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Commemorating Freedom—Independence Day Parade 2019

15th August is one of the most significant days in Indian history and is celebrated with a lot of patriotic fervour by the country’s citizens.  Manipal Academy of Higher Education celebrated the 73rd Independence Day with students and faculty gathering at the Manipal EDU building early in the morning, despite the rain, to pay homage to our leaders and great fighters who fought and gave up their lives for India’s freedom.

An outdoor location is not the perfect choice for an event in Manipal during the odd semester due to the relentless monsoons. On the morning of 15th August 2019, the rain played spoilsport with the proceedings being preponed to avoid the rains. The event was scheduled to start at 8:50 AM but began thirty minutes prior. The proceedings were wrapped up in about an hour, as more torrential rains were anticipated.

To commence the event, Dr Arathi P Rao addressed the gathering. She started by greeting the audience and then gave an overview of the proceeding. “Always remember that this freedom is won after the sacrifice of many people and several decades of struggle. Now that we live in an Independent India, we should not take this freedom for granted and sincerely shoulder the responsibilities of our country” said Dr Arathi P Rao before concluding her address.  Following this, the tricolour flag was unfurled by the chief guest—Pro-Chancellor Dr H.S. Ballal. Everyone present was naturally drawn to deliver a salute to the Indian tricolour as the flag was hoisted. The moment was marked with an overwhelming sense of patriotism as the national anthem was sung in unison by over a hundred people.

A great way to experience the glory of our country is to witness or participate in an Independence Day parade. To commence the parade, the chief guest drove past the marching ground in a Jeep, decorated with white, orange and green flowers. As a part of the ritual, the commanders of the troops and the chief guest shared a salute to greet each other. Following this, the march-past of the contingents began.  The parade included contingents from various colleges of MAHE along with the NCC, the Terrier Security Guards, the Home Guards, and ASARE.

An overcast sky and moderate showers didn’t dwindle the dedication of the marching troops. Brimming with exhilaration, the contingents were all set to showcase a lively parade in front of the spectators. It was evident that the spectators experienced immense pride as they watched the students in their uniforms marching in the rain with enthusiasm and self-esteem. 

Dr Poornima Baliga B, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of MAHE, addressed the gathering after the grand march past concluded. She enumerated the achievements India had made in the sectors of industry, agriculture, and education and how MAHE has contributed to the same. Highlighting the importance of the youth in taking the country forward, she said that it was the responsibility of this generation to uphold the dignity of this country and its beautiful tricolour.

To acknowledge and appreciate the efforts put in by the troops to present an impressive parade, a participation award was presented to every contingent. The  Awards were handed over to the commanders of each parade troop.  Apart from these,  the Best Contingent prize was bagged by the School of Allied Health Sciences, followed by the contingents of Manipal College of Nursing as runners-up, and Manipal Institute of Technology in third place.  “We are very happy today, as MIT has received recognition for its marching troops after a long time. We have been practising for almost three hours every day. Sometimes, even when it’s pouring outside. So it is wonderful to see our hard work pay off.” said Malvika Agarwal, a member of the MIT contingent, pleased at their victory.

The vote of thanks was delivered by Dr Lena Ashok, Coordinator, MSW Programme, PSPH. The Parade Commander then requested permission from the Chief Guest to break the parade. With that, the parade dispersed, and soon students could be seen darting back and forth to avoid the pouring showers. Contingents gathered to get pictures in their crisp uniforms, while a few spectators gathered around the hoisted flag to get a much-needed picture. Indeed, it was a day of joy, love, and respect towards our country, and a day to fervently celebrate peace and unity in diversity.

Image and Featured Image Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal.