The embassy was filled with people from far and near. Women were wearing saris and bangles in the tricolor saffron,green and white of the Indian national flag. Children were running around in their traditional dresses with small flags in their hands.
“Republic day has always been a special event for me,as it gives me a sense of being closer to home. It is such a big day that it almost feels like Diwali. I feel proud,” said Parvinder Kaur,whose husband works at the embassy.
The event started with Indian Ambassador to the United States Subrahmanyam Jaishankar unfurling the national flag,which fluttered in its full glory in front of the embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW. The flag hoisting was followed by singing of the national anthem.
The ambassador then addressed the guests and read President Pranab Mukherjee’s message to the nation.
“This year,we will witness the 16th General Election to our Lok Sabha. A fractured government,hostage to whimsical opportunists,is always an unhappy,eventuality. In 2014,it could be catastrophic. Each one of us is a voter; each one of us has a deep responsibility; we cannot let India down. It is time for introspection and action,” Mukherjee said in his message.
The ambassador told the guests,“I believe this is going to be a really important year for Indo-U.S. relationship and I look forward to your support in fulfilling my responsibilities.”
This was followed by singing of patriotic songs by the musical group Tarang,in various Indian languages. Many guests joined in the singing. The ambassador asked the guests to join him for refreshments and a variety of Indian delicacies were laid out for everyone to relish.
Asked if she misses home and celebrations there,Kaur said,“Of course,I miss home and the celebrations in New Delhi. Visiting the embassy on important events like Republic Day feels great. It almost feels like home. I get to interact with other Indians and it’s a warm feeling to be around people who are from your country.”
Other guests at the event included other Indian diplomats,their family members and Indians who live in the area.