On hot August afternoon, in the heart of Fremont, in Silicon valley, California, more than 25 floats rolled down on Capitol ave., on a parade to celebrate India’s 68th Independence Day. The event, Festival of India and parade is hosted by Federation of Indo Americans (FIA) of Northern California to celebrate India’s democracy and diversity. This year, the 22nd year of the festivities were celebrated from Aug.15 through Aug.17th.
For the many past years, the Festival of India has came to symbolize India’s ancient and rich cultural heritage and diversity. The two days festivities showcases the best of India in San Francisco Bay Area with a fair (mela), health clinics, kids dance and talent programs, and colorful Indian movie dance and songs. The fair is host to many different varieties of food, garment, and jewelry stalls. The event is attended by over 100,000 visitors each year.
The highlight of this year’s parade was the grandiosely displayed float of Telangana, the newest state of India. The float was built with a theme called “THE JOURNEY OF TELANGANA” The front of the float depicted important chronological milestones towards the formation of Telangana state since 1946. Float had three main displays on top of a 24 feet truck. Display one was asymbolic representation of 1969 Telangana movement and had a big 8 foot wooden structure replica of the Telangana Martyrs Memorial (Amara Veerula Stupam ) also called as Gun Park. It is a monument built in memory of the 369 students who died during 1969 Telangana agitation. Second display was about the 2009 Telangana movement symbolically representing the participation of people from all walks and spheres of life in the great Telangana movement. Display had a big 8 foot structure with images of students and other professionals in the backdrop of Osmania university and there were two additional structures on either side of the university one was a 6 foot replica of Charminar and other was a 6 foot replica of the Kakatiya thoranam. Final display was the grand Telangana emblem or Telangana Rajamudra which was a highlight on the float , It was 12-feet wooden structure replica of Telangana emblem .
Both sides of the float were adorned with some of the pictures of the leaders who lead and participated in the Telangana Freedom struggle and Telangana movement from 1946 until 2014 including Swami Ramanand Teertha, Kaloji, Raavi Narayan Reddy, Mallu Swarajyam, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Gaddar, Prof. Jayashankar, Konda Laxman Bapuji, KV Ranga Reddy, Dasaradhi Krishnamacharyulu, Prof. Kodandaram, Current CM of Telangana K Chandrashekar Rao, KR Amos, and Suravaram Pratap Reddy. Deepthi Ravula described the float to the assembled crowds of thousands who were shouting Vande mataram, and Jai Bharat mata slogans.
The work for the float was planned three weeks before the event to showcase the Journey of Telangana from its Independence up to its statehood in 2014. Bay Area Telanganites, the group of bay area Telangana residents, gathered in a volunteer’s house, with ideas brimming to showcase the new state to rest of the world and to Bay Area. Many idea were discussed, but in the end the volunteers wanted to showcase the Journey of Telangana as mark of respect and homage to all the sacrifices and struggles undertaken by millions towards statehood. Few days before the event all the volunteers started assembling near the parade route to build the float. Most of the volunteers were software professionals in Silicon Valley, started to come down post work hours to give a helping hand. Even parents who were visiting their kids also joined in helping to build the float.
On the day of the parade, Telanganites of bay area, men and women, young and old, dressed in Indian attires, gathered behind the float on the parade route cheering and chanting Jai Telangana and Jai Bharat mata. Many Telangana people who came to witness the parade appreciated the effort put forth to showcase the new state. Many Indians and Americans who came to know about the new state, encouraged the participants to participate every year. Every year all the floats are judged by a panel of Judges and event grand marshall which for this year were Ayushmann Khurrana & Esha Deol from bollywood. For the year of 2014 the best float award went to Telangana float , Rajasthan float was in second place and Bay area telugu association (BATA) float was in third . As the judges announced the award, the Telangana float volunteers started rejoicing for their achievement. This is the 2nd year, Bay area Telanganites taken out the float in this parade, and this year’s float not only depicted the Journey of Telangana, but was an attempt to remember all the struggles and sacrifices of the millions, to improve the living standards of people in Telangana and everywhere in the world, A true homage.
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Bay Area Telanganites