WISCONSIN: In 2023, India celebrated its 77th independence from Britain, and the IndiaFest Wisconsin celebration marked its 11th year. On Saturday, August 26th, festivities in Wisconsin began in Menomonee Falls downtown village park, Waukesha county, with the parade by the children and guests invoking deity Ganesh followed by hoisting of the tricolor flag of India. This was followed by the rendition of the national anthems of both countries, India (largest democracy) and the United States (oldest democracy), in the presence of dignitaries and leaders of our community. Ganesh Vandana, devotional and patriotic performances followed.
The lamp is known as ‘Deepak’, ‘Jyot’ or ‘Jyoti’ which represents Agni (fire element). ‘Divine Light’ symbolizes abundance, prosperity, wealth, and knowledge. The lighting of an oil lamp is regarded as bowing down to knowledge. The significance of oil lamp lighting is to remove darkness, ignorance, and unhappiness, spreading the Almighty’s grace and divinity by seeking blessings.
India Day celebration at IndiaFest Wisconsin 2023 was graced by State Senator Dan Knodl, State Representative Paul Melotik, Waukesha County Supervisor Jacob LaFontain, Menomonee Falls Village President Jeremy Waltz, and Chair of Republican Party Congressional District 4 Bob Spindell. Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers, Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, US Senator Ron Johnson, State Senator Chris Larson, Consul General of India (Midwest) Somnath Ghosh, Honorary Consul General of Bangladesh Monir Choudhury, Honorary Consul General of Nepal Marvin A. Brustin and Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto were among the invitees. Both the country’s flags India and the United States were highlighted throughout the celebration, signifying the strong India-US relationship, denoting the largest and oldest democracy in the world with love and respect.
Several organizations, including Wisdom Infotech, Trayix, Codeworks, Airport Animal Hospital, West Allis Veterinary Clinic, Elite Bar & Grill, Chicago Association of Rajasthanis in America, Sri Gayethri Foods, Pro-life Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood, Asian American Store Owners Association, supported and contributed to India Day celebration at IndiaFest Wisconsin 2023. Vendors included Chic Sari from Green Bay, Kumar Juice Catering Service from Chicago, Labourers of Christ from Michigan, and restaurants and clothing businesses from the broader Milwaukee and Waukesha region. IndiaFest Wisconsin was adorned with Mehendi (henna), threading, sari, kurti shopping, bounce house for children, etc. IndiaFest Wisconsin is blessed to have a few individual donors as well.
Although the entire setup done by volunteers got ruined by heavy rain and wind the previous night and all things got soaked, we believe perhaps Bhagwan Shiva protected us and blessed the celebration from up above. The entire celebration on Saturday had no drop of rain and everyone had a great time learning about Indian culture. Help from above was noticed.
Officially, August 15th, 2023 was proclaimed as INDIA DAY in Wisconsin by Governor Tony Evers, in Milwaukee County by County Executive David Crowley, and in Waukesha County by County Executive Paul Farrow. Proclamations attached.
Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers proclaimed, “In addition to commemorating India’s independence, India Day provides an opportunity for all Wisconsinites to learn about Indian culture and its incredible diversity of language, region, and religion and to strengthen the bonds between the Indian community and others.”
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson congratulated and stated, “Congratulations on the 11th year of IndiaFest Wisconsin as well as the 77th Independence Day of India! Your dedication and efforts to bring visibility to the Indian Community of Wisconsin are to be commended. Thank you for your commitment to educating the greater Wisconsin community about the rich culture, traditions, and heritage of India.”
Senator Dan Knodl applauded the efforts of Spindle India, Inc., by stating “I applaud founder Purnima Nath, IndiaFest Wisconsin, and the organization Spindle India, Inc., for their tremendous community service over the past decade in strengthening the India-US relationship and bringing visibility to Indian culture and heritage in Wisconsin.”
Since 2018, Spindle India, Inc., worked tirelessly with the Governor of Wisconsin’s office to obtain a proclamation for India Day in Wisconsin. We thank former governor Scott Walker and current Governor Tony Evers for their support and acknowledgment.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley proclaimed, “Milwaukee County recognizes IndiaFest Wisconsin and Spindle India, Inc., for their invaluable contribution of community service to Milwaukee County and joins all Wisconsinites in celebrating and appreciating India Day, Indian Culture, and the Indian community in Milwaukee County.” Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow proclaimed, “acknowledging the contribution of Spindle India, Inc., towards bringing communities together and bringing visibility of Indian community, culture, heritage, history and civilization.”
