Connecting with home: How Indian students in Singapore celebrate Independence Day

While Singapore just finished celebrating its amazing 53rd birthday, India will soon mark its 71st year of independence.  

They say you can take the boy out of Bombay, but not the Bombay out of the boy! No matter where the Indians live, they carry with them culture and the true essence of being an Indian.

While some youngsters tag along with their parents for flag hoisting at the High Commission of India, Singapore, others choose to dwell in some traditional food paradise for the day.

SIM students at their annual Diwali meet. Photo courtesy: Kavish Pal Singh Wadhwa
SIM students at their annual Diwali meet. Photo courtesy: Kavish Pal Singh Wadhwa

Connected to India spoke to some young Indian students studying in Singapore as well as the Indian diaspora to find out how they spend their 15th August.

Rahul Mishra, a student of Economics at Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) said, “As a Singaporean who has come from India, this day reminds of my roots.The day itself is a great occasion for a gathering with family friends and relatives to celebrate the spirit of the nation. We would cook up some traditional dishes, because food always help to take us on a trip down memory lane.”

Dancing to the beat. Photo Credits: SMU Indian Cultural society Facebook Page
Dancing to the beat. Photo Credits: SMU Indian Cultural society Facebook Page

Aman Chaudhary, a student of Business Management, shared that his friends would treat themselves to some great Indian cuisine from Indian Restaurants here. They would attend the flag hoisting in the morning at the High Commission of India, Singapore. “Being away from home, we always look for ways to connect with our home country. Even the smallest things, such as when some stranger comes and starts speaking to us in Hindi, it feels like home.’’

When asked what’s the one thing that students missed about India on this particular day, NTU student Siddharth Bhatla said,“I have missed the full-scale NCC functions organized in my Alma Mater SVNIT, Surat. It included the army displaying their weaponry and warfare equipment. They even let us try out a few of them! Listening to the ‘Desh Bhakti’ (patriotic) songs, honouring our great past leaders and saluting the soldiers serving our motherland were also some of the things that we used to do back in India. These functions are a constant reminder of the sacrifices our ancestors have made to help our country develop and provide us with a safe and productive environment to thrive in.”

A few Indian students from NUS. Photo Credits: NUS Indian Society Facebook page
A few Indian students from NUS. Photo Credits: NUS Indian Society Facebook page

Having stayed in Singapore for the last ten years, Kavish Pal Singh Wadhwa, an International Relations major from SIM, shared how Aug 15 was a day for him to celebrate the Indian heritage and his family's culture when he’s miles away from home. “It’s also a day to honour all those who sacrificed, gave their blood, sweat and tears to gain independence, and give future generations the chance to achieve whatever we set our minds to,” he added.

A NUS graduate, Adhiraj Mahajan, said, “I grew up with the regular flag hoisting in my locality, flying kites, and spending time with family. My parents are doctors and August 15 is one of their few main leaves. I guess I miss everything about the whole day. Perhaps flying kites and miserably failing at it is something I miss the most.”

Celebrating Diwali In Singapore. Photo Credits: Adhiraj Mahajan
Celebrating Diwali In Singapore. Photo Credits: Adhiraj Mahajan

A student from SP Jain, Roshan Agarwal expressed how Singapore and India shared a similar past. Both were ruled by the British and that he could relate how his ancestor would have struggled as compared to the struggles of the ancestors of his Singaporean friends. He also shared how exciting Little india would be with the several cultural activities taking place.

“This day is important as it roots into the deep history of our country. Even though I am not staying in India now, it reminds me of the cultural values of our nation,” said another student Arpit Chauhan when asked what this day meant to him.

Bless up! Always praying for survival in university! Photo Credits: Adhiraj Mahajan
Bless up! Always praying for survival in university! Photo Credits: Adhiraj Mahajan

Students from around Singapore from varying backgrounds expressed how much they missed home, but the spirit of the nation lives inside them. Like Tony Hillerman once said, “Being Indian is not blood, as much as it is culture”.

The High Commission of India, Singapore will be holding a flag hoisting ceremony on the morning of August 15 at 9am.

Author
Ketki Acharya
Ketki Acharya – Contributor

Completing her undergraduate degree in Singapore, Ketki has been a part of various events like Unleash. Her taste buds are always craving different cuisines and she also loves to interact with different people from various cultures. She occasionally writes poetry, but also enjoys telling stories to the world.

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