AAPI’s Women’s Forum Discusses Ways To “Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action.”

“Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action” was the theme at the much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum that featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations, during the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physici9ans of Indian origin (AAPI) in Visakhapatnam, India from January 6th to 8th, 2023.

Picture : TheUNN

Dr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Honorable Governor of Telangana & Honorable Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum virtually. She urged everyone to “Pay attention to little things and how changes can be brought in. Ensure that the much-needed healthcare services reach everyone. There are many plans and programs initiated by the state government, but people need to be made aware of them and be helped to utilize the programs,” she said. She lauded “the great work by AAPI members for promoting health globally, particularly in India and the United States.”

Shri. MVV Satyavathi, Member of Parliament, representing Anakapalli in Andhra Pradesh was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum. In her address, she congratulated AAPI, whose members having been born and educated in India, settled down in the US with success, have come back to India to serve the people of India, and  work together for the betterment of humanity.

While congratulating the members of AAPI’s Women’s Forum and lauding them for some of the major initiatives of the Women’s Forum, Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said, “In collaboration with national AAPI, the Forum has successfully organized events like HPV vaccination drive, fundraiser for suicide prevention awareness, scholarship for medical students, and many others.” In the next 2 years, the Forum aims to conduct CPR and AED trainings and install more AEDs in areas such as the railway stations, bus stations, malls, schools,  and colleges. We plan to organize certified training workshops on Neonatal resuscitation, basic life support and emergency medicine for emergency responders and healthcare professionals.

Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Committee, in her opening remarks provided an overview of the Forum and the many initiatives by the Forum both in India and the United States.  “It is my privilege and great honor to serve as the Chair of AAPI‘s Women Leadership Forum. We are fortunate to have with us.  leaders and decision makers who have made a significant impact on the society and share a common vision of a healthier and stronger India,” she said.

“Each year, the Women’s Forum has played a significant role in organizing events, fundraisers and service projects that represent the core values of AAPI and our collective mission of giving back to our motherland. These events serve as a platform to expand our resources,  share technological advancements and establish new partnerships, dr. Shivangi added.

Picture : TheUNN

Panelists at the Women’s Forum included: Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College; Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health; and Ms. Meghna Chalasani, Team Lead, Advisory Committees, Program Lead, Science Office Strategies for New Drugs at Center for Drug Education and Research, US Food & Drug Administration.

Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India spoke about how she is able to work as a mother and government servant. “Working with balance is challenging. We should have boundaries for everything while needing to balance our personal life, our family life and our passion,” she said.

Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College pointed out that women are 55% of the total population of India. “We have made progress in so many areas of health indicators and infant mortality. I urge AAPI to come forward to work with local organizations and help spread wellness initiatives among the people.”

Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health spoke about why is mental health important and how to improve one’s overall health. “Woman is an important member of the family and the society. Her mental health is vital, as it affects everyone in the family and therefore caring for her mental health is important. Major life events impact women, who in turn affect all other members of the family.”

Women’s Forum is chaired by Dr. Udaya Shivangi and Dr. T. Radha, while Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda is the Advisor and Dr. B. Devi Madhavi is serving as the Co-Chair. Dr. Jonnalagadda, while proposing the vote of thanks, said, “I thank you for being with us today and advocating for women’s rights.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Seniors Group In Chicago Welcomes New Year 2023

Chicago IL: The Senior Friendship Group Chicago, welcomed the New Year 2023 with enthusiasm by celebrating 74th Republic Day of India and Makar Sankranti during their Annual New Board Commencement event on Sunday Jan 15 2023 at Golf Maine Park District (Kathy Hall) , 8800 W Kathy Ln, Niles, IL. The celebration was attended by a large number of members and was made memorable with religious festivities and patriotic fervor.

Running successfully for the past 3 years, the senior citizen group has made a lot of progress for the last two years under the leadership of President Harshad Parekh along with the supporters like Pinky Thakkar and the committee members, Dilipbhai Patel, Mukesh Patel and several other team members. Pinky Thakkar started the program with Shri Ganesh Aarti followed by Yamunashtakam and Hanuman Chalisa.

Picture : Asian Media USA

Pinky Thakkar is a very well recognized community leader and serves on the advisory board of multiple organizations. She and her husband Dinesh Thakkar have been generously supporting many charitable initiatives in the Chicagoland area. The Thakkar family is also a big supporter of Senior Friendship Group Chicago, and the entire community adores them for their lively spirit and positive attitude.

On the occasion of the Republic Day, the two nations paid tribute by singing the National Anthems of India as well as the US.  On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, everyone remembered the festival as per the Indian tradition with different types of Chikki and Mamra Ladoo and had a lot of fun taking different photographs in the beautiful attires and tri-color decorations.

President Harshad Parekh addressed the guests and acknowledged the generous donors who had supported the group throughout the year. Ritaben Shah start with Ganesh Sutati and Bhadraben shah sing devotional songs. He also welcomed all the new group members and other special guests who joined the celebration. He also thanked the team Asian Media USA and video team led by Shobhana Kothari , for their support to the community events.

Other distinguished guests who attended the event were included the well-known vocalist and philanthropist Rita Shah, and the emerging community leader and well known anchor Prachi Jaitly. Prachi Jaitly along with her husband presented a bouquet and a scrumptious cake to Pinky Thakkar while Rita Shah sang a melodious birthday song for her.

President Shri Harshadbhai Parekh celebrated Pinkiben Thakkar’s birthday with a beautiful introduction to Pinkiben Thakkar’s personality. After the cake cutting ceremony, there was a musical song dance Karaoke session led by Pinkyben Thakkar and her good friend Richa Chand. They both sang the famous Bollywood fun songs and brought everyone to their feet and entertained all guests. Everyone danced together and rejoiced. In the end the program concluded with a delicious Kathiawadi meal followed by more dancing that included garba and musical entertainment.

Gandhian Society Organizes Essay competition On Gandhi ji

The Gandhian Society is organizing an Essay competition and prayer meet on January 29th, 2023 to mark the 75th martyrdom anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This essay competition will have students from different schools in east coast participate in the competition on the life and message from Mahatma Gandhi.

The Gandhian Society will be giving away prizes to the winners of the essay competition and honor the students who participate in the competition. The event will be organized on January 29th at 11 am in New Jersey in the premises of Gandhian Society in Edison (321 Middlesex Ave, Colonia, NJ 07067) and also virtually and participants of the essay competition will have to submit the essays before 27th January to be able to participate in the essay competition.

The link for participants to submit their essay is – http://www.tinyurl.com/gandhi-essay. Dr.Sudarshan Iyengar (Former Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University) will be the guest of honor for the event and will give away the prizes for the winners of the essay competition.

The Gandhian Society Founder Shri Badra Butala has also said that the society will continue to make efforts in spreading the message and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi in USA and this Essay Competition is an effort in that direction. He said that this essay is to educate and make aware of the life and sacrifices of Mahatma Gandhi for the second generation American Indian Children so that they can learn and imbibe the values of one of the greatest men to have walked the planet – Mahatma Gandhi.

The children who participate in the essay and win the competition will be awarded special prizes by the Gandhian Society. The project is spearheaded by Shri Bhadra Butala, Mahesh Wani, Brijesh Kachalia, Anita Amar, Bani Dabur, Sonal Gadhvi and Sravan Natakala.

The Gandhian Society members – Asha Samanth, Dr.Deepak Naran, Varsha Gandhi Joshi, Sravan Natakala, Fashion Designer Sonal Gadhvi, Rajendar Dichpally, Balaji Jilla, Shiva Kumar, Mahesh Wani, Hasmukh Patel, Kamal Daga and Brijesh Kachalia will be assisting the Gandhian Society in spreading the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi in USA and helping the society undertake several charitable, cultural and patriotic events in USA.

The Gandhian Society will also be doing the winter clothing drive in Atlantic City and Parsippany along with other supporting organizations like Rotary, Zakir Husain Circle etc in distributing winter clothing (Jackets, Blankets etc). This initiative is one of the many efforts of the Gandhian partnership with other participating Organizations to serve the society and do charitable activities as part of its community outreach initiative.

The Gandhian Society will set up collection centers in over half a dozen centers in partnership with Organizations like Rotary Club of Parsippany, Telugu Fine Arts Society (TFAS), Rajni Restaurant, E&T Food Market, PAL (Police Athletic League (Parsippany) Durga Temple (East Brunswick), Zakir Husain Circle etc to collect new or gently used winter clothes to donate them at various places and organizations in East Coast. The Society will also purchase over 3000 dollars’ worth winter jackets in addition to the winter clothes that will be collected at highly discounted prices. This project will be done under the leadership of Rajender Dichpally and Santosh Peddi (Rotary President – Parsippany)

The Gandhian Society is also organizing a prayer meet on January 30th to observe the martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi and plans to have an all-religious prayer meet. This Gandhian Society has invited eminent Gandhian’s to take part in the prayer meet and pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi and his martyrdom.

Bill Introduced In NY Assembly To Make Diwali School Holiday In NYC

New York City students could soon have a day off to observe Diwali, an important holiday for many religions.  It’s part of a city-state partnership to allow the change in the city, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported recently.

“The time has come to recognize over 200,000 New Yorkers of the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain faiths who celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights,” said New York State Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar.

Rajkumar, the first Hindu American and South Asian woman elected to state office in New York, and Mayor Eric Adams announced the plan recently.  “South Asian and Indo-Caribbean families like mine all over this city have made incredible contributions. And today, I’m proud to say our time has come,” said Rajkumar.

Picture : TheUNN

New Yorkers from all walks of life came to Albany to advocate for Diwali to be a School Holiday. With the support of Eric Adams Mayor, New York City and school Chancellor David Banks, Assembly Member, Jenifer Rajkumar introduced legislation to make Diwali a school holiday. Jenifer Rajkumar said that time has come to make School Holiday Now, as she introduced New York State Assembly Bill A7062A, “Establishes the Diwali school holiday in certain qualifying school districts to commemorate the Hindu festival of lights.”

“As the first Hindu-American and South Asian-American woman elected to state office in New York, I take special pride in advocating for new American communities, including those that celebrate Diwali,” Rajkumar said. “The South Asian, Indo-Caribbean, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities are a vital part of our city’s gorgeous mosaic, contributing to every sector of our society,” she said. “It is long past time to honor their vibrant cultural heritage by making Diwali a school holiday, as community leaders have advocated for years. The time has come.”

A similar bill (S151) was introduced in the New York State Senate by Sen. Kevin Thomas. Thomas, the first Indian American  is sponsoring a bill to give districts the ability to close on six additional religious holidays — two Islamic, two Hindu, one Sikh and Christian Good Friday. New York City schools already close on the Lunar New Year and Islamic Eid al-Fitr. Some Long Island schools have already added Diwali to their calendar.

More than 300,000 Hindus, Jain, Sikhs celebrate festival of Diwali in New York . It’s only fair that Diwali should be a school Holiday so that children can celebrate Diwali with their families.

Jagdish Sewhani, a community leader said that it’s “unfair for  Hindu students in New York City to be at school on their most popular festival, Diwali. If schools had declared holidays around other religious days, why not Diwali then?”

South Asians and Indo-Caribbean in New York are fighting for Diwali school holiday for ages. It should be a public holiday in New York City, then New York State and consequently other states should fall on track.

“It’s time to recognize more than 300,000 Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain faiths New Yorkers to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Thousands of students, parents, and faculty would not have to select between observing the day or missing school or work,” asserted Jagdish Sewhani, President, American India Public Affairs Committee.

Hinduism is not only the oldest and third largest religion of the world but it is rich in festivals. More so religious festivals are very precious and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, drive out the darkness and light up the lives, representing the victory of good over evil. It indicates the occasion of Bhagwan Shri Ram returning to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.In India Christmas is national holiday,It should be a national holiday in USA also asserted Mr Sewhani.

Senator John Liu , Senator Kevin Thomas , Assemblyman David Weprin and many more showed their Support for this Bill to Make Diwali a school holiday.

AAPI’s Women’s Leadership Forum Deliberates on Ways To “Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action.”

“Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action” was the theme at the much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum that featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations, during the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physici9ans of Indian origin (AAPI) in Visakhapatnam, India from January 6th to 8th, 2023.

Picture : TheUNN

ZDr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Honorable Governor of Telangana & Honorable Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum virtually. She urged everyone to “Pay attention to little things and how changes can be brought in. Ensure that the much-needed healthcare services reach everyone. There are many plans and programs initiated by the state government, but people need to be made aware of them and be helped to utilize the programs,” she said. She lauded “the great work by AAPI members for promoting health globally, particularly in India and the United States.”

Shri. MVV Satyavathi, Member of Parliament, representing Anakapalli in Andhra Pradesh was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum. In her address, she congratulated AAPI, whose members having been born and educated in India, settled down in the US with success, have come back to India to serve the people of India, and  work together for the betterment of humanity.

While congratulating the members of AAPI’s Women’s Forum and lauding them for some of the major initiatives of the Women’s Forum, Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said, “In collaboration with national AAPI, the Forum has successfully organized events like HPV vaccination drive, fundraiser for suicide prevention awareness, scholarship for medical students, and many others.” In the next 2 years, the Forum aims to conduct CPR and AED trainings and install more AEDs in areas such as the railway stations, bus stations, malls, schools,  and colleges. We plan to organize certified training workshops on Neonatal resuscitation, basic life support and emergency medicine for emergency responders and healthcare professionals.

Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Committee, in her opening remarks provided an overview of the Forum and the many initiatives by the Forum both in India and the United States.  “It is my privilege and great honor to serve as the Chair of AAPI‘s Women Leadership Forum. We are fortunate to have with us.  leaders and decision makers who have made a significant impact on the society and share a common vision of a healthier and stronger India,” she said.

Picture : TheUNN

“Each year, the Women’s Forum has played a significant role in organizing events, fundraisers and service projects that represent the core values of AAPI and our collective mission of giving back to our motherland. These events serve as a platform to expand our resources,  share technological advancements and establish new partnerships, dr. Shivangi added.

Panelists at the Women’s Forum included: Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College; Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health; and Ms. Meghna Chalasani, Team Lead, Advisory Committees, Program Lead, Science Office Strategies for New Drugs at Center for Drug Education and Research, US Food & Drug Administration.

Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India spoke about how she is able to work as a mother and government servant. “Working with balance is challenging. We should have boundaries for everything while needing to balance our personal life, our family life and our passion,” she said.

Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College pointed out that women are 55% of the total population of India. “We have made progress in so many areas of health indicators and infant mortality. I urge AAPI to come forward to work with local organizations and help spread wellness initiatives among the people.”

Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health spoke about why is mental health important and how to improve one’s overall health. “Woman is an important member of the family and the society. Her mental health is vital, as it affects everyone in the family and therefore caring for her mental health is important. Major life events impact women, who in turn affect all other members of the family.”

Women’s Forum is chaired by Dr. Udaya Shivangi and Dr. T. Radha, while Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda is the Advisor and Dr. B. Devi Madhavi is serving as the Co-Chair. Dr. Jonnalagadda, while proposing the vote of thanks, said, “I thank you for being with us today and advocating for women’s rights.” For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda Given Gold Medal By the Indian Red Cross Society

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) was conferred with a Gold Medal By the Indian Red Cross Society during the 5th annual General Meeting held in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh on October 28th, 2022. Dr. Jonnnalgadda was conferred with the award for his contributions by Shree Biswabhusan Harichandan, the Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

Dr. Jonnalagadda was chosen for the prestigious award by the Indian Red Cross Society in the field of Medicine and for his great leadership of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US, especially during the Pandemic.

Picture : TheUNN

Dr. Jonnalagadda, said, “Wanted to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Indian Red Cross Society for selecting me for the prestigious award. In recognizing me, the Indian Red Cross Society has recognized all the medical professionals who have been in the forefront fighting Covid, including those who have laid their lives at the services of treating patients infected with the deadly virus. This award will strengthen the medical fraternity to recommit our efforts, skills and talents for the greater good of humanity.”

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda had served as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and has worked hard to “make AAPI stronger, more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power,” .

AAPI is the largest Medical Organization in the United States, representing the interests of the over 120,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US for the past 39 years. “AAPI must be responsive to its members, supportive of the leadership and a true advocate for our mission,” he said.

Picture : TheUNN

Dr. Jonnalagadda was born in a family of Physicians. His dad was a Professor at a Medical College in India and his mother was a Teacher. He and his siblings aspired to be physicians and dedicate their lives for the greater good of humanity. “I am committed to serving the community and help the needy. That gives me the greatest satisfaction in life,” he said modesty.  Ambitious and wanting to achieve greater things in life, Dr. Jonnalagadda has numerous achievements in life. He currently serves as the President of the Medical Staff at the Hospital. And now, “being elected as the President of AAPI is greatest achievement of my life,”

As the President of AAPI, the dynamic physician from the state of Andhra Pradesh, helped to “develop a committee to work with children of AAPI members who are interested in medical school, to educate on choosing a school and gaining acceptance; Develop a committee to work with medical residents who are potential AAPI members, to educate on contract negotiation, patient communication, and practice management; Develop a committee to work with AAPI medical students, and to provide proctorship to improve their selection of medical residencies.”

Picture : TheUNN

A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage 2007-2008, and was the past Chair of Board of Trustees, GAPI. He was the Chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG Section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).

In response to the pandemic, Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalgadda helped AAPI raise $5.4 million in three months to send 3,000 oxygen concentrators, 100 ventilators, and 100 pieces of high-flow oxygen equipment to India. AAPI connected with the American Heart Association, UNICEF and Intel for charity programs, and the NY Times rated AAPI as the second best charitable organization in the nation.

AAPI was able to provide tele-health platforms and a community outreach program through ZTV which educated millions of viewers. AAPI donated 5000 blankets during Thanksgiving and held luncheons for National Nurses Week in over 50 hospitals in the United States as well as, for the first time, locations in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, and the Caribbean. AAPI provided 30 credit hours of CME virtually and started the first ever purely scientific journal, JAPI. AAPI successfully initiated a clinical observer ship program to young physicians.

A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage 2007-2008, and was the past Chair of Board of Trustees, GAPI. He was the Chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG Section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).

Under his leadership, AAPI raised funds to provide 1,000 Water Purification Plants in several towns and villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.  Also, it was during his Presidency, for the first time ever, AAPI held annual elections to national offices via electronic ballots.

