Punjabi Singers Sarbjit Cheema And Dolisha Electrify Audience At “Rangla Punjab”

Chicago IL: The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago (PCS) flagship annual event “Rangla Punjab” to celebrate (belated) Vaisakhi festival, was held on May 21, after an hiatus of couple of years due to the covid19 pandemic, at the Yellow Box Theater, Naperville, Illinois. This was the 28th year of this event by PCS.

More than 800 attended. Nearly 200 children and adults from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin performed Punjabi folk dances Bhangra and Giddha, played music, and socialized.

 Prominent Punjabi Singer and film artist Sarbjit Cheema with many smash hits like his evergreen song “Rangle Punjab Di Sifat Sunnava,” along with Miss Dolisha a rising star in Punjabi singing and their live orchestra from Canada electrified the audience to be dancing wherever they were, in their seats, on the floor all over the auditorium and made it a memorable evening. Everyone was ecstatic enjoying togetherness after covid19 lockdowns and social distancing.

Dr. Param P. Singh a cardiovascular physician from Moline Illinois, who won “The Young Investigator Award” from AACIO in 2010, was the chief guest.

“Rangla Punjab ” is the single largest annual Punjabi cultural event in the Chicago area that promotes the local community talent and showcases the Punjabi performing arts to a family audience since three decades.

Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago volunteers train and provides a platform to the local Punjabi artists to nurture and grow their talents. “Rangla Punjab” event helps Punjabi youth come closer to their heritage, Punjabi language, culture and community. This indeed is a great community building effort,” said Parvinder Singh Nanua, the P.C.S. President.

Rangla Punjab 2022 event was organized by the PCS Board with the help of dozens of youth coordinators and volunteers. PCS Vice president Bhupinder Singh Dhaliwal welcomed the attendees and started the evening program with the U.S. National anthem sung by Mini Singh, followed by singing of Sikh prayer hymns by the children of Wheaton and Palatine Gurdwaras.

The evening event was divided into two halves where the first half included 17 performances including Bhangra and Giddha Punjabi folk dances and music recitals by the local talent. Esha Kaur Singh played Punjabi tunes on Viola while Jaskaran Sangha played the Dhol.

Dance items were prepared by the efforts of Neha Sobti, Kiran Bhalla, Kiran Grewal, Gia Dhaliwal, Avneet Kaur Aujla, Jasleen Kaur, Navneet Kaur & Sonia Kohli, Kiran Grewal, Amandeep Kular, Mankirth Singh, Kiran Grewal & Rajbir Dhillon, Neetu Singh, Navtej Sohi & Gurshaan Sohi, Rajpreet Dhaliwal, Kawaljeet Kaur and Payal Virdi.

This part was emceed by the local youth who were encouraged to speak in Punjabi. The first half was divided into four segments which were emceed by Karan Gill & Gurneer Sidhu; Gurkiran Kaur, Mankirth Singh & Harnoor Singh; Gia Dhaliwal & Guru Dhaliwal; Simran Bhalla & Manpreet Bhalla.

Navtej Singh Sohi and Rajinder Singh Mago provided backstage support to the youth. Surinder Palia, Jasbir Palia, Manjeet Bhalla, Gurlal Bhattal, Iqbal Saini, Rajinder Singh Dyal, Thakar Singh Basati, Jaskaran Saini, Gurpreet Girn, Harleen Saini, Bikram Sahota along with several other volunteers helped with the costumes, turban tying, and bringing the young performers back stage for performance line-ups.

PCS President Parvinder Singh Nanua welcomed the audience, thanked the participants and the sponsors, and introduced the PCS Board of Directors, Advisors and Governors. Rajinder Singh Mago introduced the PCS Honorary Chairman Kevindeep Singh Atwal and Chief Guest Dr. Param P. Singh, who distributed awards to the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum sponsors.

“I am the third generation being part of PCS and Rangla Punjab,” said Kevindeep Singh Atwal the PCS Chairman. The outgoing PCS Presidents  Harwinder Paul Singh Lail (2019), Balwinder Singh Girn (2020) and PCS Chairman Gurdeep Singh Nandra (2019) were honored with plaques, by the Chief Guest, for their excellent services.

“After a couple of years of pause and loneliness caused by the covid19 pandemic, I am proud to say that P.C.S. is back with a bang tonight, I feel ecstatic,” said Gurdeep Singh Nandra, who was accompanied by his wife Rajneesh Nandra. Counsel Ranjit Singh of Indian Consulate in Chicago attended with his family and was also recognized.

“I congratulate Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago for their prolific achievements in promoting Punjabi Culture and Language, which is quite evident from the number of young children nearly 200 participating in the program tonight, and this is your 28th year doing this,” said Counsel Ranjit Singh.

Kimi Mehta, Director South Asian Outreach Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spoke to encourage South Asian communities including Indians and to vote. The second half of the program was conducted by Navtej Singh Sohi and Vick Singh where the famous Punjabi Singer Dolisha and Sarbjit Cheema sang and danced to entertain the crowd involving the audience with them to constantly clap and dance creating a very happy and celebratory mood like a huge party. Hundreds of young and old danced to their heart’s content on every song they sang making it an unforgettable event.

Many parents congratulated and expressed their appreciation for PCS for continuing to provide opportunities, free coaching and a platform to keep their kids connected with our Punjabi culture. The event was organized by the PCS Officials, with the help and support of many item coordinators, volunteers, and community sponsors.

The security was handled by Mohinderjit Singh Saini, all the graphics design art work and Information Technology work was done by Gurpreet Sidhu, the stage sound systems and coordination by Jigerdeep Dhillon, Tickets and seating by Balwinder Girn and Gurpreet Girn, all financial matters by Bikram Sohi, Awards and the guest artists coordination by Vick Singh, food arrangements by Sukhmel Singh Atwal, Paul Lail , and Bhinder Pamma. Amarjit Kaur Atwal coordinated facilities for team practices, and over all supervision by President Parvinder Singh Nanua and Vice President Bhupinder Singh Dhaliwal.

Bollywood Legend Hema Malini Joins Gala To Support ISKCON Naperville

May 15th, 2022 marked an important time in history for ISKCON Naperville; a special fundraising dinner for the construction of the new temple, ISKCON Radha Shyamasundar. With any big endeavor, comes a big price. However, nothing is too big nor too intimidating for the devotees of ISKCON Naperville. 

The fundraising event was held at Ashyana Banquet Hall. The large banquet room was filled with promise and excitement, as all who attended were eager for the completion of this important project. Temple President Premananda Devi Dasi addressed the crowd of over 500 by reminding them what brought them all together: “Why build this temple? When Srila Prabhupada founded this institution, he listed seven purposes of ISKCON”. She then reiterated Srila Prabhupada’s fifth stated purpose: “To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.”

What made this year’s fundraising event exceedingly more memorable, was the attendance of famed Member of Indian Parliament and esteemed Bollywood actress, Hema Malini. She began her career as a bharatanatyam dancer. Hema Malini was able to land her first film role as a dancer in 1963 and starred in over 200 movies throughout her career. 

 She became a devotee of Krishna after she was introduced to the holy place of Vrindavan, where she would later serve as a Member of Parliament. She explained, “I was offered some other places, but I refused. I said I am not interested in being a politician or Member of Parliament from anywhere. If it is given to me, Matura, then I am interested because it is Krishna’s place and I am connected to Krishna. I want to serve there, not as a politician, but you have to be politically connected so you are able to do a lot of work with the help of our government.” In addition, she has also been helping clean up the Ganga and Yamuna rivers apart from supporting many more important projects in the region.

 Also in attendance was ISKCON communications director Anuttama Dasa and his wife, Rukmini Devi Dasi. Their presence was a gift and inspirational to many. Anuttama Dasa stated to the audience: “…This is the purpose of this ISKCON society; to help us. How do I get the envy out of my heart? How do I get the anger out of my heart? How do I get the greed out of my heart? So that I can become a force for change, for the better – and how can we do that as a community.

ISKCON Naperville devotees have been working tirelessly to support Prabhupada’s mission. “The world is looking for that type of leadership. By building the temple that you’re all contributing to, it actually becomes a place where we can come together and we can show our appreciation for Krishna; for all our gifts. We also can come together and say, ‘Lord, I want to be a force for good The three-story temple will include a commercial kitchen, snack bar, classrooms, a playgrou

This temple will not only be a place of worship, but a pillar for the community and people of all faiths. With the help of generous donors and hardworking devotees, temple construction is scheduled to conclude in the upcoming winter. Hema Malini expressed her great fortune to have been present at the unveiling of the temple signage by stating, “It was so wonderful to be there, it just felt like I’m still in Vrindavan because of the same atmosphere.”

Mandala South Asian Performing Arts Has New Headquarters at India Hub Devon Avenue

Devon Avenue in Chicago has long been a site for cultural exchange and South Asian diasporic community. Since those like Jagdish Khatwani opened the first South Asian business on Devon, India Sari Palace, in 1972, and the Patel Brothers opening their trademark grocery store in 1974, this region has become a home for the largest community of South Asian residents in Chicago, Illinois and the broader Midwest.

With the waves of the South Asian diaspora also came the businesses, cuisines, and arts of ancestral traditions. But, as many of us have learned, particularly with the trials of the pandemic, making space for tradition has become challenging. Mandala Arts has moved its headquarters where we believe South Asian arts are already deeply rooted; the arts need and deserve an advocate, supporter, and leader. With current and future artistic partnerships and collaborations, Mandala believes that Devon can grow and thrive.

Invited guests Alderwoman Debra Silverstein, Alderman Andre Vasquez Jr of Chicago’s 40th ward, Mr. Ranjit Singh Consul Chicago, Mandala Board President Dr. Umang Patel and Paragi Patel, Pranita Nayar an Indian classical dancer, choreographer, company director, curator and producer, officials from the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce and Rogers Park Business Alliance, and senior officers from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and the John. D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

 Mandala will use this space, beginning June 1, for community classes, open rehearsals, and special programs. Among the first activities will be the Mandala Makers Festival, which runs June 16–26 indoors and outdoors in the Devon Avenue community

Nayar says, “Since its inception in 2014, Mandala has successfully engaged Chicagoland audiences in the rich diversity of South Asian Performing arts traditions through professional performances, artistic education, and community engagement. Still, Mandala cherished its deep connection to the community of artists, students, and audiences of Devon, where Mandala has steadily increased programming over the last several years. Having established its place as a force in the Chicago arts scene, Mandala Arts is committed to supporting and empowering the South Asian diasporic community whose traditions, identities and practices that the organization represents. Finally, with the opening of this space, Mandala is able to call Devon home, both in our hearts and in our organizational roots.”

 Prominent Physician and well known community leader Dr. Umang Patel, President of Mandala Arts  welcomed the guests and said I am delighted to be a part of the team in bringing the South Asian Cultural Hub on Devon Ave and added it will regenerate the  vibrancy of Indian culture through arts, dance and music while resurrecting the ideals of Gandhianism.

Alderwoman Debra Silverstein of the 50th ward in her address welcomed the establishment of India’s cultural center on Devon Ave and said she is honored to see the revitalization of not just the development of the ward, but revitalization of arts and culture of South Asian heritage. Alderwood Debra Silverstein said the 50th ward is home to a large population of South Asians and through the Mandala Arts center, we will be able to connect with each other in celebrating the colorful diverse cultures.

 Alderman Andre Vasquez Jr of Chicago’s 40th ward in his address said that it warms his heart to see the showcasing of India’s rich cultural heritage on Devon Ave brought by Mandala Arts and added this cultural center transcends language, it transcends culture, and it allows us to tell the beautiful stories that depict the enduring culture of South Asia. . For more information about that event, visit makersfestival.mandalaarts.org.

People Of All Faiths Celebrate Eid- Ul-Fitr

Chicago IL: The Chicago community, belonging to all faiths, came together to celebrate Eid ul Fitr, with great enthusiasm and reverence, at Falak Banquets. The event was attended by large number of ‘who is who’, representing public offices at the City and State level. Mr. Iftekhar Shareef, Mr. Altaf Bukhari, Mr. Rezwan-ul-Haq, Dr. Tajamul Hussain, Mr. Asad Khan, Mr. Khaja Moinuddin, Mr. Ashfaq Hussain Syed, Mr. Kader Sakkaria and Mr. Khurram Syed hosted the colorful Eid event.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Iftekhar Shareef, Community leader said, with a sense of pride, that America is unique and exceptional in its equal respect for all religions. He said that understanding different religions and respecting them has been the hallmark of American culture.

Dr. Tajamul Hussain, said all religions teach love and empathy and we have to build bridges and spread love. He opined that practicing these values is the need of the hour for giving a big boost to mutual co- existence, especially in the present times, which are characterized by increasing distances among people professing different faiths. “My hometown is Hyderabad in India, which is known for “Ganga Jamuni Tahzeeb’, that is, a fusion of elements of different religions”, he added.

Asad Khan, Community leader, said that Chicago is well-known for exceptionally good relations among people belonging to different religions, regions, and nations. “This unique characteristic has mainly contributed for the emergence of Chicago as the best place to live.

Rezwan-ul-Haq, said that all human beings belong to one race and, therefore, love is the single language, which even blind can speak and deaf can hear. He stated that Eid ul Fitr celebrates the value of unity. Khaja Moinuddin, Community leader, emphasized the beauty of the US in general and Chicago in particular which is grounded in principles of diversity and acceptance of fellow Americans.

Ashfaq Syed underlined the importance of building better understanding among people belonging to different backgrounds and thereby contributing to the continuous development of the US on all fronts. Kader Sakkaria, Community leader, said that India believes in the traditional values of giving utmost respect for the religions of others. “The Indian Americans, by practicing this great value, have been enriching the social fabric of the US”, he added.

Altaf Bukhari, Community leader who was dressed in the unique Indian attire said it is important to have interfaith events for all communities. Khurram Syed, Community leader, welcomed the guests for joining the Eid al Fitr celebrations during a busy mother day weekend, when many have family commitments and plans.

The Chicago Eid Committee presented awards to the community leaders for their excellent service to the community of Chicago and Dr. Suresh Reddy, Dr Rajiv Kandala, Rezwanul Haque, Saima Azfar, Shalini Gupta and Rajendra Singh Mago were awarded. The book release of A.Q. Siddiqui was also done by the Chicago Eid Committee and Mr. Siddiqui signed the copies for the community.

An array of eminent persons from different walks of life, including elected officials and many community leaders spoke on the occasion and underlined the need for more and more such occasions for enabling people, belonging to different backgrounds, to interact and understand others’ faiths in their true and total frame of reference. Samreen Khan & Sariq Bukhari were the MC’s and thanked all the guests who attended the Eid celebration. The Live band and singers were outstanding.

Eid-Ul-Fitr Celebrations Held In Naperville

On Monday May 2nd,2022 Muslims from all over the Naperville and suburb areas joyfully bustled into the Embassy suites and two locations of ICN to join the celebrations of Eid Ul-Fitr. While there were various venues that held Eid prayers throughout the region, the largest turnouts were at the Naperville where arrangements for Eid prayers were made by the Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN) in five spells, at 7:30 am, at 8:30 am, 9:00 am,10: 00 am, and at 11:30 am. The Imam for the first session of the Eid prayers was Shayakh Ismail Al-Qadhi, Shayakh Omar Hedroug, for second session, Dr. Abdullah Ansari for the Third session, Shayakh Rizwan Ali for the fourth session and Wali Khan for the fifth session. Over 8000 devout Muslims, including prominent Businessmen, Professionals, and Community Leaders, attended the Eid prayers.

