ARTESIA, CA - Thousands of Indian-Americans turned up to celebrate India’s 69th Independence Day jointly hosted by the United Federation of Indo-Americans of California (UFICA) and the Federation of Indian American Associations (FIA) co-sponsored by the City of Artesia at the Artesia Park on August 15. Patiently waiting,
UFICA and FIA presidents Alka Patel and Ramesh Mahajan, respectively took a moment to thank Tandon for coming and attending the event and celebrating the Day with the local community.
The program kicked off with the Indian Tricolor being unfurled by Tandon and the singing of the national anthems of America and India. Tandon then proceeded to light the inaugural lamp throwing the event officially open. Tandon addressing the audience, mentioned how proud she was of being an Indian and how lucky she felt to be able to live in a free and democratic nation. “We are a peaceful, yoga loving, and food loving group of people,” she said .
She continued to express that it is very important that we always remember our roots and that we should never forget where we came from. From her words, she gave the impression that the sentiment she was trying to convey was that you can take the Indian out of India but you cannot take India out of an Indian.
Other guests of stature in attendance were California Senator Antonio Mendoza, Artesia Councilman Ali Sajjad Taj and Artesia Mayor Pro Tem Victor Manalo. Congressman Ed Royce made an appearance earlier in the evening and addressed the audience congratulating the Indian-American community and lauding their contribution to the US.
Alka Patel took to the stage and started off by wishing everyone happy Independence Day. She continued by thanking all those who lost their lives fighting to make freedom a reality, adding that we are very lucky that we are born in and live in a free and democratic nation. The evening continued with the other guests of honor taking turns to speak to the audience. Taj took the time to welcome everyone to the City of Artesia and appreciated the turnout for the event. Manalo stated that the city loves all of its residents and visitors and that everyone is welcome to Artesia. “We love you and welcome you here every day,” said Manalo to the crowd.
Miss Artesia was in attendance as well. Towards the end of the event, she took the time to meet Tandon and take a picture with the Bollywood star. Once all the speeches were given, the kids got a chance to continue with the performances , this time in Tandon’s presence. Tandon watched with excitement as a group of four danced to two of her infamously popular songs, ‘Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast’ from ‘Mohra’ and ‘Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare,’ from‘ Dulhe Raja’ co-starring Govinda. As her song,‘Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast,’ was playing Tandon danced in her seat while watching the group perform.
Surrounding the outer area of the park grounds were various vendors. selling an assortment of goods ranging from food, clothing, jewelry. The thousands in attendance enjoyed the evening going from booth to booth. The food booths had the longest lines and did brisk business. Due to a time crunch, the event came to an abrupt end when the clock struck 10 and everything had to be shut down because of city rules. At around 10:30 pm, police cars with sirens came on the grounds instructing vendors and the attendees still on the park grounds to leave the premises. Earlier in the evening, a health fair took place with health screening, blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, vital signs, bone density test, which were offered to many who came.
The health fair was hosted by Ishwar Deedwania, to help the local community and was restarted this year. This key persons were Dr Nitin Shah and Lal Thakar who helped coordinate the health fair. Niranjan Bhart and Mukesh Patel coordinated cholesterol tests, while 100 sugar and cholesterol tests were done Indian Pharmacist association of California did vital signs and blood glucose testing. Briana of PCI college assessed bone density and 70 people were tested.