The Indian Panorama Celebrates 18th Year Of Publication At “Gratitude Gala”

The Indian Panorama, a weekly publication from New York, celebrated its 18th anniversary by hosting a Gratitude Gala on February 25 in Hicksville Long Island, NY.

Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj  honored four eminent Indian American, and Congressman Tom Suozzi, felicitated The Indian Panorama and its contributions.

The Indian Panorama Celebrates 18th Year Of Publication At “Gratitude Gala”For the news weekly’s Founding Editor and Publisher Prof Indrajit Singh Saluja, it was a double celebration as he also cut a cake for his 80th birthday. Editor-Publisher Indrajit S. Saluja thanked the patrons for their support and loyalty.

In a busy evening program, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Amb. Ruchira Kamboj presided and presented awards to the four honorees. Congressman-elect Tom Suozzi thanked Prof Saluja and the Indian community for their support. The Indian Panorama also lent its platform to launch Blitz India’s US edition.

Even as Prof Saluja expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the guests present in the chandeliered ballroom of Pearl Banquet Hall, as well as his readers and the Indian community for their loyal support all these years, he chose to honor four eminent Indian Americans at the event. All were honored with a citation scroll, a shawl, and a model of the Golden Temple.

The four honorees are well-known in the community. Dr. V.K. Raju (Life Achievement Honor) is on a mission to eliminate childhood blindness through his Eye Foundation of America.

Ranju Batra (Excellence in Promotion of Diplomacy Award) honors diplomats at the Diwali Stamp – Power of One awards after securing the Diwali Stamp from USPS.

Harry Singh Bolla (Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award)  runs a billion-dollar chain of gas stations and has started a charity to support good causes here in New York and India. He could not be present in person.

The Indian Panorama Celebrates 18th Year Of Publication At “Gratitude Gala” 1Purnima Desai (Excellence in Culture Award) is the founder of Shikshayatan Cultural Center and Sriniketan Foundation which encourage and support Indian music and arts through training and events.

They were also presented citations from Nassau County Executive  Bruce Blakeman.

Introducing the Chief Guest, eminent attorney Ravi Batra said Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj joined her post when India was already a Member of the UN Security Council and she took it to a higher trajectory.

Amb Kamboj, in her address, commended The Indian Panorama for not only being a mirror of the vibrant roots of our culture but also showcasing the journey of the Indian diaspora. She also called the US diaspora the best in the world.

The new Consul General of India in New York, Amb. Binaya S. Pradhan could not make it because of a conflict in scheduling.

Blitz India Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Deepak Dwivedi and CEO Sandeepp Saxena flew in from New Delhi for the US launch of their news weekly, which is India’s first chronicler of development news and already has a UK edition. The duo was joined by Prof Saluja and other dignitaries and mediapersons to release printed copies of the paper.

Two more media events followed. Journalists Beyond Borders (JBB), a fraternity organization founded by Prof Saluja in 2022, was formally launched. Local publishers and editors joined in to reveal its logo. Through journalism, JBB  aims to protect and promote human rights, human values, and world peace. Prof Saluja used the occasion to facilitate his friend Parveen Chopra on the first anniversary of his, a wellness and spirituality web magazine.

The Indian Panorama Celebrates 18th Year Of Publication At “Gratitude Gala” 2The guests at the gala included Padma Shri Dr Sudhir Parikh, Publisher of Parikh Media Worldwide, and Dilip Chauhan who represented NYC Mayor Eric Adams. Prominent Community organizations were represented: Gobind Munjal and Dr Jagdish Gupta from AIA, Dr Avinash Gupta, Srujal Parikh, and Alok Kumar from FIA-Tristate, and Thomas Abraham from GOPIO. IOC-USA was represented by George Abraham.

Veteran Sikh community leader Master Mohinder Singh, a former president of Gurdwara Sikh Cultural Society, Richmond Hill, and a founder President of Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah Sikh Center was present with Gurmej Singh, a former president of Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah Lobana.

The media fraternity stood in solidarity with Prof. Saluja. They included: Sunil Hali (Promoter, Radio Zindagi, and Publisher, The Indian Eye), Sharanjit Singh Thind (Editor-Publisher, South Asian Insider), and Varinder Bhalla  (Publisher, Bollywood Insider).