 

Women in vibrant colored dresses, men in ethnic outfits and children, smiling and laughing, filled the parking lots and poured into all the three locations. Volunteers of the Eid Committee of the ICN open-heartedly welcomed the incoming persons so as to ensure that every one of them was able to partake in the Eid prayers, without any inconvenience. Despite the large numbers, the volunteers of the ICN and board members were able to direct the crowds effortlessly and efficiently.

 

Imam and Residential Scholar of the ICN, Rizwan Ali, delivered an inspiring talk the peace and tranquility people achieved during the month of Ramadan. This happiness was due to many factors, but he emphasized the importance of leaving sin and being consistent, sincere, and dedicated to continuing the good deeds established during Ramadan. He gave practical ways that people can make fasting, attending the Mosques, reciting the Quran, and giving charity part of their lives even after Ramadan. He also prayed for the volunteers that made Ramadan possible in the community and those who were sick and unable to attend, and those facing difficulties and hardships locally and abroad. He ended by encouraging the congregation to rejoice and celebrate the day of Eid by giving gifts and having fun. 

 

Mr. Kashif Fakhruddin, President, ICN, stated that the month of Ramadan is a blessed month in which the Holy Quran was revealed. He stated that the month of Ramadan is an occasion for spiritual uplifting, softening the heart and humbling oneself, sharing and caring, seeking forgiveness from Allah SWT, extending forgiveness to others, and seeking mercy of Allah SWT and praying for the same to others. “The ICN community, which comprises over 4,500 families, representing heritages from many different countries, addresses the needs of Muslims as well as those who belong to other religions. ICN works very closely with people of other faiths to serve humanity and encourages its members to follow the principles of Tolerance, Justice, Peace and Progress”, added Kashif Fakhruddin.

 

“The sacred month of Ramadan is a time of sacrifice and reflection. Ramadan offers an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to peace and justice through the power of faith. Ramadan reminds us that our common bonds far outweigh our differences. I wish everyone a blessed and meaningful Eid-ul-Fitr.  We extend our warmest wishes to the Muslim community of Illinois on this occasion”, said Board members of ICN.

Vidya Jyoti Inaugurated in Chiacgo

Vidya Jyoti, a newly formed non-profit organization, held a glittering Inaugural Gala on Sunday, April 24, 2022, at Embassy Suites in Naperville, Illinois. The vision of Vidya Jyoti is that every child in India can realize her/his dreams and break the cycle of poverty by having easy access to quality education, The mission of Vidya Jyoti is to channel funds from generous and committed donors of North America to dedicated and bright students in India who are facing financial barriers in their educational journey.

Thanking the community for its love and support, Pratibha Jairath, Founding President of Vidya Jyoti, welcomed the 300 strong audience. The Gala attracted social and business leaders from around the Chicago area. The chief guest for the gala was the philanthropist Mr. Anil Loomba, CEO of Home Mortgage Solutions, inc.

“It is a dream come true,” said Pratibha in her welcome address. “It is gratifying to see so many others share this vision of raising funds to help underprivileged children in India.” Madhu Uppal, the Founding Vice-President, in her address reminded the audience of the Hindu belief of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, to look at the world as one family and think of world’s children as our children.

Dr. Santosh Kumar, CEO of Metropolitan Asian Family, in her Keynote address spoke about her own journey and credited education for helping her reach her present position.  Mrs. Malti Loomba, retired Director of Schools in India, accompanied by her son Mr. Anil Loomba, performed the ribbon cutting ceremony and offered her blessings to this noble effort. She spoke about her own experiences as teacher, principal and, finally, director and noted the need for support for the many families with limited means. She also extended her willingness to help guide Vidya Jyoti’s work.

Among the dignitaries present were Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, Mayor, Village of Oak Brook, Judge Kavita Athanikar, Circuit Court Judge, Mrs. Shweta Baid, Alderwoman, City of Aurora, Mrs. Meghana Bansal, Trustee for Wheatland Township and Kevin Morrison, Cook County Commissioner. Each offered their congratulations and extended their best wishes for success to Vidya Jyoti.

Vidya Jyoti recognized the tremendous support of the many sponsors including Grand Sponsors Dr. Bhupinder Beri, Mr. Sanjiv Gulati, Mr. Vimal Jairath and Mr. Bill Lyon as well as Benefactors Mrs. Anita Beri, Dr. Inshu Belani, Mr. Ramesh Mehra, Mrs. Sarita Sood, Mr. Anil Sharma (of Toronto, Canada), Dr. Sarbjit Bhandal, Mrs. Pratibha Jairath and Mr. Brij Sharma. The evening also included introduction of all sponsors and the Board of Vidya Jyoti.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of plaques to 18 champions of education who have achieved great success in their profession and businesses. After receiving a bouquet of flowers from a family member, these awardees walked the red carpet to receive their plaques that recognized them for their Exceptional Leadership and Service for Education.

The evening also included a dance drama focusing on the theme of transformational power of education, thrilling Polish, Irish and Mexican dances in traditional costumes, and a mesmerizing Tabla Jugalbandi. The entertainment was topped off with a traditional Kathak dance. Another highlight was auction with MacDougall and other gowns, Aspen stay package and a lot more.

“The event exceeded every expectation that we had had,” remarked Pratibha. “Everything proceeded smoothly, for which I must thank our Board, all the volunteers as well as all the others whose work made it a very successful evening.”

Telugu Association of Greater Chicago (TAGC) Celebrates Ugadi and Srirama Navami

Telugu Association of Greater Chicago (TAGC), the first Telugu organization in North America has celebrated this year Ugadi and Srirama Navami on April 16th,2022 at Hemmens Auditorium, Elgin. TAGC is devoted to the awareness and promotion of Telugu Heritage and Culture in the Midwest region headquartered in Chicago, the association was originally founded in 1971 and it recently completed its golden jubilee celebration and entered its 51st year.

Over seven hundred Indian origin members participated in this Ugadi event. Program started with prayer song by Singer Ramya and lighting the inauguration lamp by Smt.Uma Avadhuta President of TAGC 2022. Cultural Chair Prasanna Kandukuri and Co chairs Swetha Chinnari, Sireesha Rebbapragada and Shailja Bethi with all the board members were present on the stage. Anchor Lavanya Guduru came all the way from Atlanta to host the show. Unni Vitta also accompanied Lavanya to make the show more entertaining.

Cultural programs mesmerized the audience with the varieties and the digital projection made the programs livelier. More than 300 kids and Adults participated in the event. Few highlights of the programs were Ramayana, Hanuman Chalisa, Lazy dance by adults, Ugadi theme dances and Senior’s dance etc. Audience enjoyed each and every program with applauds. Cultural committee with the help of others Bod’s Archana Podduturi and Sirisha Madduri ran the program very smoothly. Swaralaya team of singers Ravi Thokala, Mani Thellapragada, Sowjanya and Archana entertained the crowd with their melodious voice and got new energy into the auditorium.

Youth Committee chair Prashanth thanked Youth volunteers and mentioned about their tireless volunteering who were present at the event from the beginning and till the end to help all the areas membership, cultural and food to finish on time.

Decoration was one of the highlights of the event. Star beam event planners decorated the hall and the Lobby with photo booth portraying Ramanavami. Decoration chair Neelima Cheikycharla did a wonderful job in planning the decoration. Membership desk was managed and run smoothly by membership chair Madhavi Konakalla, treasurer Santosh Konduri and Jt. treasurer Sridhar Alavala. Other Board members Siva Desu, Shashi Chava, Srikanth Bethi also helped the team.

Food committee Chair Srinivas Adepu and co-chair Ramakanth Jonnala with team Vijay Beeram, Ramana Kalva, Prashanth Madavarapu and other volunteers did a wonderful job in serving dinner for such a mass crowd in the allocated time. Tasty dinner was served with a variety of food items from Krishna caterers, Naperville. People enjoyed the Centerpiece fountains with Ugadi pachadi and Panakam, Bhakshalu, vada, mango pulihora etc. Got exceptionally good appreciation from everyone.

Apart from Cultural programs on completing 50 years TAGC released a souvenir book showing the journey of the organization. Manasa Lathupalli and team did an excellent job in putting all 50 years memories together in the form of book. Venkat Gunuganti 2021 president released the book along with long time sponsors and past Executive committee members and Souvenir committee members.

TAGC president Uma Avadhuta thanked Past President Venkat Gunuganti and President elect Parameshwar Yarasani, Executive Committee, Board of directors and Volunteers who worked hard for months in planning to make the event grand success. She also thanked all the sponsors, donors and all the youth volunteers who helped in the success of the event. She also thanked all the participants, parents, teachers and guests for their enthusiastic show and support throughout the evening.

FIA – Chicago Celebrates Indian Heritage Night

The Indian American community organization Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of Chicago, celebrated Indian Heritage Night for the 5th consecutive year, at the Now Arena (previously Sears Center) where the Windy City Bulls – the official NBA G League affiliates of the Chicago Bulls, took on the College Park Skyhawks.

 

FIA Chicago is a 501 (c)(3) status, non-profit umbrella organization of other Indian Associations in the Chicago land and Midwest representing in excess of 300,000 culturally diverse but united together Asian-Indians. FIA has been actively engaged in serving the Indian American community for the past 12 years and has been instrumental in promoting Indian culture.

 

The Indian Heritage Night celebrations began, as the Chairman & Founder President of FIA Sunil Shah, along with wife Rita Shah, President Hitesh Gandhi, and Founder & Past President Onkar Singh Sangha, Exe. VP Vinita Gulabani, General Secretary Richa Chand & Cultural Secretary Pika Munshi, representing Team FIA and all Indian diaspora, proudly stood on the court holding the Indian Tricolor and the tricolor was also projected on the huge NOW arena monitors during the beautiful rendition of the Indian National Anthem by Ananya Ghosh. Immediately followed by it, the American National anthem, was sung by Nitya Nair. It was a very special experience for all. The spirited crowd cheered for both India & USA. Longlive India! Longlive USA!!

 

A Certificate of Appreciation was presented Brad Seymore, President, Windy City Bulls, to Team FIA – Chicago for their participation and celebrating five years of Indian Heritage Night. The honor was received by Sunil Shah, Rita Shah, Hitesh Gandhi, Onkar Sangha, Neil Khot, Vinita Gulabani, Altaf Bukhari, Richa Chand on behalf of Team FIA. When asked, Chairman Shah said, “We promote & motivate our youth to participate & perform during the Bulls games.”  President Gandhi added, “ We strive for a culture, rich & diverse, and this is one of the ways we can do it.”

 

Besides a very exciting basketball game between the competing teams, the highlight of the evening was the exquisite dance performances, by Chicago Dance Varsity Group led by Puja Joshi, showcasing the Indian Dance forms, during the pregame and quarter breaks that enthralled the audience.

 

The Pregame Dance performance by Dancing Divas & Little Angels group on Bollywood Instrumental followed by freestyle Bollywood Dance stole everyone’s heart. ( Performers: Anyraa Singh, Alak Shukla, Aamukta Chilukuri, Avika Patni, Sahasrika Moganti, Sataakshi Joshi, Shreeja Sonavane, Aaliya Khanum Mohammed, Hiral Shah, Pooja Giroh, Ruchi Sharma).

 

During the quarter breaks, there was a sensational Garbha folk dance by Magic Feet group ( Performers: Mahi Jain, Agalya Saminathan, Suriya Soni, Ridhima Singh, Apurva Vinodkumar, Riva Rithesh, Ahana Charanpahari ) There was also a beautiful Indian fusion dance performance by the Dancing Diamonds group. (Performers: Anika Sharma,  Samiksha Joshi, Saanvi Gubba, Niyati Parashar, Urvi Chirapu, Charisma ) Team FIA presented a Certificate of Appreciation to all the performers. The program coordinators were Richa Chand (FIA -Chicago) & Logan Robben (Windy City Bulls). Other FIA members who attended and supported the event were Abir Maru, Neelam Jai, Harry Sidhu, Pratik Deshpande, Vibha Rajput, Dr Afroz Hafeez, Subbu Iyyer, Julie Thakkar, Hemendra Shah, Peenal Shah, Chandni Kalra, Kavita Rawla, Aparna Khot, Chandini Duvuri, Deepa Sharma, Dr Ramesh Nair, Manoj Rathod and Suresh Bodiwala and their friends and families.

 

Also enjoyable was a fun zone with Windy City Bulls obstacle course and basketball hoops, one of the main attractions in the arena. Gus T, Live mascot of Bulls entertained the cheering crowds. The “Catch the T-shirt” act further energized the attendees.

 

Last but not the least, FIA greatly appreciates its sponsors and supporters. FIA Media coverage by: Suresh Bodiwala & Subhash Mantri, Asian Media.

Gandhi Memorial Foundation Observes Gandhiji’s 74th Punyatithi, Shaheed Diwas

Chicago IL: Mahatma Gandhi’s 74th death anniversary was observed on January 30, 2022 at 11:00 am at Mahatma Gandhi Statue in the National Heritage Park on McCormick Boulevard in Skokie, Illinois. Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi was remembered by singing of “Gandhi’s favorite Bhajans” and Powerful Tributes by Gandhi Memorial Foundation Board Members and Floral tributes by Consulate General of Chicago Mr Amit Kumar and his wife Mrs Surabhi Kumar.

The contribution of Mahatma Gandhi towards the nation and its independence is well known in Indian History. He was a great freedom fighter who taught the lesson of non-violence to the whole world and worked on building the unity of the nation which was broken by the British. After India got Independence in 1947, Bapu stayed away from politics and started working on harmony, peace, and brotherhood among the people. On Friday – January 30, 1948 at 5:17 PM the Father of the Nation was assassinated by Nathuram Godse in the year 1948 at Gandhi Smriti in the Birla House during the evening prayers. January 30 is the day when Mahatma Gandhi was martyred, and the Government of India announced the day as Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day (Sarvodaya Day).

The event starts by Shree Gurusamy welcoming remarks. Prayer songs “Vaishnav Janto and Raghupati Raghav Rajaram” led by Bhartiben Desai were very inspiring. Consul General Amit Kumar’s remembrance of Gandhiji’s talisman quotation was very timely. Dr Sriram Sonty remembered the Last few minutes of Mahatma Gandhiji’ Life. The White and Red color beautiful Garland was donated by Srinivas and Kavitha. Tea and snacks provided and brought by Consul Ranjit Singhji’s team. Diptiji put lots of efforts to call snow removal service because of over 10-inch snow by Mahatma Gandhi Statue in the National Heritage Park. Due to very cold weather (16 Degree Fahrenheit) the event was only for 15 minutes.

FIA Chicago Team Elects Sunil Shah As Chairman

Embarking on a new chapter, Federation of Indian Associations [FIA] Chicago, status 501(c)(3), a premier community umbrella organization — held its very first meeting of the year 2022 on Jan 05, 2022 (7PM to 8:30PM CT). The meeting was hosted virtually via zoom keeping in mind the growing number of covid cases, practically all over the news channels lately!

The meeting was called to order by Gen Secretary, Richa Chand, and presided over by Founder President Sunil Shah and President 2022 Hitesh Gandhi, and well attended by Team FIA Board Members: Executive Board members:  Rita Singh, Mukesh Shah, Dhitu Bhagwakar, Neil Khot, Gurmeet Singh Dhalwaan, Vinita Gulabani, Pratibha Jairath, Ashawani  Mahajan, Abir Maru, Anu Malhotra, Pika Munshi Neelam Jai, Directors: Mukesh Mike Shah, Bharat Malhotra, Jitendra Balsara, Mir Ali, Vidya Joshi, Chandni Kalra, Pratik Deshpande, Hemendra Shah, Kashif Khan and Advisory Board members: Keerthi Reevori & Suresh Bodiwala.

