Long Island, NY: Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and the entire town board hosted Long Island’s largest India Republic Day Commemoration on January 28, 2016. This holiday marks the establishment of India as a republic and its liberation from British rule.
“The Town of Hempstead is happy to once again join with the Indian community in commemorating an historic occasion that recognizes India’s enduring commitment to democracy and freedom, the same values that Americans hold so dear,” said Santino. “Indian Americans are a vital part of the fabric of our nation, greatly enriching us with their gifts of art, culture, cuisine, intellect, values and abiding warmth. I am proud that we are able to host today’s ceremony here in an area where so many people who trace their roots to India have settled.”
For Hempstead Town’s 13th Annual India Republic Day Ceremony, Santino presented Raji Kuncham and Anand Ahuja, two distinguished Indian-Americans, with special awards in honor of their community involvement.
Raji Kuncham, of North Bellmore, is president of Telugu Literacy and Cultural Association, one of the oldest Indian organizations in the country. Through that organization, Raji has helped promote Indian culture, women’s leadership and strong community partnerships. She also volunteers with the Art of Living Foundation, Interfaith Nutrition Network and the India Association of Long Island.
Anand Ahuja is an attorney with multiple specialties including international business law, domestic violence and women’s rights, trademarks, as well as entertainment and media law. He has represented celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan in her $100 million lawsuit against E*Trade and has been quoted in media outlets including People Magazine, National Enquirer and OK Magazine. He works with many not-for-profit organizations and has been recognized for his dedicated pro-bono work.
Dr. Ajay Lodha, president-elect of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, one of the largest physician organizations in our country, served as keynote speaker for the historic event.
The ceremony, which was co-sponsored by the Indian American Forum, also offered many cultural features including a number of traditional Indian songs and dances. Akbar Restaurant provided Indian delicacies for attendees to enjoy after the ceremony.
“America is the home of choice for many who emigrate from India, and Hempstead Town is especially blessed with a growing number of Indian American residents,” noted Santino. “We are happy to celebrate with one of the most dramatically growing communities in the area and acknowledge how much our culture has been enriched by our Indian neighbors.”