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“Canada didn’t invent diversity, India did,’’ Kenney

Posted in Community, Featured

Published on August 21, 2015 with No Comments

In scenes never witnessed by the Indo-Canadians, defence and multiculturalism minister Jason Kenney led the crowd at the India Independence Day celebrations here on Sunday with chants of `Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and `Hindustan Zindabad’ repeatedly. It was also for the first time that the parade to mark Indian Independence Day celebrations here was led by a Canadian military band which included Indo-Canadian Lt.Col (Hon) Hari Panday. Striking a chord with the huge Indo-Canadian crowd at the long-day celebrations by greeting them in multiple Indian languages, Jason Kenney lauded India’s diversity as a model for the world. “Canada didn’t invent diversity, India did,’’ Kenney said.

He said India is a Hindu-majority nation, but it had Dr Abdul Kalam, a Muslim, as its President and Dr Manmohan Singh as prime minister. “India is an example for the world.’’ Addressing the Indian Prime Minister as `Narendra Modi-ji,’’ Jason Kenney said Canada just welcomed him during “the first dedicated visit by an Indian minister in 40 years’’ after decades of “downgraded and frozen relationship.’’

Welcoming his Canadian guests and the Indo-Canadian community to the celebrations, Indian consul general Akhilesh Mishra highlighted the special bonds between the two countries and the contribution of the 1.2 million strong Indo-Canadian community in promoting ties between India and Canada. Warning Indians about forces which want to divide people, the consul general reminded them of the sacrifices by freedom fighters to overthrow colonial rule. Calling India and Canada natural allies, the Consul General said, “While we can have any number of trading partners and suppliers of goods and technology, but Canada is a unique and very special partner for India for innovation research and human resource development. Because in Canada, both in companies and universities, innovation is not driven primarily by corporate greed.”

Earlier, Panorama India chairperson Anu Srivastava welcomed the gathering. Panorama India is the umbrella body of the Indo-Canadian cultural organizations. Welcoming the huge gathering and dignitaries, Srivastava said Independence Day “is a day when we recall the sacrifices of the freedom fighters so that India would gain independence from colonialism, and take its place among the comity of nations. “For all of us who have left our land of origin, India’s Independence Day serves as a reminder that we can and should continue to contribute to its progress and development.”


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