The standing-room-only audience was hooked to the show beginning with the very first item when two lithe dancers from Battery Dance took to the floor. The last item was the adrenaline-pumping bhangra dance. In between, dancers trained by Shilpa Jhurani and Rimli Roy showed their classical moves. The artists were profusely applauded by the audience and thanked by Prof. Saluja.

The evening’s program was dexterously emceed by Piya Jyoti Kachroo, ITV anchor and producer.

The sumptuous dinner with a top-of-the-shelf bar was enjoyed by the guests.  Prof. Saluja expressed his heartfelt thanks to Pearl CEO Gary Sikka and his staff for the excellent food and hospitality.

The Indian Panorama Celebrates 18th Year Of Publication At “Gratitude Gala” 3Those at the event from the electronic media included Pardeep Gill from Global Punjab, Munish Byala, and Gurinder Hothi. Photographers included Mohammed Jaffer, Vijay Shah and Kripa Prasad.

Guests came from various parts of the US and even India. They included  Bidisha Roy, Assistant Editor of The Indian Panorama (TIP) from Tampa, Florida, Zia Khan, a celebrated photographer who looks after TIP’s Dallas edition, and Parminder Singh Aujla, TIP’s California representative, from Sacramento.

Politician Puneet Ahluwalia came from Virginia, social activist Murtaza from Pennsylvania. Harry Singh Panaser, Mrs. Manjit Kaur Panaser,  Harvenderpal Singh, Seema Jagtiani, Nutan Dabholkar, Dave Makkar, Mrs. Rashmi Makkar, Prachi and Surya Makkar, Rimli Roy, Rupinder Singh, and many more from New Jersey.

From India came Arminder Arora and his wife Tript Arora, Sparsh and Bhola.

Prof Indrajit Saluja has become synonymous with The Indian Panorama, a labor of love. He is not only an eminent editor but also a well-respected community leader who has forged links across the ethnic, ideological, and political spectrum.

For Prof Saluja, his paper is an expression and extension of his love for India as well as a platform to project the rich South Asian culture and how our successful community has made a place in the melting pot of America. A trilingual, he has also helped start newspapers in Hindi and Punjabi.

Indefatigable Prof Saluja’s spirit and intensity of work belie his years. He came to the US over 20 years ago after having a long career as a Professor of English Literature at leading colleges in India. Alongside, he founded a prominent monthly magazine titled ‘Punjab Beat’.

Prof Saluja feels proud that The Indian Panorama has remained true to its motto, EVER TRUTHFUL”. “This commitment is not just a slogan but a guiding principle, a promise to our readers, and a testament to the collective effort that sustains the publication,” he insists.

(Parveen Chopra is the founder-editor of, the premier wellness and spirituality magazine started in 2022.)

Iftar And Its Significance

The celebration of Iftars during Ramadan has become an expression of diversity and acceptance of the Muslim community around the world. Participation by politicians is a recognition of the demographic changes, especially in the Western World.

Sixty years ago, a white man named John Howard Griffin temporarily darkened his skin to pose as an African American in America’s Deep South and recounted his experiences of fear and prejudice in the book, Black Like Me.

To mingle with the Muslims today, you don’t have to wear a skull cap and sport Solzhenitsyn type of facial hair. Just get invited to an Iftar, the fast-breaking evening meal during the month of Ramadan! I did precisely that and attended four Iftar parties on Long Island in New York. As a bonus, I can tell a happy story of increasing communal amity.

My last Iftar on April 18 was hosted by the Town of Hempstead, presided by Supervisor Don Clavin. According to Zahid Syed, the Town’s Community Affairs Executive Director, as many as 800 people showed up. They included non-Muslims like me, a Hindu, and fellow editor Prof Indrajit Singh Saluja, a Sikh, all mainly hailing from the Indian subcontinent. Zahid claims that the first Iftar in New York held 25 years ago in City Hall was at his behest. This year, he has noticed quite a few first Iftars, including at the Town of North Hempstead, and the District Attorney’s office in Suffolk County.

