As people of the Indian nation celebrate the Constitution of 1950 that formed the Union of the Republic of India on January 26 and the 75th year of their independence as a sovereign community (on August 15), I would like to extend my congratulations to the Indian Nation.
Despite the celebrations taking place at a time of deep international uncertainty with closed borders and difficulties to see friends and family around the globe, I think about the struggles and efforts that so many thousands across the Indian subcontinent undertook not just towards their freedom in the days of the British Raj but also in the pursuit of strong democratic institutions and frameworks to maintain the state of India as one that all the many millions of its population could achieve and live under since its inception in 1947 from a conglomerate of many small states.
Indeed in those first sessions of the Indian Parliament in the 1950s the President, Rajendra Prasad, stated “It is not through fear that the individual or the nation grows, but through fearlessness”, a statement truer than ever as Covid-19 continues to be a source of apprehension and suffering for so many around the Earth and a statement that inspires us all to rise above the challenges of recent times.
India, from time immemorial, has been a world superpower from the days of the Golden age of the Ancient Gupta and the Mughal Empire to its modern Indian Republic as a leading economy challenging other states on the global stage as an enterprising G20 leader (where later this year they will be assuming the Presidency).
India has been helping shape economic, cultural and faith outlooks and ideas across many countries including New Zealand over centuries. Those who strived for Indian Independence in the 20th Century, for the independence of countless creeds, cultures, races and religions across the subcontinent understood that their work would be a lasting economic, cultural and democratic legacy for one of the largest populations in the history of the world under one people.
The Indian nation has given New Zealand great politicians, sportspersons, social activists and community leaders continuing the great traditions of their birth heritage to advocate for their fellow human beings and step above their own needs to support the needs of others; these are values that over the past two years, in particular, have been seen in extensive and incredibly valued ways through the charitable acts of Indian organisations around New Zealand in providing food relief, vaccination clinics, social support and wellbeing outreach to those less fortunate on our shores; their actions are truly commendable and highlight the importance of the Indian community to the people of New Zealand.
As New Zealand continues its strong and unwavering friendship with the people of the Indian Nation and we grow our economic and cultural ties I know there will only be good days ahead for our bilateral confraternity.
It is inevitable when our borders re-open in the near future thousands of New Zealanders will travel to India to see friends and loved ones as well as the wonderful sights, culinary delights and sounds of the Country I had the pleasure to view for myself in the last Parliament before Covid-19 as well as many from India coming to New Zealand to visit, work and learn over the years to come.
In closing, I wish all the readers of Indian Newslink and the New Zealand Indian Community the very best for their celebrations of Indian Republic Day.
Melissa Lee is a Member of Parliament on National List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Broadcasting and Media, Digital Economy and Communications and Ethnic Communities. In her previous Avatar, Melissa was a Journalist and Television Programme Producer. Her columns in Indian Newslink are proof of her deep insight into current affairs, passion for people and respect for diverse communities.