Jaitley Graces Baisakhi Celebrations by the Indians in Washington DC

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Washington, DC – Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister of Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar greeted the Indian Community on April 18 as the Embassy of India hosted a reception to celebrate Baisakhi. The festival symbolizes the harvest season, and thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. It also marks the founding of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh.

Over three hundred guests including prominent Indian American community leaders, doctors, engineers, lawyers, bankers, scientists, and other professionals attended the celebrations. The program started with Kirtan (recital of Sikh Holy scriptures) by Bhai Kirpal Singh and his team.

Addressing the audience Minister Jaitley said, “India is a country of festivals but there are two Lori and Baisakhi which are specifically of great importance to Punjab itself.” Noting that Baisakhi is one of the most auspicious days, Jaitley added, “Also an important landmark in India’s independence movement. The incident at the Jalianwala Bagh took place 95 years ago when the congregation had collected for celebrating Baisakhi on 13th April.”

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, was a seminal event in the British rule of India. On 13 April 1919, a crowd of nonviolent protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, were fired upon by the British army killing hundreds and injuring thousands.

In his opening remarks Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu said, “Baisakhi is one of the most popular Indian festivals, associated with the harvest season all over India and its known in different names.”

Local artists sang folk songs from Punjab and there was much dance and gaiety on the lawns of the Embassy Residence where the function was held.

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