Kashmir Solidarity USA and the Indian American Festival Committee (IAFC) recently celebrated India’s Republic Day with an event in Greenacres. Republic Day is celebrated every Jan. 26 to honor the day when India officially adopted its constitution. Due to the pandemic, invitations were limited. Face masks and social distancing were observed in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Sandy Mistry, cultural coordinator for the IAFC, welcomed the guests and thanked Greenacres Mayor Joel Flores for his proclamation, which proclaimed Jan. 26, 2021 as Republic Day. “I do hereby congratulate Suridner K. Zutshi, founder and president of Kashmir Solidarity USA, and the Indian American Festival Committee for working hard toward achieving the goal of bringing harmony and peace among the Indian and American community,” Flores wrote in the proclamation.
Zutshi has long worked toward promoting Indo-U.S. relations as a commissioner of human rights in Hudson County, New Jersey, and was elected chairman of human rights. He was also appointed an honorary special deputy of the Hudson County sheriff.
Zutshi welcomed all the guests and thanked Austin Lee of the mayor’s office for his efforts in making the occasion a great success.
“India is the world’s largest democracy and shares with the United States the system in which the supreme power to govern is invested in the people,” Zutshi said. “Let us salute the nation on this Republic Day… God bless India and America, the two largest democracies in the world.”
Zutshi also read a letter he previously wrote, congratulating President Joe Biden on his election victory.
“We hope that the new administration will work hand-in-glove with India and build upon the present friendship between the two major democratic nations of the world,” Zutshi said. “Kashmir Solidarity USA looks forward to an alliance and great cooperation between the Biden presidency and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Sanjay Aurora, an executive member of Kashmir Solidarity USA, also spoke about the importance of Republic Day.
“72 years ago, India at the time created a constitution, and as a result, the caste system was almost abolished,” Aurora said. “In other words, the constitution was designed where it would give opportunity to everybody regardless of color, creed, race and religion. India currently has more than 26 official languages and 10,000 unofficial languages, so for a population of 1.1 billion people, a constitution being created of that magnitude was history in itself, and that’s why we celebrate this day.”