New Yorkers Line Madison Avenue to Celebrate the India Day Parade

By Iris Mansour on August 18, 2013 8:02pm | Updated on August 18, 2013 10:43pm

NEW YORK CITY — Crowds of people celebrating the anniversary of Indian independence lined Madison Avenue on Sunday afternoon, cheering floats representing everyone from Mahatma Gandhi at his spinning wheel to anti-domestic violence groups.

"I wasn't there in 1947, but I'm here to enjoy my freedom," said Sam Malik, 41, standing at the parade's edge with Indian flags wedged behind his ears.

India officially broke free from British rule on Aug. 15, 1947.

A range of social and religious causes were represented at the parade, including a group championing women's rights.

Saptarshi Sinha, 31, carried a sign that said, “Because I am a husband I stand up for women’s reproductive rights.”

Sinha, a management consultant, has lived in the United States for seven years. He said he was there to support an NGO called Sakhi, which helps South Asian women living in New York overcome domestic violence.

"I'm just proud of my country," Sangeta Koduri said, as she marched along with the Telangana NRI Association, a group dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of a region in south central India. "I'm just showing my culture and my country."

Koduri and her group were also celebrating another milestone the subcontinent. Telangana, where they are from, is set to become a new state within India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

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