Gathering for India's Independence Day Highlights Religious Diversity of Indian-American Community

August 21, 2006

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,1839914.story?coll=sfla-news-palm

On August 21, 2006 the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, "For Shailesh Shah, the best part of Sunday's celebration of India's independence was seeing the children so involved. 'There are so many youth groups showing Indian culture,' said Shah, of Palm Beach Gardens, as he scanned the Omni Auditorium on Broward Community College's north campus. 'We want our youth to learn Indian culture and Western culture and get the best of both.' At least 2,000 people showed up to celebrate India's 59th year of independence, its culture and its history. Dozens of Indian groups set up booths with information on India's heritage, business and religions. Children danced on a large stage to traditional Indian music and performed plays from Indian literature. 'This is one of the few events all Indians celebrate, regardless of religion or background,' said Lakshmi Subrahmanian, past president of the Association of Indians in America's South Florida chapter. 'This unites us. Everybody's wearing the colors of the flag. You show your spirit.' The celebration also showcased India's religious diversity. Zoroastrians, for example, celebrated their new year Sunday. Under their 3,000-year-old calendar, Sunday marked the year 1376 since the last Zoroastrian king of Iran. The Sikh Society of South Florida and the Jago Sikh Young Professionals also had a booth with information about their religion. Sheena Wadhwa said both groups are trying to better educate the public about Sikhism."