The Coalition of Indian Organizations of Long Island celebrated the 69th Republic Day of India on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at Clinton G. Martin Hall in New Hyde Park, NY. The celebration was attended by Consul General of India in New York Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, judges of the New York Supreme Court, public officials at the local and state level and other prominent members of the Indian American community in Long Island.
The event, organized by the Chairman of the Indian American Voters Forum Varinder Bhalla, brought 14 Indian organizations of Long Island under one umbrella as well as the largest gathering of the American dignitaries.
The organizations that were present include: Dr. Urmilesh Arya and Gobind Munjal of the Association of Indians in America; Arya Veer Mukhi of the Samaj of Long Island; Gobind Bathija of Asa Mai Temple; Anjani Persaud of the Brahmakumaris of Long Island; Thomas Oommen of the Federation of Malayalee Associations; Minesh Patel of the Gujrati Samaj of New York; Dr. Rakesh Dua and Dr. Ajay Lodha of the Indian American Physicians of Long Island; Gunjan Rastogi of the India Association of Long Island; Varinder Bhalla of the Indian American Voters Forum; Dr. Rajinder Uppal of the International Punjabi Society; Dr. Ajey Jain of the Rajasthan Association of North America; Dr. Himanshu Pandya of SPARK Youth Club of New York; Rakesh Bhargava of World Spiritual Awareness Forum Inc.; and Koshy Oommen of the World Malayalee Association.
New York Supreme Court Justices Denise Sher and Ruth Balkin were present to represent the judiciary while New York Senator Elaine Phillips presented a Senate Proclamation to Ambassador Chakravorty.
Legislature Majority Leader Rich Nicolello and Legislator Tom McKevitt were there to represent Nassau County as well as Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman. Hempstead Township was represented by its Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana and Supervisor Laura Gillen, who hoisted the Indian flag at Town Hall on Jan. 26.
Gillen also presented a Citation to Ambassador Chakravorty honoring the 69th anniversary of the India Republic Day and another Republic Day Citation was also presented to the Ambassador on behalf of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
Niketa Bhatia, who successfully petitioned the Syosset School District to have Diwali be designated as an official holiday, was honored with a Citation from the Oyster Bay Township. Many Indian American children performed in the cultural show whose highlight was a performance by the artists of the Surati for Performing Arts, a nationally acclaimed group which has performed at the Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and the United Nations, among others.
The pageantry of the Republic Day event was enhanced by bagpipers of Nassau County Firefighters Band who has also played at President Donald Trump’s Inauguration in Washington D.C. and in Europe on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.