Huge crowds, several floats and marching groups, scores of lawmakers and dignitaries and entertaining performances add to the only parade in New York state
Under the banner of India Day Parade (IDP) USA, all sections of the Indian community joined hands to celebrate the 75th Independence Day with a spectacular parade in Hicksville, NY. People thronged the route of the parade, and gathered at noon at the starting point– Patel Brothers Plaza, where a stage was set up for the dignitaries to address the gathering — and in the afternoon near the entertainment stage at the parking lot near Asa Mai Hindu temple.
The Grand Marshalls this time were Consul General of India, Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Bollywood star Ileana D’Cruz, and Dr Jay Sarkar, philanthropist, entrepreneur and life consultant.
The highlights of the 10th IDP USA parade, according to its President Deepak Bansal, included a record number of two score dignitaries participating. Among them one score was elected officials including New York State Comptroller Thoams DiNapoli, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, State Senator Kevin Thomas, Supervisor of Town of Oyster Bay Joseph Saladino, Town of Hempstead Clerk Kate Murray, New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky and County legislator Rose Walker.
The enthusiasm this time was high because it celebrated India’s landmark 75th Independence Day and it came at a time when pandemic restrictions have been eased. It was also the only India Day Parade in the entire New York state this year. Also, for the first time, the parade program started with a ceremonial flag hoisting of the tricolor.
Some light drizzle and intermittent rain were no damper for the excitement and thrill of the occasion.
The four Guests of Honor this time were internationally renowned oncologist and Padma Shri Dr Dattatreyudu Nori, Diwali Foundation USA Chair Ranju Batra (accompanied by Ravi Batra, eminent attorney), Navika Group CEO/President Naveen Shah and young guru and motivational speaker Ishan Shivanand. Other notable guests included Farah Mozawalla, director of minority affairs of Nassau County, Ragini Srivastava, an upcoming politician.
The comely Ileana D’Cruz, wearing a floor length crème colored dress, was quite a sport, posing with fans. She is an Indian-born Portuguese actress who predominantly appears in Telugu and Hindi language films.
IDP Team leading the parade included President Bansal, Founders Bobby K. Kalotee and Kamlesh C Mehta, Past parade leaders Jay Singh, Indu Jaiswal and Beena Kothari and current officials Bina Sabapathy and Shashi Malik.
The entertainment stage saw a few scintillating song and dance numbers and 37 performances by kids, and the program finished around dusk. Facing the stage were 45 stalls selling ethnic clothes and jewelry and food of course. For kids there were free rides and free popcorn.
A Nissan car sponsored by DP Singh of Meetu Magic was the first prize of the raffle. He was there to do the draw and the lucky winner turned out to be Suhag Mehta, impresario and part of the founding team of IDP. Other raffle prizes included an Apple watch, a 50-inch TV set, and 2 air tickets courtesy CheapOair.
Bansal said the parade represents our motherland and people who come out to support make India proud. He thanked the IDP USA office bearers and committee chairs for working tirelessly over 3 months to prepare for the massive parade. He is grateful in particular for the active support and guidance from Jasbir Jay Singh, who led the team in 2019, and Founder Kamlesh C. Mehta.
The parade this year was supported by top brands including Jabir Patel, Navika Group, The South Asian Times, CheapOair, Patel Brothers, Vass Pipe, The Portables Choice Corp, PICC, Flushing Bank, STI Consultants, Maharaja, Badshah, Property Professionals, Commercial Capital Funding Group, Elevator the movie, Indian Visa Center, BCB Bank, Omni Mortgage, HAB Bank, No Limit Auto Body and Shiv Yog. Several media organizations, including Radio Zindagi and The Indian EYE, also supported the parade by promoting it.
IDP plans to celebrate the success of the 2021 Parade at a Gala at Antun’s by Minar on Thursday, August 19, 2021. A souvenir will be released at the gala.