior to migrating to the United States;
- Exempting the temporary workers, such as H1b and L1 visa holders.
India Independence Day was celebrated on a grand scale, for the first time in San Fernando Valley, in 2000. Since then, the annual celebration has become a tradition. This year, over sixty booths were installed. Food booth renters had long lines of visitors and delighted them with mouth watering dishes. Boutique shops demonstrated the latest design in women apparel. Insurance and travel agencies and several others rented booths to put themselves in front of the prospective valley customers.
The cultural program showcased India’s rich heritage of classical dances, the new wave of film song-and-dance and ever popular folk dances. Mollie Dave of Sa re ga ma pa fame enthralled the audience for almost two hours.
The large participation of Valley Indian Americans clearly demonstrated that the community appreciated the efforts of IALA volunteers who devoted countless hours to organize the event. However the organizers should have started the program on time and could have got good stage emcees.