New suburban group hosts celebration of India's independence
Suburban Indians gathered Sunday in Vernon Township's William E. Peterson Park to celebrate the 75th year of India's independence with poetry, dance, food and more.
The inaugural event for the recently formed Lake County Indians Association brought together people from 28 states of India, said association President Gowri Magati of Buffalo Grove.
The organization formed "to bring the community together and teach the traditions and values," Magati said.
Vidya Nahar, a Buffalo Grove resident who was one of the presenters at Sunday's ceremony, said an indication of how much the Indian community in the area has grown is the population of the Strathmore subdivision where she lives.
When she moved there in 1997, hers was the only Indian family.
"Now there are at least five or six Indian families on every street of Strathmore," she said, adding that many are moving to the area for the quality education at schools like Stevenson High School.
Nahar came from Mumbai with her husband in 1993 and has taught yoga at venues including Vernon Township and the Buffalo Grove Park District.
A major theme of the celebration Sunday was unity amid the diversity of cultures with the Indian community.
"Our mother tongues are different, but we come here and feel like a family, even though we are from different states of India," Nahar said. "We have different languages. Different cuisines. But we all feel as part of a family."
Ayathi Ojha, 11, recited a poem during the celebration.
"I find it special, because there are a lot of Indians here in America, so we get a chance to celebrate here," she said.