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Atlanta



FOI Flame Passes Through City Parks


The Festival of India (FOI)" Flame of Independence Torch" passed through the East Cobb Park, in Marietta on Sunday, the 18th of July. About 200 East Cobbers had assembled at 9am to welcome the chief guest Cobb County Commissioner, Samuel Olens. He was greeted at the entrance, in the traditional Indian style with "Aarati and kumkum" by the Cobb event co-ordinator Sangeeta Mayur. Olens lit the freedom torch which was followed by the flag hoisting and the singing of both national anthems.

The theme of this year's FOI annual celebration is to bring together the spirit and heritage of the adopted land, USA with the land of origin, India. In the spirit of this theme, 4 teenagers- Shivani Baisiwalla, Pooja Mayur, Honey and Janvi Chawla dressed in the colors of the Indian flag and performed a dance to the Oscar winning "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire. Rahul Singi gave an interesting speech comparing America's Hollywood to India's Bollywood and Meha and Arohi Shrivastava compared the sentiment of mahatme Gandhi's Dandya march to that of the Boston Tea party.Kids performed numerous Bollywood dances and patriotic songs were sung by Abhay Gokhaley, Madhavi Dave and Usha Balakrishna and her group.

"One of the main reasons for the Festival of India is in fact to build a bridge among the various folks that live in our country,and for all to get along and work well together to improve our cities,communities and country" said Olens who made it a point to stay till the end of the two hour celebration.

The Freedom torch which was inaugurals lit on July 4th 2009 at the Gandhi Statue, MLK Historic Site in Atlanta, continued its journey through Johns Creek on July 25th,Lilburnon August 1st, and Clayton county on August 8th. The grand finale will be at the Gwinett Center on August 15th.

FOI 2009 Program Director, Padma Rallapali said that this year the torch has taken a historical role, linking American Independence on 4th of July with Indian Independence on August 15th and beginning at a historic site that embodies the civil rights movement.The FOI 2009 celebrations are organised by Indian American Cultural Association with partnership with VIBHA. 

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