Dr. Jonnalagadda and his team, under stressful Covid times, organized the annual Convention in a record three months’ time, both successful and profitable. As the president, he was interviewed by CNN, Voice of America, and the Washington Post, as well as Republic TV and NDTV in India. He was recognized by the Indo-American Press Club (IAPC) with the Excellence in Leadership Award 2020 and the government of India presented him with the Pravasi Bharatiya  Samman Award in 2021.

His vision for AAPI has been to increase the awareness of APPI globally and help its voice heard in the corridors of power.  “I would like to see us lobby the US Congress and create an AAPI PAC and advocate for an increase in the number of available Residency Positions and Green Cards to Indian American Physicians so as to help alleviate the shortage of Doctors in the United States.”

Protesters Rally for Justice to Bilkis, Justice from Lawlessness

A protest rally was held against the release of the 11 rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case from life sentence at the Freedom Park, Bengaluru on 27th August, 2022.

The culprits were sentenced to life imprisonment after the Courts found them guilty of gang-raping Bilkis Bano, a young mother at the time, during the communal riots that had killed thousands of innocent people across the Indian state of Gujarat. The 11 men were also held responsible for killing her six-year-old daughter, reportedly “smashing” the girl to the ground, and hacking to death several members of Bano’s family.

The 11 persons convicted in the 2002 Bilkis Bano rape case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail under the Gujarat government’s remission policy. According to reports, senior state officials told news agencies that they were considered for release from life imprisonment as the convicts had completed 14 years in prison, which is the term given for a life sentence.

Similar protests were held across the state of Karnataka with the objective of raising awareness and seeking justice to the victims. Protesters used posters, Placards, and banners stating “Justice for Bilkis,” “Karnataka stands with Bilkis.” The rallyists also raised slogans, such as “Justice from rape: Justice from lawlessness” expressing their condemnation of setting free the convicted rapists and murderers.

A student protester from St Joseph’s University, Bangalore, Riya said, “There’s no gender or caste or religion for rapists or for someone getting raped. Political support being given to these rapists are illegal.”

K S Vimala, a member of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, (AIDWA) expressed her opposition to the government for letting these convicts go free by asking, “Why are the rapists welcomed back as war heroes” Why is the government releasing them from prison?”

The protesters raised their concerns about the safety and well-being of women in society, where rapists are treated as celebrities and declared innocent.

“Sharing of Knowledge and Best Practice is a Key Component of AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit:” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI

“Sharing of knowledge and best practice has been a key component of AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), while describing the objectives of the recently concluded Global Healthcare Summit, said here.

Attended by nearly 500 delegates from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 was jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Health Care Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers has had a vibrant and most enriching series of educational seminars and workshops.

“The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Kolli added. “That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education (CME) and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. The GHS 2023 with the theme of “True and Total Health is the Wellbeing of Mind, Body, and Spirit” has had several CME sessions that focused on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as various other medical specialty updates, research, and Medical Jeopardy.”

CME sessions with academicians from the United States offered unique opportunities for local medical staff and healthcare professionals to advance their learnings and provide the best possible care for the people of India. The Summit had a research competition for medical students and postgraduate students from all over India. AAPI conferred Awards of excellence and lifetime achievements during the Summit.

A major theme of the GHS 2023 was Metal Health. The much-anticipated CME on Psychiatry coordinated by Dr. Rao Mowwa began with an excellent presentation on “State of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Training in India” by Dr. N. N. Raju on Friday, January 6th. The session on “Prevention of suicide through safety planning – a proactive approach” by Dr. Bush Kavuru, and on “Creativity and Insanity: Two Sides of Same Coin?” by Dr. Indla Ramasubbareddy educated the audience on ways to understand and appreciate mental health issues in individuals and offer support, which will help them live a productive and dignified life. Dr. Ravi Koll provided an overview of the need for gratitude and appreciate the blessings in life through an insightful session on “Science and Practice of Gratitude in Wellbeing.” Dr. Srinivas Gokarakonda and Dr. Vijay Maurya moderated the sessions.

The second part of the morning session was on Diabetes and Kidney Disease. The scientific presentation on Diabetes Management Update was given by Dr. G.R. Sridhar, while “Diabetic Nephropathy: Current Concepts in Diagnosis” was offered by Dr. Sharma Prabhakar. Dr. K. L. Gupta educated the audience on Lupus Nephritis. “CKD of Unknown Origin & Uddanam Nephropathy” was the theme addressed by Dr. T. Ravi Raju, while “New Insights into the Biology and Mechanism of Renal Fibrosis” was the topic addressed by Dr. Raghu Kalluri. The sessions were moderated by Dr. KAV Subrahmanyam, Dr. K. Dilip Kumar, and Dr. R. K. Sharma.

The first-ever “JAAPI Symposium on Development of Non-Communicable Diseases in India” was moderated by Dr. Suresh Karne. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs): A Global Health Challenge in the 21st Century was the theme addressed by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a former Chief Scientist at World Health Organization. Dr. Suzanne Tanya Nethan provided an overview on “Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factors and Their Trends in India” while a presentation on “Intergenerational Transmission of NCDs in Developing Countries and in India” was given by Dr. Chittaranjan Yajnik. The Role of Infant Nutrition in the Development of Adult Onset of NCDs was addressed by Dr. Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy.

The AAPI delegates were led to a Meditation Session by Mrs. Sheerisha on Saturday morning. Apollo Session of Cardiology on Saturday was led by Dr. Sreeni Gangasani,  AAPI’s CME Chair, and was moderated by Dr. D. K. Baruah, Dr. C. Ravi Venkatachelam, and Dr. Sujeeth Punnam.

N K Panigrahi opened the session with a brilliant talk on Heart Disease Epidemic, which was followed by an informative session on Heart Failure- What’s New for 2022, presented by Dr. Sreeni Gangasani. Dr. A. Sharath Reddy spoke on Interventional Cardiology Update, and Dr. Brahma Sharma educated the delegates on Current Concepts in Prediction and Prevention of Heart Attacks in South Asians. Structural Heart Disease was the theme of the presentation by Dr. Prasad Chalasani, while Update on Cardiac Surgery was presented by Dr. M. Gopichand.

The Biophore Session on Gastroenterology was moderated by Dr. G. Santarao and Dr. SNR Naveen. Dr. Nagendra Myneni updated the delegates on Hepatitis, while Lap GI Surgery Update was given by Dr. C. Palanivelu. Hepatocellular Carcinoma was the topic addressed by Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, and “An Integrative Medical Approach to Common Gastroenterological Conditions” was the theme discussed by Dr. Vijaya Voruganti.

The session on LVPEI Blindness Prevention was moderated by Dr. C. V. Gopala Raju and Dr. P Viswamithra. Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao gave an overview of Global Blindness Statistics & Vision 2020 Outcomes, while Global Glaucoma Blindness – Magnitude & Management was the topic addressed by Dr. Sriram Sonty. Blindness in South East Asia – Prevention Strategies was the focus of the address by Dr. Rohit Khanna, while Childhood Blindness was the theme by Dr. V. K. Raju. Dr. Harsha Bhattacharjee shared insights from a case study on Blindness Relief Program in Northeast India.

NATCO Pharma Oncology Session on Sunday, January 8th was chaired by Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, and moderated by Dr. Muralikrishna Voonna and Dr. Sushil Jain. “A focus on newer treatment modalities in Radiation Oncology” was the topic addressed by Dr. Umesh Mahantshetty, while Dr. T. Subramanyeswar Rao spoke about “What’s new in surgical oncology?” An Update on Systemic Therapies for Cancer was provided by Dr. Raghunadharao Digumarti. “Evolving Biology and New Therapies – Strategies to Control Cancer” was the topic addressed by Dr. Raghu Kalluri. An insightful session on Pharmaco economics of cancer drugs – can we afford it?” was presented by Dr. Satheesh Kathula. “India’s unique value proposition towards Medical Tourism” was addressed by Mr. Shaaz Mehmood.

The session on Infant Mortality: Current Trends was led by Dr. Raja Nandyal and Dr. Sashi Kuppala. The session on Neurology had Dr. Suresh A. Reddy as the lead speaker, who spoke on “Stroke and Interventions,” while Acute stroke and post-stroke management in India was the topic addressed by Dr. K. Venkateswarlu. Head Injury Management was the topic discussed by Dr. Krishan Kumar, and Challenges and Opportunities in providing Epilepsy care in India was the topic addressed by Dr. Malla Bhaskara Rao. Neonatal Resuscitation sessions were led by Dr. Raja Nandyal and Dr. Sumitra Reddy. Education on Neuro Emergency – ENLS was provided by Dr. Leena Gupta.

Prem Reddy Foundation Medical Jeopardy was brilliantly coordinated by Dr. Harsha Thirunagari, Dr. A. P. Naveen Kumar, and Dr. P Venu Gopal, while the Advisor was Dr. Leena Gupta. Poster Presentations provided an opportunity for aspiring young physician students to showcase their research and knowledge in addressing healthcare needs across the nation. The contest was judged by Dr. A. Bhagyalakshmi, Dr. A. Mythili, Dr. Sharma Prabhakar, and Dr. Raghu Kalluri.

The much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations.

Dr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan Honorable Governor of Telangana & Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum, chaired by Dr. Udaya Shivangi and Dr. T. Radha, while Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda is the Advisor and Dr. B. Devi Madhavi is serving as the Co-Chair. According to Dr. Shivangi, “The eminent speakers at the Women’s Form deliberated on ways to: Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action.” Shri. MVV Satyanarayana, Member of Parliament, representing Visakhapatnam was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum, while Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Dr. T. Radha, Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda, Dr. B. Devi Madhavi, and Dr. Ramani moderated the session.

The Summit featured a CEO Forum, where a galaxy of CEOs from around the world from hospitals, teaching institutions and major healthcare sectors, including pharmaceutical, medical devices and technology, shared their expertise and explored potential opportunities for collaboration. Shri. Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh will be the keynote speaker at the CEO Forum 2023 with the theme, focusing on “True and Total Health is the well-being of the Mind, Body, and Spirit for holistic person-centered care.” Dr. Ravi Kolli, AAPI President led the discussions, while Prof. MD Nalapat served as the Co-chair along with Prof. Joseph M. Chalil, MD, Co-chair & AAPI Chief Strategy Officer. “We envision a great future for our country with the direct result of complex interactions at this forum with your assistance, guidance, and experience,” Dr. Chalil said.

Medical Education & Research was led by Dr. Lokesh Eadara, Dr. P.V. Sudhakar, and Dr. G. Butchiraju. Community Outreach Program – HPV Vaccination at the Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam was coordinated by Dr. Syed Ahmed, Dr. Murali Krishna Voona, Dr. Meher Bala Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI.

The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) came to a close with a call and commitment to give back to India, our motherland, helping healthcare accessible, efficient and equitable for all at Hotel Novotel on the seashore in Visakhapatnam on January 8th, 2023.

“In our quest to fulfill the mission of AAPI, we are proud to share best practices and experiences from leading experts in the world and develop actionable plans and projects that enable access to affordable and quality healthcare for all people. To help accomplish this mission, we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and lead the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli said. For more information, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s 16th Annual Global Healthcare Summit in Visakhapatnam Concludes with a Call to Give Back to Our Motherland

The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded with a call and commitment to give back to India, our motherland, making healthcare accessible, efficient, and equitable for all, at Hotel Novotel on Varun Beach in Visakhapatnam on January 8th, 2023.

Attended by nearly 500 delegates from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 was jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Health Care Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers has had several unique events with enthusiastic participation from local healthcare fraternity and dozens of leading physicians from the United States.

Dr Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, while describing the objectives of the Summit, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit has served as a means to raising awareness on key health care issues affecting the Indian subcontinent, such as the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Women’s and Children’s Health, Blindness Prevention and Hepatitis etc.  Highlight of this Summit was to reaffirm NRI Physicians’ commitment towards improving health care and create model programs for management of various diseases and to improve outcomes universally, he added.

The Summit focused on mental health, including reducing the stigma for seeking mental health services, and on Physicians burnout, Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI BOT said. “Deliberations  included discussions on the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Management of Chronic and Non Communicable Diseases, and other Global Health issues including Climate Change and its impact on population health,” he added.

In addition, AAPI has plans to collaborate with various state and federal government programs to enhance the quality of healthcare delivery, making it affordable, efficient, and equitable, improving health outcomes universally and training the trainer sessions involving learning modules in different specialties, and tele-consultations.

Shri. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Honorable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, in a message delivered to the AAPI delegates at the GHS, urged the members of “the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin to give back something to the society, which has given them an opportunity to pursue medical education and become successful in India and abroad.” He expressed confidence, stating, “I’m sure this platform will bring together best in the healthcare field from professionals, who will provide innovative solutions for the challenges being faced by all.”

Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education of state of Andhra Pradesh, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit is an important opportunity for all the healthcare professionals to learn from each other and enhance fellowship. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to attend and learn from all of you,” she said. “I believe that by working with you, we can improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the state. The government has the ability to design the best policies on healthcare, while delivering the best  treatments and medical care to the patient is essentially in the hands of the physicians.” Among others who addressed the AAPI delegates and joined the felicitation of AAPI delegates and the local organizers of the Summit included, Shri. Gudivada Amarnath, Honorable Minister for IT.

“We are sure that the Summit offered a rewarding experience not only on intellectual but on aesthetic front as well, with the scenic beauty of Visakhapatnam and the many surrounding places. The organizing committee has taken every measure possible to make the event a memorable one for everyone at the GHS,” said Dr. Ravi Raju, Chair of GHS (India) 2023.

Describing some of the objectives of the GHS, Dr. Prasad Chalasani, Chair of GHS (USA) 2023 said. “We have tried to create an intellectually charged platform for experts to share their knowledge and experiences on some of the common professional issues that remain a challenge in spite of all the advances. The exchange of expertise and transfer of technology by the best brains is bound to offer positive and innovative solutions to some of the problems faced by humankind.”

Among the many initiatives that emerged from GHS 2023, a notable action plan has been for AAPI to collaborate with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to initiate an ambitious program to address mental health and wellness of students in high school in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the other initiatives that were announced during the GHS 2023 included: effective treatment modalities on non-communicable medical diseases, reducing the infant and maternal mortality and HPV Vaccination.

The essence of AAPI is educational. That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. The GHS 2023 with the theme of “True and Total Health is the Wellbeing of Mind, Body, and Spirit” has had several CME sessions that focused on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as various other medical specialty updates, Spiritual presentations and Medical Jeopardy for Medical students.

CME sessions with academicians from the United States offered unique opportunities for local medical staff and healthcare professionals to advance leanings and provide the best possible care for the people of India. The Summit had a research competition for medical students and post graduate students from all over India. AAPI conferred Awards of excellence and lifetime achievements during the Summit.

AAPI, in collaboration with the AAPI India Foundation administered free HPV vaccines to over 100 low income young women from several government schools in the region, during a special launch and awareness camp organized at the Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam in India on Saturday, January 7th, 2023 with the objective of creating awareness and preventing cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India.

“We at AAPI, in keeping with our efforts and initiatives to educate, create awareness and provide support on disease prevention, are happy to be part of the HPV Vaccine Awareness Program,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said. “It was truly an enriching experience to be present in person and meeting with the young women and be part of this life saving mission.”

“Advancing Women’s Health Through Awareness and Action” was the theme at the much-anticipated Women’s Leadership Forum that featured extraordinarily successful Women Leaders representing a diversity of professions, involving public, private and government organizations. Panelists at the Women’s Forum included: Dr. Suneela Garg, Dir. Professor & Head of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College; Dr. Anuradha Medoju, Senior Regional Director at Telangana & Andhra Pradesh Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; Dr. S. Radha Rani, Former Professor and Superintendent, Hospital of Mental Health; and Ms. Meghna Chalasani, Team Lead, Advisory Committees, Program Lead, Science Office Strategies for New Drugs at Center for Drug Education and Research, US Food & Drug Administration.

Dr. Smt. Tamilisai Soundararajan Honorable Governor of Telangana & Honorable Lt. Governor of Puducherry delivered the keynote address at the Women’s Forum virtually. She urged everyone to “Pay attention to little things and how changes can be brought in. Services need to reach everyone. There are many plans and programs initiated by the government, but people need to be made aware of them and be helped to utilize the programs,” she said. She lauded “the great work by AAPI members for promoting health globally.”

Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Committee, in her opening remarks provided an overview of the Forum and the many initiatives by the Forum both in India and the United States. Shri. MVV Satyavathi, Member of Parliament, representing Anakapalli was the Guest of Honor at the Women’s Forum. In her address, she congratulated AAPI, whose members having been born and educated in India, settled down in the US with success, have come back to India to serve the people of India and  work together for the betterment of humanity.

The Summit featured a CEO Forum, where a galaxy of CEOs from around the world from hospitals, teaching institutions and major healthcare sectors, including pharmaceutical, medical devices and technology, joined to explore potential opportunities for collaboration.

Shri. Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Honorable Governor of Andhra Pradesh was the keynote speaker at the CEO Forum 2023 with the theme, focusing on “True and Total Health is the Well-being of the Mind, Body, and Spirit for holistic person-centered care.” Dr. Ravi Kolli, AAPI President led the discussions, while Prof. MD Nalapat served as the Co-chair along with Prof. Joseph M. Chalil, MD, Co-chair & AAPI Chief Strategy Officer. “We envision a great future for our country with the direct result of complex interactions at this forum with your assistance, guidance, and experience,” Dr. Chalil said.

A galaxy of speakers who were part of the powerful CEO Forum included: Ambassador Pradeep K. Kapur; Dr. Sangita Reddy. a Global Healthcare Leader, Indian Entrepreneur, and Humanitarian; Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme), Mr. Sadasiva Rao Nannapaneni, Vice President – Corporate Affairs, Legal & Secretarial, Estate Management at NATCO; Dr. Anu Chirala, Co-Founder & President InstaMD; Dr. Jagadeesh Babu Rangisetty, CEO at Biophore India Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd, who has more than 30 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical Profession; Mr. Ramprasad M, Chairman, SHAI and an Investment banker,  Dr. Upendra Srinivas, Managing Director at Quantum Specialty Diagnostics; Dr. Venkat Ramana Sudigali, Founder-Director Excell Multispecialty Hospital, Hyderabad, India, and the CEO of EHA Consortium.org; and Mr. Sasi Sunkara, Executive Director and Co-founder at CIPHER Oncology

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, former World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist was conferred with the prestigious Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Oration & Dr. T. Ravi Raju Excellence Award during the Summit in Visakhapatnam on Friday, January 6, 2023. The event jointly organized by Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Memorial Oration Committee and Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam was chaired by Dr. Abhijat Sheth and Dr. Sridhar Chilimuri.

