Indian Americans from Maryland and Washington, D.C. joined the celebration, held at the New Life Healthy Living in Windsor Mill, to hear from distinguished speakers on India’s history as a democratic and pluralist nation, and partake in music and dinner.
Other human rights organizations joined the event, such as the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA).
Arriving in India as merchants at the start of the 17th century, the British firmed up their rule over the next century-and-a-half. India became a British dominion in 1857 after a rebellion was brutally crushed. Ninety years later, India was freed on August 15, 1947, after decades of struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who became free India’s first prime minister. On that day, India was also partitioned, with the Muslim-majority country of Pakistan coming into existence.
In 1950, India became a republic and adopted a pluralist and democratic Constitution that gave equal rights to all citizens regardless of faith and other identity markers.
“India’s Constitution guaranteed there would be no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, color or sex,” Ajit Sahi, IAMC Advocacy Director, said. “India was, is, and will be a pluralist nation that belongs to everybody.”