By SATimes Team
Mineola, NY: The Independence Day of India was celebrated by Nassau County on August 12 at the stately Ceremonial Chambers of the Executive Building.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran honored Mr. Darshan Nangia and Sgt. Prakash Shilagani, two veterans of Indian armed forces, along with 6 other prominent Indian American from Long Island: Quddus Mohammed, humanitarian, author and Poet; Mukesh Modi, President of IDP USA 2020, Flora Parikh, Rotarian and President Gift of Life USA, Siddhi Vaishnav, Kuljeet Ahluwalia and Jessica Taneja.
Squadron Leader Darshan K Nangia was commissioned in Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot. He flew many types of aircraft and helicopters. He participated in two wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and was noted for exceptional service. He retired in 1986 and migrated to USA.
Sgt. Prakash Shilagani served in the IAF from 1975 to 1988. He went to J&K forward base on the Western Border to transport bridge construction material in MI-8 Helicopter under adverse -23°C temperatures and staying in kerosene heated bunkers. For his outstanding career and abilities, he was posted at a base in Western sector to maintain and fly as ground crew of aircraft equipped with AWAC (Airborne early warning and control) System. These secret aircraft missions for 6 years as ground crew was a serious challenge and everyday war in peace. None of the crew members were informed of the route and night halt locations in advance.
Due to pandemic, the County event in the morning was limited to honorees for citation presentation. A virtual event was organized in the evening, which was attended by many notable people along with Consul General of India in New York, Amb. Randhir Jaiswal. He congratulated the Indian community for bringing India and America closer and said that in this pandemic time, we all should cooperate with each other.
NYS Senator Kevin Thomas, Nassau County Asian American Affairs Director Farrah Mozawalla, Indian American Forum President Indu Jaiswal, India Day Parade Founder Kamlesh Mehta, community leaders Jagdish Sewhani and Mohinder Taneja also spoke at the occasion.
In their speeches, both Laura Curran and Kevin Thomas mentioned Joe Biden picking Kamala Devi Harris, of Indian ancestry, as his running mate.
The event was organized by Nassau County Office, South Asian Affairs, Indian American Forum, India Day Parade USA and Indian Association of Long Island.