Lifestyle Viral and Trending 15 Aug 2018 Washed in the tricol ...

Washed in the tricolour

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | PRIYA SREEKUMAR
Published Aug 15, 2018, 12:14 am IST
Updated Aug 15, 2018, 12:14 am IST
Sibu Nair.
 Sibu Nair.

A common statement we often hear is that we only understand the value of something when we miss it. So even if there are countless Indians who have gone abroad to pursue better prospects, that does not mean their hearts don’t beat for their motherland. The same patriotic blood courses through their veins as their brethren in India and that is most apparent when Independence Day rolls by. Today, as India celebrates its 72nd year of independence, there will be a huge reason for Indians living near the world-famous Niagara Falls to throw their hats high up in the air. The gushing waterfalls that straddle the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the American state of New York will be bathed in the green, white and orange colours of the tricolour.     

The man behind this endeavour is a Malayali named Sibu Nair who is duplicating the feat that he managed to pull off last year too. Incidentally, Sibu is an Administrator at the University of Buffalo in New York and also the executive director of CHAI (Council of Heritage and Arts of India). A native of Kollam in Kerala, Sibu moved to New York in 2005. Sibu shares the exact details of the event, “The Niagara Falls and the Peace Bridge would light up in our Tiranga colours  (Indian Flag colour) on August 15, celebrating India’s 72nd Independence Day. The Falls will be illuminated orange, white and green at 10 p.m. for 15 minutes — thanks to LED lights.” Wait, that’s not all, “The Peace Bridge will also be illuminated in the tricolours as well, at dusk until 1 am.” 

For those who are in the dark, the Peace Bridge is the bridge that connects US and Canada. So how exactly did he manage to achieve this rare feat and what prompted him to pursue the idea? “Both sides of the Falls have a lot of Indian families — mainly on the Canadian side. So I wanted to come up with something that would show the pride and solidarity that us Indians living here share,” he says.  The Niagara Parks Illumination Board, of which Niagara Parks is a member, receives and reviews requests for special illumination and the tricolour illumination was approved.

The photo of the Falls lighting up last year was tweeted by the High Commissioner of India in Canada, which was widely shared. Sibu is happy that India is getting recognition in this form.  Is it any wonder that his chest puffs up with pride when he says this? Sibu mentions the support of the New York State Governor’s Office, which paved the way for a smooth acceptance of the proposal as well as the State Park Administration.  It goes without saying that the 4,000 Indian families living on either side of the Falls are ecstatic about the Falls turning tricolour. He adds, “Last year, we had Indians from various regions coming over to witness the spectacle.” Before concluding, he says, “I always look forward to bringing together the Indian and American cultures.” 

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