As India celebrated its 70th Independence Day, loud patriotic cheers like ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ were heard from the London’s historic Parliament square as the Indians living in the United Kingdom celebrated Independence Day in London. First, of its kind, freedom run was organised by the High Commission of India starting from Parliament square to High Commission of India (India House).
Over 500 enthusiastic Indians gathered to celebrate this occasion by participating in the one-mile freedom run. The streets near the British Parliament square lit up with the tri-colour flash stick as the participants, sporting the ‘India@70’ T-shirts, waved the glowing sticks, as they ran enthusiastically. Many participants gathered in the midnight came from different areas across the UK.
“We have celebrated our 70th Independence Day in a unique manner by organising a free run from the historic Parliament square opposite the British parliament at Westminster, under Gandhiji’s statue to India House which is the Indian High Commission. I am very heartened and gladdened to see such a large number of fellow Indians joining us in this celebration,” said YK Sinha, Indian High Commissioner to UK.
Towards the end of the run, Sinha addressed the crowd and motivated them to work towards the betterment of the nation by being active participants in social welfare even while they are abroad. Minister of Coordination, AS Ranjan, added, “It’s for the first time such an effort is being made and we could see such large participation of people. You could see the enthusiasm of the people at the midnight. This is to showcase freedom not only from colonial rule but also freedom from social evils like poverty, illiteracy, women emancipation. It is a celebration of our country’s milestone freedom of 70 years.”
“India has emerged as a largest unbroken democracy and we are the largest growing economy in the world. That shows that our economic, political and social front, are the backbone and growth engine of the country.”
“This is a national event on international waters. It is very important to organise such celebrations as Independence Day is a day which brings all communities across India together. Especially in the foreign country, it keeps us all united and brings us closer to our roots. It is important to remember that we have come a long way from colonial rule. We were not allowed to publicise this event due to security reasons, yet I am very pleased to see so many Indians who have turned up with just word of mouth publicity,” said Selin George, representative of World Tamil
Another participant, Vikas Mahajan, who came from Kent along with his family to participate in this event, said, “While continuing to live in the UK, we were able to grab an opportunity like this, it is very special for me. It gives me a great sense of pride and love about India. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I hope such events are organised regularly so that we Indians living away from the country would always feel inspired towards our nation.”