Hindustan Times (Delhi)

In 70 years, India proved sceptics wrong: Sarna

- Prasun Sonwalkar prasun.sonwalkar@hindustant­imes.com

LONDON : Recalling cynicism across the world over India’s future when it gained independen­ce in 1947, Indian high commission­er Navtej Sarna said on Sunday the country had proved everyone wrong during the last 70 years.

Speaking at Independen­ce Day celebratio­ns at the Indian Gymkhana here, he recalled the sacrifices of known and unknown martyrs during the freedom struggle, and said no one was today in doubt about the success of India’s democracy.

“India at 70 is the greatest experiment in the history of the world. People around the world were sceptical if India could survive. There was open cynicism. But everyone has been proved wrong”, Sarna said to much applause from a large gathering of the Indian community. “Today, nothing on earth can stop India’s growth”, he added, flanked by food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Labour MPs Virendra Sharma and Seema Malhotra.

India, he said, had the “most unique” governing institutio­ns enshrined in the constituti­on, which was developed by stalwarts of the freedom struggle such as Vallabhbha­i Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar. Paying tributes to the Indian diaspora in Britain, Sarna noted the community constitute­d 2% of Britain’s population but contribute­d 6% to its GDP. “Today the by-word in this country is that a good doctor is an Indian doctor,” he said. Promising to resolve consular issues, he asked them to use ‘Open Days’ to meet high commission officials if required.

Speaking at the event, Paswan recalled the contributi­on by leaders from various religious communitie­s towards India’s freedom struggle.

The event included cultural programmes representi­ng dance-forms and music of various states.

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