Independence Day Address

By Nishant Pandey

Hello everyone. Namaste!

Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Indians! Many congratulations on completing 75 years of Independence.

This day is as much about paying tribute to the countless brave souls who gave their lives to gain independence, as it is about those who persevere proudly to preserve it.

It is a celebration of not just India's freedom from British colonial rule but also of the progress and performance of India as a country over the last 75 years and the vast untapped potential she holds. It is a matter of immense pride that India has not only survived its colonial history, but has also thrived and emerged as one of the most vibrant democracies of the world, a role model for many countries around the world, and a democracy that is deeply multicultural, secular and with a unique balance of state and federal boundaries.

This historic occasion is also a celebrationof the long-standing and deep-rooted US-India partnership, with America being the oldest democracy and India being the largest. The US-India relationship is one of the most important strategic partnerships of the 21st century and therefore this day is a vital milestone not just for India but for the US as well.

The American India Foundation, prides itself as a living bridge between the two countries, contributing to people-to-people and civil society-to-civil society relationships that complement the political, security, and economic ties. But we can't do any of our important work on empowering underprivileged children, women, and youth in India without the active support of the American people, especially members of the Indian-American community.

Despite tremendous progress, India is still facing development challenges in terms of alleviating extreme poverty and deprivation. And the scale and complexity of these development challenges warrant global support. In my role as the CEO of AIF, every day, I see the huge potential in India's highly aspirational but disadvantaged women, children, and youth. Our role is to help them realize their potential, not just for a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their country but also for the global community at large.

To mark the 75th year of India’s Independence, AIF has launched a $10 million COVID Rehabilitation Fund, to help vulnerable communities in India bounce back from the medium-term impact of COVID. Whether it is children suffering from the learning and nutritional deficit due to prolonged school closures, street vendors and rural women entrepreneurs suffering from the destruction of their micro-businesses due to COVID-induced lockdowns, or the frontline health workers in remote, tribal villages of India, feeling the need for training and tools to deliver health services to women and children at the last mile, the Fund, with your help, aims to rebuild the lives upended by the pandemic. Over the next 75 days, we are matching each and every dollar up to $5 million, doubling the donor impactinstantly.

On this historic occasion, I invite everyone – individuals, businesses,and their networks, to join hands and give back to people who are not as privileged.

Once again, congratulations to everyone - the Indian diaspora globally, and the people of India.


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