Zahid Syed, who is organizing a Vaisakhi event next, is heartened to see people celebrating other communities’ festivals, signifying interfaith harmony. “The participation by politicians of all stripes is a recognition of the demographic changes,” he states.

Before the Iftar meal, Imam Kashif Aziz, associated with the mosques in Valley Stream and Elmont, explained the significance of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar when the Quran began revealing to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). Believers are told to do charity work and feed the hungry this month. Fasting is to practice self-control and earn taqwa (piety/God consciousness).

My Iftar hopping started because having founded a few months ago, I noticed that my Rolodex – even Facebook friends list – was not diverse enough. To make amends, I approached Arvind Vora who has been active in the interfaith movement for over 30 years. He took me along to many events and got me invited to Iftars.

My first Iftar was at the Amityville mosque of Ahmadiyyas, a sect of Islam. Rizwan Ahmad Alladin, its President, graciously invited me to introduce my Lotus magazine to the assembled men (women were in the partitioned section of the hall). The buffet was typical for South Asian gatherings (except for the alcohol, the prohibition of which is followed strictly by an overwhelming majority of Muslims till today). There was chicken biryani, goat meat, and even matter paneer, especially added to the menu for Mr Vora, a Jain.

The Iftar I enjoyed the most was hosted by Yavuz Girdap at his home in Saint James, NY. He is from Turkey and a franchisee of Moda Foods, importer of Turkish delicacies like baklava, which is going mainstream. The meal planned by his wife, Hafza, followed to the T what a doctor would have ordered. Lentil soup and salad, followed by brown rice, pasta, lean meat, and baklavas for dessert. All at a leisurely pace as conversation flowed and we had our laughter therapy thanks mainly to guest Nora Saleem’s cascade of cat stories.

One guest at Yavuz’s was Sadri Altinok, President of the Turkish Cultural Center in Ronkonkoma. So, I promptly got invited to their upcoming Iftar. No segregation of the sexes there. Sadri Altinok honored some of those who donated to Turkey earthquake relief and Suffolk County officers for their service. Mr Vora told me later that for decades the Turkish community in the US has been at the forefront of soft diplomacy of outreach to other communities and lawmakers.

A guest I met at the Turkish Cultural Center was Azra Dhar, President of Pacoli (Pakistani American Community of Long Island). She said that earlier when the Muslim community was smaller, people hosted Iftar parties at home with friends and family or went to the mosque. Now with a growing community and acceptance of diversity, you see Iftar gatherings at the official seats of government. “After years of tightness, I am happy to see this acceptance,” she commented.

While Azra Dhar attended over a dozen Iftars this Ramadan, Tahira Sharif, a fellow Pacolian who started  Ali Hasnain Foundation for philanthropic work in Pakistan, has also attended as many. Feeding a fasting person brings Sadaqa from God, she says, and that is how arose the tradition of people, organizations, mosques, and the community holding Iftars. While Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) is said to break his fast only with a few dates and water, Tahira says it is difficult to resist good food after the rozas from dawn to dusk without even a drop of water.

My neighbor, Rehana Siddiqui, who recently went to do her first Umra pilgrimage in Mecca, has followed prayers more devoutly this Ramadan and watched what she was eating to break the fast. She reports losing six pounds – and looks it.

Religious fasting, however good for your spiritual well-being, should not turn into feasting in these times of sedentary lifestyles when we all have to watch our diet. Done right, Ramadan can detox your body as well, not just the mind and soul. Dr Irfan Ahmad Alladin, a pain management expert,  quotes Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) no less: “We should consume only to the point that one-third of the stomach is occupied with solid, one-third is occupied with liquid, and one-third is left empty.” See his article here:

Eid Mubarak – April 21. 

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, AAPI’s Loyal Foot Soldier Committed To Strengthen AAPI

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, the eminent doctor of over 25 years’ standing in Ohio, admirable community leader and philanthropist with a stellar record of serving in leadership roles in AAPI, is running to be its Vice President in the election this month.