The women leaders of AAPI dazzled on stage with elegance, and showcasing their talents by presenting two amazing Fashion Shows on Friday and Saturday at the Summit to the delight of the AAPI delegates.

Led by Surgeon Rear Admiral R. Ravi, Command Medical Officer, Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam, nearly 500 students from local schools and colleges, and dozens of delegates at the 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit participated at the Walkathon on the serene oceanside of the Bay of Bengal at Visakhapatnam on a beautiful Sunday morning on January 8th, 2023 with a mission  to create awareness on Mental Health with the theme: “Be the Change: All for Global Health.”

In his closing remarks, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “The Global Healthcare Summit held annually in India across several states, has become a major contributing factor, where Indian American Doctors focus on various programs and policies in our efforts to make a huge difference in the delivery of healthcare in India.”

“After the highly successful Global Healthcare Summit in Visakhapatnam last weekend, I am happy to announce that the 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit will be held in New Delhi from January 2nd to 4th, 2024,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) announced here during a Curtain Raiser held at the prestigious Constitution Club in New Delhi on January 9th, 2023.

“In our quest to fulfill the mission of AAPI, we are proud to share best practices and experiences from leading experts in the world and develop actionable plans and projects that enable access to affordable and quality healthcare for all people. To help accomplish this mission, we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and be part of the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli urged. For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit: www.summit.aapiusa.org and www.GHS2023.com

Global Indian Organization Asia Chapter Launched At NRI Council Conference In Indore

Commemorating the 17th “Pravasi Bharatiya Divas,” which was attended by notable diaspora from all over the world, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO), and India Africa Trade Council (IATC) collaborated to host the NRI Council Conference and Awards on Jan. 10th, 2023.”

Inaugurating the conference, India’s Minister of State for external affairs and culture, Meenakshi Lekhi, who also launched the Global India Organization, Asia Chapter, said: “Happy to inaugurate the NRI Council Conference 2023 & launch the Global Indian Organisation (GIO) Asia Chapter in Indore.
Had a lively interaction with our vibrant Indian diaspora and discussed the numerous initiatives undertaken by the Modi Govt. for our diaspora.”

Global Indian Business Council

With a mission to facilitate global economic development with emphasis on India, Global Indian Business Council (GIBC) launched and helped promote the Pravasi Divas 2015 in Gandhi Nagar and Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gujarat, India by organizing a meaningful half-day economic seminar on November 22, 2012, in metro Atlanta.

GIBC is a network of business and technology leaders across the globe based in USA to promote and facilitate greater cooperation in trade and commerce between India, USA, and the rest of the world following the new vision offered by the pragmatic and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

The seminar was well attended by several distinguished speakers, processionals, corporate executives, and leaders of governments, chambers of commerce and academics.

The program started with a cocktail/social hour, which gave the opportunity to the conference attendees to network with each other and explore the opportunities for a successful Indo-USA trade and commerce partnership.

In welcoming address, Dhiru Shah, President-elect of GIBC, President-Suraj International, Inc., Alumnus of London School of Economics and Harvard Business School with 40 plus years of international management and business experience, dwelt upon the need to have an organization like GIBC to promote and facilitate bilateral trade, commerce and investment between all countries particularly at a time when the global economic situation is facing severe recessionary trends.  Shah pointed out that both European Union andJapanare already facing recession andChinais slowing down. He further stated that while theUSeconomy is stable, it is very important that massive investments inIndiafrom overseas can help stimulate further the economy ofIndia. For this effort, GIBC (which strives to help) can become a major player in facilitating investment, trade and business inIndia.

Dr. Mahesh Mehta-President of GIBC, an eminent scientist and research scholar in Membrane technology, explained the basic mission and objectives of GIBC. Dr. Mehta stated that the election of 2014 has for the first time brought a party to power with a clear majority which in turn has elected the most dynamic, visionary, incorruptible and pragmatic leader, Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India.

He felt confident that the time has come for India to become an economic powerhouse under the leadership of Modi and his hard working team to lead India to its new zenith.  GIBC with it networking abilities with the Indian government and the state governments,USAand the rest of the world will be able to provide its (GIBC) services fromUSAand the rest of the world to set up businesses and industries inIndia.

Hon. Consul R. Srinvasan of the Indian Consulate-Atlanta conveyed his best wishes for the success of GIBC. He explained the role of theAtlantaconsulate in furthering the economic development ofIndiaby offering different services to facilitate investment inIndia. Consul Srinivasan informed that theAtlantaconsulate serves eightUSstates with about 300,000 NRIs and PIOs by offering Visa and other facilities. Currently he, at the Consulate, also deals with economic, trade and commerce wing to help US and NRIs businesses and companies by providing information relating to the Indian economy and various Indian government economic entities.

As a keynote speaker, Hon. Kwanza Hall, Council member of city ofAtlanta, felt that there was a big need to invest in small and medium scale industries and business inGeorgia, which would generate massive employment for the poor African American people. Hon. Hall wanted that theAtlantaCitywould welcome investments inAtlantafromIndiaand Indian diaspora inAmericaon a reciprocal basis

Hon. Yasukata Fukahori,Deputy ConsulGeneral,JapanAtlantaConsulate talked about the close economic relationshipJapanhas withIndia. He stated that the recent meeting of Prime Ministers of India andJapanhas further strengthened the economic ties between the two countries. He praised the efforts made by GIBC in helping facilitate the trade and commerce between Indian and other countries. Hon. Fukahori stated thatJapanhas a very large investment in GA even though the number of the Japanese living in GA is very small compared to Indian Americans. There were some hilarious moments when Hon. Fukahori talked about reservations of Japanese speakers to speak beyond the protocol and how the Indian speakers like to continue speaking. He narrated one experience in which the Japanese Speaker in India spoke for 5 minutes but the interpreter in India explained for 30 minutes explaining what the Japanese spoke in 5 minutes.

Andjela Kessler, President-Incentive Travel & meetings, talking about the Indo-Global tourism, informed the audience that her company has been successful in developing tourism in India and particularly in Gujarat. She spoke about the success of the short Gujarat tourism advertisement videos/films by engaging the Bollywood film star like Amitabh Bachchan and her good fortune to interact with then CM. Narendra Modi of Gujarat She pointed out about the great success story of tourist industry in Thailand and felt that India can also become a major tourist nation in the world if the Indian government and businesses developed the basic infrastructures like good hotels, roads, and reliable transportation. At hisMadisonSquareGardenrally in NY on September 27, Prime Minister Modi had made a direct pitch to NRIs to woo tourism for the progress ofIndia.

Raj Anand, CEO of Southern States LLC and an alumni of IIT India, narrated how successful his company has been able to develop a close and mutually beneficial business relationship with a few Indian companies like Crompton Greaves. He stated that there is a large pool of qualified engineers and technically trained workers inIndiawho will help the country to develop economically fast with the help of the Indian government, foreign investment and established Indian business corporations. He hinted that for a success of operations inIndiaby overseas companies, it is desired that they have at least some control in the day-to-day operations inIndia. He went on to elaborate the success story of the Southern States LLC which has introduced ground breaking products like the Load and Line Switchers.

Charles Wood of ETech Global Services,Dallas,TXspoke about the US-India Collaborative success in the field of IT industry. His company has set up two offices in Gujarat employing about 500 IT executives who are responsible for software development for their global operations includingUSA. Their first office in Gandhinagar was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi (then Chief Minister ofGujarat). ITech CEO, Matt Raco conveyed the message that his company will join hands with GIBC in facilitating investment inIndiaand congratulated its President Dr. Mahesh Mehta for this visionary and timely endeavor.

On the topic of Medical Tourism inIndia, Dr. Raghunath Katragadda, Asst. Prof. of Medicine, Div. of Cardiology,EmoryHeart & VascularCenter, talked about his success story of setting up a top class Hospital chain inHyderabad,Indiato cater to the medical tourism fromUSAand other countries. He stated that in order to build a successful medical tourist industry inIndia, it is necessary to have top class hospitals, reliable nursing, follow up care, trained doctors and surgeons with affordable pricing. Currently, there are only a few hospitals inIndia, which can treat patients from the western world. He also pointed out that there are other countries likeSingapore,Thailandwho are also competing withIndiato attract medical tourists in their countries.

Kanchan Banerjee, VP, GIBC, CEO- Ipremm, Inc. and Editor in Chief of the New Global Indian Magazine, made a power point presentation on Vibrant Gujarat 2015 and urged audience to join the GIBC delegation to Vibrant Gujarat program scheduled to be held on Jan. 9-11, 2015 which will give them the opportunity to meet industrialists, the Chief Minister and top government bureaucrats of the Gujarat government for signing MOUs in investing in Gujarat. He added, never before has the business environment so friendly inGujarat. “So, take advantage of it!”

Subash Razdan, VP-GIBC, an active participant and recipient of PBD Samman Award 2013 and Director, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, gave a brief overview of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD-People of Indian origin), the opportunities to invest in India and encouraged the audience to attend the 2015 event to be held in Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat on Jan. 7-9, 2015, especially so when it is followed by the Vibrant Gujarat Summit (VGS). He underscored the importance of this year’s PBD as it will celebrate the centennial celebrations of return of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi from S. Africa toIndiain 1915 and for further details, one could get in touch with the Consulate General of India (CGI) and/or members of GIBC.

Ashwin Patel, VP- GIBC, Chairman-Apsilon Hotels LLC, Supreme Hospitality Supply LLC and Alpha Renewable Energy LLC, offered the vote of thanks to the distinguished dignitaries, invited guests, media persons, officials and volunteers and the hospitality of Staybridge Suites staff. He thanked Dr. Narayanan Komerath, Prof. of Aerospace Eng. at GA tech for his design of the GIBC website. He thanked Madhu Tata of Swapna Indian Cuisine for catering an exotic dinner and Sanjay Pandya of Davis Printing. The event saw many prominent and other dignitaries present such as Hon. Greg Pridgeon, former Council Member of Atlanta and former Chief of Staff of City of Atlanta under Mayor Shirley Franklin and key proponent of the Atlanta-Ahmedabad Sister City relationship; Hon. Eric De Groot of Sandy Springs International Economic Affairs and President of the Holland Chamber of Commerce; Wayne Lazarus of the prominent law firm Stokes, Lazarus and Carmichael who has drafted articles of Incorporation of many Asian (also Indian) American non-profit organizations,  Jitu Patel, Chair of the Atlanta-Ahmedabad Sister City Exchange Committee (AASCE) et al. TheSisterCityproposal of twining of Atlanta-Ahmedabad was approved by the public hearing of over 300 attendees in favor of Ahmedabad by near unanimity, but had to be shelved due to scale back and economic recession in Georgia and the rest ofUSAunder mayor Shirley Franklin. Fortunately, Mayor Kaseem Reed is looking at it favorably now with special connection of Gandhi (Ahmedabad) and King (Atlanta).

Dr. Aarti Pandya Defends the Decision to Settle the Case Without any Admission of Liability or Wrongdoing

“Rather than continue to expend significant time and resources defending herself against these unfounded allegations, which were initially filed in 2013, Dr. Pandya made a business decision to resolve the case without any admission of liability or wrongdoing so she can go back to serving her patients,” Dr. Aarti Pandya’s attorney said in a statement.

Dr. Pandya, an Indian American doctor had recently agreed to pay $1,850,000 for allegedly billing Medicare for eye surgeries and diagnostic tests that were allegedly not medically required.

However, Dr. Pandya denies doing anything wrong. Dr. Pandya has served as an ophthalmologist in the Conyers, Rockdale County area for decades.  Dr. Pandya has steadfastly maintained that she did not engage in improper billing or otherwise fail to properly treat her patients and bill for their care.

As per the statement issued by the Attorney, “Dr. Pandya has been defending herself in a lawsuit initiated by her former office manager, Laura Menchion Dildine, that accused Dr. Pandya of improper billing in violation of the False Claims Act.”

The attorney’s statement questioned the credibility of Ms. Dildine, describing her as “a convicted felon who was solely responsible for billing and coding while employed by Dr. Pandya at her office in Conyers, Georgia.” The statement went on point out how “After Dr. Pandya refused to write an opioid prescription for Ms. Dildine, Ms. Dildine began using Dr. Pandya’s name to commit prescription fraud while employed as office manager.”

Responding to the report, Dr. Pandya said she has been defending herself in a lawsuit initiated by her former office manager, Laura Menchion Dildine, that accused her of improper billing in violation of the False Claims Act.  The statement said Dildine is a convicted felon who was solely responsible for billing and coding while employed by Dr. Pandya at her office in Conyers, Georgia.

“After Dr. Pandya refused to write an opioid prescription for Dildine, she (Dildine) began using Dr. Pandya’s name to commit prescription fraud while employed as office manager,” the statement alleges.

As per Dr. Pandya’s attorney, Ms. Dildine was arrested at the office of Dr. Philip Newman, another ophthalmologist in Conyers, Georgia, and was jailed by the Newton County Sheriff under felony charges. Ms. Dildine was employed by Dr. Newman as a biller at the time of her arrest, and resumed her employment with Dr. Newman after being released on bail.  On June 16, 2014, Ms. Dildine was arrested again and charged with felony fraud/forgery and jailed at the Rockdale County Jail.

According to Piedmont, Dr. Pandya has been highly appreciated by her patients with a score of 4.5 out of 5 ratings with reviews by 289 ratings by her patients. (https://doctors.piedmont.org/provider/Aarti+Pandya/391123)

Dr. Arati Pandya, MD is an Ophthalmology Specialist in Conyers, GA and has over 28 years of experience in the medical field. She is affiliated with Piedmont Rockdale Hospital. Dr. Pandya, who had graduated with a Medical Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, completed her Graduate Medical Education in Ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington , Kentucky.

She is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Dr. Pandya, says, she looks forward to continuing to serve her patients and the community now that this case is behind her.

As per reports, to protect federal healthcare programs and beneficiaries going forward, Pandya and the Pandya Practice Group have entered into a detailed, multi-year Integrity Agreement and Conditional Exclusion Release (IA) with the Office of Inspector General.

“We must assure patients and taxpayers that healthcare is dictated by clinical needs, not fiscal greed,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This settlement should serve as a reminder that the FBI will not tolerate healthcare providers who engage in schemes that defraud the industry and put innocent patients at risk.”

Dr. Pandya however, said she looks forward to continuing to serve her patients and the community now that this case is behind her.  She said she remains committed to providing quality patient care for years to come.

Indian Americans Add Representation In New US Congress

The Indian-American lawmakers of the ‘Samosa Caucus’ have welcomed Shri Thanedar’s addition to the exclusive group of Democratic leaders representing the community in the US House of Representatives.

Entrepreneur-turned-politician and Democrat, Mr Thanedar became the fifth Indian-American to be elected to the US House of Representatives in November last year. His victory had come after all four Indian-American Democratic lawmakers – Dr. Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi – were re-elected to the US House of Representatives.

Picture : TheUNN

The ‘Samosa Caucus’ is an informal grouping of Indian-American lawmakers who are either part of the House of Representatives or the Senate. The term was coined by Congressman Krishnamoorthi to give credence to the growing number of “desi” lawmakers in the US Congress.

“When I first took office in 2013, I was the only Indian American Member of Congress and the third ever in history. Since that day, I have been committed to ensuring we grow our representation in Congress,” said Congressman Bera.

In 2013, Rep. Ami Bera, D-California, was the sole Indian American in the House, representing portions of Sacramento; the Indian American community also held the physician politician to the tacit agreement that he would represent the 4 million plus diaspora.

A decade later, Bera no longer bears the sole responsibility for that Herculean task: the four Indian American incumbents in the House will be joined by newly-elected Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Michigan.

“In the past decade, I am proud to be joined by incredible Indian-American colleagues from around the country – Representatives Jayapal, Khanna, and Krishnamoorthi. With the swearing-in of the 118th Congress, our coalition has grown to a record number with the election of Representative Thanedar,” he said.

The Indian-American community has emerged as a force to reckon with in the US presidential elections. In the last election, both the Democrat and the Republican campaigns initiated several measures to woo the approximately 1.8 million members of the community who have emerged as a critical voting bloc in the battleground states of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

“It’s important that we reflect on the historic progress our country is making. I look forward to welcoming even more Indian American Members of Congress in the future!” Mr Bera said.

“As we enter the most diverse Congress ever, I am reminded how much representation matters, for every community and culture across our country. I am a proud naturalised citizen, the first South Asian American woman elected to the House, and an immigrant woman of colour,” Ms Jayapal said.

She said serving in Congress was a “distinct honour”, not only because she was able to deliver for her constituents, but also to show other South Asians that if she can make it into the halls of Congress, so can they.

“I am so grateful to serve with such an inspiring cohort of fellow Indian Americans and I look forward to seeing our numbers continue to grow!” she said.

“I’m so proud to serve in this diverse Congress alongside a record number of Indian Americans. Representation is crucial to serving Indian American communities and working to strengthen America’s defense and strategic partnership with India. I look forward to continuing our work together in the 118th Congress,” said Ro Khanna.

Indian-Americans have made countless contributions to American society, including in tech, science, medicine, and the military.

Indian-Americans currently serve as the CEOs of major companies including Microsoft (Satya Nadella), Google (Sundar Pichai), IMB (Arvind Krishna), and MasterCard (Ajay Banga).

According to the 2010 census, 70 per cent of Indian Americans over the age of 25 had college degrees, 2.5 times higher than the national average.

“As the Indian-American community remains one of our nation’s fastest-growing, with a population of more than four million, I am excited to see our representation expanding in Congress as well,” said Mr Krishnamoorthi.

“I look forward to working with Reps. Bera, Jayapal, Khanna, and now Thanedar to continue to address the key issues facing our community, including high-skilled immigration reform and strengthening the partnership between the US and India,” he said.

“As a new member of Congress and the latest addition to an incredible group of Indian-American lawmakers, I look forward to getting to work for the American people,” said Mr Thanedar.

The American dream is alive when an immigrant from India can come to this country, earn a degree, become a citizen, start a business, and be elected by the people to represent them in the Michigan State House and the United States House of Representatives, he said.

“I hope to join Representatives Bera, Jayapal, Khanna, and Krishnamoorthi in growing our historic representation in Congress by inspiring future generations,” Thanedar said.