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow proclaimed, “acknowledging the contribution of Spindle India, Inc., towards bringing communities together and bringing visibility of Indian community, culture, heritage, history and civilization”.
Honorary Consul General of Nepal Marvin A. Brustin congratulated Spindle India, Inc. for the celebration of India and bringing communities together. Mr. Brustin stated, “As many of you know, India and Nepal share an open border and many common traditions. In my capacity of Honorary Consul General, I have had the privilege of learning more about both these ancient and remarkable cultures, and hope that the spirit of openness and cooperation we often see between them will be present here in the US as well, allowing us to continue to work together for our respective countries mutual benefit.”
Mayor of Brookfield Steven Ponto applauded the Indian community for placing emphasis on education and also congratulated Spindle India, Inc. for its volunteering initiative.
“Spindle India, Inc., is an ultra-small volunteer-run nonprofit organization run in borrowed garage space with big dreams and goals. Since 2013, Spindle India, Inc., strived hard to bring communities together regardless of the challenges of resources and funding, without cutting any corners. I am grateful to the universe for allowing me to be the custodian of this organization and her vision.”, stated Purnima Nath, Founder of Spindle India, Inc.
IndiaFest Wisconsin showcased ancient Indic culture, heritage, and civilization through demonstrations of traditional clothing, music, dance, food, displays, decor, explanations, and art forms. Many local talents from across the broader Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Racine areas displayed art forms through music and dance. Kathak Dancer Natalia Armacanqui of Kallpa House of Spirit Dances from Madison and students from Milwaukee’s Aparna’s Dance Studio performed traditional, devotional, classical (Bharatnatyam) and contemporary dance forms. Mahijit Virdi, Abhijit Virdi, Manoj Tripathi from greater Milwaukee and Racine counties, and Special guest Dr. Neelima Sharma from India renditioned Bollywood’s old and contemporary music numbers. For the first time, IndiaFest Wisconsin illustrated a unique experience of the Folk Fusion of Indian and South American (Ecuadorian) Instruments by Victor Murillo from Ecuador, Indrajit Banerjee from India on Sitar, an eons-old Indian stringed instrument, and Jason McKinsey on Drums and tabla from Texas. Contemporary Bollywood music was performed by the Bollywood Orchestra of Archana Gauswami and Ajay Patel from India. IndiaFest Wisconsin was enriched by performers from various countries, including India, Nepal, America, Ecuador, and so on.
IndiaFest Wisconsin showcased the culture, history, and heritage of India’s ancient Indic civilization through art forms, food, music, dance, and decor Ancient Indic culture is promoted through displays of traditional clothing, explanations, and displays of arts. First-time IndiaFest Wisconsin showcased Folk Fusion of Indian and South American (Ecuadorian) Instruments by Victor Murillo, Indrajit Banerjee (Sitar, an eons-old Indian stringed instrument) and Jason McKinsey (Drums and tabla). Contemporary Bollywood music was performed by the Orchestra from India.
A few volunteers were kind enough to lend a few hands during their busy schedule to bring this festival to the land of Wisconsin are MaryJo Thompson, Gerald Knoch, Jenn Dedrick, Shubhra Prasad, Bharat Prasad, Ashita Verma, Jayanti Roy, Arnab Bag and Aparna Bag. These volunteers are not paid for whatever time and energy they dedicate to the cause of promoting Indian culture, heritage, and civilization through IndiaFest. Without the help of their time and energy IndiaFest Wisconsin would not have been possible.
IndiaFest Wisconsin is an opportunity to get a glimpse of the warmth, breadth, and depth of India, launched by Spindle India, Inc., a nonprofit organization, founded by Purnima Nath. IndiaFest Wisconsin is an inclusive platform that transcends religion, region, language, culture, community, borders, and political bias to promote true diversity, equality, and the value of inclusion and coexistence, which is a fundamental principle of the ancient Hindu culture of India (Bharat = Hindustan).
Founder and Chairwoman of Spindle India, Inc., Ms. Purnima Nath, who serves as volunteer President and produces IndiaFest Wisconsin to promote Indian culture and heritage says, “In America, people do not know much about Indian culture beyond a few popular food items such as curry, samosa, or naan. We are more than that. Inventions, discoveries, ideologies, acceptance, tolerance, oldest-living surviving ancient civilization which has not been accepted by the world yet. Sadly, there are many misconceptions about India, the Indian community, and the ancient Indic civilization in the United States. Through such avenues and platforms, we can break barriers of cultural differences and communicate about the oldest living-surviving Indian civilization through education and learning, and connecting with a broader community that fosters understanding. We hope this opens up the possibility of opening doors to potential wider acceptance of our community and incredible culture.”