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Indian independence ceremony set for today

By Maria José Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The India American Cultural Association (IACA) will host a Festival of India 2009 torch-lighting and flag-hoisting ceremony today in Jonesboro.

The event will be held from 9:30 a.m., to 11:30 a.m., at the Lake Spivey Golf Club, 8255 Club House Way.

It will be the first time in 13 years of hosting the festival that the India American Cultural Association will be holding the ceremony in Clayton County.

"Jonesboro is significant because we have two Hindu temples in Clayton County - one on Highway 85, and the other in Lake City," said Lake Spivey resident Sandeep Yadav, southside program coordinator for IACA's Festival of India 2009. "There is a sizable Indian population [here]."

Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell is expected to be the guest speaker during the event, which is one of several that have been held across the metro Atlanta area as the Aug. 15 anniversary of India's independence from British rule approaches.

"The Indian community is well represented in Clayton County," Bell said. "I view the contributions that they made highly in our community, and I am supportive of their efforts."

Padma Rallapalli, executive vice president of the India American Cultural Association, said the Festival of India 2009 began with the lighting of the torch at a kick-off celebration at the Mahatma Ghandi statue at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Historical Site in Atlanta, on July 4. The torch was passed to Marietta on July 18, Johns Creek on July 25, and Lilburn on Aug. 1.

Several days after the ceremony in Jonesboro, the Festival of India will be held on Aug. 15 at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

"This is the last weekend ... to make people aware that there's an Indian Independence Day," Yadav said.

Participants in today's event in Jonesboro will be able to watch the hoisting of the Indian flag, and sing the American and Indian national anthems, he said. Indian food will be served at no charge.

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On the net:

India American Cultural Association: www.myiaca.org