The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut hosted an evening of music and celebration May 23 honoring HR Shah, TV Asia chairman, who was recently awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.
The cavernous ballroom of Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, NJ, saw an 8-member New Jersey State Police Pipe Band welcome more than 250 guests, who stood in awe of the man whose largesse had touched many.
Shah was led into the ballroom by ladies of the FIA, many of whom were past and current FIA officials, with a glowing flower tribute. FIA chairman Ramesh Patel and president Andy Bhatia, along with more than 25 former and current FIA executive committee members welcomed Shah.
The effervescent Shah, who also owns Krauszer’s chain of convenience stories, is a doyen of the Indian American community and a man of many skills. He received the Padma Shri in the field of Literature, Education and Journalism from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in April this year.
Shah was joined at the event by Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Media and Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, a noted radiation oncologist, both past recipients of the Padma Shri.
Several people spoke highly of Shah’s work as a philanthropist, community activist and someone who had worked tirelessly to improve U.S.-India relations.
India’s Consul General in New York, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, also attended the event and remained late till the event ended at around 11 pm, according to organizers. In her speech, she congratulated Shah and expressed her happiness for his recognition by the Government of India.
Following an opening presentation of Ganesh Stuthi by Alok Kumar from India, India’s Consul General in New York, Riva Ganguly Das paid a glowing tribute to Shah. “It’s a nice Indian tradition to celebrate the honoring of your friend,” she said, adding, “HR Shah’s Padma Shri is a recognition of the role diaspora plays in shaping India’s future.”
Also in attendance was Rohit Patel, Gujarat’s minister of finance and industries. Many speakers narrated about their long-standing friendship with Shah and how he often was resolute in supporting community organizations in crisis. Through TV Asia, Shah supports more than 1,200 Indian American community organizations such as FIA.
In his speech, Shah was quick to point out why it was important to rally behind community groups like the FIA. “My blood is in the India Day Parade, which the FIA hosts every year,” he said. “The parade must go on every year because it defines us as a community, therefore we must support the FIA to make the parade grand every year.”
“H.R. was always there for us, so we wanted to show our appreciation for him with this special event. He is a very deserving candidate,” said Ramesh Patel, chairman of FIA.
The India Day Parade in New York this year is scheduled for Aug 20. The gala banquet is set for Aug 21 at the Royal Albert’s Palace. Among other past and current FIA officials in attendance were: Shobna and Dinesh Patel, Albert Jasani, Yash Pal Soi, Rohit Patel, Ram Gadhvi, Chandrakant Trivedi, Kanu Chauhan, Ankur Vaidya, Bipin Patel, Jagdish Patel and Deepak Patel.
The FIA of NY-NJ-CT was formed in 1970 and is among the largest umbrella organization representing over 500,000 Indian Americans in the tristate region. The centerpiece of its efforts culminates in the India Day Parade in New York each year.
Photo Captions (Courtesy: FIA)
FIA-1: TV Asia chairman H R Shah, center right, with India’s Consul General in New York, Riva Ganguly Das, center front left, at an event FIA hosted in New Jersey to honor Shah, who was recently awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.
FIA-2: H R Shah, center, with Consul General Riva Ganguly Das and Rohit Patel, Gujarat’s minister of finance and industries, at the FIA event.
FIA-3: H R Shah, with, from left, Ramesh Patel, FIA chairman, Dr Sudhir Parikh, a past recipient of the Padma Shri and Andy Bhatia, FIA president.