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H E Dr Hamad Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (third left) joins Sanjiv Arora to cut a cake to mark the the 64th Republic Day of India at the Diplomatic Club yesterday. Below: Diplomats and other dignitaries at the function. (Kammutty VP)
DOHA: The large Indian community in Qatar celebrated their country’s 64th Republic Day yesterday with joy and patriotic fervour.
Indian Ambassador Sanjiv Arora joined members of the community at a flag hoisting ceremony at the Indian embassy premises early in the morning.
A number of prominent community members, representatives of various Indian expatriate organisations, students and teachers from Indian schools were present at the ceremony.
Patriotism filled the air as the ambassador unfurled the Indian national flag. Students from Indian schools rendered the country’s national anthem followed by patriotic songs.
Arora read out the Republic Day-eve speech of the Indian President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee in the presence of senior embassy officials and dignitaries.
Indian schools also joined the celebrations with separate flag hoisting ceremonies at their premises and colourful cultural performances highlighting the history and traditions of the largest democracy in the world.
The events showcased the students’ pride in the nation and commemorated the date on which the constitution of India came into force.
In the evening, Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Dr Hamad Abdulaziz Al Kuwari,; Ibrahim Y Fakhroo, Director of Protocol, Qatar; Omani Ambassador, Mohammad bin Nasser bin Hamad Al Wahaibi; Bahrain’s Ambassador, Waheed Mubarak Sayyar; Pakistani Ambassador, Muhammad Sarfraz A Khanzada and Nepalese Ambassador Maya Kumari Sharma and other dignitaries joined the Indian ambassador at a reception hosted by the embassy at the Diplomatic Club.
In his maiden Republic Day speech, the president called for introspection and “radical reforms” in some archaic laws to keep pace with the “emerging India”.
In the wake of growing number of brutal crimes against women in India, the speech revolved around pressing issues such as gender inequality, corruption and declining morality among people, especially those who are in public life.
“We are on the cusp of another generational change; the youth of India spread across villages and towns, are in the vanguard of change. The future belongs to them. They are today troubled by a range of existential doubts. Does the system offer due reward for merit? Have the powerful lost their Dharma in pursuit of greed? Has corruption overtaken morality in public life? Does our legislature reflect emerging India or does it need radical reforms? These doubts have to be set at rest. Elected representatives must win back the confidence of the people. The anxiety and restlessness of youth has to be channelized towards change with speed, dignity and order,” said the President.