The first Asian-American and Indian-American Member of Congress was Dalip Singh Saund, who served in the US House of Representatives from 1957 to 1963.

In the 66 years between Representative Saund’s election and the 2012 election of Bera, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal was the only other member of Indian American descent elected to the legislative branch of the federal government.

Following the 2016 election, Kamala Harris made history as the first Indian-American to be sworn into the United States Senate.

Harris continued to make history in 2020 when she was elected as the first woman and first person of colour in history to serve as Vice President of the United States of America, said a joint statement issue by the five lawmakers.

Harris’ historic success opened a door with Indian-Americans across the country running for office at every level of government to ensure the community’s voice continues to be at the decision-making table.

In the past decade, the number of Indian-American voices in government has grown rapidly, with signs that the next decade will see the representation grow even further, it said.

AAPI Organizes HPV Vaccination Awareness Camp in Visakhapatnam to Prevent Cervical Cancer

(Visakhapatnam: January 7th, 2023) American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), in collaboration with the AAPI India Foundation administered free HPV vaccines to over 100 low income young girls, chosen from several government schools in the region, during a special launch of HPV Vaccination awareness camp organized at the Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam in India on Saturday, January 7th, 2023 with the objective of creating awareness and preventing cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India.
“We at AAPI, in keeping with our efforts and initiatives to educate, create awareness and provide support on disease prevention, are happy to be part of the HPV Vaccine Awareness Program,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI said. “It was truly an enriching experience to be present in person and meeting with the young women and be part of this life saving mission.”
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The awareness camp was organized as part of APPI’s 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2023 and was inaugurated in person by Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education. In her address, the Minister, praised the efforts and the many initiatives of AAPI in providing the best and efficient healthcare to the most vulnerable sections of the society. She urged AAPI to work collaboratively with the government of Andhra Pradesh to make healthcare affordable and efficient for all.

 While elaborating the objectives of the Summit, Dr. V. Ranga, AAPI BOT Chair said, “In addition to HPV VACCINATION and cervical cancer awareness program, GHS 2023 has provided education on: Chronic diseases which can be prevented- notably diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, maternal and infant mortality, lifestyle changes, mental health, management of neurological disorders and blindness prevention.”

 

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Attended by nearly 500 delegates, the largest ever to attend the AAPI GHS, from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 is being jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Healthcare Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers  has been instrumental in help create policies and programs that make healthcare delivery in India equitably available to everyone in India.
“In coordination with the local organizers, AAPI donated the funds for the HPV Vaccination, a total of 200 doses for the vaccine for 100 children from the state of Andhra Pradesh,” said Dr. Meher Medavaram, an organizer of the program, and the Secretary of AAPI. “AAPI’s noble initiative through education and awareness programs is aimed at helping save many lives in India,” she added.

The funds for the vaccine has been provided by Dr. Rao Mowa, Dr. Medavaram, Dr. Syed Ahmed, Dr. V. Ranga, AAPI BOT Chair, A T G Tours, and Shri. Sadasiva Rao and others. Prominent among those who attended the event and supported the noble initiative included, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, Dr. Mallikarjuna, Collector and District Magistrate, Visakhapatnam; Dr. Jagadeeswara Rao, DM & HO, Visakhapatnam; Smt. Chandralekha, DEO; and, Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of AAPI.

Dr. T. Radha, Chair of AAPI Women’s Forum, who was part of the cervical awareness campaign event said, “If vaccination programs are effectively implemented, approximately 90 percent of invasive cervical cancer cases worldwide could be prevented, in addition to the majority of precancerous lesions.”
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In India, cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women and India contributes to the largest proportion of global cervical cancer burden. Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. Most cervical cancers are associated with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if the vaccine is given before girls or women are exposed to the virus. Prevention through vaccination is one of the pillars of the Global Strategy adopted by WHO for the elimination of cervical cancer.

Dr. Anjana Samaddar, President-Elect of AAPI said, “Cervical cancer could be the first cancer EVER in the world to be eliminated, if 90 % of girls are vaccinated; 70% of women are screened; and, 90% of women with cervical disease receive treatment. This is an important step towards reaching goal,” she pointed out.

Cervical cancer develops slowly over time, and another powerful preventive measure is Pap test screening, a procedure during which cells are collected from the surface of the cervix and examined. The Pap test can both detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment outcomes tend to be better, and detect precancerous abnormalities, which can then be treated to prevent them from developing into cancers.

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, who was among those who attended the awareness camp, said, “Cervical Cancer is preventable through Vaccination and Early Pap smears and cervical examinations. Justifiably so, one of our preventive campaign goals has been to provide education and prevention of Cervical Cancer in India.”
According to The American Cancer Society, Cervical Cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The cervical cancer death rate dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test for screening. Cervical cancer is among a number of cancers that can be caused by infections with pathogens – bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

“Through Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields, AAPI provides comprehensive and current reviews and guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of various disease states to reduce morbidity and mortality and achieve cost effective quality care outcomes,” said Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of AAPI.
Expressing confidence, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “Together we can all bring awareness in the community to prevent Cervical Cancer in India, which is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women!” For more information and ways to support this noble initiatve, please visit www.aapiusa.org/

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan Presented with Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Oration & Dr. T. Ravi Raju Excellence Award During AAPI’s 16th Annual Global Healthcare Summit in Visakhapatnam

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, former World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist was conferred with the prestigious Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Oration & Dr. T. Ravi Raju Excellence Award during the 16th Annual Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in Visakhapatnam on Friday, January 6, 2023.

The event jointly organized by Prof P. Brahmayya Sastry Memorial Oration Committee and Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam was chaired by Dr. Abhijat Sheth and Dr. Sridhar Chilimuri. While introducing the awardee, Dr. T. Ravi Raju, Chair of the Oration Committee said, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan was most recently WHO’s Deputy Director-General for Programs. A pediatrician from India and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programs.

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Dr. Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research from 2015 to 2017. In that position, she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policy making, building research capacity in Indian medical schools and forging south-south partnerships in health sciences. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva.

In her eloquent address, Dr. Swaminathan said, “The coronavirus has evolved significantly since it was first traced in late 2019. From being a considerably deadly virus, it has now become less fatal – thanks to the vaccination initiatives across the world.” She asserted that death rates are much higher in unvaccinated compared to vaccinated and boosted individuals.

Dr. Swaminathan, while describing the main lesson from the pandemic, stated that “climate change, and it all boils down to what humans have done to the environment. Our lives are intertwined with the health of the environment,” she added.

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The vulnerable suffer a lot, and it’s important to focus on equity and help those who are left behind, she said. She also stressed on the importance of a public health approach, having good data, and research.

We are recovering quickly because of vaccines, she said, pointing out that over 13 billion people worldwide have taken the vaccine and 20 million lives have been saved due to it. The majority of deaths in the US were because of no vaccination, she added.

Dr Swaminathan further explained that vaccines are developed with high efficacy and safety. The virus is trying to evolve, and each time mutations have allowed the virus to evade antibodies, she said, adding that, “there are people who have not taken the vaccine and haven’t fallen sick, but that’s a matter of chance.

COVID-19 has also disrupted the education system. It has also adversely affected access to nutritious food as a huge number of children depend on school meals, she said and urged everyone to help children overcome and regain the loss they had to endure due to the covid.

Stating that the global pandemic is marching on, the world renowned scientist said, “Of the lessons I have learned since the pandemic began, the most important one is the significance of investing in public health and primary healthcare. Countries that invested in primary healthcare over the past decade or two are reaping the benefits now. Another lesson is the positive role of science and scientists. The global collaboration between scientists to take forward advances in knowledge so that science is continuously informing our response to the pandemic has been encouraging.”

Emphasizing the need for partnership between the private and public sectors, Dr. Swaminathan said, “We also need to think about working with the private sector, which is already playing a very big role in technology. But we need to think about technologies that are considered public health goods.”

For the future, Dr. Swaminathan stressed, “We need to invest in strong institutional mechanisms and capacities in our regulatory bodies, research centers and public health institutions. We have seen so much fear, stigma and discrimination circulated on social media. This must be countered by health literacy.”

Dr. Ravi Kolli, president of AAPI praised the accomplishments and contributions of Dr. Swaminathan and numerous healthcare leaders of Indian origin who have contributed immensely to the many ways, the world has been able to overcome the once in a century, deadly pandemic that has devastated the entire humanity. Expressing hope for the future, he said, “The world looks towards us with hope for leadership and consolidated action to prevent and secure health and well being of everyone committed to our care.”

AAPI’s 16th Annual Global Health Summit Inaugurated in Visakhapatnam

(Visakhapatnam, India: January 6th, 2023) The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS)  organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) was inaugurated with a beautiful rendition of Vande Mataram and the lighting of the traditional lamp by the Chief Guest, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education and several other dignitaries, AAPI leaders and local organizers of the Summit at Hotel Novotel on the seashore in Visakhapatnam on January 6th, 2023.

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Attended by nearly 500 delegates from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 is being jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Health Care Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers  assumes importance especially in the context of the waning pandemic that has shaken the entire human race and has been instrumental in helping everyone realize that the predicament is common across all the continents.

Shri. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Honorable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, in a message delivered to the AAPI delegates at the GHS, urged the members of “the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin to give back something to the society, which has given them an opportunity to pursue medical education and become successful in India and abroad.”

Shri. Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed confidence, stating, “I’m sure this platform will bring together best in the healthcare field from professionals, who will provide innovative solutions for the challenges being faced by all.” Lauding the world-renowned specialists from the United States, who have assembled in Visakhapatnam, Shri Jagan Reddy said, “I am informed that many specialists from the US are attending the conference, whose expertise will be very much useful since their ideas on technology and advances in various fields in solving health related issues in India. While this conference is focusing on mental health, neurology, maternal and child health, oncology, gastroenterology, neurology, cardiology, they will be very relevant to learn from the successful practices abroad.”

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Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Medical Education, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit is an important opportunity for all the healthcare professionals to learn from each other and enhance fellowship. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to attend and learn from all of you,” she said. “I believe that by working with you, we can improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the state. The government has the ability to design the best policies on healthcare, while delivering the best of the patient’s treatment eventually falls into the hands of the physicians.” She praised AAPI delegates for their “dedication and passion to deliver the best patient care. Thank you all once again. The nation is indebted to you for your leadership, and for helping our vulnerable people.” The state has already started taking measures to improve the performance of the healthcare sector by mapping the public healthcare and preventive healthcare system through effective interventions, she said.

While presenting a robust picture of how the state of Andhra Pradesh has become a role model in healthcare delivery with higher rate of investment on healthcare, the Health Minister of Andhra Pradesh said, “Thank you all for being here. And thank you for taking time and conducting such big summits over here. And likewise, it’s a learning session for all of us. And all of your ideas will be taken into consideration by the government of Andhra Pradesh, and let’s all work together and be a part of the growth story of us today.”

Others who spoke on the occasion and felicitated AAPI and the local organizers of the Summit included, Shri. Gudivada Amarnath, Honorable Minister for IT.

Dr Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI in his opening remarks, while describing the objectives of the  Summit, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit aims at raising awareness on key health care issues affecting the Indian subcontinent such as Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Women’s and Children’s Health, Infectious Diseases and Mental Health.”  Highlight of this Summit is to reaffirm NRI Physicians’ commitment towards improving health care and create model programs for management of various diseases and to improve outcomes universally, he added. The Summit will be focusing on mental health, reduce the stigma for seeking mental health services, working on Physicians burnout, he added. In addition, AAPI is keen to collaborate with various state and federal government programs to enhance the quality of healthcare delivery, making it affordable, efficient, and equitable, especially helping with the management of various diseases, improving health outcomes universally, training the trainer sessions involving learning modules in different specialties, and tele-consultations.

“We are sure that the Summit will offer a rewarding experience not only on intellectual but on aesthetic front as well, as the scenic beauty of Visakhapatnam and the many places around will be worth going during your trip. The organizing committee is immensely pleased to be at your service,” said Dr. Ravi Raju, Chair of GHS (India) 2023.

Describing some of the objectives of the GHS, Dr. Prasad Chalasani, Chair of GHS (USA) 2023 said. “We hope to create an intellectually charged platform for experts to share their experiences on some of the common professional issues that still remain a challenge in spite of all the advancement. The exchange of expertise and transfer of technology by the best brains is bound to offer positive and innovative solutions to some of the problems faced by humankind.”

Among the many initiatives that emerge from GHS 2023, a notable action plan will be for AAPI to collaborate with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to initiate an ambitious program to address mental health and wellness of students in high school in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the other initiatives that will be announced during the GHS 2023 include: effective treatment modalities on non-communicable medical diseases, reducing the infant and maternal mortality and HPV Vaccination.

Discussions and deliberations that are being addressed included, the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Management of Chronic diseases and Non Communicable Diseases, and other Global Health issues including Climate Change and its impact on health.

The essence of AAPI is educational. That translates into numerous Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields. The GHS 2023 with the theme of “True and Total Health is the Wellbeing of Mind, Body, and Spirit” has several CME sessions that focus on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as various other medical specialty updates, and Medical Jeopardy.

CME sessions with academicians from the United States offer unique opportunities for local medical staff and healthcare professionals to advance leanings and provide the best possible care for the people of India. The Summit will have a research competition for medical students and post graduate students from all over India. AAPI will confer Awards of excellence and lifetime achievements during the Summit.

“In our quest to fulfill the mission of AAPI, we are proud to share best practices and experiences from leading experts in the world and develop actionable plans and projects that enable access to affordable and quality healthcare for all people. To help accomplish this mission, we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and be part of the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli urged. For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit: www.summit.aapiusa.org and www.GHS2023.com

we are excited to be here in Visakhapatnam and be part of the GHS 2023,” Dr. Kolli urged. For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit: www.summit.aapiusa.org and www.GHS2023.com

Hundreds Of Christians Subjected To Violence In Chhattisgarh, Some Forcibly Converted To Hinduism: Civil Rights Groups

(PTI) Some civil rights groups have claimed that about 1,000 Christian tribals in Chhattisgarh were subjected to violence over their religion and some of them were forcibly converted to Hinduism.

The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism in partnership with All India Peoples Forum, All India Lawyers Association for Justice and United Christian Forum constituted a fact-finding committee which visited the state.

Irfan Engineer, director of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism who led the fact-finding committee, claimed that there is an “organised campaign to forcibly convert Christian Adivasis to Hindu religion”.

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NFAAUM and Indian Caucus of The United Methodist Church in a statement described that  Christian Persecution has been Legitimized by Religious Nationalists in India. “As we prepare to celebrate the joyous birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the promise of a New Year, the Indian National Caucus of The United Methodist Church stands in solidarity with more than 32 million Christians in India who live in anxious and uncertain times. We express our deep concern in the wake of increased developments aimed at persecuting Christians and other minority religious communities in India. These children of God frequently endure harassment and physical abuse when they gather for worship and their houses of worship have been vandalized and demolished with impunity.

“The 2016 Social Principles of The United Methodist Church are clear, “We condemn all overt and covert forms of religious intolerance, being especially sensitive to their expression in media stereotyping. We assert the right of all religions and their adherents to freedom from legal, economic, and social discrimination.”

“The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has consistently detailed reports of religious persecution in India along with its recommendations to the U.S. Department of State and Congress. The Federation of Indian American Christians in North America (FIACONA), as an ecumenical organization representing over 1 million American Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical traditions, has recorded over 400 churches that have been demolished, and 700 incidents of violence against Christians in India in 2022 alone.

“We are alarmed that a Frisco, TX based 501c(3) charity named the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) has increased its public fundraising in the U.S., with the explicitly stated goals to demolish churches and forcefully convert Christians to Hinduism. On December 6, 2022, the city of Frisco, TX held a special hearing where people of all religious backgrounds expressed their outrage that such radical nationalist organizations were permitted to operate on US soil.

“This religious extremist group is one of many radical Hindu nationalist organizations that have sprung up across the United States in recent years. These extremist groups actively sponsor and host US events by inviting Hindu nationalist leaders from India, providing them an ideological platform to legitimate violence against religious minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims. These organizations pose a threat of operation to many US-based social and relief organizations in the most impoverished communities in India.

“The Indian National Caucus of the United Methodist Church asks United Methodists across the denomination to advocate with Congress and the U.S. State Department to investigate and oppose all religious nationalist organizations especially those that legitimate acts of violence, and in particular growing extremist expressions of Hindu nationalism.

“We call on all people of faith to fervently pray for those who are persecuted for their belief and practice and to oppose the demolition of Christian churches and other religious houses of worship. In the name of the Prince of Peace who comes in a spirit of hope and freedom from all oppression, we denounce extremist religious nationalist movements that are contrary to a spirit of mutual respect and recognition and the alleviation of human suffering. We continue to affirm communal safety and security and security and advocate for human dignity and human rights for all.”

Indian Nurses Association Of New York (INANY) Prepares To Install Its New Leadership

Since its inception in 2004, the Indian Nurses Association of New York, as the representative voice of all Indian nurses who came to America, has been opening up unique and innovative socio-professional paths.  In the early years, the goals were to attract more people to the nursing field through scholarships and tuition waivers, while widening the pathways to higher education and continuing education credits required for certification for those already practicing nurses.

The preceding years were aiming at health workshops, seminars and health fares to improving the health and well-being of the community and the society at large. Health fair was instrumental in providing essential services from vital signs to blood tests to mammograms to individuals and families living in areas where public welfare schemes do not reach them.

Rockland Legislative County Vice Chairwoman Dr. Aney Paul was the founding president. The successive presidents could use the strong foundation and organizational structure for vibrant expansion and advancement for INANY. Sosamma Andrews, Usha George, prominent social activist Mary Philip, Tara Shajan, and Dr. Anna George were leading INANY to new heights as a professional nursing association.

INANY has received praise and recognition from New York State Senators to New York City Mayor and Governor Cathy Hochul. In the face of increasing anti-Asian hate related incidents, INANY has partnered with Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to raise awareness of the concerning social in the community and to help them address in safe and evidence-based manner.

INANY is preparing to install its new leadership team for the 2023 – 2024 operating year, promising more extensive professional services to multiple stakeholders. In the election held in October, the current president Dr. Anna George was re-elected as the president unopposed. Vice President Dr. Shyla Roshin, Secretary Alphy Sundroop, Joint Secretary Dr. Jessy Kurian, Treasurer Jaya Thomas and Joint Treasurer Aleyamma Appukuttan are the other executive board members.

