TORONTO: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and many other leaders are expected to join over 30,000 people participating in the India Independence Day Parade and celebrations in downtown Toronto on Saturday, August 10.
For the first time, a group from Manipur and two groups from Sri Lankan Tamils will join cultural troupes representing various Indian states in the celebrations.
According to Jibanjit Tripathy, Chair of Panorama India – which is an umbrella organization of various Indian cultural bodies, federal minister Tim Uppal, parliamentary secretary Deepak Obhrai and other leaders have confirmed their participation.
Tripathy spoke with News East-West
Q: What will distinguish the Independence Day parade in Toronto this year from previous years?
We expect much larger crowd participation. We are also continuing with the green parade mantra using decorated rickshaws. This year, we will have increased side-walk cultural performances. In addition, new community, cultural, faith and professional groups are joining to make a difference to the visibility of the parade.
Q: What will the thrust of the cultural part of the celebrations?
It will showcase the true cultural diversity of India, presenting dance forms from different states of the country. This is in perfect alignment with our mandate: educate by showcasing cultural diversity of India; celebrate India’s 67th Independence Day and collaborate with different community and cultural groups in presenting these performances.
Q: How many people do you expect?
We expect to have more than 30,000 floating crowd all through the day.
Q: Who are the VIPs coming?
We are expecting Tim Uppal, Minister of State of Multiculturalism; Deepak Obhrai, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Senator Asha Seth, MPs Patrick Brown and Brad Butt, John McCallum, John McKay, Kirsty Duncan, MPP Harinder Takhar and many others.
Q: Any big star coming to entertain people?
Yes, Parichay, the hometown Toronto based Bollywood singer, will be there to enthrall the audience from 6pm to 8pm.
Q: How is the Indo-Canadian community responding?
We have got excellent response from all Indo-Canadian communities. We continue to receive emails and phone calls with people trying to get more information. But more importantly, it is the energy and enthusiasm in their voice and interest in joining the Independence Day celebrations that is incredible. We are expecting that this year’s celebrations will top all the past years.
Ramesh Bangalore (extreme left in the above picture), director, Panorama India, in a quick interview:
Q: How many cultural troupes are participating this year?
We have over 20 cultural groups participating this year.
Q: Anything unique about cultural program this year?
We have one Manipur and two Tamil groups participating this year. We have got an overwhelming response.
Q: What time will performances start and end?
Proceedings start at 10 AM with patriotic songs. Then there will be flag hoisting (11.30), parade (12.30 pm to 1.30 pm) around the downtown core and finally the start of the cultural program at 1.30 pm – Kuchupudi dance and Bollywood and Punjabi songs by Parichay.
Q; Are all parts of India represented?
All Indian states are represented collectively in the parade, cltural Program and singing of patriotic songs