- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - New York’s India Day Parade stepped off Sunday with a Scottish-style bagpipe band in kilts - flying an Indian flag.

The walk down Madison Avenue is billed as the biggest Indian parade outside that country, marking India’s 1947 independence from British colonizers.

On Sunday, organizers said they were aiming to set three Guinness world records: for most different flags flown simultaneously, most people receiving henna tattoos and most confetti popped at a single event.

Other participants’ interests were loftier.

“We’re studying to be living, walking and talking deities; we want to become blissful, loveful, peaceful souls - 100 percent pure,” said Neal Botvinik, a businessman from Great Neck, Long Island.

He’s a member of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University movement whose float was featured in the lineup. Sitting atop it were Roshni Patel, 30, a medical assistant from Edison, New Jersey, and Komal Thapa, 34, a Brooklyn teacher.

The Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which is going for the records, said observers were at the parade to register the results for Guinness. It was not clear how they would arrive at final tallies.

Parade participants included Bollywood actors, cricket players and a surprise appearance by an internationally known member of India’s parliament, Shashi Tharoor, whose name made global headlines when his wife was found dead last year in a luxury hotel in New Delhi. Tharoor was in New York for his son’s wedding.

The kilted band goes back to an Indian spiritual leader who visited London in 1970 and admired the Scottish tradition. He formed the first such group with Indian businessmen in Kenya.

Sunday’s Swamibapa Pipe Band is from the Swaminarayan Temple in Secaucus, New Jersey.

A 10-year-old boy from Edison had no interest in world records or spirituality.

“It’s fun to be Indian because of the cricket and the chole bhature,” said Sharan Sabarish, referring to his favorite spicy chickpea stew with fried bread being served at the end of the parade that stretched down the avenue from 38th Street to 23rd Street.

“I like to see different cultures being mixed, Indian and American,” he added “You don’t have to be the culture that you’re living in; you can be any culture and live in any place.”

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