President Anna George, PhD, APRN, RN, FNP-C, is an associate professor at Molloy University and a nurse practitioner at Northwell Health, the largest private healthcare network and employer in New York state. As the president she has shown all-round transformational leadership force throughout the last two years in driving INANY in the last two years. Dr. George exemplified how a nurse, aside from its role at work, could bring good things to the health and wellbeing of others and the society.

The presentations she gave at her colleges in New Delhi and Kerala highlighted the contributions nursing and advanced practice nursing contribute to healthcare and showcased the recognition and respect that Nursing as a profession receives in the United States.  She was also the coordinator of religious education at the Saint Mary’s Syro Malabar Catholic parish in Long Island and is teaching the tenth-grade religious classes.

Dr. Shyla Roshin DNP, RN, the incoming vice president is a director of nursing at a New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. She was serving as the chair of the Education Committee in the current term.  To answer the call of the time, she planned and virtually presented multiple mental health programs to the public designed to counter the consequences of the COVID pandemic on the community and healthcare workers.  She also led organization’s continuing education programs for professional nurses.

Secretary-elect Alphy Sundroop MSN, RN is a critical care educator at Nassau University Medical Center. Alphy who serves as the secretary of the Marian Mothers of Long Island’s Saint Mary’s Syro Malabar Catholic parish, has facilitated an easy and smooth election process for INANY during her tenure as the chair of the election committee.

New Joint Secretary Dr. Jessy Kurian DNP, PMHNP-BC, RN, who works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Northwell Health, is a comfort to thousands of individuals and families struggling with mental illness.  Dr. Jessy Kurian has made her mark in the treatment of mental illness by providing the most comprehensive treatment regimens available in the medical field with the compassion of a nurse. She has earned the appreciation of doctors, administration and the nursing community at her workplace.  Dr. Kurian who is taking the title as the joint secretary, has led the INANY’s Byelaws and APRN committees in the past.

New Treasurer Jaya Thomas, PMHNP-BC, FNP, APRN, RN, MSc, who serves as the Assistant Director of Nursing at New York State-owned Creed Moore Psychiatric Center, has been serving as a member of INANY’s Education Committee and Rockland County Coordinator.  She was one of the panelists in a mental health education seminar held for healthcare workers.  She was also the winner of INANY’s annual essay contest in 2022.  She is a ward secretary of Saint Alphonsa Ward of the Saint Mary’s Syro Malabar Catholic parish in Long Island.

The new Joint Treasurer Aleyamma Appukuttan is an active member worker of the organization for a long time.  She has been engaged in various philanthropic and life-saving activities for many years and has invested selfless service for the needy. A nurse of fifty years in Indian military and in the United States, she dedicated a good part of her life to the good of others with extraordinary modesty by organizing soup kitchens, collecting clothes, personal donations to low profile poor and needy and raising funds for projects. In recognition of her all-round humanitarian services, she was awarded the prestigious ‘Global Woman of Excellence’ award in May 2022.  She received the award at a special gala event in the Conference Room of speaker Nancy Pelosi at Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

The term of the governing board is two years.  The formal inauguration of the new committee will take place on January 7th starting at 10 am at a special ceremony at the Tyson Center in Nassau County, Long Island. Elected officials in the area like New York State senator Kevin Thomas, INANY’s founding president and Rockland County Legislative Vice Chair Dr. Aney Paul, North Hempstead Town Clerk Ragini Srivastava, and a prominent nephrologist and Chancellor Xavier University School of Medicine in Aruba, Dr. Ganesh Bhatt will be among the guests.  Suja Thomas, the new president of National Association of Indian Nurses of America will be a keynote speaker. Dr. Anna George noted that the event is open and welcome for all nurses, regardless of their membership status, their families and other well-wishers.

3iii, A Platform for Indian Talent across the Globe

International Indian Icon (3iii) (Three Eye) by Gee Vision Inc. (Gee), Chicago USA is taking over the world as a global talent platform by giving young children and adults the opportunity to showcase their talent without any restrictions of location, culture, color, gender or age at a national and international level. Since its inception in 2017, Dec 30th 2022 Gee Vision Inc. completed 3iii 2022 Season-6 with the huge success 3iii S-6 episode production (Semi-finals, Finale and Grand finale) in n Plainfield, IL Suburb of Chicago) from Dec 29th to Dec 30th 2022. 3iii has reached a platform of 25,562 participants and a world-wide talent from the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia and India with registrations from 46 countries of 7 continents. 1st 3iii S-6 Semi-final i.e., 3iii India 2022 with 102 on-site semi-finalists and 18 on-line semi-finalists (joined through Zoom) from all over Asia was shot in Delhi, India on Dec 26th & 27th 2022.

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2nd 3iii S-6 semi-final and finale with 82 on-site semi-finalists; 23 on-line semifinalists from all over the world and 12 finalists i.e., 3iii India 2022 winners from India (joined through Zoom) was shot in Community Event Center, 24035 W. Riverwalk Ct., Plainfield, IL 60544 with multiple cameras and beautiful stage and 3iii Band by Suneer Mehmood on Dec 29th 2022.

3iii S-6 was judged by Bollywood Music composer, lyricist and singer ARKO, Hollywood actor and music manager BOBBY LEIGH, Ms India 2013 and International celebrity anchor SIMRAN AHUJA which was supported by 3iii International Jury consisting of Bollywood playback singer POONAL BHATIA, Bollywood entertainer from Dubai ABBAS ALI MITZA for singing; Gauri Jog, Pooja Joshi, Bharathi Devarakonda for Dance; Juhi Jigiasi and Pooja Nanjia for Fashion.

3iii Anchor/MC team included Simran Ahuja, Ajai Kumar and RJ Anya Ahuja.  Grand-finale of 3iii 2022 Season-6 was successfully concluded as per plan by declaring following Winners of International Indian Icon (3iii – 2022), Season-6 of different categories and age group.

Singing:

On-site in Chicago;

  • Payal Roy Gaguli (Senior)
  • Tulip Ghosh (Junior)

* On-line through Zoom

  • Sanika Pandey (Junior)

Dance:

* On-site in Chicago

  • Gazal Sethi (Senior)
  • Nayan Nampally (Junior)

Fashion:

* On-site in Chicago

  • Nayan Nampally (Junior)
  • Riya (Senior)

I Got Talent:

* On-site in Chicago

  • Tabla Jugalbandi (Junior):
  • Akshay Talreja Ashwin Nair Viral Patel Tejas Patnaik

* On-line through Zoom

  • Surjeet Singh (Senior)
  • Nihal Banda (Junior)

 

3iii previous 5 seasons have been judged by numerous

  • Bollywood legendary music directors, singers and choreographers like legendary music director Jatin Pandit;
  • Bollywood composer, lyricist and singer Arko Mukherjee,
  • Bollywood Slumdog millionaires choreographer Longinus Fernandez;
  • Bollywood actress Meenakshi Seshadri;
  • Ms India 2013 Simian Ahuja

Show their talent in numerous categories such as Singing, Dancing, Instruments, acting, Fashion, Comedy and I Got Talent (Any Talent) across all 3 age groups Junior (16 Yr.), Senior (55 Years) and Super Senior (More than 55 Years).

The first two seasons of 3iii were aired on Zee TV USA while 3rd and 4th seasons were televised by Sahara One, Samay and Filmy TV channels. Discussion about airing / streaming Season-5 and 6 episodes on some global TV channels/OTT platform is in progress, soon TV channel / OTT platform will be announced.

Talents are recognized in all talent categories across all 3 age groups as State Indian Icon at state level across the country, who are invited to compete at country level to be recognized as Indian Country Icon at country level across the globe and winners of all countries of all categories across all 3 age groups are invited to Chicago, USA to join 3iii Episode Production (Semi-final, Finale & Grand-finale) on-line or onsite during last week of December.

3iii (Three Eye) founded by Mr Sharan Walia, the vision behind the platform for both on-line and on-site competition to not only show the beauty of Indian culture through song, dance, fashion and talent but also allow nonnatives to show their love for Indian culture by performing to Indian songs and dance.

Picture : Asian Media USA

Gee would also like to thank Mr. Naresh Shastri (3iii Execution Director) from Chicago for successfully executing 3iii globally since 3iii 2017 Season-1. Gee thanks 3iii India Partner Mr Ajit Bains and huge support of Mr. Sanjay Yadav in making 3iii India 2022 a huge success. Gee appreciates support of Dr Chidatmika Khatua, founder of Adi Tribal Foundation for collaborating with Gee Vision for Tribal Queen Global (TQG) to empower Tribal women and recognize Tribal talent globally.

Raaj Rahhi as 3iii Director has taken the responsibility of entire 3iii episode production globally to make 3iii episodes to air/stream it globally on multiple TV channels and/or OTT Platform. TV and OTT platforms may contact Gee / 3iii for collaboration opportunities.

Gee would like to thank 3iii Advisory Board, 3iii International Jury and appreciates the volunteer support of Archana Mitta for supporting 3iii 2022 S-6 with her team.

Gee is on the move to create an International on-line and on-site platform 3iii for anyone who likes any type of Indian art and culture, living in any part of the world, without any restrictions of geographical boundaries, culture, color, gender and age to give them opportunity to showcase their talent at National and International Level.

Gee welcomes any talent of any category of any age group, gender, region, religion, and color without any discrimination to participate in 3iii Global talent competition to showcase their talent to the world. Gee has a unique vision and mission of bringing a global talent community at one platform 3iii to share the knowledge, talent, experience and art with each other globally.

3iii 2023 Season-7 plan is being built and registration for the same will open on Apr1st 2023 on both 3iii websites www.internationalindianicon.com and www.3iii.us as well as on 3iii Apps (iOS & Android).

NRI Business Council & Chicago Consulate General Of India Host Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Promotional Community Meet

Indian American Business Council [IABC] in collaboration with the office of the Consulate General of India under the leadership of Ambassador Somnath Ghosh held Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Promotional Community Meet & Reception with the express purpose of mobilizing robust representation and participation of the Indian diaspora from the Chicagoland area held at the Marriot Northwest in Hoffman Estate, Illinois. This promotional community meet attracted 20 community organizations who have stepped up to showcase enthusiastic support and interest in participating at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Indore City, India from January 8-10, 2023.

Several Chicago community’s high profile leaders spoke with Ambassador Somnath Ghosh, Consul General of India taking the lead.  Consul General Somnath Ghosh thanked Indian American Business Council and the participating organizations for their enthusiastic participation and said that it augurs well that the representation from Illinois at PBD will be robust. Consul General Somnath Ghosh eloquently outlined the success story of India and the trajectory of India accelerating economic growth and its march towards global eminence.  Consul General Ghosh urged Indian diaspora to take this opportunity to visit India to attend the PBD to discuss and participate in nation building. Consul General Somnath Ghosh spent time interacting with each organizational groups and acknowledging them for their warm reception.

Earlier, Ajeet Singh, President of Indian American Business Council in his welcome address explained that it is our collective mission to ensure substantial representation of Indian Americans from Illinois at PBD.

Ajeet Singh thanked and acknowledged each of the twenty community organizations for their fervent support and particularly thanked Ambassador Somnath Ghosh and acknowledged Amarbir Ghoman and Harry Ghoman for graciously opening their magnificent Marriot facility to showcase Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event. Ajeet Singh announced IABC will host the ‘Global India Conclave’ in July 2023 in Chicago that will celebrate the magnificent transformational story of India and the sizeable contributions made by the Indian diaspora in India’s march towards global eminence.

Dr. Bharat Barai, prominent leader who was a recipient of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Award from the then President of India – in his remarks – presented an overview and how Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meet has evolved since its inception. Dr. Bharat Barai passionately advocated Indian Americans to attend and participate at the NRI Divas to engage in a conversation that seeks to bring about meaningful outcomes.

Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, Chairman of Illinois Medical Board and a leading Vascular/Interventional Radiologist highlighted the noteworthy role and the contributions of the Indian diaspora in nation rebuilding especially during the pandemic.  Dr. Sreenivas Reddy thanked Consul General Somnath Ghosh for his spirited efforts in galvanizing the community to appraise the significance of participation at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and add that the year 2023 is a momentous year with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, The Global India Conclave in Chicago, Global Peace Festival with Shree Shree Ravi Shankar ji and the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

Earlier, Mr. Amarbir Ghoman, CEO of the Marriot Northwest welcomed the guests and said he is deepy honored to be the host for this important PBD promotional reception.

Indore City Mayor Shri. Pushyamitra Bhargav came on ‘live’ and addressed the gathering and said a historic welcome awaits the Indian diaspora at the PBD meet in his city which he said bears a rich history and rapid industrialization, Indore is famously known for its hospitable people, magnificent palaces and temples, street food, night markets, and more and added it is becoming a preferred destination.  Kailash Vijayvargiya former Mayor of Indore and National General Secretary of BJP party also joined in inviting Indian Americans to join in him at PBD meet.

FIA Chairman Sunil Shah in his introductory remarks said that Federation of Indian Associations are excited to be a part of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas promotional event and said under the aegis of FIA we will mobilize good representation at the Pravasi Divas in Indore, India.

Anand Tiwari of Madhya Pradesh association made a power point presentation that exhibited the evolving beauty of Indore City and how it is rapidly transforming to be the ‘Silicon Valley of the Madhya [middle] Pradesh.

Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, Chair of Indian American Business Council served as the moderator for the event. Dr. Vemuri Murthy of Chicago Medical Society spoke at the event. Vinesh Virani, Executive Vice President of IABC proposed a vote of thanks and especially acknowledge Consular officers Vinod Gautham, Ranjit Singh and TD Bhutiya and others.

27 Eminent Persons Of Indian Origin To Receive PBD Awards in Indore, India

An educationist in Bhutan, a doctor in Brunei and civil society activists in Ethiopia, Israel and Poland were among the 27 people chosen for the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA).

Guyana President Mohamed Irfaan Ali and renowned Canadian scientist Dr Vaikuntam Iyer Lakshmanan are among 27 recipients of the 2023 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award — the highest honor conferred on overseas Indians.

PBSA is conferred by the Hon’ble President of India as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention on Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin or an organization/institution established and run by the Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin in recognition of their outstanding achievements both in India and abroad.

Picture : India Today

The 17th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is scheduled to be held from 8–10 January 2023 at Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards will be conferred by the Hon’ble President of India at the PBD Convention in the valedictory session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations.

Born to an Indo-Guyanese Muslim family, Ali took oath as Presiden in August 2020.

He will also be the chief guest at the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention.

Polish businessman from Goa Amit Kailash Chandra Lath, 45, who helped in the evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine into Poland when war with Russia broke out, is also a recipient of the award.

Scientist and innovator Dr Vaikuntam Iyer Lakshmanan, who moved to Canada in 1974, channeled his passion for community service through supporting organizations like Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and Canada-India Business Council.

He has sponsored clean drinking water systems and a mobile hospital in rural India, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce in 2019.

Among other recipients are FedEx Corporation CEO Rajesh Subramaniam, Australian economist Chennupati Jagadish, and Israel-based chef Reena Vinod Pushkarna.

A Jury-cum-Awards Committee, with Hon’ble Vice-President as the Chairman and Hon’ble External Affairs Minister as the Vice-Chair and other distinguished members from various walks of life considered the nominations for the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards, 2023 and unanimously selected the awardees. The awardees represent the excellence achieved by our diaspora in various fields.

Following is the list of Awardees recommended by Jury-cum-Awards Committee for conferment of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award 2023:

Sr. No. Name Country Field
1
Prof. Jagadish Chennupati

Australia

Science & Technology/ Education

2
Prof. Sanjeev Mehta

Bhutan

Education

3
Prof. Dilip Loundo

Brazil

Art & Culture/Education

4
Dr. Alexander Maliakel John

Brunei Darussalam

Medicine

5
Dr. Vaikuntam Iyer Lakshmanan

Canada

Community Welfare

6
Mr. Joginder Singh Nijjar

Croatia

Art & Culture/Education

7
Prof. Ramjee Prasad

Denmark

Information Technology

8
Dr. Kannan Ambalam

Ethiopia

Community Welfare

9
Dr. Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay

Germany

Community Welfare/Medicine

10
H.E. Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

Guyana

Politics/Community Welfare

11
Ms. Reena Vinod Pushkarna

Israel

Business/Community Welfare

12
Dr. Maqsooda Sarfi Shiotani

Japan

Education

13
Dr. Rajagopal

Mexico

Education

14
Mr. Amit Kailash Chandra Lath

Poland

Business/Community Welfare

15
Mr. Parmanand Sukhumal Daswani

Republic of Congo

Community Welfare

16
Mr. Piyush Gupta

Singapore

Business

17
Mr. Mohanlal Hira

South Africa

Community Welfare

18
Mr. Sanjaykumar Shivabhai Patel

South Sudan

Business/Community Welfare

19
Mr. Sivakumar Nadesan

Sri Lanka

Community Welfare

20
Dr. Dewanchandrebhose Sharman

Suriname

Community Welfare

21
Dr. Archana Sharma

Switzerland

Science & Technology

22
Justice Frank Arthur Seepersad

Trinidad & Tobago

Community Welfare/Education

23
Mr. Siddharth Balachandran

UAE

Business/Community Welfare

24
Mr. Chandrakant Babubhai Patel

UK

Media

25
Dr. Darshan Singh Dhaliwal

USA

Business/Community Welfare

26
Mr. Rajesh Subramaniam

USA

Business

27
Mr. Ashok Kumar Tiwary

Uzbekistan

Business

New Delhi
January 02, 2023

For more details on: Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards-2023
https://mea.gov.in/press-releases.htm?dtl/36078/Pravasi+Bharatiya+Samman+Awards2023

26th Annual Convention Of AAPI-QLI Held In New York

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Queens Long Island, AAPIQLI, celebrated its 26th Annual Convention at the Crest Hollow Country Club on Dec 17th, 2022, under the leadership of President Dr. Vinni Jayam, and Convention Chair, Dr. Jagat Rawal.

More than 550 people attended according to organizers. The Chief Guest was Dr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Catholic Health Services. Guests of Honor included Dr. Chuck Lucore, CEO of St. Francis Hospital and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a press release from AAPIQLI said. The attendees included physicians, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and industry leaders.

Picture : TheUNN

“The presence of illustrious community leaders like Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Dr. Rap Anumolu, Nassau County Republican Party head and numerous state legislators made the event more memorable,” Dr. Jayam told Desi Talk.

