AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Amherst community will be celebrating India and Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day at 4:00 p.m. Friday outside Amherst Town Hall.
According to the news release, the event recognizes the 1947 independence of both countries after a 90-plus year history of British colonization and subjugation. The event will include flag raisings, welcoming remarks from Town Manager, Bockelman, and State Rep. Mindy Domb, a Town Council proclamation, music, dance, poetry, free henna, speakers, and the colorful Pakistan Trolley.
Shalini Bahl-Milne, Amherst Town Councilor, and organizer of the celebration states “I am grateful to the residents, Town Staff, and my colleagues in the Town Council who were so supportive of this celebration,” she continues, “I am also excited that the residents in the Amherst area will be coming together to learn about the diverse cultures and histories of their friends and neighbors from Pakistan and India. When we see people through the lens of art, music, and poetry we connect in new and deeper ways that can only make our community stronger. And perhaps we will inspire other communities to come together to foster diversity, understanding, and peace.”
Sanjay Nawalkha, event co-sponsor had warm words to give to the community, stating “The idea of a country is beautiful when it’s based upon love of one’s country and not hate for the citizens of another country,” he continues, “The joint celebration of the India/Pakistan 75th Independence Day is to propagate this love into the hearts of Indians and Pakistanis and into the hearts of all humans wherever there is conflict or a history of conflict. We can have peace, we can forgive, we can choose love, and we can evolve the consciousness of the human species.”
Event co-sponsor Alina Durrani also states “One of my closest friends is a Kashmiri, so when I was approached with the idea of this celebration, I was initially apprehensive considering the political situation of the region,” she continues, “But the truth is anger and violence can never produce peace. This initiative invites the communities to introspect and view each other through a mutual appreciation of art and culture. Amherst has a vibrant south Asian community. A lot of us are students so they take a little bit of this gesture back home, this community action can spread a little bit of love and peace someplace else.”
The Amherst community will be joining in the worldwide celebrations of the two countries’ Independence Day.