This year marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and the grand duchy. As the president of the IAL, Alagumalai says he has seen a significant growth in the number of members, in part because of the rise in the number of Indian expats living here.
“The Indian community is growing fast, one of the third fastest growing, non-European community,” he says. “We have about 4,500 living here.”
One of the places that means the most to Alagumalai is the Place d’Armes, where India Day has traditionally been celebrated (in 2022, it exceptionally took place in Esch-sur-Alzette). It’s a time when the square fills with colourful saris and flags, and spicy aromas, and Alagumalai enjoys seeing the international community of Luxembourg coming together to celebrate his motherland.
Other IAL flagship events include the festival of lights, or Diwali, in autumn and the International Day of Yoga on 21 June.
Originally from Madurai, Alagumalai lived in Luxembourg for a six-month stint in the late 1980s, but returned in 1992 with his family, immediately volunteering at the IAL. “I liked this country so much… it started with six months, but six months are going on until now!” He praises the grand duchy’s quality of life, and integration with other cultures is “phenomenal”. In fact, he sees a lot of similarities between India and Luxembourg in terms of the linguistic and cultural diversity. His children speak several languages fluently, including Alagumalai’s mother tongue.
In 2022, his hard work with the association and community paid off, when he was awarded the Order of the Oak Crown by the Luxembourg government. At the time, he said, “ I never imagined that the young boy--who would spend his spare time helping at his father’s humble corner shop in India--would be able to move to another country, start an IT company, navigate through ups and downs for 25 years then receive a prestigious medal recognising my endeavour.”