The Indian community celebrated their country's 68th Republic Day in a spirit of patriotism at various locations in Qatar on Thursday.
While the major celebration was held at the Indian embassy at West Bay, the tricolour was also raised at Indian schools. Early in the morning, Indian ambassador P Kumaran hoisted the national flag at the embassy, as students from Indian schools sang the national anthem in the presence of a large number of Indian expatriates.
Addressing the gathering, the envoy highlighted India’s progress in the modern era and the achievements of the country so far. "It is a great occasion for celebration and to reflect on the country’s great strides. We should also remember that it is also the time for introspection about what we have achieved so far and what we need to do in the future to truly realise our destiny.”
“The honourable President of our country has highlighted in his Republic Day message about the cup being half full, which is a pointer towards what we need to do and how many miles we need to travel to reach our destination,” the ambassador said.
During his speech, the envoy read out some of the prominent parts of the message of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee which highlighted the need to work harder than ever to redeem the promises to the people.
“Our war on poverty is not yet over. Our economy is yet to grow at over 10% for an extended period of time to make a significant dent on poverty. One-fifth of our countrymen still remain below poverty line. Gandhiji’s mission to wipe every tear from every eye still remains unfulfilled,” the President said in his message.
Mukherjee reiterated that India’s pluralism and its social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity are its greatest strength. "Our tradition has always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian; not the ‘intolerant’ Indian. Multiple views, thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country. A wise and discerning mind is necessary for democracy to flourish.”
At the ceremony, Indian school students presented a medley of some popular patriotic songs which the crowd greeted with loud cheer and applause. Later, the students were presented with gifts by the ambassador's wife Ritu Kumaran, who appreciated the efforts of the students as well as the teachers who trained them.
In the evening, a reception hosted by the ambassador and his wife, in co-operation with the Indian Cultural Centre, was attended by a large gathering, including dignitaries, diplomats and officials.
HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi cut a cake with the ambassador at the event at Sheraton Doha. Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Protocol Department director Ibrahim Fakhroo was present.