Speaking at the event about AAPIQLI activities and accomplishments through the year, Dr. Jayam elaborated on the ‘Three Pillars’ – Educational, Service and Charitable endeavors, that underlie the initiatives that the organization undertakes.

Under the Service category, the organization created a Service Committee to oversee activities to encourage members to engage with their local communities. A number of blood donation camps, flu shot camps, and medical seminars were among the activities. “One of the biggest upshots has been the creation of a Mental Health Hotline,” Dr. Jayam said. “And the other crown jewel is the Annual Continuing Medical symposium Education,” held in Nov 2022, with illustrious speakers, he noted. The AAPIQLI also held a student medical research day to recognize outstanding students from New York State. For the first time a Mentorship Committee was formed to help students coming from India, with finding jobs, skills to apply, and even including legal counsel.

The Chief Guest Dr. O’Shaughnessy and the Guests of Honor Dr. Lucore, and Blakeman, during their speeches, praised AAPIQLI for work done. “They were amazed at the breadth of achievements of the organization,” Dr. Jayam told Desi Talk.

Picture : TheUNN

One of the highlights of the event was honoring some of the most accomplished physicians in the Greater New York Tri-state area. The Honorees this year were: Richard Shlofmitz, Chairman of Cardiology at St. Francis Hospital and Service Line Director of Cardiology for the Catholic Health; Meena Bansal, Professor of Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine and Director of Transplant Hepatology Fellowship and Translational Research in the Division of Liver Diseases at Mount Sinai Health center; Rohan Ramakrishna, Chief of Neurosurgery at New York-Presbyterian/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital & Weill Cornell Medical College; and, Bhavani Srinivasan, the Lifetime Service Awardee.

The celebration included a dance performance by the AATMA Group with music by Dr. Biba Singh. Program was conducted by Dr. Sunil Mehra. The AAPIQLI leadership praised the efforts of the team including – Dr. Jagdish Gupta, chair of the Board of Trustees; Dr. Abhay Malhotra, immediate Past President; Dr. Devendra Shrivastava, co chair, Dr. Venu Pall, co-chair; Dr. Raj Bhayani, media chair and others.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media told ITV Gold which covered the event, described the event as “a great gathering of doctors” from the greater New York area. He praised the organization for doing “great work.”

The AAPIQLI is a non-profit organization formed in June 1995, under the leadership of Dr. Narendra Hadpawat. The Inaugural dinner was held at Leonard’s of Great Neck, NY attended by about 150 physicians. Today AAPIQLI is the largest chapter of the national American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

A Tribute To Mahatma Gandhiji

A statue of Mahatma Gandhiji, the founding father of India, was unveiled at the United Nations headquarters on the North lawn, among other statues and artifacts, on 14th Dec 2022, which is meticulously translated as a proud historic moment for Indians worldwide. The bust was a gift to the United Nations from India, which holds the Security Council’s presidency this month.

Mahatma Gandhi led a non-violent movement that helped end British rule in India in 1947, and his legacy inspired many social campaigns and civil resistance.

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said, “Today, when the world grapples with violence, armed conflicts, and humanitarian emergencies, these Gandhian ideals must continue to guide our actions in ensuring peace and stability around the world.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Gandhi an uncompromising advocate for peaceful co-existence, non-discrimination, and pluralism. He said the bust would serve as a reminder of the values Gandhi upheld. The United Nations and the principle of Gandhi’s non-violence are wanted more than ever and are needed at this time of trials humanity faces. Let’s break the division among nations and bring peace with non- violence messages for a sustainable and politically stable world.

Gandhi, laid the proper foundation of the largest democracy in the world with the principles of non-violence. Let Gandhi’s message of non-violence be a cornerstone for nation-building and an example to all world leaders.

Gandhiji’s principle of non-violence is reflected in the United Nations Charter.

Mahatma Gandhi was honored not only at this time but from 2007 United Nations is observing his birthday on October 2nd as ‘The Day of Non-Violence’ around the world.

The International Day of Non-Violence

(October 2nd, the Birthday of Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi)

Picture : TheUNN

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on October 2nd, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

According to General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/271 of June 15th, 2007, which established the commemoration, International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness.” The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding, and non-violence.”

India co-hosted the event and South Africa on October 2nd, 2007, at the General Assembly Hall. INC leader Ms. Sonia Gandhi, former Indian President and Foreign Minister, late Shri Pranab Mukerji (at the time), Shri Rahul Gandhi, Rev. Jessie Jackson, and Congress leaders from Kerala were attended

Introducing the resolution in the General Assembly on behalf of 140 co-sponsors, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Anand Sharma, said that the broad and diverse sponsorship of the resolution was a reflection of the universal respect for Mahatma Gandhi and the enduring relevance of his philosophy. Quoting the late leader’s own words, he said: “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man”.

The name Mahatma Gandhi transcends the bounds of race, religion, and nation-states and has emerged as the prophetic voice of the twenty-first century. The world remembers Gandhi not just for his passionate adherence to the practice of non-violence and supreme humanism but as the benchmark against which we test men and women in public life, political ideas and government policies, and the hopes and wishes of our shared planet.

The principle of non-violence — also known as non-violent resistance — rejects physical violence to achieve social or political change. Often described as “the politics of ordinary people,” this form of social struggle has been adopted by mass populations worldwide in campaigns for social justice.

Observance of ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ Oct. 2nd, 2013

Picture : TheUNN

A special event at the UN marked the International Day of Non-Violence, held annually on Oct. 2nd, the birthday of non-violence pioneer Mahatma Gandhi.

During the event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) receives a gift from Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Permanent Representative of India to the UN. General Assembly President also attended. Singer Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and sons performed a musical concert at the event dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi’s life. This life-size portrait of Mahatma Gandhi was displayed at the General Assembly Building.

Observance of ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ Oct. 2nd, 2014

Picture : TheUNN

Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, greets Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs of India, at the special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence, organized by the Permanent Mission of India. The Day of Non-Violence is commemorated on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the non-violence philosophy, as an occasion to disseminate the message of non-violence. The Portrait of Gandhi was displayed at the UN GA Hall.

Global Indian Council Leaders’ views of Mahatma Gandhi, on the occasion of Gandhiji’s bust was unveiled at the United Nations’ headquarters on the North lawn on 14th Dec 2022.

“The great Mahatma who touched the hearts of the villagers of India and who became potential for our freedom, everlasting respect and honor to Gandhiji”, stated P C Mathew, President of Global Indian Council.

Mahatma Gandhi fought for the freedom of India and won. He inspired and lit the fire everywhere for fights against shackles of all kinds. Shackles of colonization, race, and gender as well. It is appropriate that Mahatma Gandhi’s statue is being put up in the UN as the epitome of Freedom, Peace & Tolerance: – Jija Harisingh, GIC Goodwill Ambassador.

Mahatma, as the father of a great nation, was trying to put himself last among all his fellow- creatures. This mindset is what we do not see among our current political leaders and even the so-called religious leaders. Let the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the UN headquarters remind the Global leaders and Nations about his still relevant principles: remarked Prof. Joy Pallattumadom, VP GIC.

Gandhiji, who laid the true foundation of the largest democracy in the world with the principles of non-violence, an icon of the world and an iconic figure of Ahimsa, will decorate the United Nations to remind the world of the way to work towards peace: -Sudhir Nambiar, GIC, General Secretary.

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most outstanding leaders of his time, and he proved that one man had the power to take on an empire using ethics and intelligence. Having the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the UN complex is a proud moment for every Indian: -Tara Shajan, GIC, Treasurer.

The concept of Gandhi’s non-violence became more necessary at this point in life. Every Indian must be so proud that our national father has some place in the United Nations. Being an Indian American, Gandhi is always in our hearts. Let Gandhi’s message of non-violence reach the world for peace. Let the war stop in people’s hearts: – Tom Kolath, GIC, Associate Treasurer.

Unveiling Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the UN is an utmost honor not only for Indians but to mankind, recognizing his legacy and principles in this modern age speaks volumes. As GIC is embarking on it journey in integrating and connecting professionals of Indian origin across the globe, this recognition of Gandhi in UN is a catalyst for our mission: said Dr. Anil Paulose, President, GIC NY Chapter

In fact, Global Indian Council has recently produced a short film “The footprints” touching the life Gandhiji, which proudly won six Awards at the International Film Festival held at Mumbai last month.

Created & reported by:

Saji Charuvil Thomas

Media and Business Promoter, GIC New York Chapter

Founding Member & Brand Ambassador, GIC National

Former International Civil Servant at the United Nations, New York

NRI Groups Suggest Diaspora-Friendly Measures In Letter To India Ahead Of PBD

US-based diaspora organizations have enumerated a list of suggestions that will benefit the international delegates attending the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) conference, set to take place in Indore on January 8-10, 2023.

Picture : TheUNN

In a letter addressed to V. Muraleedharan, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, the Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA), Federation of Indian Associations of NY NJ CT NE (FIA), Association of Indians in America (AIA), Bihar Jharkhand Assoc. of North America (BAJNA), Gujarati Assoc. of North America (GANA) and the Brahmin Samaj of North America, presented their demands and expectations from the upcoming conference.

The 17th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2023 will take place in January in Indore. Every year on the 9th of January, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas holiday is observed to honour the contribution of the Indian community living abroad who contributes to the growth of India. Additionally, it honours Gandhi’s journey back to India from South Africa on the 9th of January, 1915.

Since 2015, its structure has changed to recognize Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) once every 2 years and to organize Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Conferences with involvement from policymakers, stakeholders, and experts from the abroad community.

Dr. Avinash Gupta Elected Executive Vice President Of FIA Tri-State

Dr. Avinash Gupta, chief of Cardiology and president-elect of the medical staff at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC) in New Jersey has been elected the Executive Vice President of The Federation of Indian Associations. Current President Kenny Desai will continue in his 2nd term as the President of the FIA.

The largest Indian American organization along with its member bodies held its Annual General Meeting on Sunday, December 4th, 2023. The general body meeting was to share an overview of the compliance of all member organizations and to assess the overall workings of the FIA and its activities. In addition, the meeting motioned and approved 6 FIA resolutions to the FIA bylaws.

The Unanimously elected Executive Committee for the year 2023 was announced during the event. FIA Election Board praised the efforts and participation of the FIA women’s team, three of whom have been elected to serve in the 2023 Executive team.

The new 2023 Executive team that will lead the FIA efforts:
President Kenny Desai will continue in his 2nd term as the President of the FIA
Executive Vice President: Dr. Avinash Gupta
Vice President: Saurin Parikh
Vice President: Smitamiki Patel
General Secretary: Nishi Dhami
Joint Secretary: Mahesh Dubbal
Treasurer: Priti Patel
Joint Treasurer: Haresh Shah
Immediate Past President: Anil Bansal

Kenny Desai who was elected unanimously for the second term said that he is honored to be heading the committee yet again and looked forward to another year of successful events which will make our motherland India shine again in our homeland the United States of America.

Picture : TheUNN

Dr. Avinash Gupta, who was awarded the Humanitarian Award in October this year, for his exemplary work in public health and social service during the pandemic, in the U.S. and in India, is an alumni of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi

The award was given for Dr. Gupta’s remarkable services and involvement in Covid relief work, a press release said. He launched a tele-consultation service for the needy during the 2021 wave of Covid-19 in India; attended to over 1,000 patients with his wife Dr. Geeta Gupta; helped raise over $250,000 for medical relief in India; helped Patna based non profit AASTHA to establish a 10-bed Covid Care Center; and was part of the team of doctors who sent medicines and oxygen concentrators to India. In the U.S., he virtually consulted Indians without medical insurance during the pandemic lockdown.

“Dr Gupta’s service is an inspiration for many. His community leadership continues to glow,” Consul General Jaiswal said. Deputy Consul General Jeph also congratulated Gupta praising his online consultations with Covid patients in Jharkhand and Bihar.

FIA Chairman Vaidya praised Gupta saying his service as a cardiologist shows his love and care for India and the U.S. Bihar Foundation chairman Kumar said Gupta getting the award on the eve of Diwali was remarkable, and also complimented the good work Gupta and his wife have been doing of providing assistance to Indian medical students in the U.S.

In the U.S., Gupta led a team of 50 doctors and healthcare professionals to vaccinate 3,500 Indian Americans in Ocean County, New Jersey. As a president of Monmouth Country American Association of Physicians from India (AAPI), he helped raise $150,000 to Monmouth and Ocean County Food Bank. Gupta led the community leaders’ team in establishing the Siddhivinayak Temple and Indian Cultural Center in Toms River in 2012.

Society Of Indo-American Engineers And Architects (SIAEA) Celebrates Its 40th Annual Gala In New York City

The Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects hosted their 40th Annual Gala on Saturday, November 12, 2022, which was attended by over 600 members and their guests.  The theme of the Gala was the “Power of Diversity and Inclusion”.  This theme reflects upon the diversity of groups and celebrates its uniqueness. It’s about helping people feel that they belong and that their contribution matters.

Pictutre : TheUNN

Ketan shah, SIAEA President addressed that Our theme for the gala this year is ‘Power of Diversity and Inclusion’, and this theme could not have come at a better time, when so much is changing all around us. This theme is represented tonight not only in words, but in our special guests, honorees, and all the attendees in the audience too. Each person brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong sense of hard work, resilience, and future endeavors.  A key part of the Gala is to recognize and award professionals who have contributed to the architectural, engineering and construction industry and to provide scholarships to a select group of current students who may need financial assistance.

The SIAEA President, Ketan Shah, says this of the Gala: “The Gala is our biggest event of year.  My Executive Committee and I have worked diligently for months to create an event that is fun and honors individuals that have excelled in their professions.  It’s a night of music, food, and friends”.

Many elected officials and dignitaries also attended the event to congratulate the award honorees and the scholarship recipients. Long-time supporter and SIAEA friend, former NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson was there along with NY State Assembly Members Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelym and Jenifer Rajkumar. Mr. Vipul Dev from the Indian Consul General Office was present as well.

Picture : TheUNN

The Keynote Speaker for the Gala was Mr. Gordon Tung.  Mr. Tung is a Vice President at NYC School Construction Authority.  He has over 450 professionals under him and is responsible for a $18.7 billion capital plan.  The Chief Guest of the evening was Jamila Glean who is a Vice President at the Division of Minority & Women Business Development at the Empire State Development Corporation. Big supporters and long-time SIAEA sponsors, Past Presidents Nayan Parikh and Mihir Patel, also made sure that the Gala was a huge success.

Speaking about the SIAEA, Executive Board Member Chitra Radin said “SIAEA provides an opportunity for the engineers, architects, planners, and construction professionals of the Indo-American community to come together to exchange ideas and help one another professionally. SIAEA also encourages our youth to pursue careers in these fields by offering them scholarships.”  Throughout the year, SIAEA offers technical seminars re-enforcing our on-going commitment to professional growth for our members.

The following is the list of 2022 SIAEA Award Honorees.  For the Honorees, each year, SIAEA selects individuals who have distinguished themselves for their vision and their commendable contributions to our professions.

2022 Special Honoree Awards:

Vipul Dev – Consul (Political and PIC) of India

Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner, International Affairs, New York City

Aileen del Prado, Senior, Director, NYC School Construction

2022 Honoree Awards:

Ali Chaudhry, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, AECOM

Sandeep Mehrotra, Vice President, Hazen & Sawyer

Hermie Patel, President, AME

Jayesh Patel, Principal, Crest Engineering

Chitra Radin, President, Radin Consulting

Darsh Shah, Associate Principal, Super Structure

2022 Award Honoree for Under 40

Priya Shah, Associate, Gensler

It was a fun evening with dance, music, food, and friends.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones. It was time to recognize individuals who have made contributions in their respective fields as well as recognize the young students who will be the future of tomorrow. At the conclusion of the event, SIAEA President reiterated that “the success of this Gala is because of the hard work performed by our Executive Committee and the three Gala co-chairs (Mitul Patel, Chitra Radin and Yogesh Mistry).  And, of course, we are very thankful to our supporters and sponsors without whom this event would not be

Ayyappa Swami Padi Puja Held In New Jersey

The Sai Pariwar North Brunswick (SPNB) celebrated Ayyappa Swamy Padi Puja (Sastha Preethi) on Sunday, December 4, 2022, at the Sai Mandir in North Brunswick.

Attended by more than 200 devotees, the celebration comprised of more than four hours of spiritual activities including Saibaba Kakada Aarathi, Lord Ganesha & Lord Murugan Puja, Abhishekham, Parayanam, Alankaram, Bhajans & Archana, which were followed by Saibaba Madhyahna Aarathi and Prasadam. Sai Pariwar’s volunteers, supporters and devotees worked together to make the event a success.

Lord Ayyappa is also known as Sastha, Dharmasastha, and Manikantha, and is widely worshiped in the South of India, especially in Kerala. Known as the God of Self-Control, Ayyappa is believed to embody truth, righteousness and dharma and is considered to annihilate evil.

The North Brunswick Saibaba Temple was established by the Sai Pariwar to meet the community’s  need for a cultural and community center for all. Like all Saibaba temples, the SPNB has been open to all and conducts programs to help build strong communities through imbibing cultural values.

The temple holds regular aarati, and Bhajans, and also undertakes other religious services such as abhishekam, gruha pravesham, homam, aksharabhyasam, archana, saibaba ashtothara archana, gruha puja, ground breaking, weddings, engagements, namakaranam, sai vratham, satyanarayana vratham, baby shower, 60th birthday celebrations, upnayanam, car puja, both at the temple and outside locations.

Other activities of SPNB include workshops in Yoga and Holistic Healing, classes in Dance, Mathematics, Hindi and Sanskrit. Among the temple’s upcoming events are a Hanuman Puja and a Free Healthcare Camp on December 8, 2022.

SPNB is managed by a board of trustees which include President Surendra Katthula, Treasurer Anil Bhatt, Ananda Aravapalli, Srinivasa Eswarapu, Mukund Parikh, Parul Patel, Dr. Annankoil Srinivasan, and Surendra Velagapudi.