The meeting was focused on the New Year and the New Beginnings under the leadership of President Hitesh Gandhi. Opening speeches were delivered by Sunil Shah, Hitesh Gandhi and Founding Members Mukesh Shah, Rita Singh, Neil Khot, Dhitu Bhagwakar, followed by other members present. There were exciting new updates shared about the upcoming FIA event for celebrating India’s 73rd Republic Day. Date, Venue and other details were discussed. Due to the exponential spread of Covid-19, Team FIA decided that FIA will host a virtual event on Jan 29th, 2022. More to come on that!!

There was another Big Achievement accomplished during this session. Looking at the contributions and dedicated service provided to Team FIA over the past several years, spanning more than a decade, by Founder President Sunil Shah, many team members, supporters and friends of FIA had several times earlier suggested a title in the Team, that would be more befitting and suitable to match his selfless service, hard work & toil, and his of course his caliber, FIA Chairman!  Therefore, taking the opportunity Founding Member Mukesh Shah, introduced to the group, all the contributions made by Sunil Shah for FIA family and went on to propose that he be conferred the Title of Chairman of the Board. The motion was immediately seconded by Rita Singh, Neil Khot, Hitesh Gandhi and then strongly supported by Gurmeet Dhalwaan, Keerthi Reevori, Suresh Bodiwala, Vinita Gulabani, Pratibha Jairath, Ashwani Mahajan, Mir Ali, Abir Maru, Richa Chand, Pika Munshi, Neelam Jai and the entire team and the motion was passed unanimously by majority vote!! Everyone immediately started congratulating Sunil Shah ji and it was a moment of elation and great celebration within Team FIA!!

This meeting was a significant one, not just because it was the first meeting under the leadership of President Hitesh Gandhi, but it also marked a new beginning for the entire Team FIA, as it passed a long pending motion, and unanimously appointed Sunil Shah as FIA Chairman.

With this, the first meeting was adjourned with new hopes and visions of new horizons and taking FIA to greater heights!  And FIA thanks and greatly appreciates all sponsors, supporters & media partners for their unwavering support & trust in FIA.

FIA Chicago IL Pays Glowing Tribute to FIA Director Mir Ali

Federation of Indian Associations [FIA] Chicago IL, paid glowing tributes to its team member Mir Ali to honor his life and his contributions and hosted a virtual event, ‘FIA Tribute to Director Mir Ali’ via zoom, on Jan 08, 2022 at 2:00 PM (CT) from Schaumburg IL. Mr Mir Ali had suffered a massive and fatal heart attack, on Jan 07, 2022 at 6:30am at his residence where he passed away.

This condolences ceremony was presided by FIA Chairman Sunil Shah and President Hitesh Gandhi, Founding Member Neil Khot and anchored & moderated by Gen Secretary Richa Chand. This event was also supported by the entire Team FIA, Advisory Board Members, Friends & Supporters of FIA:

AAEIO, Mall of India, Outland-media and Asian Media USA. The event was very well attended by Team FIA members, several leaders, thinkers, artists and friends and family. And originally scheduled to be just one hour long, but it took 3 hrs to complete, since all present at the event wanted to share their grief and sorrow….and such is the greatness of this noble human being.

 The event started with the Shanti Mantras and Prayers offered by Anu Malhotra and opening condolences speeches by Sunil Shah and Hitesh Gandhi. A tribute video was played, capturing the precious moments in Mir Ali ji’s life (Video Credit: Harry Siddhu, CEO Outland group of Companies). Prominent leaders who also spoke were Neil Khot, Rita Shah, Mukesh Shah, Dhitu Bhgwakar, Smita Shah, Keerthi Reevori, Suresh Bodiwala, Ajeet Singh, Harry Siddhu, Mujeeb Ahmed, Gurmeet Singh Dhalwaan, Vinita Gulabani, Abir Maru, Richa Chand, Ila Chaudhari, Pika Munshi, Jitendra Balsara, Dr Fawaad Ahmad, Malti Pandhi, Monalisha Borghain, Manmeet Kaur, Vidya Joshi, Vikas Kalwani, Chandni Kalra, Dr Afroz Hafeez and many more friends who gave their heartfelt condolences to the cherished friend and colleague that they lost all too sudden. Song video clips of Mir were played several times in between the speeches, that made everyone feel teary eyed, at the same time reminded them of what a fine artist and human being he was.

Mir Ali (Apr 20, 1962 – Jan 07, 2022), hailed from Hyderabad India, and migrated to the USA, and lived with his family, in Carol stream IL. His old mother also lived with them. Mr Mir Ali, fondly known as Mir Bhai, by his friends and contacts was a very well-known name in our community here in Chicagoland.

By profession, he was a Banker, but by heart he was a passionate musician. He loved singing and was very famous as the ‘Voice of Mukesh’, and was a huge fan of Late legendary Bollywood singer, Mukesh. He was also trained in playing classical instruments, Tabla and Harmonium. He hosted several successful musical events with his team, ‘Mir Ali and Group’ and provided opportunity and platform to many new and upcoming artists.

He was always on the lookout for the new talent and promoted them wholeheartedly and also helped many of the existing artists to showcase their singing, dancing and event management skills. He supported a lot of needy people financially by taking care of their education and wedding expenses, just like his own family. He also encouraged many of his friends to start their own musical companies and helped them get established.

He was also serving as Director in Team FIA and his contributions to Team FIA will be forever remembered. With his charismatic personality, he always made FIA events more special, and FIA expresses deep sorrow and despair at the untimely demise of Mir Bhai. In February, he was going to receive an award from another prominent community organization, MEATF and he was scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia for an invitational musical tour, but his journey of life ended too soon. Now even though he is no longer with us, he will continue to live on in our memories and hearts forever. He is survived by his wife, Farkhunda Jabeen Ali, son Nazar Ali & daughter Nida Ali.

Whilst our hearts cannot let go of the memories that we cherish dearly for our dear friend Mir Ali Bhai, we bid a tearful sad farewell  to him …..We are still in a state of shock and cannot believe that Mir Bhai has already left us for heaven, aur yeh bhi kitna sach saabit hua hai ki Allah apne nek aur pyaare bando ko sabse pehale bula lete hain….We will miss you Mir Bhai… and there will be no other “Voice of Mukesh” like yourself….Pure & soulful … you will never be forgotten…

FIA thanked all the participants who were able to attend this Tribute zoom event and we hope wherever Mir Bhai is, he is listening to our prayers and watching us all from up there.

International Indian Icon (3iii), A Global Platform For Indian Talent Across The Globe

The Grand Finale of 3iii (Three Eye) 2021 International Indian Icon (3iii) Season-V resulted in successful completion of 1st Phase of 5 seasons. The awards ceremony of the Grand Finale was hosted by Sharan Walia, CEO of Gee Vision Inc.

All judges and participants, including legendary music director and Grandmaster Jatin Pandit (DDLJ, KKG, KKHH, Fanah etc.), lyricist and music director Arko Mukherjee, Slumdog Millionaire Jai Ho Choreographer Longinus Fernandes and Ms. India 2013, International celebrity anchor and 3iii Fashion Ambassador Simran Ahuja were present here, along with 148 participants along with their families from all over the world approximately 24 countries.

Winners were picked after 3 days of rigorous semi-final and finale competitions (28th to 30th December 2021) 1st and 2nd runner-ups, along with judges’ choices in different categories for Juniors and Seniors were also declared here. The winners are as follows:

         Abnash Kaur from San Francisco, California USA was declared 5th INTERNATIONAL INDIAN ICON of 3iii 2021 Season-V in singing Senior category.

         Uttara Vaidya from Miami, Florida USA got the title for Dancing senior and tied with Ankur Sharma for Fashion Senior

         Hasini Namala grabbed the Fashion Junior title

         Mrunal Behere-Langote from India got the title in IGT (Whistling) Senior Shrusti Gubbi became the International               Indian Icon in Junior category for singing

         For dancing, there was a tie between groups The Dynamites and Season-II winner Mirava Vekaria

         Ryana Rajesh won the title in IGT category for Instruments.

3iii Multiple episodes are planned to be aired globally on some National/International TV Channel, OTT Platform and/or Streaming Platform (TBD) globally in 2nd quarter of 2022.

Other participants who were recognized as 1st & 2nd Runner-ups, along with judges’ choices in different talent categories under Junior and Senior age categories are:

         Singing: Sunidhi Chiplunkar, Sanika Pandey, Tulip Ghosh, Mahimn Dave, Aupsara Banik, Akshitha jagadeesan, Sohana Mansur, Chirag Chaya, Pranav Shil, Sushmit Das Rahul, Prabodh Chiplunkar

         Dance: Arnav Amit, Mannat Bhagel (India), Rahul Kathak (India), Nayan Nampally, Aruna Ramamurthy, Sanika Lingayat & Ghazal Seth,

         Fashion: Vama Shah, Arnav Amit Mehta, Nayan Nampally, Kashish Joshi (India), Pranjali Sharma & Yatin Kumar (London, UK) , Elena Y Elsoukov, Lori Neena

        Instruments, Acing & IGT: Skipper Crew (IGT, India), Hasini Namala (Instruments, USA), Karthikk Voruganti (Instruments, India), Kaira Gard (Acting, India), Surjit Singh (Instruments, India), Mamta Garg (Poetry, USA), Deepak Krishan Kant (Acting, India)

During 3iii 2021 Season-V, 6951 participants from 24 courtiers of 7 continents registered for on-line audition (Video up-load), online live audition (Zoom) and on-site audition in all 7 talent categories under two age groups of junior and senior.

In India, Gee Vision Inc., with the help of India Partners Ajit Bains & Arun Thakran (Cosmic Energy), Deepak Walia (AGE Group) planned multiple auditions in multiple cities. In Delhi, 3iii audition was held on 12th Nov, Semi-final on 13th Nov and 3iii Indian Icon 2021 finale (Semi-final of 3iii 2021 Season-V) and Awards ceremony on 14th Nov 2021 in Godavari Auditorium (Andhara Association) , 24-25 Lodhi Institutional Area, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 10003.

Gee Vision Inc’s Vision and Mission of building 3iii is to give opportunities to Indian talent of all age groups across the globe to perform and showcase their talent at International level in all types of talent categories, including Singing, Dancing, Instruments, Acting, Fashion, Comedy & I Got Talent (Any Talent) in all three participation categories of Solo, Duet & Group without any restrictions. The aim is to keep the talent close to Indian Art & Culture and make them proud of Indian Art & Culture

3iii is a unique 5 level on-line, on-line LIVE & on-site platform with no restrictions where any talent of any age group of any culture, any gender, any region, any religion and any color can showcase his/her talent and can compete at City, State, Country level to win title of State Indian Icon (California Indian Icon, Delhi Indian Icon) and Country Indian Icon (Indian American Icon, Indian Icon) in their respective category and age group and proceeds to win prestigious title of International Indian Icon (3iii) in their respective category.

Any Indian talent can sing in any language, can perform in any dance format, can play any instrument, can showcase any Indian or non-Indian talent. Only restrictions for Non- Indian participants are to sing on one of Indian languages, perform in one of Indian Dance format, play any Indian instrument, wear Indian dresses and jewelry for Fashion or show any Indian art and culture.

After huge success of 1st four seasons of 3iii International Indian Icon with 1000s of participants from 24+ countries of 7 continents and with multiple Bollywood legendary celebrity judges like Bappi Lahiri, Jatin Pandit, Meenakshi Seshadri, and others, Gee Vision India Pvt. Ltd.  launched 3iii 2021 Season-V in 7th continent Asia and hosted semi-final 3iii Indian Icon 2021 (Semi-final of 3iii 2021 Season-V) in Delhi NCR, India on Nov. 12th to 14th 2021 and Grand-finale International Indian Icon – 3iii 2021 Season-V in Chicago, USA. To give Indian talent international exposure and experience, starting from 3iii 2022 Season-VI, Gee is planning 3iii Episode Production & Grand-finale in different countries.

Sharan Walia, CEO. Gee Vision Inc. / Gee Vision Pvt. Ltd., with the help of partners, is in the process of requesting Indian Govt. to recognize 3iii International Indian Icon as Indian Art & Cultural Program and seeking support from Indian business community and Global Indian community to help 3iii in reaching each and every Indian on this earth to give opportunity to deserving Indian talent.

World-wide 3iii Season-6 audition registration on-line (Video Upload), on-line Live (through Zoom) and on-site will open on Apr 1st, 2022 on 3iii websites and 3iii Apps (iOS & Android). State level competition (Level-3, State Indian Icon) will be completed by end of July 2022 while Country level competitions (Level-4, Country Indian Icon) are planned to finish by end of Sep 2022 so that participants can get sufficient time to get visa to come to USA for 3iii S-6-episode production & Grand-finale in USA.

Club of Indian Women Hosts Annual Holiday Gala

Club of Indian Women (CIW) hosted its rollicking annual holiday gala on Wednesday, December 8th at Ashyana Banquets in Downers Grove, IL. The gala was attended by several women achievers who have done great work in their respective fields and have also been a part of CIW for many years.

Dressed in their holiday best, everyone had come ready to get together with friends and have a good time. There were games, fun and furious, including a Bollywood themed word search, a saree tying contest as well as dancing to musical chairs without the chairs! The entertainment included beautiful singing by Raja Nadampalli and Tara Swaminathan as well as DJ Saif, an appearance by ‘Pammi Aunty’ aka Mridula Bansal, shayari by Jasbir Singh, Punjabi tappey by Vimal Handa and a dazzling dance performance by Falguni Rana.

The program was beautifully planned by Sarita Sood, Tara Swaminathan and Vinita Gulabani under the leadership of CIW vice president Preeti Chawla and superbly anchored by Vinita Gulabani. During breaks for delicious appetizers and a sumptuous lunch, attendees had a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Urmil Chawla made sure that audience saw the raffle prizes and enthusiastically purchased the raffle tickets. Madhu Uppal announced that, with the generosity and support of its members, in 2020, CIW was able to donate nearly $9,000 to area food banks and food pantries and social service agencies. Impressed by the scale of its humanitarian work, some additional donations were received by CIW right after this announcement.

Club of Indian Women is a not-profit group whose vision is that ‘All Women should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential’. And its mission is to empower Indian American Women through support groups and financial resources / help. It was founded in 1983 to meet the social and cultural needs of the fast-growing Indian community, and, for many years, in addition to organizing cultural celebrations, Meena Bazars, holidays parties etc., ran a much-needed Crisis Hotline which was a forerunner to Apna Ghar.

Today, CIW organizes literary slams, book and movie discussions, seminars on social and cultural issues, outings to area theaters and parks and awards funds to local agencies that are working to support families in need. ‘We are so happy to see a younger generation take on leadership role in CIW and today’s event is a testament to their skill and dedication to this organization,” remarked Prem Sharma, one of the founders of CIW. “We missed CIW president, Vandana Bankapur, who is away visiting family in India.” Prem added. Media was represented by Prachi Jaitly of Asian Media Broadcasting

FIA Chicago Elects Hitesh Gandhi As New President For 2022

Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) hosted a welcome reception to unveil its comprehensive roadmap for 2022 & beyond replete with meaningful events that seek to complement and celebrate a multitude of community-centric program initiatives with emphasis on India’s festivals, community outreach, charitable causes, social, cultural, business, medical and other community-oriented events including addressing the emerging pandemic challenges at its annual board meeting held on Sunday, November 28, 2021, at the Big Suchir Banquets in Westmont, IL. The meeting was attended by the entire FIA team as well as the advisory board members.

