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Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Begins in Varanasi

Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas inaugural ceremony was held in Varanasi on Monday
Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas inaugural ceremony was held in Varanasi on Monday

The 15th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas began in Varanasi on Monday. The three-day event started with the inaugural ceremony of the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, attended by guests of honour, Indian-origin Norwegian Parliamentarian, Himanshu Gulati and Indian-origin member of the New Zealand Parliament, Kanwaljit Bakshi. Chief Guest for PBD 2019, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth also arrived in New Delhi on Sunday

The 15th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas began today in the Indian city of Varanasi. The event commemorates the homecoming of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai in January, 1915. Celebrated every two years, the event aims at strengthening the engagement of the Indian diaspora with the Indian government to reconnect non-resident Indians with their roots. It also honours the achievements and contributions of Indians living abroad.

This year’s three-day Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was rescheduled to include the Kumbh Mela Festivities that began on January 15, followed by the Republic Day celebration on January 26, 2019. Reportedly, over five thousand non-resident Indians have registered to attend PBD this year. The Chief Guest for PBD 2019, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth also arrived at New Delhi, accompanied by a team of delegates on Sunday.

Monday marked the start of Youth PBD, commenced by Indian-origin Parliamentarians, Himanshu Gulati from Norway and Kanwaljit Bakshi from New Zealand, the guests of honour for the inaugural ceremony.

Mauritian Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth arrived at New Delhi on Sunday
Mauritian Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth arrived at New Delhi on Sunday

Addressing the Youth PBD in Varanasi, the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj asserted, “India has the largest diaspora in the world, at almost 31 million, which is spread throughout the globe. However, what marks all of you is the shared common identity – of Indianness – and a shared common origin – India, land of your forefathers. It is to celebrate these shared bonds that we all have gathered here.” Further outlining the importance of the Indian youth in the development and growth of the nation, the Minister said, “By 2020, the average age in India will be 29, making it the world’s youngest country with 64% of the population in the working age group.” While the populations of powerful nations, both in the west and east, are aging, “India is getting younger and younger.”

Applauding the achievements of the guests of honour, the Indian External Affairs Minister said, “At a young age, they have accomplished incredible things and their presence and participation in the PBD is an inspiration to Diaspora youth.” She also thanked the Banaras Hindu University for organising the entire interaction.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also participate in PBD 2019, themed – ‘Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India’. This year’s valedictory ceremony at the PBD, scheduled for January 23, 2019, will honour 30 people with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. This will be followed by the Mauritian Prime Minister joining the Kumbh Mela festivities on January 24, 2019.

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