Musical brand

“Every Indian is a brand ambassador in Nigeria for his country” –

As India prepares to celebrate its 75th Independence Day on August 15, 2022, Chief Sanjay JainPresident of the Indian Cultural Association, Nigeria, addresses OBINNA EMELIKE on the celebration, its significance, current development in his country, Indo-Nigerian relations, among other related matters. Excerpts:

How do you feel as an Indian as the nation marks its independence tomorrow?

I am proud to be an Indian. Yes, we are celebrating 75 years of our independence on August 15, 2022. The Indian government has announced this occasion as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” (The Elixir of Our Independence Celebrations).

This is a very important occasion for any nation. The Government of India has encouraged its citizens, whether in India or abroad, to hoist the flag from August 13 to 15, 2022, in offices, homes or any other place. Every Indian is delighted to celebrate this Independence Day.

What does the Indian community here think of the celebration of independence, is there a particular way to celebrate the event?

As I said earlier, all Indians all over the world are excited for this celebration as India completes 75 years of independence. So as in Nigeria we Indians are happy and from the Indian Cultural Association which is the supreme body of Indians in Nigeria we are planning to celebrate 2 events.

On August 14, 2022, we are celebrating the “Music and Recognition Evening” on the similar model of the Indian government hosting such an event in New Delhi.

On August 15, we will raise the flag at our center. Both events will be celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm.

It is certainly a new dawn in India as a woman takes on the role of political leader. What can you say about the development?

In fact, in India, we have always tried to encourage women to take up leadership roles, whether in politics or any other field. Even, a number of seats in parliament are reserved and reserved for women candidates only.

We are proud to mention here that the persuasion and encouragement towards women has resulted in the current situation where we see women coming up in various fields and sectors of society and that too in very important positions.

As a person, did you see the change coming towards female leadership in India?

Definitely yes, and how it happened has already been explained in the previous answer.

What role has the Indian community in Nigeria played in developments in India?

The Indian community in Nigeria has contributed in many ways to present day India. The biggest contribution I would like to mention here is that every Indian is a brand ambassador in Nigeria for their country – viz. India. We are, through our actions, through our contributions to good causes in Nigeria, building a good image of Indians and Indians. I would say this is the greatest contribution to current achievements in India. Apart from that, there are many other areas and segments, where this type of contribution is evident.

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Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the socio-political state of things in India?

I am very optimistic and therefore hopeful about the socio-political state of India. There are concrete reasons behind this. India is a vast country with a huge population of 1.3 billion people. The social system is very strong and supports the multi-ethnicities existing in various states of India. People are there for each other whenever the need arises. Regarding the political system, it is also very strong and promising. India is the biggest democracy in the world and has shown the world how to handle such kind of democracies. On the whole, parliamentarians are aware of the needs of their respective regions and are therefore able to satisfy the population and make the country grow. So, since both segments are doing very well, the socio-political state is very good.

When was your last visit and what was your impression of the way of life in your country?

I traveled to India last month and can say with conviction that the engine of growth is running at full speed. If you have seen the World Bank data, you will see that today India is the fastest growing economy. If you see the GDP graph of all major economies in the world, India ranks second after Saudi Arabia. All the other giants, like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, among others, are far behind us.

Having said that, I would say that the growth is also reflected in the daily way of life of its inhabitants. I have seen that people’s purchasing power has increased and their standard of living has increased dramatically. I can see big malls and all famous brands coming to India and making themselves available to the Indian people. It is an indirect sign of the changing way of life in India.

In what ways can the Indians of Nigeria continue to be part of the bigger picture of India?

Every Indian who comes to Nigeria for his work has a good base in India at the same time; in the form of their families/homes/other institutions. India is deep in their minds and they always think about retiring there. Our association – Indian Cultural Association always celebrates Indian festivals in Nigeria thus enabling them to be a part of these festivals and feel like home away from home. The visits of our government ministers and our high commissioner and their meeting with the Indians who stay here also bring them within the broad framework of Indianness. So overall they are still part of the bigger picture of India even here.

According to you, what socio-cultural ties still unite India and Nigeria?

These days are of national significance and when celebrated remind us of the sacrifices and great work done by our freedom fighters. It reminds us that our leaders worked hard to achieve independence. This situation is similar for both countries. Although Nigeria gained independence in 1960 and India in 1947, both gained independence from the same regime. So when this day is celebrated, we see similarities in each other. We Indians who stay here take part in Nigeria’s Independence Day celebrations, and we feel a connection between the two nations and between their peoples. Even on Indian Independence Day, many of our Nigerian brothers attend the ceremony and feel the same connection. These celebrations strengthen socio-cultural ties.

What are your thoughts, suggestions and prayers for Nigeria heading into the 2023 elections?

Nigeria is also a great democracy. I have complete confidence in their electoral system. I learn that the party primaries have already taken place and that the presidential candidates are final. I am sure that, as usual, there will be a fair election and the most popular candidate will come out on top. Considering the impressive credentials of both candidates, I am sure whoever wins will move the country forward and develop it effectively.