This year FIA Chicago unanimously elected its new leader Hitesh Gandhi and the new board. The event was presided by Founding Members Sunil Shah, Onkar Sangha, Neil Khot, Rita Singh, Mukesh Shah, Dhitu Bhagwakar, and Current President Kamal Patel.

FIA’s General Secretary Richa Chand conducted the proceedings of the Annual Board Meeting for the year 2021-2022 and invited Founder President Sunil Shah for his opening remarks. Shahin his speech, outlined the successes behind the year 2021, listing the events conducted by the FIA and its team. He thanked the outgoing team for its hard work in putting together and conducting various India-centric and Charitable events during the year. He also took the opportunity to welcome new members to team FIA. In a major announcement, he declared that FIA would initiate an annual FIA Scholarship for deserving students starting from the year 2022.

Current President Dr. Kamal Patel in his speech thanked the founding board, and the team 2021 for all the work put in to make the year a resounding success. From the Republic Day event in January 2021 albeit a Zoom Event attended by more than 350 guests headline by Kailash Kher the prominent Bollywood Singer to the Holi Festival of Colors Event which was two-pronged – one to celebrate the festival of Holi and two to collect funds to send to India as a donation for the fight against Covid and supply Oxygen Concentrators, not to forget the grand Independence Day event to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Founding Members Onkar Sangha, Neil Khot, Rita Singh, Mukesh Shah, Dhitu Bhagwakar also took the stage thanking team 2021 and praising the work of the team in making the year a resounding success. Founding Member and Past President Neil Khot announced the formation of a Board of Trustees that would be seated with Past Presidents and announced the names of Ninad Daftari and Gurmeet Singh Dhawan as the two past presidents being the trustees on this esteemed board.

Founder President Sunil Shah then announced Team 2022, President-Elect Hitesh Gandhi will spearhead the team for the year 2022 with the help of Executive Vice Presidents Shital Daftari and Vinita Gulabani and the entire board which include Vice Presidents – Altaf Bukhari, Pratibha Jairath, Anu Malhotra, Sonia Luther, Abir Maru, General Secretary – Richa Chand, Joint Secretary – Neelam Saboo, Treasurer – Vaishal Talati, Joint Treasurer – Ashwani Mahajan, Cultural Secretary – Pika Munshi, Joint Cultural Secretary – Ila Chaudhari, Directors: Harsh Shah, Mukesh Shah, Chetan Patel, Vibha Rajput, Varsha Visal, Jitendra Bulsara, Vidya Joshi, Jesse Singh, Bharat Malhotra, N Nagasubramaniam Iyyer, Hitesh Patel, Ashima Washington, Vikas Kalwani, Mir Ali, Dr. Afroz Hafeez, Chandni Kalra, Nirav Patel, Murugesh Kasilingam, Pratik Deshpande and Sujal Patel.

The incoming President Hitesh Gandhi offered his view for the year 2022 and the plans to take the organization to new heights with events planned for Celebrating India’s Republic Day, Independence Day, and Cultural events like Holi and Diwali. This year FIA Chicago will also host a Medical Wellness Checkup Camp, Blood Donation Drive, Food Drive, and Toys of Kids during the holiday season.

FIA Chicago was founded to bring Cultural awareness to the Chicagoland area and has now grown to serve the community by hosting many events for the community and helping the community grow and become one. FIA Chicago plans to take on projects like Job fairs, Entrepreneurship camps, and Youth Leadership Development Skill Camps.

Sunil Shah then took the opportunity to thank the new advisory board members for the year 2022 year including  Deepakkant Vyas, Anil Loomba of HMSI, Suresh Bodiwala of Asian Media Broadcasting, Yogi Bhardwaj, Vinoz Chanamolu, Nag Jaiswal, Jasbir Suga, Syed Hussaini, Manish Gandhi, Brij Sharma (Power Volt), Asha Oroskar (Orochem), Smita Shah (Direct Floors), Amarbir Singh Ghuman, Pradeep Shukla (CPA) and Neal Patel (MedStar), Pinky Thakkar, Sanhita Agnihotri, Ajeet Singh, Aishwarya Sharma, and Keerthi Reevori.

FIA Unveils Roadmap To Undertake Community-Centric Initiatives

Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) hosted a welcome reception to unveil its comprehensive roadmap for 2022 & beyond replete with meaningful events that seeks to compliment and celebrate a multitude of community-centric program initiatives with emphasis on India’s festivals, community outreach, charitable causes, social, cultural, business, medical and other community- oriented events including  addressing the emerging pandemic challenges at its annual board meeting held on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at the Big Suchir Banquets in Westmont, IL. The meeting was attended by the entire FIA team as a well as the advisory board members.

This year FIA Chicago unanimously elected its new leader Hitesh Gandhi and the new board. The event was presided by Founding Members Sunil Shah, Onkar Sangha, Neil Khot, Rita Singh, Mukesh Shah, Dhitu Bhagwakar and Current President Kamal Patel.

FIA’s General Secretary Richa Chand conducted the proceedings of the Annual Board Meeting for the year 2021-2022 and invited Founder President Sunil Shah for his opening remarks. Shah in his speech, outlined the successes behind the year 2021, listing the events conducted by the FIA and its team. He thanked the outgoing team for its hard work in putting together and conducting various India centric and Charitable events during the year. He also took the opportunity to welcome new members to team FIA. In a major announcement he declared that FIA would initiate an annual FIA Scholarship for deserving students starting from the year 2022.

Current President Dr. Kamal Patel in his speech, thanked the founding board, and the team 2021 for all the work put in to make the year a resounding success. From the Republic Day event in January 2021 albeit a Zoom Event attended by more than 350 guests headline by Kailash Kher the prominent Bollywood Singer, to the Holi Festival of Colors Event which was two pronged – one to celebrate the festival of Holi and two to collect funds to send to India as a donation for the fight against Covid and supply oxygen Concentrators, not to forget the grand Independence Day event to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Founding Members Onkar Sangha, Neil Khot, Rita Singh, Mukesh Shah, Dhitu Bhagwakar also took the stage thanking team 2021 and praising the work of the team in making the year a resounding success. Founding Member and Past President Neil Khot announced the formation of a Board of Trustees that would be seated with Past Presidents and announced the names of Ninad Daftari and Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan as the two past presidents being the trustees on this esteemed board.

Founder President Sunil Shah then announced Team 2022 , President Elect Hitesh Gandhi will spearhead the team for the year 2022 with the help of Executive Vice Presidents Shital Daftari and Vinita Gulabani and the entire board which include Vice Presidents – Altaf Bukhari, Pratibha Jairath, Anu Malhotra, Sonia Luther, Abir Maru, General Secretary – Richa Chand, Joint Secretary – Neelam Saboo, Treasurer – Vaishal Talati, Joint Treasurer – Ashwani Mahajan, Cultural Secretary – Pika Munshi, Joint Cultural Secretary – Ila Chaudhari, Directors: Harsh Shah, Mukesh Shah, Chetan Patel, Vibha Rajput, Varsha Visal, Jitendra Bulsara, Vidya Joshi, Jesse Singh, Bharat Malhotra, N Nagasubramaniam Iyyer, Hitesh Patel, Ashima Washington, Vikas Kalwani, Mir Ali, Dr. Afroz Hafeez, Chandni Kalra, Nirav Patel, Murugesh Kasilingam, Pratik Deshpande and Sujal Patel.

The incoming President Hitesh Gandhi offered his view for the year 2022 and the plans to take the organization to new heights with events planned for Celebrating India’s Republic Day, Independence Day and Cultural events like Holi and Diwali. This year FIA Chicago will also host Medical Wellness Checkup Camp, Blood Donation Drive, Food Drive and Toys of Kids during the holiday season.

FIA Chicago was founded to bring Cultural awareness to the Chicagoland area and has now grown to serve the community by hosting many events for the community and helping the community grow and become one. FIA Chicago plans to take on projects like Job Fair, Entrepreneurship camps and Youth Leadership Development Skill Camps.

Sunil Shah then took the opportunity to thank the new advisory board members for the year 2022 year including  Deepakkant Vyas, Anil Loomba of HMSI, Suresh Bodiwala of Asian Media Broadcasting, Yogi Bhardwaj, Vinoz Chanamolu, Nag Jaiswal, Jasbir Suga, Syed Hussaini, Manish Gandhi, Brij Sharma (Power Volt), Asha Oroskar (Orochem), Smita Shah (Direct Floors), Amarbir Singh Ghoman, Pradeep Shukla (CPA) and Neal Patel (MedStar), Pinky Thakkar, Sanhita Agnihotri, Ajeet Singh, Aishwarya Sharma and Keerthi Reevori

Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Celebrates Diwali

The multi-faith, multi-day celebration of Diwali took place at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, IL concluding on November 4th. The Indian diaspora as well as community members and well-wishers all gathered to celebrate the festival of lights and commemorate the New Year.

The Mandir was beautifully decorated with rangoli, diyas, lights, and artwork. An annakut of delicious vegetarian food, delicious treats, and delectable desserts was meticulously arranged by volunteers. Attendees dressed in their colorful and bright traditional Indian attire. The aura and atmosphere of the Mandir was warm and festive.

The celebrations offered attendees an opportunity for darshan of the annakut and divine murtis of God while arti and thaal were sung throughout the day. Visitors were also inspired through an exhibition on with informational posters and decorations describing different traditions and stories behind the multi-day festival. In expressing the warmth and goodwill of Diwali, prasad in the form of sweets was distributed to all those joining in the celebrations. The festivities were open to all members of the local community.

A parent visiting the temple with their young family commented that the exhibition was an educational experience for young children and adults who want to learn about Diwali.  Samir Patel of South Barrington expressed “I think it’s important for parents to bring their kids so they can understand what our culture is about, our traditions and our religion. Coming to the mandir we learn to appreciate and be proud of those things instead of being embarrassed or ashamed.”

Volunteers who helped with the decorations and rangoli emphasized how rewarding it felt to take part this year and celebrate with community members after so many months of the pandemic.

A Kids’ Diwali celebration is also held each year consisting of interactive games, thrilling activities, and programs covering the history and purpose of Diwali. Due to COVID-related safety considerations for children, the Kids’ Diwali celebration will be held virtually this year on November 13. The program will allow children to learn about the significance of Diwali and to take part in a virtual pooja to offer their prayers.

The spiritual leader of BAPS, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, prayed for devotees’ spiritual, personal, and professional progress in this new year. This Diwali, Mahant Swami Maharaj emphasized the importance of leading spiritually-centered lives, grounded in strong values and increased attachment to God.

About BAPS

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a spiritual, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service. Its worldwide network of 3,800 centers supports these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically, and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit www.baps.org.

About Mahant Swami Maharaj

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble, and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”

Illinois Secretary of State Hon. Jesse White hosts a grand Diwali Reception

Hon. Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State hosted a grand Diwali Reception under the aegis of National Council of Asian Indian Associations [NCAIA] at the iconic Atrium of the state of Illinois building in Chicago with all the festive color, lights, confection, pleasantries and exchange of greetings.  The colorful Diwali celebrations encompassed ceremonial lamp lighting led by Hon. Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and Consul General of India Mr. Amit Kumar joined by NCAIA principal officers: Harish Kolasani, Dr. Anuja Gupta, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Neelam Dwivedi Singh, Ajeet Singh, Keerthi Kumar Ravoori and Vinesh Virani. Illinois Secretary of State Hon. Jesse White welcomed the guests with open doors for the first time to celebrate Diwali deep inside his executive office and heaped praises on the Indian American community.

 

Hon. Jesse White –in his greeting remarks – said I am a dear friend of the Indian American community and I share the same philosophy of love and kindness with the citizens of Illinois State. Hon. Jesse White said that he was inspired by the dictates of Mahatma Gandhi & Martin Luther King and he follows that creed in inspiring the inner-city youth. Diwali truly symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and victory of knowledge over ignorance. Hon. Jesse White characterized Diwali as a magnificent festival that epitomizes the spirit of light and color. 

 

Consul General of India Mr. Amit Kumar in his remarks presented an in-depth overview of the origin of Diwali and the significance it brings to bear of its enduring symbolism and its central message, which cherishes the brightness over the forces of darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Consul General Mr. Amit Kumar thanked Hon. Jesse White for hosting a welcoming Diwali celebration in his office and he acknowledged and thanked the key leaders of the National Council of Asian Indian Association for hosting a splendid Diwali celebration along with the Illinois Secretary of State.

 

Dr. Anuja Gupta, Midwest President opened the celebrations with welcome remarks and thanked Secretary of State Jesse White for his exceptional magnanimity in hosting Diwali celebrations deep into the chambers of his iconic office. Dr. Anuja Gupta highlighted the significance of Diwali and its underlying spiritual philosophy of its victory over evil, darkness and ignorance ushering in a new light of goodness, victory and knowledge.

 

Harish Kolasani, National President outlined the goals and mission of NCAIA and the yeoman accomplishments it had made over the years. Dr. Suresh Reddy, NCAIA Executive Vice President presenting the Village of Oakbrook Proclamation to Hon. Jesse White and added it is truly historic for the Illinois Secretary of State to open the doors of his magnificent office to celebrate Diwali for the first time.  Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, Secretary generously thanked Secretary of State Jesse White for opening the doors of the magnificent chambers of his office and inviting the Indian American community in celebrating Diwali with the festive reception so graciously hosted. 

 

Ajeet Singh, Vice President presented a flower bouquet and a garland and a shawl in appreciation of Jesse White’s gracious hospitality and welcome. Neelam Dwivedi Singh, NCAIA Chairwoman extended Diwali greetings and added that the lights of diyas illuminate life with knowledge, compassion, care and love for each other. The event concluded with a reception and exchange of Diwali greetings. Others who joined in the festivities include Indian Consul Laxman Prasad Gupta, Dr. Vidyani, Vinita Gulabani, Shalini Gupta, Prachi Jaitley, Girish/Ratna Kapoor, Shree Guruswamy and others.

 

NCAIA is a premier umbrella national organization incorporated in 1993 in Maryland, USA and the Midwest Chapter was established in 2019 in IL to empower Indian community by promoting effective community organizations that can create an impact on the society and help usher a meaningful social change.

The Uttar Pradesh (UP) Association of Greater Chicago Celebrates Diwali traditional way

The Uttar Pradesh (UP) Association of Greater Chicago held a function for the annual day and Diwali celebration on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, at the Ashyana Banquet Hall in Downers Grove, IL. Last year, Diwali was celebrated with a variety of virtual cultural programs because of the Covid pandemic, but this year, it was celebrated in person with a very impressive gathering and high-quality cultural programs highlighting the rich culture of India.

 

Diwali or Deepavali, means deep (light) and avali (rows). It is an inner illumination from ignorance to knowledge; good defeats evil and bring happiness in family and community.

 

The event started with a Diya lighting ceremony by executive committee and board of trustees members led by Dr. Subhash Pandey and Chief Guest, Mr. PK Mishra, and was followed by a beautiful sitar instrumental presentation of bhajan medley by Mr. Paneesh Rao. The program was organized and coordinated by Mr. Sunish Mittal and Mr. Raj Kumar Upadhyay, treasurer and president of the UP Association, respectively.

