Consul General Celebrates India’s Republic Day

By Puja Shanbhag

Photo credit: Bryson Turner

On January 29, 2023 the India Center commemorated India’s 74th Republic Day in the Pegasus Ballroom at the UCF Student Union. During the event, India’s Consul General in Atlanta, Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni, delivered the keynote address.

Republic Day represents the date the Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950. This replaced the Government of India Act from 1935 as the governing document of India, cementing the nation as a republic separate from the British Raj. The day is usually celebrated by flag hoisting ceremonies and parades, including a large parade in the capital of New Delhi attended by the President of India. 

At the celebration at UCF, the festivities started with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the India Center office as it debuted a new “India Corner,” a gift from the Indian Consulate in Atlanta. The new corner, located in the India Center conference room, features vibrant posters of India, as well as decorations and around 150 new reference books and coffee table books on India. 

Following the ribbon cutting, the festivities started at the Pegasus Ballroom with UCF student Vanessa Zacharia singing both the Indian and American national anthems. The Consul General’s keynote address followed. Dr. Kulkarni articulated the importance of Republic Day and the Indian Constitution. Along with this, Dr. Kulkarni addressed the continued importance of friendly US-India relations in multiple sectors such as defense, space exploration, business and entrepreneurship. She also talked about the large Indian diaspora both in Florida and in Atlanta and how the communities represent a valuable link to Indian culture and experience within the United States, and how events like Republic Day are important to solidify larger bonds with the community. 

Following Dr. Kulkarni’s keynote address, India Center affiliate faculty member Pandit Nandkishor Muley and his students Om Pathak, Kalyani Kulkarni and Mehul Shah performed classical Indian music, featuring patriotic songs accompanied by the tabla and santoor, two traditional Indian instruments. 

Following the performances, Dean Maggy Tomova, Dean of the College of Sciences, spoke about the importance of India in the world and continued US-India relations, as well as the importance of the India Center at UCF and the impact that the school has seen as a result of its establishment. The event concluded with a performance of India’s national song, Vande Mataram, by UCF alumna Yogini Dixit Joshi (’09), but the attendees stayed to enjoy refreshments and take photos with the Consul General and connect with community members. India Center Director of Public Affairs Leila Chacko noted that “As the India Center at UCF grows to be a leader on the study of contemporary India, it was wonderful to see so many community members gather at UCF to celebrate India’s Republic Day”. 

Comments are closed.