Indian spiritual leader kicks off 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' celebrations in US

Washington: Indian spiritual leader Swami Avdheshanand Giri kicked off diaspora-driven celebrations in the US to mark "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav", an initiative to commemorate 75 years of India's independence.

Avdheshanand, who heads the Juna Akhara, unveiled a poster for the events in the presence of Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) office bearers on Saturday, and congratulated the Indian-American community for such an effort.

The unveiling was held at the residence of community leader Prem Bhandari in Long Island, New York. It was attended by FIA president Kenny Desai, chairman Ankur Vaidya and former FIA president Alok Kumar.

Bhandari is the convenor of FIA's "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav" celebrations.

Briefing Avdheshanand, who is currently in the US to lead the International Day of Yoga celebrations at Times Square, Vaidya said the FIA and its volunteers were all set to play 2,000 "damroos" in New York in August to set a new world record.

"This recognition will be shared among the mainstream American community, providing the needed highlights and attention to the goodness in one of the world's most ancient cultures," he said.

Further noting that the current Guinness World Record for the most number of flags flown in an outdoor event is held by the government of Australia, Vaidya said the FIA was all set to break this record too.

During the celebrations, a 190-foot-long flag of India will be carried by volunteers, he said. This same flag will be flown on the back of an airplane on August 15 in and around the Manhattan skies to commemorate "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav".

Avdheshanand said flying a tricolour of such proportions in the Manhattan skyline is not just symbolism but also a conviction of the Indian diaspora here about India's position in the world.

Vaidya also informed the visiting Hindu leader that the FIA was preparing to display a 50-foot-long float themed on the Ayodhya Ram Mandir during the 43rd annual India Day parade in Manhattan.

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