 

Mr. Rajkumar Upadhyay, president of the organization, welcomed the audience on this occasion. Dr. Subhash Pandey, Chairman Board of Trustees of the UP Association, also welcomed the audiences and presented an explanation of the purpose of the association. He explained that the Association was established in 1991 and is celebrating its 30th anniversary as well. He highlighted that the main purpose of the Association is to keep our cultural heritage alive especially in new generations. UP Association also organizes Kavi Sammelan every year to promote Hindi, a national language of India. He concluded by thanking all past presidents for their hard work towards fulfilling the objectives of the organization. 

 

Chief Guest Hon. PK Mishra Consul & Head of Chancery (Counsel General of India, Chicago) conveyed the greetings of Consulate General of India (CGI), Chicago, on the occasion of Diwali and explained about the many services offered by CGI Chicago. He also congratulated the organization for completing 30 years.

 

The Association brought in several renowned artists from Chicago who presented a range of traditional, modern, and contemporary Indian performances, including an outstanding dance (Ganesh Vandana and Shri Ram stuti) by Mrs. Gauri Jog, director & teacher, India dance school. This was followed by several melodious songs by two well-known singers, Mrs. Ananya Ghosh and Mr. Sreepathy that were accompanied by an outstanding musician team. This was followed by a program called “Saaz aur Alfaaz” by Mr. Rakesh Malhotra, a famous poet, and Mr. Sunish Mittal, a well accomplished singer. Two children’s performers, Mr. Shlok Jaiswal and Ms. Anavi Ghosh also sang melodious songs for this occasion. The program ended with a presentation of a colorful group dance to a Bollywood movie song.

 

A variety of delicious foods and snacks were served by the Ashyana Banquet, and great hospitality was shown by Mr. Surendra Jain and his staff which was highly appreciated by all the guests. At the end, a vote of thanks was proposed by the UP-Association Vice President Mrs. Uma Agarwal. This event was a fun evening filled with several cultural items and delicious food.

Melody Queen Rita Shah Rocks Chicago SSS Entertainment Organizes Musical Evening for Charitable Cause

Chicago IL: SSS Entertainment organized a musical evening on November 13th at Fairfield Inn, Schaumburg, IL to support a philanthropic cause. The event aimed at raising funds for children orphaned due to Covid-19 Pandemic. Following a devotional dance performance by Jenish Bulsara, Swapnil Shah started the event talking about the vision behind organizing the event and also thanked all the donors for coming forward to help. The grand sponsors of the event were Anil Loomba of Home Mortgage Solutions Inc., Pinky and Dinesh Thakkar and Ketan and Purvi Shah. Ketan shah and Pinky Thakkar addressed the audience and applauded the benevolent gesture of the organization to support the kids in need. All the sponsors and supporters were duly acknowledged by the organizers by presenting a token of appreciation.

 

The event featured some very well-known vocalists of Chicagoland Rita Shah, Rajesh Chelam, Jitendra Bulsara, Pratibha Jairath and Mir Ali along with the live orchestra by Orchestra Sa Re Ga Ma led by Hitesh Master Nayak and his team accompanied by Nupur Sound. The musical team kept the guests entertained with a beautiful line up of evergreen melodies. The guests celebrated Sunil Shah’s birthday with a surprise cake cutting ceremony organized by daughter in law Nikki Shah. Mr Shah brought the entire audience on the floor with his excellent singing performance. Sunil and Rita were accompanied by their family and friends who wholeheartedly worked towards the cause behind the evening.

 

Rita Shah during her speech thanked all the donors and supporters followed by a brief address by Sunil Shah who mentioned how Rita Shah has been the driving force behind his many successful initiatives like FIA, one of the biggest Indian associations in the US. Rita presented her singing talent in 2005 with legendary Bollywood singer Mahendra Kapoor for Tsunami Relief event and through her singing has also helped collect funds for Uttarakhand floods with her devotional songs. She has also sung and performed with Bollywood singer Bappi Lahiri & Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan

 

What a humble reply when someone from audience told that, “You are a star “She politely replied, “Tare Zamane Pe “

 

The event was anchored by Prachi Jaitly and Mohan Rawat who kept the audience entertained. The other elected officials and community leaders presented at the event were Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison, Brij Sharma of Power Volt, Dr Bhupinder Beri, Dr Parag Doshi, Neil Khot, Mukesh Shah, Rita Singh, Aishwarya Sharma, Ketu Amin, Manish Gandhi, Hitesh Gandhi, Dr Kamal Patel, Vinita Gulabani, Gurmeet Singh, Shargio Patel, Dipen lakha, Krishna Bansal, Nimish Jani, Dr Mona Ghosh and several other prominent people from the community. Media was represented by Asian Media Broadcasting. Delicious food was from Shree Restaurant.

Association of South Asian Real Estate Professionals (ASARP) organized its annual gala

Association of South Asian Real Estate Professionals (ASARP) organized its annual gala on November 7th at Fairfield Inn, Schaumburg. The program was hosted by Prachi Jaitly and Shirin Marvi. The event kicked off with social networking and live Indian Flute on stage followed by national anthems and traditional lamp lighting.

National anthems were sung by Ramona Schmika and Dipti/Madhu Dave. The special guests and speakers that attended the gala were Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy, Consul General Amit Kumar, Real Estate coach and Mentor Lynn Madison, Dan Wagner, Mario Treto, Laurie Murphy, John Gormley, Chaudhary Khokar, Sadia Gul Covert. Consul General Amit Kuman talked about India and US Partnership. ASARP Chairman, Pradeep Shukla talked about the vision and achievements of the organization since its inception and extended his best wishes to the new board.

The gala had a variety dance performance by very well-known artists from Chicagoland that included Chicago Kala Kshetra, Sonali Shani and Rewa Shani, Swati Pandey, Aanya and Usha Kabra.

2021 President Al Haroon Husain introduced the executive board followed by the oath ceremony of the 2022 president and board members. Oath was administered by ASARP Chairman Pradeep Shukla.

The 2022 team taking oath included Incoming President- Shirin Marvi, Incoming Vice President- T.Paul S. Chawala and Incoming Treasurer- Rajesh N. Patel

Executive Board Members are Anup Patel, Bimal M Pandhi, Marsha Collins, T. R. Vishwanathan and Vasanti Bhatt.

The event was sponsored by Growth Level Sponsors: MainStreet Organization of Realtors (John LeTourneau,President) and other major sponsors like Millennium Bank (Moti Aggarwal and Salil Mishra), Law offices of Nirav Patel, Gardi and Haught (Hiten Gardi), PPG Finance (Shane Parekh). The event was executed by Artists Association of North America. Media was represented by Asian Media Broadcasting and Asian Media USA

Dandiya Night By Aarush Entertainment Brings Community Together

The whirling dancers, clapping hands, distinct sound of wooden sticks struck together, toe tapping music and people wearing colorful clothes marked the Navratri celebration at the Garba & Dandiya Raas dances held all over Chicagoland. The Aarush Entertainment celebrated dandiya night to celebrate the festival season with one thousand plus community members at Oswego East High School, Oswego, IL.

The event was organized by Manoj Rathod and Tanmay Patel featured two very well-known versatile vocalists Badal Parmar and Bharti Desai who kept the atmosphere upbeat and devotional and had everyone dancing throughout the entire event. Badal Parmar performed traditional Kathiawadi style garba as well as popular Hindi songs. His style of performance reflects an immense amount of Gujarati garba as well as modern beats. This unique style of singing is what makes him such a versatile performer. Garba Queen of United State of America Desai who is an award-winning singer in Chicago enthralled the audience with her charming personality. She continued amazing Garbas in Two Taali. In Raas everybody enjoyed Disco Dandia, Sanedo, Amu Kaka Bapa Na, Bhai-Bhai, Hitch..

There were   participants   of   all   ages of men and women   of   about   1000+   people, enjoying and celebrating the festivities. Many in the audience, especially ladies of all ages   wore colorful   and traditional   dresses   for   this   special   occasion   with matching ornaments.

“Navaratri Garba is very special as it honors Shakti in very rhythmic ways.  We all love the whole atmosphere of colors, the clothes and of course, the music and then there is always the fun of dressing traditionally. Western dresses are replaced by Lengha-Choli, matching jewelry and foot wear”, said one of the participants.  The evening was followed by traditional garba music and concluded in the wee hours of morning highlighted by devotional Arti of Mataji.

The Aarush Entertainment company offers event planning & management services that also includes wedding designing, planning, management & consultancy, adopting a comprehensive approach & professional management information system to plan and produce a world class event experience each & every time all over the world. The highly skilled team of professionals at Aarush Entertainment strives hard to accomplish the highest standard of quality, effectiveness & novelty with due importance to the budgetary considerations.

Metropolitan Asian Family Services Holds Fundraiser Gala

Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) kicked off a star studded and safe in person event after a year and a half of combating COVID-19 on October 17, 2021. It was a colossal success! October 17th is a very significant date for MAFS as the Governor of Illinois Proclaimed this day as “MAFS DAY”.

Vibrant and Charming Neil Khot and Richa Chand were the emcees who did a tremendous job who kept the show exciting until the very end. Dr. Vijnay Prabhakar did an excellent job outlining the show as the chair of the Gala.

The show commenced with the Lamp Lighting ceremony by the MAFS Board Members, President Dr. Firdaus Jafri, Vice-President Mr. Nikunj Baxi, Secretary Dr. Rakesh Asthana, Treasurer Sagar Kumar, Board members James D’Mello, Dr. Sonal Patel, Vasanti Bhatt, Monali Desai and the Founder/Executive Director, Dr. Mrs Santosh Kumar.

This was followed by the Governor of Illinois, J. B. Pritzker’s speech where he praised and appreciated MAFS’s commendable work to serve and empower the seniors and immigrant communities for 29 years. This is certainly a big honor for MAFS! Next was an elegant dance performance, Ganesh Vandana by renowned dancer Madhura Sane who filled the stage with her graceful and pious dancing praising Lord Ganesh. Her beautiful and eloquent dance moves were a treat to watch. We felt as though Lord Ganapathy had graced the occasion.

Dr. Firduas Jafri, President of MAFS who is an accomplished dentist with her own practice in Carol Stream, IL addressed the audience with her welcoming speech and asked the people to donate generously to support MAFS to sustain its programs to help the community. This was followed by our very own vibrant Grants Manager, Roshita Pandey’s speech on MAFS in action 2020 – 2021. Here she welcomed the dignitaries as she glorified and detailed the vital programs of MAFS. She stressed on the fact that MAFS is a Not-For-Profit organization with limited funding. She amplified that in order to continue its programs which is much needed by our seniors we depend on gracious donors to cover the expenses that the grants do not cover. Her passion for MAFS programs to help the community was obvious in her speech. Kudos to you Roshita Pandey!

A special shout out to the dancers from the Tarana Dance Academy and the Saloni group. The experienced dancers were well coordinated with precise choreography which helped them receive a loud roar of applause from the audience. Their choice of costume was so apt.

Next was the annual report/ Financial Review given by Mr. Sagar Kumar/ CFO, MAFS. He put together a clear vision of the report. He said that this year was the best year for MAFS financially and gave credit to our Grants Manager Roshita Pandey for her efforts to bring in Grants for MAFS.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly, chairman of the democratic party of Illinois was called on stage to talk as our Keynote speaker. In her speech she praised MAFS for its life changing programs and connecting with seniors of the community to keep them safe and well. She said a lot of her work is related to what MAFS does. She praised Dr. Mrs. Santosh Kumar for her hard work and dedication to serve the community. She is grateful for the work MAFS does to serve the undeserved population to lead a better life through vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid, social security, snap and many more.

She continued to praise MAFS for serving more than 10,000 people and said that it was “Remarkable”. She applauded Dr. Santosh Kumar for keeping her doors open with the programs for the people who may not find these vital programs elsewhere. She compelled MAFS to continue its programs especially programs like the adult literacy program, Translation and interpretation program, immigration program. She thanked MAFS for being a liaison to Washington in serving the community with all its vital programs. She said that Washington is working on helping organizations like MAFS to better serve the elderly. Hats off to MAFS!

Next our very own Naperville staff showcased a colorful garba dance. Kudos to all our Naperville participants for doing such a great job and showing off their hidden talents.  Following this entertaining dance, Congressman Rajakrishnamoorthi spoke and praised Dr. Santosh Kumar for her outstanding work to the community. He urged people to donate for the good cause and dedication of MAFS. He mentioned that Dr. Kumar is so aptly named “Mother Theresa of Chicago”, a title well deserved. He also thanked Dr. Jafri and other board members. He thanked the other dignitaries present like, Congresswoman, Robin Kelly, Mayor of Hanover Park – Rodney Craig, Senator Laura Murphy, Senator Cristina Castro, Representative Michelle Mussman and Representative Janet Yang for taking the time to join this gala to support MAFS.

He wished everyone Happy Dasahara and a Happy Diwali which is the season of triumph of good over evil and knowledge prevailing over ignorance.  He said that what MAFS does really works for the community since they served more than 32,000 meals this year and more than 10,000 underprivileged people were served. He added when an immigrant senior comes to the US, they are lonely and the only place they can turn too is MAFS! What an honor for MAFS! Thank you, Congressman Rajakrishnamoorthi, for having faith in MAFS. Since MAFS serves the seniors of the community, he is happy to vote for the reauthorization of the Older Americans ACT, which provides nutritional assistance, support for caregivers as well as disease prevention. He urged everyone to support MAFS to sustain its program to better serve the community.

Next was a heartwarming narration by MAFS Participants Tripta Malhotra and Jayesh Desai, who very warmly narrated the impact MAFS played to better their lives. They specially thanked Dr. Santosh Kumar for assisting the seniors through her various centers. They consider MAFS centers as their second home. They said how much the programs like Yoga, Adult literacy programs, fresh and healthy meals program, congregating with other seniors and many more, have played an important and positive role to eliminate isolation and other problems the seniors combat especially during the Pandemic.

Richa Chand and Neil Khot periodically used their charm to nudge everyone to donate and thanks to them for their hard and persuasive work that encourage our donors to graciously support MAFS. KUDOS!!!

The Mahatma Gandhi Sesquicentennial medallion and MAFS colors were presented my Honorable Mr. Amit Kumar and Mrs Surabhi Amit Kumar along with Dr. Santosh Kumar. Milana Carse did a great job by announcing and introducing the recipients of the medallion.  Congratulations to state Rep. Michelle MUSSMAN, Sunil Shah – FIA Chicago Founder, Dr Sreenivas Reddy, Bur Ridge, State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr, State Rep. Christina Castro, Dr. Amit Ray, Neurologist, State Rep. Laura Murphy, Neil Khot-Rely Services, IL,  Bishop Tavis Grant – Rainbow Push Coalition, Inc, Mayor of Hanover Park – Rodney Craig, Amar Uphadyay – Community Activist, Acharya Rohit Joshi, Treasurer of Chicago – Melissa Ervin, Shridar Damle – Author, Marta Pereyra- Clese.

Later Dr. Sreenivasan Reddy invited Honorable Consul General Mr. Amit Kumar to give a speech. In his speech, the Consul General congratulated MAFS and all the recipients. He praised Dr. Santosh Kumar for her commendable social service to the community like promoting mental health program and other beneficial public benefits programs. He wished MAFS success to grow and continue their estimable work. He also spoke about India’s progress regarding COVID vaccinations and other issues in India. Thank you, Honorable Consul General, for being a well-wisher and supporter of MAFS!

