TORONTO: With the theme of Indo-Canadian Unity in Diversity, the Indo-Canadian community here celebrated India’s 65th Republic Day at the Pearson Convention Center in Brampton at the weekend.
Top Canadian leaders joined Indian Consul General Akhilesh Mishra in raising a toast to India on its national day, organized by Panorama India which is an umbrella body of various Indian cultural organizations here.
Among those present were Canadian Minister of State for Multiculturalism Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal, Senator Asha Seth, MP Brad Butt, MP Kyle Seeback, MP John McCallum, MP Kirsty Duncan, MP Andrew Cash, MPP Dipika Damerla, MPP Amrit Mangat, MPP Bob Delaney, Councilor Dr. Raymond Cho, Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee and other dignitaries.
The ceremonies began, with Toronto-born Bollywood singer Natalie Di Luccio singing Indian and Canada national anthems in the company of Panorama India Idol contestant Shradha Ganesh and Jibanjit Tripathy, Chairperson of Panorama India, welcoming the dignitaries.
Tripathy said that by organizing Republic Day’s celebrations Panorama India was sharing a great piece of Indian history with millions of Canadians.
“Panorama India as umbrella organization for Indo-Canadian community organizations for last more than 14 years, is making consistent endeavor to preserve, promote and share the diversity of India through Republic Day Celebrations and Independence Day Celebrations. Today’ event is keeping with Panorama India’s mission to Educate, Celebrate and Collaborate,’’ he said.
Welcoming the gathering, Consul General Akhilesh Mishra lauded the role of the Indo-Canadian community in promoting Indian culture and keeping its traditions alive.
Mishra made special mention of eminent Indo-Canadian serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Vasu Chanchlani who was last month given Pravasi Bhartiya Samman by President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi.
Tim Uppal, Canadian Minister of State for Multiculturalism, praised the immense contribution of the Indo-Canadians and organizations like Panorama India to Canada.
Uppal also brought Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s message for Republic Day.
In the message, the Canadian Prime Minister said, “I would like to commend members of Panorama India for their effort in organizing this popular event and for their commitment to fostering fellowship amongst Indo-Canadian Community. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I offer my best wishes for a memorable celebration.’’
Bal Gosal, Minister of State for Sport, too congratulated the gathering and Panorama India for their contribution to the Canadian mosaic.
In her message Premier Kathleen Wynne said, “As Premier, I am proud of the province we are building-together-guided by the values of diversity, fairness, collaboration and creativity. I wish to commend the members and leaders of Panorama India for your commitment to building a dynamic and engaged Indo-Canadian community within a strong Ontario. Please accept my best wishes for a meaningful day.”
In his congratulation message read by MP John McCallum, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said, “Today’s activities will recognize the many contributions that Indo-Canadians have made, and continue to make, to Canada’s landscape. It is hoped that through today’s celebrations, present and future Canadians will be reminded about the positive impact that Indo-Canadians have had in our communities.”
The highlight of the day were the traditional Folk Dance Competition involving various Canadian dance schools and a Children Drawing Competition
The cultural extravaganza included invocation dance Ganesh Vandana by Konkani Association, Rajasthan folk dance, Gujarati Garba, classical fusion-unity in diversity, Mix Bollywood Songs, stand-up comedy, skit on unity in diversity, Bollywood fusion, Lavani dance, and a host of crisp choreographed medleys. The grand finale was Bhangra by Naach De Jawani.
The ceremonies closed after the presentation of trophies and the announcement of Idol Contest winners, sponsored by State Bank of India (Canada).
Akhil Elarumparam was crowned the fifth Panorama India Idol in the adult category while Linton Pinto was crowned in the junior category.
State Bank of India President & CEO Sunil Tandon and Panorama India Chair Jibanjit Tripathy gave away the awards.