Abu Dhabi/Dubai, Aug 16: On Friday, Aug 15 for Indian expatriates, all roads led to the Indian Embassy to celebrate their country's independence in the capital city of the UAE. A group of 450 people saw Talmiz Ahmad, India's Ambassador to the UAE, hoisting the flag at the Indian Embassy. The National Anthem was sung by a group of school children. Patriotic fervour filled the air as the diplomat unfurled the tricolour.
"Today is a very special day and a very proud moment for us. We Indians feel a special connection ... a strong bond with our motherland and regardless of where we live, we feels proud to be part of this great nation," the Ambassador told Gulf News, speaking about his country's 62nd independence day.
Among the large number of children present at the event was Kaargil P R, an eight-year-old.
Waving his flag enthusiastically he said he knew the importance of the day. "He was named to mark the victory of the Indian Army in Kargil," his parents added.
Eshwar, a labourer from Rajasthan, said: "No matter how far we are from our country it is still very close to our heart." The difficulty in reaching the mission from his accommodation did not stop him from being part of the celebrations, he said.
Sharing his thoughts, Muralee Dharan, managing director of SFC Group, said: "Indians must stand united above politics, cast, creed and colour, and to work towards the betterment of the nation."
Businessman and chairman of the Indian Business Council, Mohan Jashanmal, said: "Today we must think of oneness of people and of contributing jointly to the society. Though we might speak in different tongues, eat different foods or wear different kinds of clothes, in the end we are all humans. This must be our vision."
In Dubai, the Shaikh Rashid auditorium was packed to capacity as the Indian consul-general, Venu Rajamony, read out Indian President Pratibha Patil's address to the nation.
In his message to the community Rajamony urged Indians living in the UAE to help strengthen the relationship between India and the UAE.
He also said Indians in the UAE should abide by the rules and regulations of the host country.
At 8am the Indian consul-general hoisted the national flag at the grounds of the Indian High School, followed by the singing of the national anthem.
Gireesh Kumar Sanghi, Indian National Congress Member of the Rajya Sabha (Lower House of the Indian Parliament) was the guest of honour.