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India’s 72nd Independence Day celebration

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CELEBRATION

INDIA gained freedom from British rule following an Independence Movement that was noted largely for non-violent resistance and civil disobedience by the Indian National Congress. Leading the first of a series of non-violent protests and civil disobedience against the British was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi). On August 15, 1947, the Indian national flag was raised above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi by Jawaharlal Nehru who became the country’s first prime minister.

Every year, on Independence Day, the skies of India are filled with countless colorful kites (flown from rooftops) of various sizes, shapes, styles, and shades. Some in tricolor to symbolize the national flag. Some of them with written messages. The tradition of flying kites with messages written on them dates back to 1927, when freedom fighters flew kites bearing the message “Simon, Go Back” to protest against the British rule.

This year’s 72nd Independence Day anniversary celebration has an added significance with its focus on environment-friendly initiatives to rid the country of the perils of plastic usage and its damaging effects on the environment and human and animal health. The State Government of Uttar Pradesh has banned the production and use of single-use plastic containers, especially plastic bags of 50 microns starting July 15, 2018. Today, August 15, 2018, a ban on all plastic or thermocol products such as cups, plates, and the like will be implemented. The use of all disposable polybags is scheduled to be completely banned October 2, 2018, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, a national festival celebrated to mark the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as the “Father of the Nation.”

India shares land borders with Pakistan on the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan on the northeast; and Myanmar and Bangladesh on the east. The Indian Ocean lies to the south, the Arabian Sea to the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal to the southeast. The country’s capital is New Delhi.

Filipino customs and culture are replete with Indian influences. A significant number of words in the Tagalog language are from Sanskit; among the most popular are Bathala (Supreme Being), dukha (poor), saksi (witness), and budhi (conscience). In literature the Agusan legend of a man named Manubo Ango, who was turned into stone, resembles the story of Ahalya in the Hindu epic Ramayana. The tale of the Ifugao legendary hero Balituk, who obtained water from a rock with his arrow, is similar to Arjuna’s adventure in Mahabharata, another Hindu epic. Some metal ornaments like brass and bronze that are present in Filipino households are of Indian origin. Although widely Christianized, Filipinos still embrace certain beliefs with Indian sources such a young woman who sings in front of a stove while cooking will marry a widower; and a pregnant woman who eats a twin banana will give birth to twins.

The Philippines and India have enjoyed formal diplomatic relations since 1949. On July 11, 1952, the two countries signed a Treaty of Friendship. The Philippines maintains an embassy in New Delhi, while India has an embassy in Makati City, Metro Manila.

We greet the People and Government of the Republic of India, led by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the occasion of the 72nd Anniversary of its Independence.

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