To mark India’s 75th Independence Day anniversary in recent times, the Indian flag was recently hoisted at the Athlone Civic Centre.
Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Frankie Keena said that it was an honour for this occasion to be recognised following initial contact from representatives of the Indian community in Athlone.
“There are a large number of Indian Nationals living and working in the Athlone area and I am delighted that their national flag has been flown alongside our Irish flag over the the Athlone Civic Centre to mark their historic independence from almost a two hundred year British rule,” Cllr Keena acknowledged.
“The Indian community in Athlone was elated to see both flags flying aloft together. Remarkably, the three colours in both the Irish and Indian flags are similar. The two countries faced similar challenges during their phase of respective Independence movements.
“On a national level Indians also marked this occasion while following Covid-19 protocols. For instance, the main celebration was held in the Indian Embassy in Dublin and also in Galway the current Indian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Mr Sandeep Kumar, hoisted the Indian flag.
“The Indian Independence movement began during World War I and was led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the British House of Commons on July 4, 1947, and passed within a fortnight. It provided for the end of British rule in India on August 15, 1947. After that, India became a free country with the bifurcation of India and Pakistan.
“Some of the great freedom fighters who helped in India’s freedom struggle include Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Subhas Chandra Bose and many more.
“India’s Independence Day is significant as it stands as a reminder of the sacrifices that many freedom fighters made to get independence from British rule. It is a national holiday and it is usually observed throughout the nation with the hoisting of the tricolour, parades and cultural events.
“India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of Red Fort in Delhi on August 15 1947. It is a tradition that has since been followed by the incumbent Prime Minister, followed by an address to the country,” Somesh Kumar, a member of the Indian community in Athlone, stated.