This year’s India Day celebration at North Domingo Baca Park lands on the 75-year anniversary of the country’s independence from the British Empire.
Event Director Dr. Mital Patel said it is important to remember that independence was achieved through nonviolence. “The best thing to learn is that nonviolence has the power to get freedom,” Patel said in an email. “Freedom fighters appealed to the human virtues (which we all have) through their nonviolence. They suffered and suffered till the British themselves realized the brutality of their actions and agreed for freedom of India.”
This year’s celebration begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. There will be live entertainment from world-renowned tabla player Ustad Dr. Murli Manohar and Hemang Thakkar’s music group out of Houston. Food vendors include Bombay Spice, Bawarchi Biryanis, Curry Leaf and homemade Indian cuisine prepared from different mom-and-pop recipes. Albuquerque the Magazine’s Best of the City 2021 winner Sobremesa will be on site to provide beer to those 21 years and older.
In addition, attendees will participate in Garba dance and be able to purchase Indian clothes and jewelry. “There will be lots of good Indian food (some of which you cannot find in restaurants; recipes straight from houses), Indian clothes and jewelry. This will give people a glimpse into Indian culture, dressing and food,” Patel said.The celebration will provide a small sample of the rich cultural, linguistic and culinary diversity seen across the south Asian subcontinent. “In India there is a saying that every kos [a unit of distance equal to 1.8 miles] the taste of water changes and at 4 kos language,” Patel said. “While India has 22 separate official languages, it is home to a total of 121 languages and 270 mother tongues. Hindi is the national language. English is widely understood as well.”
As one travels across India, they will find the food changing from a more wheat-based diet in the north to rice-based menus in the south and fish and rice in West Bengal. “Depending upon the region, they even have different combinations of masala, which gives different flavor and distinctiveness to the food,” Patel said, adding that celebrations vary as well, with the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, Durga Ashtami in West Bengal, Garba dance in Gujarat and the Diwali Festival of Lights for most of the country.
Mayor Tim Keller will unfurl the Indian flag and a field representative from U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury’s office is expected to attend the event. The Indian national anthem will be performed by local youth, and a parade will take place around the park.
Participants will celebrate the cultural diversity in India and its unique flavor in the U.S., as well as the nonviolent actions that helped India to achieve its independence in 1947. “Gandhi used to always say that means is as important as ends in any situation,” Patel said. “Peace and nonviolence is very powerful, patience is a key virtue.”