The highlight of the show was revealed when the video of the new MAFS 15th Senior Center on Devon Ave., was presented. It is narrated by our very own IT Director Mr. Prashant Kumar and CFO Mr. Sagar Kumar. In this video they narrate the evolution of the state of the art, 20,000 sq. ft center for seniors. It is truly an amazing jaw dropping video. The center is supposed to be up and rolling early November just in time for Diwali. All are invited to view this amazing piece of art exclusively designed for our seniors. Mr. Prashant Kumar and Mr. Sagar Kumar have dedicated this center to their parents and called it “The Pramod and Santosh Kumar Senior Center of Excellence!!! A must-see place, and surely, a future landmark of the Chicagoland area at 2522 West Devon Ave! To view this video please click on the link.

Next Mrs Surabhi Kumar (w/o Consul General of India) unveiled the MAFS souvenir book. The first recipient of this souvenir book was Mrs. Meghna Bansal, Trustee, Wheatland, Township. Mrs. Bansal congratulated MAFS for serving her mother-in-law who is a participant of MAFS. Dr. Asthana and Sagar Kumar were the other recipients of the souvenir. In her speech Mrs. Surabhi Kumar congratulated Dr. Santosh Kumar for her dedication and personal commitment to serve the seniors. She mentioned that she was touched when she witnessed the seniors of the MAFS sing the “Jana Gana Mana” with utmost reverence on the 75th Independence Day celebration of India. She concluded her speech assuring her support for MAFS and its future endeavors.

Secretary, Dr. Rakesh Asthana and his team got on to the stage to encourage the audience to donate. Donations kept coming in steadily. Job well done Dr. Rakesh Asthana! Next singer Ms. Pavithra Anand gave a teaser song that put the audience in a celebrating mood.

Following this, Dr. Firdaus Jafri, Consul General Mr. Amit Kumar, Dr. Santosh Kumar and Mrs. Sonal Patel presented the Pramod Kumar Philanthropy award to Mr. Sunil Singh – a community leader for the Washington D. C. area. The Community Service Award was presented to Ms. Gunjan Rastogi, an entrepreneur and community leader. The Partnership award was presented to Ms. Elizabeth Cagan – Executive Director of the White Crane Wellness Center. Pillar of MAFS award was presented to Jahnavi Bavisi. Coordinator of the Year was presented to Eugenie Favre. Health Research award was presented to Himali Bharucha. Outreach award was presented to Radhika Subramanian. Volunteer of the Year was presented to Girish Machhar. Cook of the year was presented to Jayshree Thakkar. Mr. Mahajan was presented the award too.

To conclude the program, Dr. Mrs Santosh Kumar, a true “Mother Theresa of Chicago” thanked one and all for their support to MAFS. The show concluded with the melodious entertainment by Pavithra Anand and Parth Patel. Their songs were so captivating that the whole staff danced to make this event a big success! GOD BLESS MAFS!

Bengali Association of Greater Chicago Celebrates Durga Puja Festival

The Bengali Association of Greater Chicago (BAGC) concluded its three-day Durga Puja Mahotsav on October 10th,2021. The celebrations started on October 8th and continued for three days that included Puja, Arati and Pushpanjali. BAGC is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting literature, art, music, and the rich religious and cultural heritage of the South Asian Indian community for the past 44 years.

In addition to three days of Puja and all its special features, they also had an array of cultural programs with some legendary artists from both the USA as well as from India. Last two years, BAGC through its strong tech committee has continued connecting with the community virtually due to the challenges posed by Covid-19 Pandemic through BAGC Live YouTube channel and BAGC Radio in showcasing its virtual events to the entire community across the globe.

This whole Celebration is all about Durga Maata Puja is done by Shree Rama (Akal Bodhan) before going to war with King Ravana. Normal 9 Days of Puja and Nava Ratri ends with Dusserah whan King Ravan was killed. BAGC Celebrated the 6th day till the 10th Day of Puja and ending with Ravan Dahan. BAGC Executive Committee of 2021 with all the Volunteers made this Large event most successful even under this Covid Pandemic.

Durga Puja is celebrated during Navaratri to honor goddess Durga culminating into Bijoya Dashami also known as Vijaya Dashami or Dusshera in other parts of India. Mahashasti was celebrated on Friday, October 8th with Puja, Pushpanjali in the Evening and cultural performances by local and external talents, which includes like curtain raiser (Jalo Pradeep Jalo), Musical Comedy Show (Kichu Haasi Kichu Gaan) and performance by a Chicago based band DhoomK2.

Mahasaptami and Mahashtami celebrated on Saturday, October 9th included morning and evening prayers along with a BAGC Youth Production on Environment Awareness (Sabuj Prithvi) in the evening followed by a musical retrospective to legendary Bengali Music Directors and a musical performance by Debarpan Dhar with his melodious voice. Mahanabami and Dashami, celebrated on Sunday,10th October, which is the conclusion day of the Puja Ceremony includes beautiful Bisharjon, Sindhur Khela and Dhanuchi Nach during the day and cultural program in the evening. The cultural program in the evening included drama “Tritiyo Nayan” by Chicago Natya Goshthi (CNG) and fusion dance “Rhythm of Fire ”.

BAGC President Jayanta Mukherjee along with the entire BAGC committee teams, and volunteers worked days and nights for the super successful Durga 2021 Puja celebration. The current committee led by Jayanta Mukherjee has been around for the last two years and working towards creating an all-inclusive participation from other communities as well as ethnicities. The three-day event also included two grand concerts at Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin, Il with two celebrity vocalists and their teams. All three days had booth for free mandatory covid testing provided by Amita Labs and every attendee followed a mask mandate for all indoor events.

During the first concert, the fusion queen Vidya Vox along with Shankar Tucker and other team members created the musical magic with her refreshingly unique and contemporary voice. Vidya the gen z sensation who has over 7 million you tube subscribers and close to a billion views sang in a variety of languages including Rongobati her first Bengali song and kept the audience dancing during the entire show.

The master of the ceremony for the concert was Prachi Jaitly. The second show had a team of vocalists from India led by Music Legend Music Director Jatin Pandit. Jatin Pandit was accompanied by his son Raahul Jatin and other artists like Nauzad, Malancha, and Sonia Keshwani who also graced the event being the emcee. The team enthralled the audience with all the hit numbers of Bollywood. The auditorium was packed during both the concerts.

Jayanta Mukherjee, addressed the audience during the concert and briefed everyone about the BAGC and its initiatives. The executive committees received huge appreciation from everyone for working tirelessly for the last two years to keep the BAGC activities going amidst all the challenges. He also assured of his continuous contribution to the association in the upcoming years as well. Kudos to the Cultural Committee who proved once again that whatever be the adversities the show must not only go on but with the best performers in the world addressing the diverse demography of BAGC. The success of the event was also made possible by the generous sponsors and patrons. Media partners of the entire event were Asian Media USA and Asian Media Broadcasting.

Desi-Fest by Bhartiya Senior Citizen Group of Chicago and Manpasand Held

Bhartiya Senior citizen group of Chicago (BSCC), a reputable organization serving thousands of seniors and Manpasand, a well-known name in the entertainment industry came together to create history with its action-packed cultural extravaganza ‘The Desi-Fest’. The event was held on Sunday, September 5th, 2021 at Rana Reagan community center in Carol Stream, 343 St. Paul Blvd., Carol Stream, IL.  Many leaders from many different fields such as medical, sports entertainment, political, teaching spiritual leaders and prominent community leaders were present at The Desi-Fest. The event attendance was House Full.

Haribhai Patel, President of the BSCC, along with all the committee members have proved once more that his efforts in ensuring his senior members receive the best service is unmatched. In the past, The BSCC has held vaccination fairs to make sure all members can get vaccinated without going through online appointments and unnecessary hurdles.

This year, Mr. Haribhai Patel wanted to do something where, after being locked inside during the pandemic for so long, all of his members were able to come out and socialize. Mr. Patel organized The Desi Fest, an Indian fair, with live entertainment, shopping, food and much more. Everything was complimentary for all members of the BSCC. The Desi Fest was held at Rana Reagan community center in Carol Stream. Mr. Patel’s vision to keep this fair safe and maintain CDC instructed guidelines presented itself as a challenge, but it did not stop him from hosting this event, nonetheless.

Manpasand, Inc. – a well-known nationwide entertainment company owned by Mrs. Bhavna Modi, managed all the festivities that took place. Her event management capabilities showed themselves, as this event was a difficult one to host outdoors. Mrs. Bhavna Modi not only coordinated the elite singers and sound to the Desi Fest but also handpicked all the food vendors for senior members, doing so to ensure they had a variety of food options to choose from. Mrs. Modi’s hard work and extraordinary event planning matched Mr. Patel’s vision. Under the blue sky all the way until the dark of night, Mr. Haribhai Patel’s leadership and tremendous support by Manpasand Inc. and Mrs. Bhavna Modi was the core of what made this fest a huge success, attracting more than 1,000 people.

The entertainment portion of the evening kicked off with the Master of Ceremony Mrs. Neelam Desai. Her deep and subtle voice and intoxicated ways of delivering speeches was sweet music to all the ears.  Laughter is the ultimate medicine they say. Mayuri Patel, a standup comedian made everyone laugh with her extraordinary sense of humor. Well known and everyone’s favorite singers Mr. Rex D’Souza, Ms. Shilpi Paul and Ms. Kausha Pandya rocked the stage with nonstop live singing and music. Their melodious voices kept The BSCC members glued to their chairs. Many from the audience was nonstop on their feet dancing on the stage and off the stage. The electricity between the singers and the audience made the night very Young at heart.

To make this fair safe, The BSCC and Manpasand Inc. joined hands, once again, with The Rana-Reagan Pharmacy located at 398 W. Army Trail Rd in Bloomingdale. Rana-Reagan provided their own booth and brought their team of 9 people to offer free rapid and PCR COVID-19 tests to anyone who came to the event. The Rana- Reagan Pharmacy’s outstanding services and support were recognized by Mr. Haribhai Patel during his speech. Mr. Patel also announced that he will be holding a Covid- 19 Booster shots clinic for all eligible members, nonmembers and for their family from September 20th per CDC guidelines.

One of the recipients at the festival was Jasbir Suga of Suga Builders. Jasbir Suga is known for his selfless community service and he has been supporting so many community initiatives for many years. Suga Builders is a well-known name in the construction industry because of its excellent customer satisfaction and reliable work ethics. The company has been serving Chicagoland for close to three decades and specializes in catering to customized needs of its commercial as well as residential customers. It is a one stop place for any construction project from planning, designing, pre-construction, procurement, construction and to post-construction.

The BSCC has presented awards to those who made a huge difference in the community with their selfless acts and services during the pandemic. The following is a list for those who were honored for their outstanding performance in their surrounding communities by Mr. Haribhai Patel: Community Engagement and Leadership Award: Kamlesh Shah and Alisha Bedi of The Rana-Reagan Pharmacy Heart of our Community Award: Nimish Jani Character Counts Award: Jasbir Suga of Suga Builders Shining Star Award: Ashok Punjabi of Chicago Import Pandemic Hero Award: Dr. Syed Naveed and Ibrahim Alimirah of Free COVID Care Extra Mile Award: J.P. Patel Making a Difference Award: Seth Lewis.

Ravindra Joshi Creates 3D Printed Scale Model Of Chicago Downtown

The Ganesh festival this year was like no other. A complete mind boggling 1:1600 3D printed scale model of Chicago downtown created over 9 months,  a work of art with amazing attention to detail and superb execution, done by our Ravindra Joshi was unveiled. If the breath-taking design wasn’t enough, the seamlessly integrated light fixtures weaved throughout the buildings produce a stunning visual in the night.

First, Mr. Joshi looked through Google Earth block by block. Then, he downloaded each block and with various software’s, reconstructed each block for it to be printed. On average, each block required 20+ hours of work. This model featured the Willis Tower, the tallest building in Chicago downtown, requiring 27+ hours of 3D printing. In addition, the model included other Chicago land favorites like the John Hancock building, Solder Field, and the Chicago River. This relentless work day and night through these past 9 months left all Chicagoans speechless. We all can’t wait to see the project he creates next!

Indian Americans Launch Global University Of Vedic Wellness

Dr. Santosh Kumar, an Indian American Community leader has announced that an International University of Vedic Wellness is being established in Greater Chicago on the solemn occasion of her father Shambu Dayal Kulshresthra’s 48th death anniversary, September 9. The mission of this Vedic University is to teach, preserve and advance the ideals and values of Santana Dharma by integrating the ancient practices with the global Hindu philosophy in this digital age.

Dr. Santosh Kumar said that this brick-and-mortar University is being built on a 38 plus acre campus and will offer Certification, Associate, Bachelor, Masters and PHD degree courses in a formal setting. Dr. Santosh Kumar said that with this giant step, she is fulfilling her lifelong dream to globally promote the precious knowledge of Vedic Scriptures, Science of Upanishads and Hindu Philosophy to all. Dr. Santosh Kumar said that initial funding of this University will be from her late husband Pramod Kumar’s Trust fund and her family personally.

Dr. Santosh Kumar reiterated the need to clear the misconception in the context of Hindu/Hindutva and offer the opportunity to learn about Vedic Sciences to all in North America which will enable them to live their life to the fullest. Dr. Santosh Kumar acknowledged Dr. Vijay G. Prabhakar’s relentless crusade to safeguard India’s secularism in this digital age and drew inspiration from Dr. VGP’s inclusive, pragmatic leadership in confidently launching this giant initiative.

Dr. Vasavi Chakka, Executive Director, Board of Regents, International University of Vedic Wellness, Chicago, USA in her introductory remarks congratulated Dr. Mrs Santosh Kumar for her foresight in establishing this full-fledged university at a time when twenty ” so called universities ” are launching a scathing attack on Hinduism in America by hosting a ” Dismantling the Global Hindutva Agenda ” in Washington D.C. from today Sept 9- Sept.11.

Dr. Chakka said that the more, we Hindu Americans are provoked, we only would respond by doing more good to our fellow citizens. That is our Hindu Dharma and teachings. The birth of this major University is a direct response to this dastardly attack today on the Hindu faith and Hindutva religion perpetuated by vested interests cloaked as academicians, she added.

Dr. VGP donates $100,000 dollars to Vedic wellness university to establish Danny k. Davis inter faith chair.  Dr. Vijay G Prabhakar, Community Activist & Renowned Public Health Physician announced a contribution of $100,000 to the International University of Vedic Wellness Chicago, an Independent registered educational society in State of Illinois to establish an Inter Faith Chair in the name of U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis to teach the Hindu Philosophy of religious tolerance and also basic tenets of other faiths in this Vedic University. In making the contribution, Dr. Prabhakar stressed that we minorities hailing from India must not ever forget what India gave us Christians and other minorities, that which we still are receiving without any bias, the freedom to practice our faiths, prosper and co-exist like nowhere else in the world.

U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis graciously accepted the honor of having the University’s Inter Faith Chair endowed in his name. Acharya Rohit Joshi of North Eastern Illinois University gave the invocational prayer and said that such a full-fledged Vedic University is the first of its kind in North America. Rohit Joshi appealed to all, to make this International University of Vedic Wellness Chicago, a World class institution by contributing financially, academically, and volunteering with your skills sets and talents.

Leaders from across the country who were present and spoke at the press meet which was live streamed included Dr. S. V. Anchan, CEO, Safe Sea Group, New Jersey, Dr. Clarence Beals, CEO, Jordans Dreams, Chicago, Dr. Rani Youseffzai, Vice Chair, Congressman Danny Davis’ Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force, Dr. Andre Ellis, CEO, No Adults Left Behind, Chicago, Neil Khot, National Chair, Indian American Business Coalition, USA, Dr. Ravi Govindaraj, Vice President, World Federation of Tamil Youth, USA, Dr. Anasha Holiday, Chief Community Outreach, The Global Eye-Digital Monthly and Anica Dubey, Global Outreach Chair, American Multi Ethnic Coalition, USA . Dr. Roger Richardson, President, Rhema University, Florida presented the Rhema University’s Red Ribbon Honor Award to Dr. Santosh Kumar, an alumnus of Rhema University for her indefatigable efforts to ground break this historic International University of VEDIC WELLNESS Chicago.

