Bollyball Diplomacy: Dilip Chauhan introduces Indian Heritage at US basketball game

Bollyball Diplomacy: Dilip Chauhan introduces Indian Heritage at US basketball game

Community leaders and Indian Dy CG attend Nassau Veterans Coliseum game as Indian groups perform before the game – Prime Time and at half-time, it’s such a great occasion for Indian Community to be a part of major basketball game at Nassau Coliseum

In a unique display of “Bollyball diplomacy”, Dilip Chauhan, the former Deputy Comptroller of Nassau County,and Co-Chair Raj Shah created history recently by organizing an event where India’s cultural prowess, especially the Indian cultural performances was on full display and the Indian community showed their commitment to a mainstream game. The event, Indian Heritage Night, was held on Wednesday, February 27, at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, where — for the first time — Indian community was invited to jointly participate at a major basketball game between two big teams — Long Island Nets and Delaware Blue Coats.

It was the first time in the history of basketball in Nassau Coliseum that Indian groups performed at the Prime Time as well as during the half-time as Nassau Veterans Coliseum gave a special permission to the media to cover the Indian segments of the event.

Indians are rare as an audience at the Coliseum. But on this daya large number of community members people turned out to watch the game and celebrate Indian culture as colorful clothes made the young children look like cultural ambassadors of India while a massive audience applauded their performance at the arena.

The evening began with an announcement by the Emcee. “Today’s memorable event is a brainchild of Dilip Chauhan, the President of New York South Asian Chamber of Commerce. He has in a very unique and sophisticated way weaved this program to a grand success,” he said, inviting Dilip Chauhan, along with Raj Shah, Indian Deputy CG Shatrughna Sinha, Ruchika Chauhan, Roopa Sridhar and Anil Shah to lit the traditional lamp.

After the Indian diplomat was joined by the prominent Indians in the lighting of lamp amid chanting of mantra, the Emcee called on the audience to observe 30-seconds silence in the memory of the martyrs of the recent terror attack atPulwama in Jammu & Kashmir.

Then Dilip Chauhan was invited by the officials to address the august gathering in the arena. “It is an honor and privilege to welcome and greet you at the First Indian Heritage Night in Nassau County.  India’s culture is rich, colorful and vibrant. We are delighted this evening to offer a taste of our heritage, our dance, costumes, traditions, purely to share with you and enjoy. It is my privilege to introduce you to the Organizer of Indian Heritage Night. Please welcome my co-chair Raj Shah and the Indian American Advisory Committee for putting this event together. Thanks to more than 20 Indian American Organizations for your support, honored guests and media,” Dilip Chauhan said in his opening remarks.

“Today is indeed a very special and inspiring day for Indians in Long Island as we are celebrating the India Heritage Night at the Prestigious Nassau Coliseum,” he added.

Dilip Chauhan also used his speech as an opportunity to make an important appeal as he asked people to register themselves to vote. “I also wish to appeal to each of you. This is something very personal to my heart. Each and everyone, if you are not registered to vote, please register to Vote.And if you are already registered, please make sure you cast your vote.  Please remember ‘If you don’t vote you lose a right to complain’,” he said. “God bless America and India.”

In his address to the gathering, the Deputy Consul General of India said that it was a great venue to showcase rich heritage ofIndia. “This kind of activities makes our relationship stronger. “The beauty of this event is such a large number of children and youth participation said Shatrughna Sinha.

During the Prime Time, regional folk dances of India and Bollywood by young children as well as women groups were performed. The first performance was done by Arya Dance Academy. It was followed by a performance by theNartan Rang Dance Academy.

 The game ball deliver ceremony was performed by the Winner of 2018 Miss Teen Bharat New York, Kahini Chauhan.

At the half-time, there was a 6-minute performance by the Navatman Indian Art Institute. “Let us applaud Nartan Rang Dance Academy, Arya Dance Academy and Navatman Art Institute for their immense support in making this event possible,” said Dilip Chauhan in his address.

“It is central to our core value system as the Long Island Nets to be ‘More Than A Game,’ and to provide a platform of diversity and inclusion for our community,” said Alton Byrd, VP of Business Operations, Long Island Nets. “We are pleased at the success of our first collaborative effort to bring Indian Heritage Night to life at a Long Island Nets game for the first time ever.”

It was an historic event for the Indian community which has grown manifold in Nassau County in the past few years. Dilip Chauhan has been instrumental in injecting community professionals in the local administration. Also, working with community, Dilip Chauhan has been championing the cause of “Be counted” with register and vote because as the community gets empowered.

In a show of the community’s growing footprint in the social sector, Sudhir Vaishnavi was honored for his contribution to the community in last three decades who has served many leading NGOs promoting India. Co- Chair Raj Shah applauded community participation to make this event grand success grand success.

The event was hosted by Indian American Advisory Committee of NYCB LIVE’s Nassau  Veterans Memorial Coliseumand members names are – Raj Shah, Hiren Chauhan, Sreedhar Shanmugam, Hitesh Patel, Amita Karwal, Dr. Sheetal Desai, Bina Kothari, Roopam Maini, Ragini Srivastava, Dr. Himanshu Pandya, Farah Vaswani, Jay Shah, Mahavir Chavda, Neil Trivedi, Rajeev Chaudhary, Raksha Parekh, Sanjay Sura, Sudhir Vaishnav, Roopa Sridhar, Rajeev Modi, Rizwan Querishi, Rajiv Mody, Harry Malhotra, Swati Vaishnav.

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