Indians in Juba commemorate cultural festival

By Bida Elly David

Indian Embassy in collaboration with the Indian Association in South Sudan (IASS) has over the weekend celebrated a cultural event marking celebration of their 75th year of Independence.

The event was celebrated at Hindu Temple premises in Juba and attended by a number of participants consisting of officials from the embassy, members of Indian Association as well as South Sudanese domiciles.

In a statement extended to No.1 Citizen Daily newspaper yesterday, the major aim of the celebration to promote the comprehensive cultural ties between Indians in diaspora with the native country.

“India is celebrating 75 Years of its Independence as “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM)”. AKAM, or the grand festival of independence, is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive Independent India. It is an embodiment of all that is progressive about India’s socio-cultural, economic and political identity,” the statement reads.

The statement stated that the flag was lifted up on the 12th –March-2021 resulting into its recognition through the cultural celebration attended by 300 Indians and South Sudanese guests in Juba.  

The celebration was flagged off on 12th March 2021 by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and would continue until 15 August 2023. Indian diplomatic Missions/Posts, in collaboration with the Indian diaspora around the world, are organizing a number of activities to celebrate India’s glorious history, its people, culture and achievements. Around 300 Indian community members and South Sudanese guests attended the celebrations. The event was organized during “Navratri”, a nine-night Indian festival. Taban Emmanuel Baya, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and acting Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports of Central Equatoria State, graced the festivity as the Chief Guest for the event,” the statement read

The event also marked the eve of 153rd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (on 2nd October, 2022) and included a symposium on Mahatma Gandhi. Ambassador Vishnu Kumar Sharma, in his opening remarks summed up the 75 glorious years of independent India. He also attempted to place Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals in perspective for people in Africa. The honorable Minister reminisced his childhood days of learning about India and Indians. He also proposed that there should be a South Sudan -India friendship Association in Juba. His proposal was only welcomed by other guests present. 

The other speakers included Mr. Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) and Dr. Moses Monday John, Organization for Non-violence and Development (ONAD). Both shared their views on ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and their continued relevance in the present day.

After the Gandhi Symposium, the Chairman of Indian Association in South Sudan, Mr. Sanjay Kumar Patel opened the colorful extravaganza of Indian music and traditional dances; Garba and Dandia.

Delicious Indian delicacies served at the dinner enhanced the flavour of the festivity. Since India is also promoting millet as a nutritious food, millet (sorghum) dishes were part of the menu.

With foot tapping Indian musical tunes and songs playing in the background, a number of guests enthusiastically joined the group dance in the true spirit of festivities until late night.  The Minister and other distinguished guests also joined the gala and made the celebrations a memorable affair.

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