Lion Hina Trivedi, International Woman Activist roared in her closing remarks that all Hindu Americans must wake up and stand up for the Hindu Dharma and Values. Hina Trivedi said that this opportunity will not present itself again, it is now that we all unite and act together while we speak, sign petitions, do pooja, visit temples which are all great but only we can protect and preserve our Santana Dharma which is the basic tenet of Hinduism. Hina Trivedi saluted the Community leaders from different faiths and ethnicities who joined the Visionary Dr. Santosh Kumar today in this bold, giant step in establishing a permanent brick & mortar University to teach HINDUTVA globally beyond our lifetime.

In UCL T20 Night Tournament Cricket Match, Anjuman Defeat Deccan Heroes

Cricket League and Entertainment held its Night Tournament Closing Ceremony was on August 23, 2021 Monday at Skokie Sports Park, IL. 12 teams that participated are Anjuman, Chicago Indians, Cougars, Mavericks, American Eagles, Deccan Heroes, Deepark, Rogers park, Gujju boys, Hawks, Kimball 11, and Maharishi CC. The two teams that played in the final are Anjuman and Deccan Heroes. Anjuman won the toss and the Captain, Ayaz Patel decided to bat first. Deccan Heroe captain Jibran led the team very well. Anjuman scored 206 runs and Deccan Heroes scored 115 runs. Anjuman won the final. Man of the Match was Ayaz Patel, and Man of the Series was Gul Khan.

The chief Guests included Masood Chik, former cricketer of Pakistan, Pramod Shah: Skokie Village Clerk , Jim McCarthy: Skokie Caucus Party Chairman, Susan Aberman: Skokie Park Board President, Mike Reid: Skokie Park Board Vice President. Mike Shah: Skokie Planning Commissioner, Robert DeLeonardis: Sports park supervisor, Syed Mustaq Hussain: main advisor, and Syed Sikander: advisor. Other guests were Mohammed Afroz, Mohammed Anwar, Faheem Shehzad, Abdul Faheem, Mohammed Rafi, Sidiq Khan, Mohammed Yunus, Mukhram Mehmood, Ayaz Patel, Sufuyian Dukanwala, Syed Ehsan, and everyone who attended. The empires were Syed Shabbir, and Hanif Lala. UCL&E would like to thank their sponsors which includes Pepsi, PPG, Devon Discount Pharmacy, Sabri Nahari, NP Jewelers, Free Covid Care, AV Stone, Patel Brothers, Air Tour, Shalimar Banquet Hall, Little Ceaser pizza, Noble Services, Lyca Mobile, and Okay Auto Repair.

There was also media coverage by TV Asia, Hi India, Asian Media USA, Crickcom, and Crickclub. The President of United Cricket League and Entertainment, Adil Azeem Khan would like to thank everyone and encourage teams to participate in the Gold Cup Tournament during Labor Day weekend.

India Independence Day Parade Adds Glitters To ‘Little India’ Devon Avenue

Under the leadership of its President Mr Rajesh Patel, the Federation of Indian Associations, Chicago organized a spectacular parade on Devon Avenue to mark India’s 75th Independence Day. Mr Niranjan Shah’s daughter Ms Smita Shah marshaled the parade.

United States’ ranking Congressman Danny Davis participated in India’s Iconic Chicago Parade. Addressing the Community from the Grandstand, Congressman Danny Davis said: “I wish India and Indian Community a very happy India Independence Day and congratulate the organizers for this exceptionally beautiful parade.”

Instantaneously reciprocating Congressman Danny Davis for his greetings and compliments, President Rajesh Patel stated that Indian Community is grateful to Congressman for attending the Parade. He also thanked him for Congressman Danny Davis’ continued support to all NRIs. Highlighting the significant of the current year’s Parade, President Rajesh Patel stated, “Today’s Parade The parade receded into history the ghastly memories of community’s sufferings from the preceding coved-19 pandemic.

Rajesh Patel also thanked Chicago Police for assisting the organizers in smooth run of the parade. He appreciated the support from the business community that has just recovered from the adverse impact of the Coved-19. Heartthrob diva of the glamor world Ms Khushi Patel was the star attraction at the parade. She is winner of the Miss India USA Miss Popular 2021, and also Miss India Florida 2021. Spectators especially the youth were seen jostling and jumping over the barricades to come and greet her.

Chicago’s world-famous Devon Avenue, also popularly known as ‘Little India’ wore a festive look with India’s national colors – Orange, White, and Green – fluttering all along. It was tastefully decorated with ceremonial paraphernalia especially imported from India. Spectators on both the sides of the street cheered a long series of floats as they marched past the Devon Avenue. Ismaili Community’s famous pipe-band was the vanguard of the parade. The floats represented different states and regions of India. Maharastra Mandal’s troupe with its bombastic lazium attracted maximum applause all along the route. Majestic float of the Metropolitan Asian Family Services went past the stand roaring “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.” Other organizations whose floats marched past the Grand Stand included: VHP, and Sardar Patel Foundation.

Political entities also joined the parade march. Significant them included: US Congressman Danny Davis, Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Senator Ram Vallivalam, Mayor Jassal Patel, Mayor of Moline Sangeetha Rayapati, Maine County Trustee Asif Malik, and Illinois State Rep Ms Denyse Wang Stoneback. Also present were: Judge Rena Vantine, Judge Sanjay Tailor, Indo American Democratic Organization President Susan Patel, and Ms Valerie from High Ridge’s HRCC, Commissioner Water Reclamation District Commissioner Josina Morita along with Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos also marched in the parade.

FIA Trustees who marched in the Parade included: Sunny Gabawala, Babu Marsha Patel, Sher Rajput, Anil Pillai, Sohan Joshi, Minhaz Akhter, and Kanti N Patel. Several Indian Army Officers also walked in the Parade. India’s local diplomat, Amit Kumar Consul General of India did not attend India’s Independence Day Parade because he had an official Govt. of India program at his office. His subordinate PK Mishra was substituted. Political aspirants Patricia Theresa Flyen, and Dilara Sayeed were also noticed. Indian Overseas Congress USA (Kerala Chapter) also joined the parade.

The parade comprised also of multiple corporates to include: Prism Health Lab, Tiffin-Udupi-ISP conglomerate, CK Motors Elgin, Shreeji Builders, Patel Brothers, Regal Jewelers, and World Fresh Market. The Parade Trustee and Banquet chair of FIA Chicago Iftekhar Shareef praise all Indo-American Community participating in the 75th India Independence Day celebration. Shareef congratulated the executive team its President Mr Rajesh Patel and all the trustees for Grand success of Parade.

Grand India’s Independence Day Gala Held In Chicago

Federation of Indian Associations [FIA] hosted a grand glittering 75th Indian Independence Day Gala Banquet marking a dazzling milestone celebration ostensibly enhanced with illuminating traditional, patriotic and contemporary dance presentations depicting the majestic elements and the magnificent soul of India matched only by the inspiring remarks that sparked the patriotic fervor of the enthusiastic guests in a grand ballroom of the Hoffman Marriot on Friday, August 13, 2021 in Hoffman Estate, Illinois.

The Independence Day “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” Banquet hosted on an impressive scale filled the Grand Ballroom to its full capacity with the patriotic spirit in full enthusiastic display at the celebrations symbolizing the spirit of India lifted by awe-inspiring remarks from prominent honored guests: Consul General of India Amit Kumar, U.S.Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Mayor Rodney Craig, Mayor Tom Daily and several other ranking elected officials each heaping praise on the 75th milestone celebrations.

The gala banquet reminisced the golden moments in the history of India and paid rich tributes to the vanguard of freedom fighters who accorded the Independence to India. Ms. Neetu Chandra

Bollywood Actress, National Award Winner, International Taekwondo Player graced the occasion as the Grand Marshall to the gala. Angel Tetarbe World Peace Messenger Los Angeles 2019 and Miss Glamourous World India 2017 was also invited to be a part of the Gala.

The evening gala kicked off with lamp lighting ceremony led by FIA’s Founder Sunil Shah inviting the honored guest, Honorable Consul General of India, Chicago Mr. Amit Kumar, State Senators Cristina Castro and Laura Murphy , State representative Michelle Mussman and Mayor of Schaumburg Tom Dailly, Village President of Hoffman Estates William McLeod, Mayor of Hanover Park Rodney Craig and Village President of Oak Brook Gopal Lalmalani, Dr. Umang Patel, Dr. Sreenivas Reddy and the FIA’s Founder & Past President Onkar Singh Sangha , President Dr Kamal Patel Advisory Board and Founding Members & Past Presidents Rita Singh, Dhitu Bhagwakar, Mukesh Shah, Neil Khot, Gurmeet Singh, Ninad Daftari and

Sunny Kular to the dais to mark the auspicious beginning of the evening’s grand celebrations that set-in motion a series of cultural dance presentations and rousing remarks.

FIA’s Founder President Sunil Shah in his remarks warmly welcomed the honored guests and the families; he specially thanked, recognized and acknowledged the ranking members of the FIA leadership team for fervently striving excellence in hosting a befitting gala in honor of India’s Independence. Sunil Shah took the opportunity to salute the vanguard of freedom fighters who gave the ultimate sacrifice to extract India’s freedom. Sunil Shah said, it is my vision to see that FIA playing a more proactive role in the community and help in the causes that are significant to our Indian Americans.

FIA President Dr. Kamal Patel in his remarks outlined the significance of Indian Independence and profusely thanked the chief guest and the prominent guests of honor Dr. Umang Patel and Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, praising their achievements in their fields as well as their philanthropic deeds during the pandemic.

Consul General of India Mr. Amit Kumar in his address outlined India’s triumphant journey since its independence and the rapid strides it is making towards global eminence. Consul General Mr. Amit Kumar thanked the Indian diaspora for playing a significant proactive role as ambassadors in further cementing the ties between India and the United States and added that the trajectory of Indo-US relations is heading in the upward direction. Consul General Mr. Amit Kumar gave away the awards to several community and business leaders.

Founder Member and Past President Neil Khot introduced and welcomed Congressman Raja

Krishnamoorthi to the gathering and invited him to the dais. U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi in his impassioned remarks commended Federation of Indian Associations for hosting such a grand India Independence banquet bringing in so many together to joyously celebrate the 75th birthday of India.

Praising FIA and its leadership team, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said FIA represents Freedom, Independence & Ascendency and went on to say that Indian Americans have made tremendous Dr. Umang Patel and Dr. Sreenivas Reddy in their address to the gathering congratulated the FIA team for the Grand Celebration of the 75th India Independence Day broaching the subject of the progress India has made after independence in a relatively short time and the Indo American influence that the Indian Diaspora has in the same.

State Senators Cristina Castro and Laura Murphy , State representative Michelle Mussman and Mayor of Schaumburg Tom Dailly, Village President of Hoffman Estates William McLeod, Mayor of Hanover Park Rodney Craig and Village President of Oak Brook Gopal Lalmalani in their address to the gathering each paid glowing tributes to the indomitable and enduring spirit of Indian democracy and the contribution the Indian Diaspora has made in the US and the Indo American relations that have been fast paced and improved over the years. Deepakant Vyas, Dr. Umang Patel, Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, Syed Hussaini, Amarbir & Harry Ghoman, Brij

Sharma, Asha & Anil Oroskar, Santosh Kumar, Pinky Thakkar, Ajeet Singh, Vijay Prabhakar, Keerthi Reevori were recognized presented a plaque by the Consul General Amit Kumar and Ms. Neetu Chandra on behalf of FIA for their service to the community

Earlier, the evening’s celebrations began with the beautiful rendition of the Indian and American national anthem led by Rita Shah & Mir Ali. Bharat Goradia a prominent National Promoter for US tours of Bollywood Personalities was invited to the stage to address the gathering and introduce Ms. Neetu Chandra. Students of SR Dance Academy a Founder Member and Past President Rita Singh’s company provided dance numbers that enthralled the audience. Beautiful Ideas, a Neelam Saboo concept showcased Indian Fashion at the gala with a India themed Fashion Show.

The Gala ended with Rita Shah, Mir Ali, Raju Bankapur regaling the audience with foot tapping Bollywood songs to live music. The dinner at the event was catered by Maharaja Restaurant Rosemont. Emcees Anu Malhotra & Sonia Luther were at their eloquent best in conducing the event with grace, pause and flair. Executive Vice President Vinita Gulabani, Vice President Pratibha Jairath and General Secretary Richa Chand worked tirelessly behind the

scenes to make this event a grand success. FIA would like to thank all its Media Partners Adhbhut Media, India Post, Desi Talk, TV Asia, Asian Media, Hi India Divya Bhaskar and the Indian Eye for their presence and support.

FIA, Chicago is grateful to all the sponsors. Marriott Chicago Northwest, Dr Umang Patel, Dr Sreenivas Reddy, Redberri, Hanmi Bank. Powervolt, OROCHEM, New York Life, VINAKOOM, Pinky & Dinesh Thakkar, MAFS, Power Plant Services, IACA, IABC, Patel Brothers, World Money Exchange, S R International, Dr Bhupinder Beri, Dr Dhaval Patel, Suga Builders, Woodridge clinic and Rely services

Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir To Help In Psychological And Spiritual Needs Of The Community

Dwarkamai Inc is a recognized non-profit, tax-exempt organization under IRS code section 501(c)(3) of USA. Dwarkamai is dedicated to organizing events and conducting activities directed towards personal spiritual development of the community by following the teachings of Shri Sainath, a saint from Shirdi.

The Guiding Principle behind opening Dwarkamai’s “Centers of Spiritual Excellence” was to take the worship center closer to devotee’s homes based on request from devotees in an area rather than make devotees drive for hours to visit a worship center.

The same principle has brought us to the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL where a group of 60 devotee families felt the need for a worship center nearby and requested Dwarkamai to open a Spiritual Center on the lines of those started in Massachusetts.

Under the guidance of our mentor, Shri Anil Naik, Support from the members of the community who wished to have a location in the Northwest suburbs and a Landlord willing to go the extra mile, Dwarkamai’s newest “Center of Spiritual Excellence”, Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir, Rolling Meadows, IL opened its doors to the community on Dussehra Day, Oct 25, 2020 and has been providing volunteer driven services to the community since then.

Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir, Rolling Meadows celebrated the month-long Shri Venkateswara and Navagraha Praana Prathistha Mahotsavam- July 2021 with the Prana Prathisthan event held between Thursday, July 29th, 2021 and Saturday, July 31, 2021.

The 3-day grand finale began with Shri Ganesh Pooja and Shri Mahalakshmi Pooja on day 1, followed by Vaastu Pooja homam, in large outdoor tent specially set up for this event, Pushpadhivasam(flowers) and Shri Venkateswara Netromilanam & Navratna Bimba Sthapana on day 2 of the event.

Day 3 began with vedic chanting by 5 world renowned priests led by Priest Srinivasa Bhattar, Kalasha procession by the devotees carrying water for Prathama Abhishekam of Lord Balaji culminating in the Praana Prathistha of Lord Balaji and Nava grahas. Lord Balaji was adorned with flowers and jewels specially flown in for this occasion and chants of Govinda, Govinda reverberated throughout the whole temple. Local Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi also graced the occasion with his presence and the community thanked him for sparing a few minutes from his busy schedule to visit us on this historic day.

