Culture took centre stage at the 14th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Bengaluru on Sunday. — PHOTO: K. MURALI KUMAR

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — This year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual global convention for Indian diaspora, was held from Jan. 7 through the 9th in Bengaluru and saw its largest crowd since the festival’s inception.

Fourteen States, including Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh displayed exhibits at this year’s festival.

Foreign dignitaries including Surinamese Vice-President Michael Ashwin Adhin, Portuguese Prime Minister H.E Antonio Costa and chief ministers from seven Indian states participated in the event. It is held each year to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa, and has occurred annually since 2003 in an effort to strengthen engagement with the Indian community overseas.

Nisha Biswal, an Indian-American who serves as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs in the United States Department of State, and Priti Patel, a British politician who has been a Member of Parliament since 2010, were listed atop this year’s awards list.

The New York Consulate in the U.S. also observed Pravasi Bharatiya Divas this year, an event that was attended by 70 people, including Letitia James, Public Advocate for the City of New York and members of the Indian-American community. The event was hosted in association with the Association of Indian America.

Consul General Riva Ganguly Das welcomed guests personally to the event, and spoke about the growth and highlights of PDB. Das cited the increase of the Indian-American population, and the community’s immense contributions to the U.S. economy. A short film was shown at the event, which was immediately followed by a broadcast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the Bengaluru event.