Dr Kathula, hematologist/oncologist, is currently Secretary and past Treasurer of National AAPI. He is well-liked by the rank and file of AAPI as evidenced by the number of endorsements he has received.

He has clearly laid out his vision for AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) on his campaign website:

  • Promote AAPI’s mission of education, excellence in patient care, research, and professionalism.
  • Increase membership of AAPI and enhance membership benefits. Engage the younger generation more.
  • Collaborate with major physician organizations in the US.
  • Fast-tracking  of green cards for Indian doctors on H1 visa.
  • Leverage the strength of 100,000 Indian American doctors at the legislative level.

Dr Kathula calls himself humbly a loyal  foot soldier of AAPI, but the fact is he has been Member of its Governing body for the past 13 years and has intensive experience of working for it at senior levels, including as Co Chair – Global Health Summit 2019 and 2022, AAPI’s Board of Trustees (2014-17) and as Regional Director (2012-14).

As AAPI Treasurer last year, he is proud to report that he played a key role in raising and distributing over $5.5 million for Covid relief in India. He is also Chair of Adopt a Village Committee, for a program launched last year to adopt 75 villages in India for free health screening of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, anemia, hypoxemia and malnutrition.

Since Dr Kathula, a suave, affable personality, announced his candidacy for Vice President of AAPI, endorsements for him have been coming fast and furious. Listing his creditable work for AAPI, his various accomplishments and accolades, Dr Deepak Kumar, Past President Ohio State Medical Association, and Immediate Past chair IMG section of American Medical Association (IMA) writes: “I am voting for him in the upcoming election and urge all of you to join me in voting for him.”

Dr Dattatteyudu Nori, a renowned radiation oncologist and Padma Shri awardee, writes, “I have worked with him on several oncology related projects  including at Global Health Summit in India, community outreach programs in the US, etc. He is very efficient, knowledgeable, and is an excellent leader. He would make a great Vice President of AAPI.”

Past AAPI President Dr Sanku Rao has endorsed him for President. “Please remember, this is not only an election for Vice President but for President of AAPI! Satheesh has an excellent reputation in the organization and all the qualities to become one of the best presidents of AAPI!”

Dr Kathula has excelled in leadership roles in the medical field locally in Ohio as well. He has lived in Dayton for 26 years straight. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (Dayton chapter) and has raised more than $200,000 for it thus far. The society conferred on him the Man of the Year award in 2018. He is also President and Founding Member of the Association of Indian Physicians from Ohio.

Active in the Indian community, he was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of the Om Shanti Hindu Cultural Center in Dayton. He has served on several non-profit boards, dedicating half of his career. He is a regular contributor to Veterans Obesity Awareness walks and Ekal Vidyalaya, which is dedicated to children’s education in rural India. The India Club of Dayton presented him the Service Award in 2010.

Dr Kathula’s love for his motherland has manifested in him setting up humanitarian and medical projects in India. The most important of them is establishing in 2007 a state-of-the-art pharmacy college in Warangal in Telangana, where he grew up. Named Pathfinder Institute of Pharmacy and Educational Research (PIPER), the non-profit with Dr Kathula as Chairman provides quality education and has already graduated about 750 students who are now working in different parts of India and the world.

He also collected funds for one lakh masks and distributed them in India during the Covid pandemic and has organized several medical camps there. He personally donated a clean drinking water plant and defibrillator (that restores normal heartbeat through an electric pulse) to his native village in Telangana. He also donated thousands of sanitary napkins to underprivileged young women in India. He usually raises funds for charitable causes through music concerts and golf tournaments, like the one he organized with cricket legend Kapil Dev.

A good doctor has to be also an educator to pass on his knowledge, skills and experience to the next generation of physicians, something Dr Kathula is acutely aware of. He is Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine and Neurology at Wright State University in Dayton. He has been involved in teaching/mentoring medical students, residents and fellows for two decades. He has presented CME (Continuing medical education) lectures at national and international conferences and published articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr Kathula came to the US in 1994 after earning his MBBS degree from Siddhartha Medical College in Vijayawada, India. Here he did his residency from Wright State University, Dayton. He is a Partner physician, Dayton Physicians, LLC.