With its universities and the information technology demands of state government, Tallahassee has a surprisingly large Indian connection. The India Association of Tallahassee is inviting the community to a celebration of Indian culture this Saturday, Aug. 18.
The history of India goes back some twenty-five hundred years. From a loose-knit collection of tribes, a powerful nation was on the rise by 600 B.C., unified by the Hindu faith and economic prosperity. Today, the nation of India and its people are on the cutting edge of commerce, education and technology. The India Association of Tallahassee’s Manju Kundra says people of Indian descent contribute mightily to this area’s economy in both the public and private sectors.
“Mostly in information technology (people) of Asian background. As entrepreneurs, their presence in the DOMI Station…I am also active in the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute that’s related to FSU. We are in the hotel business…inclusiveness has become my lifetime endeavor,” she said.
Kundra also pointed out there are many similarities between India and the United States. Both countries, for example, celebrate their independence from England.
“August 15th is Indian Independence Day. August 18th is when we are celebrating Indian Independence Day as well as Indian Heritage Day.”
The local event, says Kundra, connects to the larger acknowledgment of the contributions of people from India to the American experience and beyond.
“Recognition of the Asian community in the country and the world and especially as recognized by the Florida Senate.”
The state senate officially designated August as “India Heritage Month” during this year’s legislative session. To mark the observance locally, Kundra said Tallahassee’s Chiles High School will be turned into a celebration of all things Indian this Saturday starting at 4:00 p.m.
"Cultural performances, displays of arts and crafts, the music, some food, trying to reach out to the local community, they can come and participate,” she said, previewing the various exhibits and activities.
With one-third the landmass of the U.S. and the world’s second largest population, India is an immense nation. And like America, India has many different cultures within its boundaries. Kundra hoped that message will come through loud and clear during Saturday’s Indian Heritage Festival.
“Our culture, the food and the cooking and the living styles, the dances and the music; people will get a taste for all the different Indian regional languages as well.”
The India Association of Tallahassee’s Heritage Festival. This Saturday, Chiles High School, from 4:00 unitl 8:00 p.m. Those who come are more than likely to hear at least one person say, “Svaggat He.” Which is “Welcome” in Hindi.