What a brilliant night it was here in London, celebrating India’s 75th Republic Day on 26 January at the Guildhall organised by the High Commission of India. It was a colourful affair, truly representing the ‘living bridge’ between these two nations of sharing innovation, knowledge, and culture.
Republic Day is a national holiday in India and commemorates the adoption of the Constitution of India and the country’s transition to a republic which came into effect on 26 January 1950. The day is celebrated with a colourful parade, where this year French President Emmanuel Macron was the chief guest, which I believe shows how everyone wants to do business with this powerful country.
Part of the parade is always a display of the country’s cultural heritage as well as its military might and for the first time, an all-women contingent of the army, air force, and navy also marched in the parade.
This strong woman military theme from India carried over, here to the UK, where the highlight of the evening for me was meeting the invincible “Preet Chandi, known here as Polar Preet, who crossed Antarctica, and broke two Guinness World Records in Jan 2023, for both the longest solo unsupported one-way polar ski journey for a woman and also the longest solo unsupported one-way polar ski journey overall and is also breaking stereotypes.
They say never meet your heroes as they often disappoint, but this wasn’t the case when I met Polar Preet who was warm, kind, and generous with her time…not just to me but to everyone who wanted to meet her.
Polar Preet was with her colleagues from the British Army, and it was good to see them, fully immersed in the evening, representing the harmony between the UK and India, and a friendship that is highly valued.