Nearly 200 people representing several organizations from the tri-state area, including members from Ohmkara, the Gujarat Samaj of New York, the Gujarat Samaj of Baltimore and the Vaishnav Parivar of Connecticut, led by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT) came together at the Consulate General of India in New York to celebrate the 58th Gujarat Sthapna Divas on Wednesday, May 2nd.
“I think Gujarat is such a state which inspires our country, which inspires many things in India. The National Anthem was composed in 1919 and Gujarat became a state on May 1, 1960, so even in Rabindranath Tagore’s imagination, Gujarat was very much alive and kicking back then,” said The Consul General of India in New York, Sandeep Chakravorty. “When we celebrate Gujarat Sthapna Divas, we are basically celebrating India’s unity, diversity and cultural rituals,” he added.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media shared with the audience as to how May 1 is not only Gujarat Day but International Labor Day as well. “May 1 is not only Gujarat Day but it is also International Labor Day which is being celebrated since the 19th century. For Gujaratis who are known globally for their entrepreneurship and hard work, it is an honor to have Gujarat Day held on the same day,” he said, adding, “I am very proud and privileged to mention that the founder of the state of Gujarat was Indulal Yagnik, who started his Gujarat movement from my home in Nadiad.”
Dr. Parikh also touched upon the importance of keeping the Gujarati culture and traditions alive by the diaspora. “As NRIs, it is our duty to help Gujarat in whatever way we can. A small philanthropic effort can help change the lives of many underprivileged people, so we should step up our effort to reach out with a helping hand. Gujaratis make up to 33 percent of the Indian population worldwide and the United States has the second largest population of Gujaratis,” he said. Dr. Parikh was felicitated also at the meet, for his contribution to the Gujarati community.
Air India recently launched a new flight from Newark to Ahmedabad, which brought plenty of cheer for the Gujarati community, especially for those on the East Coast. “This is a tribute to your success and support that after decades, we have started a new flight to Ahmedabad from Newark via London. Gujarat is such a vibrant part; when every state prospers then India prospers. Air India is the only airline that operates to the most cities within Gujarat,” said a representative from Air India.
Others who spoke at the occasion included Ramesh Patel, the chairman of FIA; Srujal Parikh, the president of FIA; Yogesh Patel, a BJP MP from Gujarat; Pinakin Pathak, the chairman of Ohmkara; Vishnubahi Patel of the Gujarat Samaj of New York; Rajiv Desai of the Vaishnav Parivar of Connecticut; Rupal Shah of the Gujarati Samaj of Baltimore and Smita Miki Patel of the Indian Performing Arts Center.
Cultural performances including colorful dancers from the Indian Performing Arts Center, Foram Shah and Umesh Bhatt were enjoyed by one and all. A Gujarati dinner was provided by Rajbhog Foods.