THE Indian Association of Lesotho (IAL) commemorated the subcontinent nation’s 69th Independence yesterday at an event held at the Honorary Consul’s residence.
India became independent from the British Empire on 15 August 1947 following an Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress.
According to IAL President Sahila Peerbhai, the 15th of August marks India’s freedom from the stranglehold of the British Raj.
“On the eve of the 15 August 1947, the Indian flag was unfurled proudly by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, at the Red Fort in Dehli,” said Dr Peerbhai.
“Jawaharlal Nehru’s landmark ‘tryst with destiny’ has gone down in the annals of independent India as a proud moment for Indians. Thus, India’s Independence Day is a deeply inspiring day to revel in the freedom and glory regained by our freedom fighters.”
She said the commemorations had equal importance to all Indians regardless religion, class or creed.
“Though there are various castes, religions and tribes in our nation, we all unite to celebrate our independence day,” Dr Peerbhai said.
On the role of IAL, she said the association had worked towards fostering a spirit of co-operation and understanding between the peoples of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of India. IAL was established in 1988 as a non-profit, non-partisan and non-sectarian organisation with the primary purpose of providing a cultural and educational platform for people of Indian-descent in Lesotho.
“Our intention is total integration into the local society and community for the common good of humanity and to ensure global understanding,” Dr Peerbhai said.
She also revealed that the association would embark on a community outreach programme in Semonkong on 12 September where it will hold medical consultations and dispense medication for free.
“I appeal to all doctors, nurses and pharmacists to join us,” Dr Peerbhai said, adding that it was critical for members of the Indian community to assist the association in its activities since it was a non-profit body that depends on donations from well-wishers.
An estimated 2 000 Indians live in Lesotho, many of whom are now Basotho by naturalisation, and work in various sectors while others run their own businesses.