The Indian Association in Uganda marked a significant milestone by celebrating 101 years of its existence in Uganda with a grand event held at the Lugogo Cricket Oval. The event not only celebrated the association’s 101-year journey but also marked India’s 76th Independence Day, originally observed on August 15th.
Kansai Plascon, Uganda’s leading paint manufacturer, a long-time supporter of various cultures in Uganda, played a significant role as one of the co-sponsors. Plascon consistently contributes to the Indian community through monetary support and paint contributions. Mr. Santosh Gumte, Managing Director of Plascon, was present at the event and emphasized the company’s commitment to community support saying, “We are proud to be part of this vibrant celebration and continue our tradition of giving back to the community.”
Dignitaries, including Hajjat Minsa Kabanda, Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, and Dorothy Kisaka, KCCA Executive Director, graced the event, underlining its importance. Despite earlier rain showers, the venue was packed with enthusiastic attendees.
The event featured captivating performances by top Indian artists such as Shivam Singh, Jared Ali, and Senjuti Das, along with Indian dance groups that electrified the night. Vibrant cultural outfits and a variety of Indian delicacies added to the colourful atmosphere, making it a memorable night that continued late into the evening. Founded in 1922, the association has been a cornerstone of the Indian community in Uganda, fostering peace and promoting social cohesion. However, the journey was not without its challenges. In 1972, during the rule of H.E. Idi Amin, Indians were expelled from Uganda, accused of “milking Uganda’s money.” It wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that the Indian community returned to Uganda, and the Indian Association Uganda was re-established.
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Through its charitable activities, the association played a pivotal role in eradicating Indophobia from the Ugandan African community, facilitating the harmonious coexistence of both communities. Today, the Indian community, despite representing less than 1% of the population, contributes up to 65% of Uganda’s tax revenue, highlighting its significant role in the country’s development.
The mission of the Indian Association in Uganda is rooted in serving the common good, fostering a strong bond between Ugandan Indians and Ugandan Africans, and promoting educational, communal, and artistic well-being. The association also aims to preserve and advance Indian culture while supporting the local community through initiatives like schools for sports and education.
In essence, the Indian Association in Uganda’s 101st-anniversary celebration, also known as India Day, was a testament to the enduring spirit of the Indian community, the valuable support of Plascon, and the vibrant cultural performances that showcased the rich Indian heritage.