This 3-day celebration wrapped up with Shri Venkateswara & Shri Mahakshmi Kalyanam for which a custom palanquin was built to carry the Utsav deities around the temple. Devotees, both men and women, enthusiastically volunteered their shoulders to carry this palanquin around for this event. Finally, a big thank you to all the Volunteers of the temple who helped pull off this month-long event by putting in their personal time for the benefit of the community!! Om Namo Venkatesaya!! Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir, 5999 S New Wilke Rd, Building # 3, Suite 309, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

Dwarkamai’s “Centers of Spiritual Excellence” Celebrates Dhanyadivasam

Chicago IL: Dwarkamai, dedicated to organizing events and conducting activities directed towards personal spiritual development of the community by following the teachings of Shri Sainath, a saint from Shirdi The Guiding Principle behind opening Dwarkamai’s “Centers of Spiritual Excellence” was to take the worship center closer to devotee’s homes based on request from devotees in an area rather than make devotees drive for hours to visit a worship center. The same principle has brought us to the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL where a group of 60 devotee families felt the need for a worship center nearby and requested Dwarkamai to open a Spiritual Center on the lines of those started in Massachusetts.

Under the guidance of our mentor, Shri Anil Naik, Support from the members of the community who wished to have a location in the Northwest suburbs and a Landlord willing to go the extra mile, Dwarkamai’s newest “Center of Spiritual Excellence”, Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir, Rolling Meadows, IL opened its doors to the community on Dusherra Day, Oct 25, 2020 and has been providing volunteer driven services to the community since then. Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir, Rolling Meadows continued the month-long Shri Venkateswara and Navagraha Praana Prathistha Mahotsavam- July 2021 with the Dhanyadivasam event on Thursday, July 15th, 2021

During Dhanyadhivasam, the Vigrahas will be completely immersed in Dhanyams for 11days. Bhagavan is saluted through this ritual as “Vishwa-bhuk“, the protector of the Universe. The essence of the manthrams recited at this time is that the Lord is recognized as the Controller, Master and Consumer of the entire universe and pray to him for his satisfaction with the offering of Anna or Dhanyam. It states that the food is a form of nectar and is offered to the Lord as a form of complete surrender unto HIM.  The Dhanyam used for this event will be distributed as Prasad to the devotees at the temple on Monday, July 26th, 2021 between 6.30pm and 8pm. Please come in large numbers and take home this Prasad of the Lord. The next event during this month-long event is the PranaPrathisthaMahotsav event scheduled from July 29-31, 2021. We invite the community to come and participate in this once in a lifetime event.

Lord Venkateswara Jaladhivasam Magnificent Mahotsav Held

DwarkamaiInc is a recognized non-profit, tax-exempt organization under IRS code section 501(c)(3) of USA. Dwarkamai is dedicated to organizing events and conducting activities directed towards personal spiritual development of the community by following the teachings of Shri Sainath, a saint from Shirdi The Guiding Principle behind opening Dwarkamai’s “Centers of Spiritual Excellence” was to take the worship center closer to devotee’s homes based on request from devotees in an area rather than make devotees drive for hours to visit a worship center.

 The same principle has brought us to the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL where a group of 60 devotee families felt the need for a worship center nearby and requested Dwarkamai to open a Spiritual Center on the lines of those started in Massachusetts.Under the guidance of our mentor, Shri Anil Naik, Support from the members of the community who wished to have a location in the Northwest suburbs and a Landlord willing to go the extra mile, Dwarkamai’s newest “Center of Spiritual Excellence”, Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir, Rolling Meadows, IL opened its doors to the community on Dusherra Day, Oct 25, 2020 and has been providing volunteer driven services to the community since then.

Shri Shirdi Sai Mandir, Rolling Meadows kicked the month-long Shri Venkateswara and Navagraha Praana Prathistha Mahotsavam- July 2021 with the Jaladhivasam event on Sunday, July 4 th, 2021 During Jaladhivasam, the Vigrahas are completely immersed in water in a reclining position. This is done to emphasize centrality of water in the Vedas. Water is the essence of Jyothi or light. The essence of the mantras chanted during this ritual is that all entities including vital air, animals and food are a form of water. Water shines brilliantly by itself and cannot be ruled over by any other entity. Truth is also considered as a form of water. Devotees sang “Govinda, Govinda” accompanied by sounds of temple bells, conch and musical instruments during this event and poured water over Lord Venkateswara and Navagrahas to immerse them in water completely.

 Our next event during this month-long event is the Dhanyadhivasam event scheduled on July 15, 2021 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. We invite the community to come and participate in this once in a lifetime event. During Dhanyadhivasam, the Vigrahas will be completely immersed in Dhanyams for 11days. Bhagavan is saluted through this ritual as “Vishwa-bhuk“, the protector of the Universe. The essence of the manthrams recited at this time is that the Lord is recognized as the Controller, Master and Consumer of the entire universe and pray to him for his satisfaction with the offering of Anna or Dhanyam. It states that the food is a form of nectar and is offered to the Lord as a form of complete surrender unto HIM.

Gujarati Seniors of Chicago Honor Dr. Mehboob Kapadia for Covid-19 Vaccination Camps

Gujarati Seniors of Chicago was established in 2019 under the Presidentship of Praful Shah. Due to the recent Pandemic, it had curtailed its activities. They have approximately 250 members. On Saturday, May 01, 2021, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Gujarati Seniors of Chicago had organized an entertainment cum social program to recognize Dr. Kapadia’s community service to help seniors during the Covid-19 pandemic. The event was held at Swaminarayan Temple, 1020 Bapa Road, Streamwood, IL.

In the beginning all attending members were given lunch tokens. Membership renewals as well as New Members were enrolled.

Bharat Thakkar, addressing the audience, informed Members to celebrate Gujarat Day along with Ram Navmi and Mother’s Day. To commemorate Mother’s Day all mothers present were given flowers. Birthday cards were given to all those who had their Birthday this month. He also outlined ensuing programs.

Mahen Patel introduced Dr. Mehboob Kapadia who was felicítated for arranging Vaccinations camps at many places and serving the community.  A plaque encasing the Recognition and Appreciation letter from the Governor of Illinois was presented to Dr. Kapadia as token of love from Gujarati Seniors of Chicago.

The Appreciation letter from the Governor concluded: “On behalf of the people of the State of Illinois, it is my pleasure to thank you for your ongoing work of Vaccination. Your dedication and leadership have created a lasting impact in your community and you have been an asset to all of Illinois in our collaboration to overcome the Pandemic. “J.B. Pritzker, Hon. Governor of Illinois.

Dr. Kapadia in his reciprocal speech deliberated various facets of Covid- 19, its variants, in depth comparison of various vaccines, their importance and dangers, inter relationship of each type, highlighted dangers and their effects.  Due to efforts of his team, they have already vaccinated more than 100,000 people and target to administer at least 1 million shots at the earliest possible. He warned not to take it lightly till all the variants come under control.

Dr Kapadia and his wife Seema Kapadia thanked each member of the team including Gujarati Seniors of Chicago team who made the vaccination camp a huge success. Dr Kapadia mentioned how his wife Seema Kapadia and his sons have been a driving force behind all these campaigns to ensure smooth execution. He added that Ms. Seema Kapadia has been present at many vaccination camps from the beginning till the end to ensure a safe, timely and equitable administration of the vaccine.

Sumptuous Gujarati Lunch prepared by Swaminarayan Temple was enjoyed along with enjoyable music. Shaila Khedkar and Abdul Gafoor of Sursangam performed at Gujarati Seniors Day celebration. Shaila Khedkar is a versatile singer and well-known for her melodious singing of all types of songs like bhajans, Garba and Bollywood songs. She has been performing in Chicago and other cities for various functions. Her Latajis songs are very much appreciated by the audience!

She and Mr. Gafoor started with bhajans- payoji and Sukh ke Sab, and then rendered old and new songs. Some of her solos included Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Tumhi Mere, Ruk Ja Raat, Tu Kitni Acchi hai, Ankhiyo Ke, E dil Muze, and Ashaji’s dance Medley. After a few old movie songs by Gafoor ji (Rafi and Kumar Sanu hits) they sang few old and new duets including. ye Raat, Ude Jab, Sagar Kinare, itna na, Tuze Dekha, Shyam Teri, humko Hamise. They delighted the audience with their melodious singing.

BAPS Charities Vaccination Drive Helps Over 1,000

Chicago IL: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on communities across the globe. Thanks to the effort put forth by scientists, researchers, doctors, among many others, vaccines have been developed that have shown evidence of generating strong immune responses against the COVID-19 virus. As the scientific community and public officials have emphasized, widespread vaccination is an essential pillar of battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

 BAPS Charities organized a COVID-19 Vaccination Drive in Bartlett, Illinois on April 01, 2021, in collaboration with Prism Health Lab. A total of 1,111 vaccine doses were administered to essential workers and adults with underlying health conditions in just one day.

 Volunteers from BAPS Charities ensured that all participants’ vaccination experience was orderly and safe by providing social distancing, sanitization, and translation services. Medical staff from Prism Health Lab also carried out the vaccination registration, delivery of vaccines and offered post-vaccination care. “It is a passion for our volunteers to give back, and we’re grateful to have Prism Health as a partner in this vaccine drive,” said Yagnesh Patel, a BAPS Charities volunteer. The recipients of the vaccine appreciated the seamless organization of the vaccination process. Dr. Mehbub Kapadia, Medical Director of Prism Health Lab, said, “I am so thankful to the BAPS Charities volunteers for putting this event together in only two days. This event is one of the best events we have done, among the over 100 drives we have done so far.”

Rachel L, a local resident stated, “I am getting vaccinated for the loved ones in my family, for those that I am encountering, just to save a life, to protect those who I love.”

BAPS Charities has supported local communities during these trying times by battling the misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and providing vaccination infrastructure. Similar Vaccination Drives have been planned at over 30 cities throughout North America wherein thousands of community residents will get easy access to vaccines.

 BAPS Charities has actively served the community, particularly frontline workers, first responders, community support organizations, medical centers and the underserved since the onset of the pandemic. BAPS Charities has provided over 110,000 pieces of personal protective equipment, donated $180,000 in financial assistance and prepared and delivered over 80,000 meals to those battling the Coronavirus for all. For further details about the above efforts and information regarding supporting the ongoing BAPS Charities COVID-19, visit the following links.

Prism Health Labs Opens Mass Covid-19 Vaccination Camp

 Chicago IL: The partnership with the City of Naperville and The National India Hub, organized COVID-19 Vaccination camp at Mall of India on March 16, 2021 from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm at 776 S, Illinois Route 59, Naperville, IL. The camp was administered by Prism Health Labs.

Harish Kolasani, the co-founder of National India Hub shared his excitement over the opening of the new location. He also announced the official launch of India Hub, a one-stop destination offering assistance on a variety of important matters to people of all the ethnicities.

Prism Health Labs has gained more and more accolades and has won another feather in its cap by bringing its mass vaccination mission to the City of Naperville. Mall of India leadership offered its prime location free of cost to help Prism achieve its goal.

The launch as well as the very first vaccination camp at this location Mall of India was graced by Congressman Bill Foster, Steve Chirico (Mayor of Naperville), Benny White (Naperville City Council), Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger with their presence. Also in attendance were Dr Samina Hijab, Dr. Imtiaz Arain MD; Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Seema Kapadia, Harish Kolasani Co-Founder of National India Hub, and Mall of India owners Vinoz Chanamolu Ajay Sunkara who is also Co-Founder of India Hub.

Congressman Bill Foster congratulated National India Hub and Prism Health Labs for the great initiative of organizing the vaccination camp. Mayor Steve Chirico praised the efforts of Dr. Mahbub Kapadia of Prism Health Labs and Mall of India owners and Omayra R Glachello IDPH Regional Health Officer for making this possible. Mayor Chirico said that he is looking forward to more and more camps like this and is very proud of the relationships and partnerships formed to make this camp possible. All the dignitaries, during their visit of the site, assured of their support and commitment to continuing these camps as more vaccinations became available. Ajay Sunkara, the Vice President of Mall of India along with his partner Vinoz Chanamolu thanked the City of Naperville for making the approval process for the vaccination camp at the Mall smooth and fast.

Dr Kapadia and his wife Seema Kapadia thanked each and every member of the team including India Hub and Mall of India teams who made the vaccination camp a huge success. Dr Kapadia mentioned how his wife Seema Kapadia and his sons have been a driving force behind all these campaigns to ensure smooth execution. Mrs Seema Kapadia is present at all the vaccination camps from the beginning till the end to ensure a safe, timely and equitable administration of the vaccine.

Dr. Benny White took great pride in being able to be present at the first vaccination camp in the great city of Naperville hoping it to be trendsetter and spearheading the upcoming camps. Dr Vemuri Murthy could not contain his happiness speaking at the vital center for the vaccination camp and appreciated the efforts of all the camp organizers for focusing their energy and sacrificing their time in order to make these initiatives successful.

Harish Kolasani extended his thanks to the Mall of India owners Vinoz Chanamolu and Ajay Sunkara for being instrumental in their support of this vaccination site by providing large space in the mall voluntarily and the mall manager Pramod Chintamaneni who helped with required arrangements. He also thanked the volunteers Laura Gaskill, Melissa Rehn, Kelly Pilleux, Sherry Podgorsky, Manisha Gore, Kim Wigge and Katie for their selfless service. The intensive care physician Dr. Imtiaz Arain and Dr Sameena thanked each and every one involved in the planning and execution of the entire camp. They also acknowledged the efforts and support of Dr Tariq Butt, President Chicago Medical Society.

Omayra R Glachello from Illinois Department of Public Health [IDPH] again proved her mettle by immaculately organizing the camp. The team also included members administering the vaccine Hemi Patel, Vaishali Shah,  and Syethia Gould. Prism Health Labs Staff included Mehbub S. Kapadia MD Prism Health Lab Executive Officer; Seema Kapadia (Wife), Spencer Howland, Spruha Shah, Harshad Patel, Amera, Aarefa. Volunteers at Registration Desk were Mohammad, Shevvy Podgorsky, Melissa Rehn and Kelly Pilleux

Harish Kolasani also appreciated the efforts of Asian Media and its  founder in creating awareness of the mass vaccination camps and locations so that everyone looking for an appointment for the vaccine is able to avail the opportunities provided by Prism Health labs through its multiple convenient and accessible locations.  Asian Media has been relentlessly covering the mass vaccination campaign run by Prism Lab with the sole purpose of community service and will continue to do this.

The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens stands in solidarity with the AAPI Community.

 The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens Inc. (NIAASC), has come out to express that they are extremely saddened by the massacre of eight innocent people, including six Asian women.

This violence comes at a time when racist attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI)both verbal and physical are happening more and more often across the country, making these deaths even more painful.

Whilst condemning the abhorrent attack by the perpetrator, the Chairman Rajeshwar Prasad of NIAASC warned that hate crime committed against one community is a crime committed against every community and we must all join hands and prevent this from recurring.  President Gunjan Rastogi stated that hate crime has no place in civil society and both the Government administration and the private sector must make a joint effort to stamp out this systemic discrimination.

Our sympathies go to the families and friends of those who senselessly lost their lives in this racially charged attack. Unfortunately, racism still exists today, and it is a reminder to us all to stay vigilant. We hope this will be another eye-opener to the appropriate authorities to take immediate action so that such a tragedy never happens again.

(From Gunjan P. Rastogi, President – NIAASC)