To continue its activities on a bigger scale, SPNB has planned a large new Saibaba Temple and Cultural Center in North Brunswick Township, on Route 130, next to Shoprite Complex. The new temple will have parking facility on premises and handicap access. The trustees and the executive committee of SPNB aims to complete the construction soon on the land which is already acquired, by raising $3 million in philanthropical support and donations. The new temple will be five minutes away from the current location, and, like the current one, will bring devotees from various communities together under one roof to worship Saibaba.Ar

AAPI’s Share The Warmth Program Brings Comfort To The Needy Across The USA

“As the wintry weather is upon us, we at AAPI want to continue the tradition of providing comfort and warmth to those that need the help most during this holiday season,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). “Therefore, we are renewing the tradition under the `Share the Warmth AAPI 2022 Blanket Drive` and request your support to make this initiative a success and impactful.”

For several years, AAPI at the national level and various local chapters at the state level have been jointly leading efforts to bring warmth and cheer into the lives of the needy across the United States. This program was started in 2019 and it has now become an annual tradition of giving by AAPI to local communities. AAPI’s “Share the Warmth” project has donated thousands of blankets to the poor and the needy in several homeless shelters  across the nation.

“I am very happy to inform you that AAPI with local chapters Share a Blanket program going extremely well and I am proud to say that more than 30 Chapters have come ahead to join the program, said Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Vice Chair AAPI Board of Trustees and Chair, Share A Blanket program.

“The goal of the program is for AAPI to work with as many local chapters throughout the nation and function as one entity which is working very well. I request every one of you to make a generous donation to this fund and your contribution would surely give great comfort to the needy and bring a big smile to their faces. Anything would help. Every dollar you donate would make a difference for someone.”

“We at AAPI are extremely grateful for the opportunities we have been blessed with to serve the communities we live in and work in,” said Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of APPI BOT. “ As a token of our appreciation and gratitude, we believe we need to give back and serve the less fortunate in our society in times of their need. Please contribute generously of any amount and each $15 dollars you donate can provide a blanket to the person in need.”

Dr. Kolli, while expressing gratitude and appreciation to the numerous AAPI chapters for organizing the blanket drives around the nation said, “Realizing how this initiative benefits several needy in the community, gives us the motivation to organize many such events and give back to the local community. We strongly feel that we can accomplish much more with support and participation from all our generous AAPI physicians. So, please click this link https://aapiusa.org/blanket-program/ to donate and  your contributions are being matched up to the first $10,000 by the generous sponsor ATG Tours”

AAPI launched the “Share-A-Blanket” project during the holiday season in 2019 during the presidency of Dr. Suresh Reddy to bring warmth to the needy and Dr. Binod Sinha, founder President of NJ AAPI in New Jersey organized and conducted it successfully that year and since then it has been held annually by AAPI and local patron chapters of AAPI.

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), founded in 1982  is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, representing the interests of over 120,000 physicians of Indian origin. In addition to several programs in India, AAPI  and has been advocating for the interests of the medical fraternity and organizes regular CME programs, health & wellness events,  and financial workshops for its members and outreach, public health education, and advocacy activities for the community both locally and internationally. For more details and to join the Share-A-Blanket Drive in your state/community, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

BJP Supporters Celebrates BJP Win In Gujarat

Hundreds of people happy with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s return to power in the recent state elections, came together to celebrate the victory at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, New Jersey. It marks the beginning of many such events being organized and held around the United States and the rest of the Indian diaspora.

Tri-state community leaders from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and surrounding areas, joined in congratulating leaders in India who were instrumental in achieving the BJP victory. They all praised the “hard work and dedication” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who hails from Gujarat, and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel for carrying out the vision of the Prime Minister and the task of development in that Indian state.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold television which covered the visibly joyous event, called it a historic moment, and congratulated Prime Minister Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, adding, “Let us know what we can do to help Mother India.”

Picture : TheUNN

Dr. Vithal Dhaduk also described Modi as a superb, hardworking and dedicated leader and thanked the people of Gujarat for recognizing his qualities and bringing BJP back to the helm, as well as reinstalling Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel. Speaking later to Parikh Worldwide Mdiea, Dhaduk emphasized how the people of Gujarat who put their trust in Modi, “did what was best for the state. I wish the same success for national elections in 2024.”

Shobhna Patel of Royal Albert’s Palace, noted this was the first time that the venue was holding a BJP victory party, and called it an honor. She expressed the hope that BJP would win the 2024 general election in India, calling Modi a visionary, hardworking leader who had “made India Number One globally.” Addressing the crowd, she said BJP truly represents its name – a party of the people.

Dr. Sudha Parikh said she was proud of Modi and called it a historic victory, adding, “It is a one man show. We are very proud of his work for all of India.”

Pramod Bhagat of World Peace and Health Foundation, also lauded the BJP victory and thanked Parikh Worldwide Media for covering the celebrations, hoped that “Bharat Vishwa-guru bane” – that India become a teacher of the world. Speaking to ITV Gold, Bhagat praised Indians and Indian-Americans present for braving sub-zero temperatures to make it to the event in the middle of a work week.

Jagdish Sewhani called the Royal Albert’s Palace event, the biggest celebration outside India to date, with many more to come. The “younger generation can say they were here when the historic moment happened. Thanks to all for coming at such short notice,” Sewhani added. Speaking to ITV Gold he said, “People were pro-incumbency, for development, development, development,” he said. “Gujarrati Janata is smart – it believes nothing comes for free for the state or the country.” He praised Modi as a charismatic leader who held not only 31 public meetings, but also led a road-show for 50 kms where streets were lined with people.

Albert Jasani, founder of Royal Albert’s Palace, said he was grateful to organizers including Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold, and the many people attending. He praised Modi and said he was a longtime friend of the Prime Minister.

Mukesh Kashiwala of the Indian American Community of North America said tri-state organizers and leaders had come together to celebrate the event. “Today we are celebrating the greatest victory in India and Gujarat. Today, we have gathered people from the tristate area organizations, to show their solidarity.” He also thanked Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold for covering the event for viewers to see. “We should support whoever is doing good for India,” he said.

AAPI Share the Warmth Program Brings Comfort to the Needy across the USA

(Chicago, IL: December 10, 2022) “As the wintry weather is upon us, we at AAPI want to continue the tradition of providing comfort and warmth to those that need the help most during this holiday season,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). “Therefore, we are renewing the tradition under the `Share the Warmth AAPI 2022 Blanket Drive` and request your support to make this initiative a success and impactful.”

Picture : TheUNN

For several years, AAPI at the national level and various local chapters at the state level have been jointly leading efforts to bring warmth and cheer into the lives of the needy across the United States. This program was started in 2019 and it has now become an annual tradition of giving by AAPI to local communities. AAPI’s “Share the Warmth” project has donated thousands of blankets to the poor and the needy in several homeless shelters  across the nation.

“I am very happy to inform you that AAPI with local chapters Share a Blanket program going extremely well and I am proud to say that more than 30 Chapters have come ahead to join the program, said Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Vice Chair AAPI Board of Trustees and Chair, Share A Blanket program.

“The goal of the program is for AAPI to work with as many local chapters throughout the nation and function as one entity which is working very well. I request every one of you to make a generous donation to this fund and your contribution would surely give great comfort to the needy and bring a big smile to their faces. Anything would help. Every dollar you donate would make a difference for someone.”

“We at AAPI are extremely grateful for the opportunities we have been blessed with to serve the communities we live in and work in,” said Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of APPI BOT. “ As a token of our appreciation and gratitude, we believe we need to give back and serve the less fortunate in our society in times of their need. Please contribute generously of any amount and each $15 dollars you donate can provide a blanket to the person in need.”

Dr. Kolli, while expressing gratitude and appreciation to the numerous AAPI chapters for organizing the blanket drives around the nation said, “Realizing how this initiative benefits several needy in the community, gives us the motivation to organize many such events and give back to the local community. We strongly feel that we can accomplish much more with support and participation from all our generous AAPI physicians. So, please click this link https://aapiusa.org/blanket-program/ to donate and  your contributions are being matched up to the first $10,000 by the generous sponsor ATG Tours”

AAPI launched the “Share-A-Blanket” project during the holiday season in 2019 during the presidency of Dr. Suresh Reddy to bring warmth to the needy and Dr. Binod Sinha, founder President of NJ AAPI in New Jersey organized and conducted it successfully that year and since then it has been held annually by AAPI and local patron chapters of AAPI.

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), founded in 1982  is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, representing the interests of over 120,000 physicians of Indian origin. In addition to several programs in India, AAPI  and has been advocating for the interests of the medical fraternity and organizes regular CME programs, health & wellness events,  and financial workshops for its members and outreach, public health education, and advocacy activities for the community both locally and internationally. For more details and to join the Share-A-Blanket Drive in your state/community, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

 

 

 

GOPIO-Edison & Edison Public Library Organize Diwali, Thanksgiving Celebration

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin Edison NJ Chapter (GOPIO-Edison, NJ) hosted the “Diwali & Thanksgiving” celebration at North Branch of Library in Edison, NJ. The event was fully subscribed, and the audience came with family and children to participate. This was the third successful event organized by GOPIO-Edison since it was relaunched in March 2022.

The program started with lightening of lamps by dignitaries including Edison Councilman Ajay Patil, GOPIO Edison Chapter President Pallavi Verma Belwariar and GOPIO Life member Dr. Ramesh Pandey. GOPIO-Edison Team members also joined to light the lamp. The Library Hall was beautifully decorated with garlands, photobooth and welcome desk.

The Diwali Event Started with registration networking with tea that had generated lots of interest and people started coming from the Tristate area. Many came with their families to join the celebration and cultural event at the Edison Public Library. Before the start of the event, audiences enjoyed the tea and snacks and the opportunity for attendees to interact freely.

GOPIO–Edison Chapter President Pallavi Verma welcomed everyone. She appreciated the community coming together for the two major celebrations. She gave a brief about GOPIO-Edison which was relaunched in March 2022 and successfully conducted a “India Book Launch” event on April 10th in the same library in partnership with Indian Consulate, NY and another event on November 6th for “Investment and retirement planning” with experts. The community had very enthusiastically participated in both the events and was fully subscribed. Emcees for the Diwali event were Srishti Agrawal and Anumegha Saxena and both conducted the program very well, engaging the audiences with games and bringing each participant to stage.

The cultural celebration event participants were Mohita, Arhan, Dyksha, Verchas, Verad, Kaivalya and Hanshit. The event also saw singing by Pratibha, Yogesh, along with Pallavi singing some popular bollywood numbers for entertainment.

At the end, all participants were given appreciation certificates for their participation. The program ended with GOPIO-Edison Board member Chitranjan Sahay Belwariar giving vote of thanks to all the participants, Library staff, media partners, and audiences. 

He also thanked Dr Thomas Abraham, Chairman GOPIO International for his guidance for the GOPIO-Edison. Ritesh agrawal managed the registration desk and guided the audience for the event and provided the benefits of becoming a member of GOPIO-Edison Chapter. The link for membership is tinyurl.com/GOPIO-EDISON-MEMBERSHIP.

The president of the chapter, Pallavi Verma and GOPIO Edison team were very encouraged to see audience turnout of the event and they have lined up some more events in Edison Public Library which they explained in details and can be found on GOPIO-Edison Facebook page www.Facebook.com/GOPIO-Edison Those who want to donate may contact GOPIO-Edison at 848-459-5918 or send an e-mail [email protected] or send donation using www.paypal.me/GOPIOEdison

Vaishnav Temple Of New York’s Grand Annakut Mahotsav And Govardhan Puja

Over 2500 devotees and deputy commissioner Dilp Chauhan attended Vaishnav Temple of New York’s Grand Annakut Mahotsav and Govardhan Puja On Octobr 30th, 2022. Vaishnav Temple of New York held its annual Annakut  as part of Diwali Celebration. Annakut celebration was attended by more than  2,500 devotees. 

Picture : TheUNN

As per a press release, all the devotees experienced a divine darshan of Lord Shrinathji to began their new year. The festiveness were enjoyed by all ages both young and old. All Devotees were invited to take Mahaprasad before leaving the temple. Vaishnav Temple of New York is always glad to such a tremendous turnout for this special event. 

Established in 1988, The Vaishnav Temple of New York is the first traditional ‘Pushtimargiya’ temple in North America. We have been fortunate enough to have Shri Govardhannathji Prabhu enhance our lifestyles by his presence in New York for For more than twenty five years through our beloved temple.  The Vaishnav Temple of New York holds many religious activities every year. 

The Vaishnav Temple of New York also, serves as community service center whose purpose is to enrich people lives. Vaishnav Temple of New York participates in many community services such as Senior Citizen Center, Computer Classes, Gujarati Class, Yoga Class, and Health Fairs. Vaishnav temple also supports HELP ( Human Enrichment by Love & Peace) which aids those struggling after facing natural disasters.

Anil Shah, Trustee  of Temple said –  With divine grace of God we have some many devotees participated in todays Annakutotsav,  I really appreciate my Trustees, Board members  Temple committee, Volunteers for their hard work.

President Jaymin Shah stated that Vaisnavs celebrate Annakut because this day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill at his fingertips to save the people of Vrindavan from natur’s fury. Annakut, or mountain of food, is symbolic of the Govradhan Hill.

Special Guest Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan mentioned in his speech that “I command the great volunteers work to organize such an amazing Annakutotsav.  I appreciate the  President Jaimin Shah   as well as Trustee  Anil Shah for putting this amazing event together. This event Lifestylecan not possible without tireless work from the Volunteers.”

Current Trustee Board members are: Anil Shah – Chairman, Harshad Patel, Arvind Dharia, Govind Akruwala, Govind Butala, Harish Parikh, Hiten Shah, Mayur Shah, Mukund Mehta, Narendra Shah, Dr. Padmakant Shah, Pravin Parikh, Rohit Sakaria, Setu Shah, Vinod Shah. President – Jaimin Shah, Vice Presidents are Atul Sakaria, Manish Shah, Parthiv Shah, Pradip Parikh, Secretary – Kumar Mathuria, and Treasurer – Pravin Parikh.

Share & Care Helps Over 100,000 Individuals In 2022

The New Jersey-based Share & Care has announced two significant milestones of humanitarian service Nov. 29, 2022. According to the non-profit, by the year’s end 2022, it will have distributed more than $80 million in aid in its 40-year history. The Foundation has provided vital aid to more than 100,000 men, women, and children thus far in 2022 alone, a press release from SCF said.

Picture : TheUNN

“I would like to thank our loyal donors, 12,000 strong, for their tremendous outpouring of support throughout the years, and I look forward to meeting them in person in 2023 at our 40th annual gala celebration,” Saumil Parikh, Share & Care Foundation president is quoted saying in the press release. Parikh also recognized the more than 70 volunteers from different generations and lifelong volunteers for working “tirelessly to ensure every donation goes to those most in need.”

The organization is urging donors to help it reach its goal of impacting 150,000 individuals in 2022, by visiting its website. As pandemic-related needs ease, the Foundation says it has renewed its focus on core pre-Covid pillars of support: Women’s empowerment, healthcare to unreached, educate for success, educate to graduate, and village upliftment.

To prove its success on the ground, SCF offered the story of two beneficiaries, Annapurna Parmar who lived in a community where there were many lepers, and members of her family were beggers. She struggled to study and dropped out in the 10th grade, but began to love dance as she attended the Loving Community Center. She was spotted by an ashram volunteer who took her under his wing, and she rejoined school, became a proficient dancer, and has traveled the world performing in front of thousands of people as part of the Jai Jagat Tour. She is also excelling in education and is now in the 12th grade.

Umang Marsonia whose keen engineering skills got him a scholarship and helped him develop an awardwinning project which won an award. Photo: Share and Care

The other example is of Umang Marsonia, recipient of an Educate to Graduate (E2G) scholarship, distributed through a partner NGO in Rajkot. With his keen interest in electrical engineering, but unable to afford the education, Umang received an E2G scholarship of Rs. 40,000 annually, completed his bachelor’s degree in technology earlier this year from V.V.P. Engineering College in Pune.

Under the direction of a few of his professors, he designed and built an electric bicycle that could carry up to 375 pounds for almost 40 miles on a single charge. His invention was recognized at the “E-Mobility: An Approach to Green Energy” conference hosted by the Devang Mehta Foundation. His project won the first-place prize of Rs. 100,000.

Umang is currently working as an automotive engineer for KPIT Engineering in Pune.

Based in Rochelle Park, N.J., Share & Care Foundation was founded in 1982, and has earned the highest four-star rating from Charity Navigator. For More details, please visit: shareandcare.org

NRIs Protest At Pakistan Consulate In NYC Against 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks

To mark the 14th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks of November 26, 2008, demonstrations were held from the United States to Japan to pay respects to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and demanded that the perpetrators of the carnage be brought to justice.

Indian Americans and other South Asian communities staged demonstrations across the U.S. including outside the Pakistan embassy in Washington, D.C., condemning Pakistan for harboring terror groups and called on the world powers to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Demonstrations also took place in front of the Pakistan Consulate in Houston, Chicago and the Pakistan Community Centre in New Jersey. With posters and banners showcasing the brutality of the terror attacks, protestors called for action against Pakistan-sponsored Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

The Indian American and South Asian diaspora marked the 14th anniversary of the heinous 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks by organizing protests in front of the Pakistan Consulate in New York, located at 12E, 65th Street.

The protest started around 12 noon on November 26, 2022, and lasted for two hours, according to a press release from organizers. About 15-20 persons protested and shouted slogans against Pak-ISI-sponsored terrorism and the organized attacks by the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the financial capital of India. They called upon world powers to unite to root out terrorism. They also shouted slogans, namely, ‘Pakistan a Terrorist State’, ‘We Want Justice’, ‘Pakistan a failed state’, ‘Taking Pak out of FATF Grey List a mistake’ etcetera.

Jagdish Sewhani, president of The American India Public Affairs committee, speaking at the event is quoted saying in a press release that terrorism was not just India’s problem, but a problem for the whole world. “We all should come together and fight this menace of Terrorism,” he said, alleging that Pakistan was the epicenter of terrorism, adding, “The culprits of 26/11 are still moving freely in Pakistan, they must be brought to justice.”

During the three-day siege in Mumbai, 140 Indians and 26 nationals of more than 20 other countries including 6 Americans, were killed. An estimated 300 people were wounded during the attack in which 6 members of the the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which has been declared a terrorist organization by both India and the U.S., attacked landmarks like the Victoria Terminal, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and a Jewish synagogue, killing people in cold blood.

Meanwhile, Global Human Rights Defense held a demonstration in front of the peace palace in The Hague to commemorate the Mumbai terror attack of 2008, and raised slogans against ‘ruthless terrorism’ and demanded justice from Pakistan, according to the press statement released by Global Human Rights Defense.

