Chicago IL: In the presence of 5,000 people, Bollywood musical and singing legend Bappi Lahiri, Actor Sarfaraz Khan, dozens of distinguished community leaders, generous sponsors, a dozen top ranking elected officers, entertaining emcees and committed FIA officers and volunteers, the Federation of Indian Associations presented a signature event honoring and celebrating the 69th Indian Independence Day on Sunday – August 16, 2015 at Boomers Stadium, 1999 Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg, IL with a finale of high octane fireworks. Bappi was delighted to see the thousands of cheering crowd. “I am spellbound. I want to come here again, and again,” the rock star said.
“It was certainly magical and enchanting,” said Founder President Sunil Shah. “Our event topped all the celebratory events happened in the last week.” Shah was instrumental in bringing the maximum number of advertisements and sponsorships for the event. For his exemplary works, he was honored with a Life Time Achievement Award.
While acknowledging cheers and accepting a community service award from the FIA, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, applauded the extraordinary efforts of the Asian Indians. “The Indian community are creating its positive narrative and life size imprints everywhere, she said.
In his welcoming speech, FIA President and Founder, Onkar Sangha was ebullient on the turnout of the huge crowd. “I am simply speechless to witness the community’s response,” he added. The FIA team felicitated him with an Outstanding Leadership Award.
FIA Vice President Neil Khot dedicated his last few months in interacting with the Village of Schaumburg and Boomers Stadium ensuring the event’s smooth operation according to the legal codes. “It was a complex and tedious job and it needed laser like focus,” Khot said. Later, Khot was recognized with was a “Rising Star” award honoring his industrious work.
Bringing the huge crowd would not have been possible without the extensive support from the Indian news media, mainstream newspapers, and social media. “We created a connecting-all-the-dos plan to develop a publicity package and it was successful,” said FIA Vice President Moon Khan.
“The Indian Independence Day festivity may be seen as a symbol of the rapid growth of the Indian American community in the Chicago suburbs. From 1990 to 2000, Indian-Americans became the largest Asian ethnic group in Illinois, according to data from the last census. We received an overwhelming response from local businesses that have supported the event as sponsors and partners, some of whom will showcase their products through stall and celebration participation such as fashion show by Dilli Darzi . Thanks to all the sponsors of the grand event without their support it would not be possible to have such a wonderful event also thanks to audience of Chicago and well wishers who attended the event to make this magnificent event successful” said by Hitesh Gandhi, Treasurer, FIA
The program began with a solemn flag hoisting ceremony performed by FIA officers before noon. Opening the event, dancers trained at Nrutya Kalashree Dance Academy, Chicago Bollywood Dance School, and Junoon Dance Group elevated the heartbeats of the audience. Displaying similar enthusiasm, FIA Secretary Mona Bhalla, and singers Sana Khan, Sarang Sane, and Mahijit Singh enthralled the cheering crowd with their melodious songs. In solo appearances, young singers Sa Re Ga Ma Little Champ Pritesh and Zee TV Contestant Ashley Singh enthused the crowd as well.
Ashley Singh, Sana Khan, and Rita Shah performed duet songs with Bappida. One of the main attractions of the colorful event was a parade of all the available dignitaries, sponsors, FIA officers and artists led by a Bagpiper band and a look alike Gandhi Jee portrayed by Mohammad Wajihuddin. While the parade was encircling the stadium, Rita Shah recited the Indian national anthem in her sonorous voice. Mira Chotalia sang American National Anthem.
To keep the audience’s eyes glued to the main stage, Swapnil Shah, Gaurav Arora, and Shaan Khan masterfully engaged the audience with their eloquence and oratory. While Sahaj Shah, also known as Mr. Shaw, showed his professional talent in deejaying the broadcast. Admiring the efforts made by FIA in strengthening and popularizing the Indian culture in suburbs, India’s Consul General posted in Chicago, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, expressed his appreciation and satisfaction.
