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India's Independence celebrated in Scranton

On Aug. 15, 1947 India gained independence from the United Kingdom. Seventy-six years later, the Indo American Community of Scranton commemorated the important event with a parade and celebration at Nay Aug Park in the city.

“Your presence here reflects the remarkable bond that ties us to our roots, no matter the distance," said Vithalbhai Dhaduk, MD.

Waving the flag of India and the American flag, parade participants followed a truck playing music from the country. They chanted an homage to India.

Dhaduk, a neurologist, opened up the celebration on Saturday.

He said that the around 1,000 people of all ages from Scranton’s Indian community were paying homage to their forefathers who fought for independence.

"Their legacy inspires us to uphold the values of justice, equality, liberty, that continue to define the great nation of India," he said.

After a performance of the U.S. and India's National Anthem, young children dressed up like important figures from India, including the first prime minister and the current leader. Afterwards, dancers of all ages performed routines to new and traditional Indian music.

Like many of the community members celebrating Saturday, Al Patel was dressed in the country’s flag colors. He wore an Indian waistcoat vest in orange with an orange, white and green collar and cuffs.

Patel is the president of the Indo American Community of Scranton and helped organize the celebration.

Behind him, sugar cane juice was being prepared. The fibrous stalks were juiced fresh at the event with ginger and lemon. The beverage is sold throughout India, especially in the summer months.

"We try to celebrate to make everybody unite together," he said.

Sugar Cane Juice is pressed for participants of the India Independence Celebration at Nay Aug Park.
Aimee Dilger
Sugar Cane Juice is pressed for participants of the India Independence Celebration at Nay Aug Park.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.