On the occasion of celebration of Indian and Pakistani Independence Day over the past weekend, we spoke with some known members of the community. We asked these well known community members why it is important for us to celebrate Indian and Pakistani Independence Day especially when we are Canadians and should be much more zealous about July 1st, the Canada Day.
While the essence of the responses is the same, the idea was expressed in different ways. Here’re some of the comments for our readers’ interest:
We’ve nostalgia about India
Generation Next may not know [about Indian heritage] but we may have nostalgia [about our countries of birth]. It’s important to stay in touch with our heritage. Every parent wants to give as much knowledge as they can about [ to their children about] where they came from. There’s incredible amount of pride in people in showcasing their Indian culture [ as was evident from India Day parade].
Ajit Khanna, Co Chair of Panorama India and the organizer of India Day parade at Dundas Square
To contribute, we preserve our identity
When we live in a multi-cultural society such as Canada, it is especially crucial that we preserve our unique identity so that we may contribute to the vibrant mosaic of cultures that is Canada. India’s Independence Day is a momentous occasion not just for India, but for the entire world as India’s independence struggle has been a message of peace and non-violence for all humanity. Occasions such as the India day offer us an opportunity to celebrate our roots and pass on our ideals and values along with our rich and vibrant heritage onto our children, the future generation.
Kala Pillarisetty, Co Chair of Panorama India and the organizer of India Day parade at Dundas Square
Pakistan is a mother, Canada is a sweetheart
Pakistan is like a mother and Canada is like a sweetheart. Even when we’re here, we still have ties with Pakistan. There’s nothing wrong with having loyalty with two countries, but if it comes to a choice..Canada comes first. Celebrating Pakistan Day is remembering our loves ones in Pakistan.
Andy Merchant, President of Canada-Pakistan Business Council
Knowledge of our past will lead to better future
We don’t have a future until you know your past. And our past, our ancestry, our heritage starts from India or Pakistan, our children should know what India and Pakistan was, is; why it got there; how it got where and we have to respect the patriots, their martyr, and that will make us great Canadians of Indian origin, or great Canadians of Pakistani origin.
Jake Dheer, Rogers’ Station Manager in Mississauga
Canadians celebrate the best ideas, cultures & cuisines
Canada is made up of people from around the world. All our ancestors came from some other country. Canada celebrates the best of every other culture and country. We can pick and choose the best ideas, the best parts of the culture and the best cuisine and celebrate it. India is a very important country of the world because it’s the largest democracy and we need to support democracy around the world.
MP Bob Dechert, Mississauga – Erindale
Celebration is not nationalistic but cultural
It’s important for us to have connections to the country of our roots. It [Indian Independence Day] helps us to maintain our religion and culture. We should celebrate these events not from a nationalistic a point of view but from heritage point of view. History has proven that whenever we move away from roots, culture is lost. It’s incumbent upon society and society leaders to organize in such a way that we bring youth back to our culture. If you look at the history, people have always been migrating, but culture and religion has never died. It’s a misnomer to say that youth is running away from culture, they’re running away from it in India.
Pandit Roopnauth Sharma – President Hindu Federation Canada
Youth is curious to know their roots
We’re here in Canada making Canada our home. It’s extremely important to know where we’ve come from. Eventually you’ll find that our younger generation is curious of knowing their background. [It has become] so important that they want to be recognized as people coming from the motherland India.
Pandit Vishnu Sookar, President of Devi Mandir, Pickering
Canadian tradition is celebration of cultures
It’s part of Canadian tradition for communities to celebrate their festivals. If you’re keeping your traditions while knowing that Canada comes first, that’s fine. In celebrations [like Pakistani Independence or Indian Independence], we celebrate our ancestry, our background, our ethnicity.
Khalid Usman, candidate for Ward 6 Markham Town Council
Canada empathizes with others
Canada itself was a colony – a British colony, so it empathizes with other countries [that have been colonized]. Basically independence is a celebration, it has its pains and its pleasures. Canada still is under monarchy so Canadians have a different mentality, so if you have been colonized and if you want to celebrate your independence day, it’s fine, as long as you make an absolute commitment to Canada as your country.
MP Yasmin Ratansi, Don Valley East