Indian Flag Raising at City Hall


photo credit: Alias Ragsdale

In celebration of India’s 76 years of independence (officially observed on Tuesday, August 15) the Indian community of Clifton gathered on City Hall’s front lawn. Cheers of pride and joy rang out as the community’s leader Bharat Rana led the celebration. Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule led by Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru allowed India to break the chains of colonization and thrive as an independent nation. After almost 90 years of British rule, victory was won. Indian Americans of all ages joined hands, recognizing not only their ancestral country but also their gratitude as American citizens.

Displayed on the podium and on a large banner hung between trees was the Indian flag. The Indian flag is made up of three stripes and a center image, symbolic of different principles. The top stripe, in saffron, represents strength and courage. In the middle is white, indicating peace and truth, with the Dharmachakra in the center. The Dharmachakra is one of the most important symbols of Buddhism, representing different aspects of the Buddha's Dharma (teaching). Finally at the bottom is green, representing fertility, growth, and auspiciousness of the land. This was explained by one of the youths during the ceremony.

Many elected officials were present including the entire Democratic ticket for county seats. Commissioner Bruce James, Commissioner Orlando Cruz, and County Clerk Danielle Ireland-Imhof, all running for re-election, spoke about their strong relationship with the Indian community and thanked them for their support over the years. Sheriff Richard Berdnik delivered remarks as well. 

Other speakers included Mayor Ray Grabowski and Mayor Emeritus James Anzaldi. Anzaldi spoke to the crowd on behalf of Congressman Bill Pascrell as his community liaison and expressed positive sentiments about the community and the diversity of Clifton. Recognized as well were City Manager Dominic Villano, Councilwoman Rosemary Pino, Councilman Anthony Latona, BOE Commissioner Richard Mejia, and BOE candidates Joe Siano and Cameron Hebron. Bharat Rana thanked individuals who donated to the celebration with pastries from their respective businesses. Following this was the raising of the flag, as dignitaries and leaders of the Indian community gathered around, singing.

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