The Federation of Indian Associations – Chicago [FIA] organized a welcome reception in honor of the newly appointed Consul General of India in Chicago, Neeta Bhushan March 15 at the Maharaja Restaurant in Rosemont, Ill. The event, attended by hundreds of members from the region, was an opportunity to reaffirm FIA’s support, goodwill and co-operation with the office of the Consulate General of India.
In her address, Bhushan thanked FIA for according her a warm welcome and expressed admiration for the work the associaiton has done over the years. Bhushan said it is her goal to bring the community together to work towards the shared goals as she said our relationships are bound by ‘khoon ka rishta’ as articulated by Prime Minister Modi and not by the color of our passports. Bhushan expressed delight in her posting to Chicago and said that she would keep the doors of her office open for an ongoing dialogue with the community and would look forward to learning from the community’s rich experience.
FIA President Kanti N. Patel in his welcome remarks pledged his support to the consul general and expressed that the 56 organizations of FIA stand with her in lending support as she carries out her responsibilities in the Midwest. Patel said this year FIA would organize a visa camp and a health fair and other events in addition to India Independence Day festivities.
Niranjan Shah introduced Bhushan saying that she comes from a family of high ranking civil service officials. Smita Shah, chair of the Chicago-Delhi Committee to the Sister Cities International, congratulated the consul general and expressed her active support in conjunction with her office. Smita Shah who served as chair for several India Independence Day parades in the past, also presented a special memento to Bhushan.
FIA Trustee Iftekhar Shareef, in his remarks ,assured the consul general that FIA stands determined to work actively with her as she undertakes the responsibility representing India in nine states, Shareef said he looks forward to conducting close-knit planning meetings with the consul general to help her in her endeavor to host major events.
Earlier, Keerthi Kumar Ravoori presented a historical overview of FIA and its contribution to the Indian-American community; while Kanti S. Patel, trustee, outlined the events hosted by FIA.
Bhailal Patel, trustee, introduced FIA President Babu Patel who later introduced Niranajan Shah. Dr. Sanhita Agnihotri, executive vice president, was presented a shawl along with a flower bouquet by Jyoti Patel andUsha Patel. Chirayu Parikh conducted the evening’s proceedings.
In closing remarks, FIA Trustee Satish Gabhawala, described FIA as theonly organization that has its pride of hoisting the Indian flag every Independence Day occasion and looks forward to continuing with that tradition this year. Gabhawala assured the audience that FIA will continue to be a bridge between communities of all faiths and cultural ethnicities.