TEBOHO KHATEBE MOLEFI
MASERU – While Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, hoisted the national flag at the Red Fort in New Delhi and addressed the nation on Saturday, the Indian community in Lesotho joined their compatriots in raising the Indian flag to celebrate the country’s 74the Independence Day Maseru.
Indians across the world celebrate Independence Day of the country from imperial rule under a British Raj on August 15; the day is a national holiday in India and celebrated with flag hoisting, parades and cultural performance since 1947 when India.
A subdued remembrance was held at the Hills View, in Maseru, Saturday morning in which Indian Association of Lesotho president, Biju Abraham Korah, regretted “marking this glorious day in the middle of a COVID-19 scare, which forces restrain because of lockdown restrictions.”
Korah extended greetings and appreciation of a warm welcome and peaceful co-existence with the Basotho as a host nation.
“I would also like to take this opportunity on this glorious occasion to declare that the government of India has kindly offered to donate medicines to aid Lesotho fight this pandemic upon approval from our health ministry.
This generosity shows the care and concern our government has for the people of Lesotho,” he said.
Korah saluted all freedom fighters that put their lives in line for their country, and those who lived up to the spirit of unity. He said India has reached where it is today because of contributions of all past leaders, central as well as states’ governments.
“I want to express my feelings of respect and gratitude to all those previous governments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all former prime ministers who have endeavored to lead us to the present day India,” he continued.
In his message to the Basotho and the diaspora in the country the Indian High Commissioner to Lesotho, Jaideep Sarkar, noted that during the current Coronavirus crisis India has lived up to its reputation of being the ‘pharmacy of the world’ even though there is a huge need for medical supplies in India.
He said India has extended Covid-related medical assistance including testing kits, protective gear and medicines to more than 90 countries across the globe.
“On humanitarian grounds, India lifted restrictions on the export of Paracetamol formulations and Hydroxychloroquine to Lesotho in April 2020.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged India’s support to the African Union as it tackles the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the African continent,” Sarkar said.
He commended the well-established Indian community in Lesotho which has “whole-heartedly embraced its’ adopted country”, adding that its members have made important contributions to the growth and social life of the country as Indian diasporas have done in other parts of the world.
“Recently, we were deeply grieved when one of the senior most members of the community, Mr Manmohan Bakaya passed away after a prolonged illness. He contributed to bringing India and the Lesotho closer together and was well regarded by everyone. Fortunately, there are other committed members of the community who are stepping up to carry the mantle forward.
We pray that the COVID-19 crisis will end soon so that we can resume normal activities. Among the important events planned is the next India-Africa Forum Summit which will give a big boost to India’s engagement with Africa. At this Summit the leaders of India and Africa will deliberate on the next steps in our vibrant partnership.
As Lesotho travels the road of its chosen development path, India will stand ready as a friendly and reliable partner – together, we are stronger,” the High Commissioner said.
India gained independence from United Kingdom on August 15, 1947, with the first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, raising the national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in New Delhi.