On India’s 77th Independence Day, an intricate piece of country’s rich heritage adorns the iconic location in Big Apple
New York City, NY
On the occasion of the 77th Independence Day of India, a special event was hosted at Times Square by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) led by Rajeev Kaul, a board member, with Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna. The event received strong support from Consulate General of India, New York, and New York Mayor Eric Adams’ Department of Culture and Art led by Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. An 1,800 kg ‘Chakra’ sculpture, a replica of one of the 24 Chakras adorning the Konark Temple in Odisha, was unveiled at the event.
Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York, was present for unveiling and inauguration which was accompanied by loud chants and cheers of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, ‘Vande Mataram’, and ‘Jai Hind. Indian and American flags fluttered in unison while the venue reverberated with patriotic songs.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, the legendary Sarod maestro, also graced the occasion with his presence.
The ceremony was orchestrated by the IAAC leadership which has been working on the project since September 2022 when Rajeev Kaul took charge with guidance from CGI Jaiswal. Said Rajeev Kaul, “It took long to bring this to New York and get strong support and permissions to install at the Times Square. But today we feel proud to see such representation of India’s art in the middle of Times Square where it will be kept for one week.”
Rajeev Kaul expressed his gratitude to Commissioner Cumbo for her support and to CGI Jaiswal for his help to IAAC. Kaul praised Vikas Khanna for undertaking the initiative and “putting together resources to bring the art to life”.
“It is amazing to bring this kind of art, such a strong heritage to New York City and to showcase to the world the power of Indian arts,” Kaul said.
Khanna, who has devoted many years to bring this unique piece of art to New York, said, “For the diaspora and for the younger generations, they will get a reference of seeing something from India – so pure and majestic at the same time.” He commemorated the sacrifices and resilience of India’s past generations, underscoring the significance of India’s present and future.
Top representatives from the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) including Rakesh Kaul, Vice Chairman, Anil Bansal, Board member, Sunil Hali, former Executive Director and Board member, Suman Golamudi, Executive Director, along with the leadership of Federation of Indian Associations — NY NJ CT NE (FIA), a prominent Indian diaspora umbrella organization, joined the high-profile event. Key figures from FIA, including Ankur Vaidya, Chairman and Kenny Desai, President, were present at the event.
The Chakra sculpture will remain on display for a week at Times Square. This project, initiated before the pandemic, required the utmost dedication of artisans who beautifully crafted this awe-inspiring piece.