Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar will ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange in the heart of the popular Times Square in New York on Monday to mark India’s 70th Independence Day. Akbar will visit the Nasdaq MarketSite and would be joined by India’s Consul General in the city Riva Ganguly Das to ring the closing bell late afternoon at the second-largest exchange in the world by market capitalisation, behind only the New York Stock Exchange.
India’s Independence Day has been marked annually at NASDAQ for several years now with Consul Generals and visiting dignitaries being invited by the stock exchange to ring the ceremonial opening and closing bells. Akbar will take part in various Independence Day celebrations in the city, beginning with a flag-hoisting ceremony at the Indian Consulate.
After participating in the closing bell ceremony at NASDAQ, he will attend the Independence Day celebrations at the United Nations headquarters, where the highlight is a concert by Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman and a photo exhibition commemorating the birth centenary of India’s carnatic music legend M S Subbulakshmi.
India’s Independence Day is being celebrated with great pomp and show at the world body’s headquarters this year as Rahman will enthrall UN diplomats and dignitaries at the special concert in the UN General Assembly hall.
Rahman will be only the second Indian artist after Subbulakshmi to perform at the iconic UN hall, which is the usual platform for global leaders to address the world.
Subbulakshmi, the first ever musician to be awarded India’s highest civilian honour the Bharat Ratna, was invited by the then UN Secretary General Late U Thant to perform at the General Assembly in October 1966, becoming the first Indian to perform there. The year also marks the 50th anniversary of her performance at the United Nations.
Marking Subbulakshmi’s birth centenary, the UN Postal Administration will issue a stamp in her honour and India’s Permanent Mission to the UN will organise a photo exhibition from August 15-19, the Indian mission said.
The Indian mission is organising the concert with the support of Chennai-based Sankara Nethralaya, a not-for-profit eye institution.
“The United Nations is also celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. As India celebrates its 70th Independence day, the event will emphasise that the wisdom of Indian traditions remains relevant to current global thinking,” the mission said, adding that the musical evening will provide a “glimpse of gaiety and dynamism” of India on the occasion of ‘India@70’.
Several ‘India Day’ parades will also be held across the tri-state area. Actor Abhishek Bachchan and Yoga guru Baba Ramdev will take part in the parade in Manhattan, organised on August 21 by the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and considered among the largest in the US.