INDIA DAY, 2008
India in all her pomp and splendor, and the Indian people in all their generosity and spirit were well represented at India Day 2008 held at Rock Financial Showplace on Sunday, August 10. A colorful display of ethnic and cultural diversity that was kicked off by a promotional parade featuring many of Detroit’s
Asian Indian organizations and a special contingency from Barack Obama’s campaign, this year’s festival honored the 61st anniversary of Indian independence from British rule. The familiar tri-color Indian flag, deep saffron, white and green centered by a navy blue wheel indicating the Dharma Chakra, the wheel of law in the Sarnath Lion Capital, dating back nearly four thousand years.
Nearly twenty thousand folks showed up to experience the hundreds of booths and exhibits along with food from the area’s most renowned Indian restaurants, including Priya and Indian Spice. Additionally, a wide range of live music and dance kept the forward momentum going strong. Bhangra dancers, Bollywood numbers and a series of classical and popular tunes livened the day, but clearly, the headline moment for the young people especially was an appearance by Hollywood star Kal Penn, who has performed in such blockbuster hits as Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and in television’s 24. His stage name, incidentally, is an Americanized version of his birth name, Kalpen. He’s a Gujarati currently residing in Los Angeles.
A speech by Novi Mayor David Landry focused on the contribution of Asian Indian’s to one of the Midwest’s fasting growing cities, and culminated in his resounding support of the continued prosperity of this important segment of Novi’s citizenry.
Many of the ‘stars’ of the Visionalist production, Our India Story, were present to celebrate the independence of their homeland, including Avinash Rachmale, Siriesha Mandava (the charming owner of Priya) and Ramesh Verma, Chairman of the Michigan Indo-American Democratic Caucus.
A talk by the well-known mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev rounded out the afternoon with a teaching session attended by nearly two thousand devotees. The Visionalist crew has had several opportunities to speak with Sadhguru during his visit to the Detroit area, and have found the experience to be amazing, both spiritually uplifting and culturally enlightening.