The program went one notch up when Fashion Show was introduced by FIA Vice President Shalini Saxena with about a dozen exquisite models. Mehar Dance models were managed by Gopi Engineer and Dilli Darzi presenters were coordinated by Noman Khan.
While everybody was watching the glittering programs, FIA officers, Dhitu Bhagwakar, Mukesh Shah, Payal Shah, Hitesh Gandhi, Khaja Moinuddin, Ali Khan, Shital Daftari, Sunny Kular, Ninad Daftari, Manjeet Bhalla, were devoting their energies on coordinating with ticket sales, taking care of all the money related problems, vendor placement, deliverance of food and beverages, organizing rides for children, placing numerous banners, lining up artists, directing volunteers, welcoming dignitaries, managing parking lot issues and guiding technicians to present a successful firework show.
The traditional Lamp Lighting ceremony brought another focal point in the program, which was attended by State Senator – Michael Noland and candidate for US Congress, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois State Representative – Fred Crespo, Illinois State Representative -Michelle Mussman, Illinois State Representative – Jim Dirken, and Hoffman Estates Mayor – William McLeod.
FIA decided to honor a few elected officials on this occasion with an award. Awardees were Schaumburg Village President, Al Larson, Oak Brook Village President Gopal Lalmalani, Hoffman Estates Village President William McCloud Raja Krishnamoorthy, US Congressional candidate, and State Representative Fred Crespo
On this occasion, prominent sponsors were felicitated that included Mafat Patel of Patel Brothers, Santosh Kumar of Metropolitan Family Services, Manish Gandhi of Power Plant Services, Ketu Amin VINAKOOM, Syed Hussaini of Wintrust Bank, Nakul Singh Chand of Air India, Neil & Raj Patel of Medstar, Rob Hodgkiss of New York Life Insurance, Anil Shah of Money Exchange, Sunil Shah of , Ayodhia Salwan, President of Hari Om Mandir of , Mitchell Sklare of , Ramesh Vitha of Vitha Jewelers, Bhavna Modi of Manpasand IMC, Harinderpal Singh of MITS, Brij Sharma of Power Volt, Rita Singh of S.R. International, Pritesh Gandhi of Waterford Banquets, Jagmohan Jayara of India House, Jasbir Suga of Suga Builders, Happy Heer of Maharaja Restaurant,K.C.Patel of CGMT Inc. Sunil Shah of R.N. International, Ayodhia Salwan of Salwan Trading, Mitchell Sklare of Miska’s Liquors and Vinod Ghelani of Meghna Jewelers.
FIA also honored its star stalwarts Payal Shah, Dhitu Bhagwakar, and Toral Chaudhari of Nrutya Kalashree Dance Academy. A new kind of energy spiked up in the audience when winners of Air India roundtrip tickets were announced by Air India Chicago Manager Nakul Singh, Chand. A lucky draw was also taken out for the shows of Asha Bhosle as well as Talat Aziz, and Arijit Singh.
A large number of volunteers of Association for India’s Development (AID) offered their services under the leadership of Amit Rami. Also helpful were Viqar Moinuddin, Shanu Khan, Bharti Desai, Raghu Mudumbai, and their family members. Nirav Shah took care of Bappi’s transportation and food.
FIA also acknowledged the contributions of Hi India’s Hemant Brahmbhatt, TV ASIA’s Vandana Jhingan, India Post’s Ramesh Soparawala, Asian Media’s Suresh Bodiwala, and Punjab Times’ Amolak Singh Jammu by bestowing upon them community service awards. Executive Board: Sunil Shah (founder president), Onkar Sangha (President), Mukesh Shah and Dhitu Bhagwakar (Executive Vice Presidents), Shital Daftari, Ravi Kapoor, Moon Khan, Neil Khot, Payal Shah (Vice Presidents), Mona Bhalla (Joint Secretary), Surinder Singh Palia (Treasurer), Hitesh Gandhi (Joint Treasurer), and Manjit Singh Bhalla, Ninad Daftari, Shalini Saxena and Ali Khan (Directors).