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Hicksville Celebrates Indian Independence

South Broadway was alive with the sound of drums, bhangra music and laughter this past Sunday as thousands gathered to celebrate India Independence Day.

Indian Independence Day is August 15. A parade is held in Manhattan every year, and Hicksville has hosted its own the past two years.  Parade committee member Tina Shah emigrated from India when she was in college. She says having the parade in Hicksville saved people the trouble of having to go to Manhattan and allowed them to celebrate Indian Independence Day closer to home.

“The community’s growing so big and so quickly we needed a presence here,” Shah said. “

“People used to travel to Manhattan and now they can come here. It’s convenient. I’m glad we’re celebrating these events in America,” Rajan Nabe said. “When I came here 30 years ago I would have never imagined such a thing was possible.”

In just one year, the parade has grown significantly. Last year they had less than 10 floats, this year they had 17. Groups like the Hicksville Cricket Club, the Young Indian Cultural Group, and the India Assosciation of Long Island proudly marched down South Broadway.

They were also joined by representatives from countries like Poland, Lebanon and Guyana who congratulated India on their independence day. Thousands attended the parade and enjoyed food, music by DJ Kucha, cultural festivities and a dance performance by the BQ Girls.

According to 2010 census data, 20 percent of the Hicksville community is Asian. Evidences of the Indian community are not hard to find. Indian restaurants, grocers, beauty salons and sari shops line South Broadway.

“The Indian American parade is one of the highlights in my district,” New York State Senator Jack Martins said. “It’s a wonderful community at the forefront of entrepreneurship. They’re an integral part of our community and the fabric that is Nassau County.”

“We’re still close to our country and want to celebrate so we can bring our community together,” committee member Shalu Chopra said.