According to the statement, the protest started on Friday, November 25, at noon and ended after 1.5 hours. India is working with several countries whose citizens lost their lives in the 2008 attack, said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, adding that it will make sure that real perpetrators do not escape.

“It’s an occasion where entire country remembers it. I want to underline how strongly we feel about it and determined we are to complete the process of justice,” Jaishankar told ANI on Saturday.

“Today is the anniversary of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. Even after so many years, the people who planned and oversaw it have not been punished. They have not been brought to justice. This is something which we give utmost importance to,” the Jaishankar  added.

In 2008, 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists (LeT) carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks killing at least 166 people and leaving 300 wounded in Mumbai in a 3-day siege of the metropolis.

South Asian House Unveils Programming &  Key Partnerships For Sxsw® 2023

Two full days of programming during the first-ever South Asian House (SAH) at South by Southwest® (SXSW®) on March 11 and 12, 2023, will range from panel discussions on women in film, business tech, and climate change to curated sets of live and electronic music to a Reel Deal session, Comedy Hour, Industry Leadership Sessions, Mental Health Corner, Queer/Dalit Visual Art NFTs, and Desi Drag Brunch to a red carpet, awards ceremony on Oscar® Sunday recognizing South Asian Trailblazers in Cinema.

For the first time in its 37-year history, SXSW will partner with this innovative initiative to highlight, recognize, and appreciate South Asians from the seven countries – India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Maldives – as well as accomplished members of the diaspora.

Brainchild of veteran producers, curators, and programmers Rohi Mirza Pandya (Box Office Guru Media & Desipina), Monika Samtani (Ms. Media & The Fem Word), Jitin Hingorani (Jingo Media & DFW South Asian Film Festival), and Kirtana Banskota (Banskota Productions & Nepal America Film Society), SAH will convene at Fourth and Co. in the iconic Warehouse District of downtown Austin, six blocks from SXSW® event headquarters.

SAH is excited to welcome community leaders and partners such as Shelly Kapoor Collins, Founder of the Shatter Foundation, a nonprofit to bring entrepreneurship education to girls. As one of the first to come on board, Kapoor Collins adds: “I am thrilled to partner with South Asian House in their endeavor to support not only the community as a whole, but to create a leadership program and space for female founders and entrepreneurs. Shatter Foundation is proud to be a part of this inaugural event at SXSW in 2023.”

SAH is also excited to welcome The Partnership, Inc., a nationally-recognized organization supporting the development of professionals of color into authentic leaders and the transformation of corporate cultures into diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces. Since 1987, they have worked with more than 600 companies across all industries and provided more than 6,000 professionals with unparalleled leadership development programs and services.

Storylounge Studios, a NYC based artistic collective whose work spans the fields of digital media, film, theater, and music, will present “The Reel Deal,” hosted by Vick Krishna (TikTok, Gotham Comedy Club, NYC) and Samrat Chakrabarti (Mr. Robot, Midnight’s Children), focused on how to make effective Instagram and TikTok reels, as well as a Variety Show with music and comedy featuring special guests.

Other programming partners include Ragoth Bala, one of the co-founders of The Cumin Club, a brand that makes it easier to enjoy authentic Indian meals in just minutes. Their plant-based menu of 30+ regional dishes from all over India is curated by expert chefs and made with all-natural ingredients, zero preservatives, and healthy sides for a complete meal you can feel great about.

To round out the weekend’s eclectic programming, Indo Warehouse, a premium brand across New York’s world class electronic music scene, will feature its founding artists, Kahani and Kunal Merchant, who have played across the globe from Ibiza to Tulum. They will extend the reach of their sound at SAH, as they prepare for global expansion in 2023.

Finally, Pooja Kumar, Award-winning actress states: “I am so excited to be an official mentor for the South Asian House, which is bringing top Indian cinema and talent to Texas through its international curation.” Other mentors include Milan Chakraborty, Head of Film at Marginal Mediaworks and SXSW® veteran, and Falguni Lakhani Adams, Executive Producer at VICEMedia, who will also serve as a panelist on SAH’s “Women In Film” panel.

New England Choice Awards 2022 Presented

US Congresswoman and Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives Katherine Clark and Museum of Science President Tim Ritchie joined about 300 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, philanthropists, educators and community leaders to honor New England Choice Award recipients at Hilton Woburn Hotel in Woburn, MA on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

Picture : TheUNN

Organized by INE MultiMedia, Inc., in collaboration with INDIA New England News, New England Choice Awards also honored Congresswoman Clark and Mr. Ritchie for their services. Dr. Manju Sheth, President of INE Multimedia and creator of the awards presented the awards to the two national leaders for their leadership and commitment to public service.

“One of the feedback that we heard constantly from our Awardees and audience was that it was a very elegant and unique event that was very inspirational and heartwarming,” said Dr. Manju Sheth. “This show has truly been a labor of love for me. I am very grateful to be given an opportunity to honor some extraordinary people.”

Renowned nephrologist, philanthropist, community activist and Visterra President and CEO Brian Pereira was honored with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement. In addition, six leading Indian American go-getters and super achievers from academics to business to healthcare, and a non-profit organization were awarded the prestigious New England Choice Awards (NECA) on Nov. 19, 2022 at Hilton Woburn.

Picture : TheUNN

This year’s NECA award recipients were: Madhu Sudan, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Sciences at John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University; Indira Viswanathan Peterson, a leading scholar of Sanskrit, Tamil literature and South Indian cultural history and performing arts; Aman Narang, President and Co-Founder of Toast Inc., which empowers restaurants of all sizes and has a market cap of $11 billion; Seshi Sompuram, President of Shishu Bharati, which teaches Indian languages and culture to about 900 students each year; Dr. Nagagopal Venna, MD, Chief of the Division of Neuro-Immunology and Neuro-Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital; Shriya Srinivasan, a MIT Postdoctoral Researcher, Incoming Assistant Professor at Harvard University, Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Biomedical Engineer; and India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB), one of the oldest non-profit community organizations in the United States.

The 2022 New England Choice Awards team consisted of Anu Chitrapu, Upendra Mishra, Mandy Pant, Anupendra Sharma, Manju Sheth and Aditi Taylor. The judging committee consisted of several prominent members and entrepreneurs of the Indian American community.

NECA this year was produced with the support of number of community sponsors: Cocoon Media, TaranaOM Creations, Sraveo, Foto Duniya, Paani Restaurant, and DJ Randeep.

Picture : TheUNN

Aakriti, a vibrant team of dancers with rigorous training in Indian classical dance disciplines, performed songs and dances from the film Bajirao Mastani and TV show Bandish Bandits. Young vocalist and singer Reeshabh Purohit of Berkele College of Music entertained the audience with songs.

As per reports, INE received over 200 nominations for these awards. A jury of 13 individuals selected the final winners. “It is a true privilege for us at New England Choice Awards to honor our extraordinary recipients for their immense contribution to their work and community,” said Dr. Manju Sheth, creator of NECA Awards and CEO of INE MultiMedia, a Waltham, MA-based (501c-3) non-profit organization devoted to promoting and supporting charitable organizations, art, culture, education and empowerment. “My congratulations to all the recipients.”

Protections Against Caste Discrimination In Line With The US Laws, Say Law Expert, Activists

A lawsuit filed by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), which claims that the California California Civil Rights Division’s (CRD) historic move to hold tech giant Cisco accountable for caste discrimination is “anti-Hindu,” is based on “error,” said Dr. Kevin Brown, professor of law emeritus at the University of Indiana, during a Congressional Briefing held on Wednesday.

In 2020, the CRD sued Cisco and two of its employees after a Dalit engineer reported facing workplace discrimination due to his caste. The CRD’s lawsuit accused Cisco of engaging in “unlawful employment practices on the basis of religion, ancestry, national origin/ethnicity and race/color.” In September 2022, HAF struck back with a lawsuit against the CRD, accusing California authorities of “wrongly tying Hindu beliefs and practices to the abhorrent practice of caste discrimination” and “[violating] the First Amendment rights of all Hindu-Americans.”

“The problem with this argument is that factually it’s an error,” said Dr. Brown. “The CRD is not seeking to define Hindu religious beliefs but to prevent caste discrimination. This is a form of discrimination that is practiced by a variety of religions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. Thus, CRD is not [defining], nor does it need to define, Hindu religious beliefs in order to attack caste discrimination.”

“Hindu American Foundation goes on by wrongly claiming… that CRD is acting under the color of state law against Hindu Americans. This claim, too, suffers from an incorrect factual assertion that CRD is asserting the caste is a function of Hinduism,” Dr. Brown added. “U.S. law is very clear that governments have a compelling interest in the eradication of racial and ethnic discrimination that would in fact override religious beliefs directed towards such discrimination.”

“CRD is arguing that caste discrimination falls under one of the protected traits. So it’s either a form of race discrimination, a form of national origin discrimination, a form of color discrimination, a form of religious discrimination or a form of ancestry discrimination… As such, given CRD’s position, anyone who practiced cast discrimination and employment would violate its discrimination rules,” Dr. Brown said.

“Thus, what CRD must prove isn’t vague at all,” Dr. Brown asserted, adding that historically, the “very definition of American anti-discrimination law was constructed around a desire to prevent the functioning of the Indian caste system.”

Other speakers at the briefing described the deep-seated consequences of caste discrimination in the United States.

“Denying caste is the first defense of the casteists,” said Anil Wagde, an activist at Ambedkar International Center, a civil rights advocacy group. “Over 85% of the 4 million Indians in the United States are from oppressor castes. The Cisco caste discrimination case has proved this unwanted import is indeed here in the United States.”

“One-way caste persists in the US is through popularized mainstream culture. What we consider the culture and caste culture is anti-democratic… and built into it is the genocidal framework against Dalit and Adivasi people,” said Dolly Arjun, cultural activist and co-founder of Healthcare for Marginalized. “Transparency and anti-discrimination policies and international spaces in the US are among our only chances to expose the depth and breadth of this century’s long injustice.”

Commenting on another lawsuit filed by two Hindu professors against the California State University system to protest caste protections, Dr. Dheepa Sundaram, associate professor at the University of Denver, said, “It seems contradictory that the complaints both wish to argue that caste is not foundational to Hinduism and that Cal State does not have the right to define Hinduism. If one believes caste is not part of Hinduism, then why argue that Cal State’s policy banning caste discrimination maligns Hindus?”

“Moreover, Cal State’s decision to add caste to their campus-wide anti-discrimination policy was prompted by the testimony of Dalit activists and students, scholars of caste, and allies of caste-oppressed groups,” she added.

The briefing was co-hosted by Genocide Watch, World Without Genocide, Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, International Christian Concern, Jubilee Campaign,  21Wilberforce, Dalit Solidarity Forum, New York State Council of Churches, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, India Civil Watch International, International Commission for Dalit Rights, Center for Pluralism, American Muslim Institution, Students Against Hindutva Ideology, International Society for Peace and Justice, The Humanism Project and Association of Indian Muslims of America.

Diwali Celebrated At Ferguson Library, Stamford CT

Ferguson Library, Stamford in coordination with The Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Lights, on Sunday, Nov. 13th 2022.

The program started with a welcome address by the Library President Ms. Alice Knapp, who thanked GOPIO for initiating this celebration and all the attendees for their show of support by their participation. Ms.Knapp also said that the library looked bright and very colorful with all the decorations and was thrilled to hear that there were more than 80 performers at this year’s cultural show. This is the second year that the Library and GOPIO-CT have organized this event. At last year’s event, the Indian Consulate in New York had donated books for the “India Corner” at the library.

Picture : TheUNN

A traditional lamp was lit by Ms. Knapp,  Ms. Klompus, Mr.Prasad and other GOPIO members present. GOPIO Executive Vice-President Prasad Chintalapudi said that there is so much to learn from the Diwali festival. He said that the Devas and Asuras both gain knowledge and power but Devas use it for purpose of community growth and Asuras use it for destruction. Diwali festival is celebrated all over the world including at White House every year. This year New York Mayor Adams declared Diwali to be a school holiday in 2023.

The event was chaired by GOPIO Jt. Secretary Mahesh Jhangiani and Yelena Klompus the Library’s ELL, Citzenship & Cultural Programs manager. Prachi Narayan, Anita Mathur, Ashvini Persuad, and Shilpa Bhakta made the auditorium colorful with all the decorations.  Darshana “A glimpse into Hindu civilization” traveling exhibit was on display, offering an opportunity to learn about various topics ranging from yoga and divinity to mathematics and administration. Non-perishable food items were also collected for local food banks through the Sewa Diwali initiative.

Roushan Ahmed, a gifted  local henna  artist applied intricate  and exquisite Henna designs for everyone. Following the ceremony, Indian American dancers including children performed Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dances representing the different regions of India. Unity in diversity was the theme for the afternoon.  Yashasvi Jhangiani and Prachi Narayan kept the audience engaged and the cultural program flowing smoothly. The auditorium was packed, and this promises to become one of the library’s more popular celebrations. After the cultural show light Indian snacks and pizza was served to attendees.

SACSS Holds Fundraising Gala

The South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) held an in-person fund-raising Gala November 2, 2022 at The Prince George Ballroom in New York City. Attended by more than 240 invited guests, the ‘Coming Together Striving Forward’ gala had writer-actor-chef Madhur Jaffrey as the guest of honor, special guests Congresswoman Grace Meng, entrepreneur Adnan DurraniRestaurateur Roni MazumdarChef Chintan Pandya, Queens Council Member Sandra Ung, Council Member Linda Lee, media stars  Hena Doba and Sree Sreenivasan, Acting Consul General of Nepal Bishnu Prasad Gautam and Consul General of Bangladesh Mohammad Monirul Islam.

A highlight of the evening was food by Chef Hemant Mathur who catered the event, while performances by D.J. Rekha, Grammy award winner singer Falu and The New York Kathak Dance Company provided the entertainment for the evening. The event was emceed by Hena Doba and Sree Sreenivasan. Actor-Producer-Director Faran Tahir was also a special guest.

Speaking at the event, Executive Director Sudha Acharya spoke of the increasing needs of the underserved immigrant community and assured that the organization would continue to provide direct services as it had been doing for 22 years. Jaffrey appreciated the work of SACSS’ food pantry, saying it provided comfort to the soul through culturally palatable food. During the evening SACSS also honored and presented special awards to some of the dignitaries.  Congresswoman Grace Meng was presented with Community Trailblazer Award, entrepreneur Adnan Durrani with Pioneer in FoodYouWant Award, Restaurateur Roni Mazumdar and Chef Chintan Pandya were presented with Innovator in FoodYouWant awards

Accepting her award, Congresswoman Grace Meng noted the contribution of SACSS to the community through its food pantry and the new community center opened last year. Durrani spoke of his own experiences and lauded the work done by SACSS during the pandemic. Restaurateur Roni Mazumdar encouraged those present to uphold their cultural heritage. Chef Chintan Pandya said he would like to emulate the path carved by noted chefs like Jaffrey and Floyd Cardoz.

A fundraising auction was also held during the evening where chefs Pandya and Vijay Kumar of  Unapologetic Foods offered the prize of a dinner personally prepared by them at their home for a party of ten.  Other contributors to the fundraising auction were Christopher Hyland & Constantino Castellano of Christopher Hyland Inc., Hena Doba of Cheddar TV, Madhur Jaffrey, Anu Bhat of The Rural Painter and T.K. Sarasvathy of The Bhojan Art

The gala itself was sponsored by Ranu Boppana, Hena Doba, Adnan Durrani, Mysore Gandhi, Anjali Maniam, Mamta Prakash, Devi Ramchandran, Runi Mukherji-Ratnam and Basu Ratnam, Swarna

Shah and Navina Sitaram.The community sponsors of the fundraiser included John Albert, Canopy Biopharma, Community Service Society of New York (CSS), Vijay Dandapani, Binodh DeSilva, Driscoll Foods, India Home and TakeTwo Services. Other long term sponsors of SACSS included Guru Krupa Foundation Inc., Michael Becker and Tee Scatuorchio, Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation, Christopher Hyland, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Francesa Gany, Rekha and Ramesh Gupta, and Shummi and Shikha Jindal.

The non-profit organization SACSS based in Flushing, Queens, has been providing direct services to the South Asian Community in New York City for many years, providing help with getting healthcare and public benefits, and has expanded its activities to food pantry and a Seniors’ community center. SACSS provides its services to close to 150,000 persons a year through free programs and help available in 19 languages including Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Nepali, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, Spanish, Creole, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka and Malay. (Courtesy: News India Times)

Three South Asian Democrats Elected To GA State Legislature

Three South Asian Democrats were elected to the Georgia State Legislature in the recently held mid-term elections.

Sheikh Rahman was re-elected from State District 5, while Nabila Islam won her first election from Senate District 7.

Farooq Mughal, the son of immigrant parents from Pakistan and a public policy expert, has won the race for Georgia House District 105.

Islam will have the honor of being the first Muslim woman to represent the Georgia Senate. Mughal will be the first Muslim to serve the Georgia House.

“We won with 53% of the vote in a challenging year. Our margin of victory is a testament to our brilliant team & hard-working volunteers. We ran a strong campaign & fought hard. My sincerest thank you to the voters who put their trust in me to be their voice in the State Senate,” Islam tweeted after her win.

The daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, Islam was raised in Gwinnett County. She graduated from Gwinnett County Public Schools and Georgia State University.

Farooq Mughal owns a government affairs firm and coordinated the first Asian American Legislative Day at the Georgia Capitol. He is a business leader, public policy expert, mediator, and former chairman of the Gwinnett County Community Outreach Board.

In May 2012, he served on the Steering Committee of the White House Initiatives on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Southeast Regional Summit hosted in Atlanta at Emory University. He also was instrumental in coordinating the first Asian American Legislative Day at the Georgia Capitol. Recognized for his leadership and work, Farooq was invited to the White House in May 2013 to meet President Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Senator Sheikh Rahman, who grew up in Bangladesh, is the first immigrant and first Asian American to serve in the Georgia State Senate. He is also the first Muslim Georgia Legislator. Elected in 2018, he represents the 5th Senate District in the heart of Gwinnett — Georgia’s most diverse county. He is the Chairman of the Gwinnett Senate Delegation. In the Senate, Sen. Rahman is the Secretary of the Urban Affairs Committee.

He also serves on the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Economic Development and Tourism, Government Oversight, and Special Judiciary committees. During his first term, Sen. Rahman was appointed by the Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan to serve on the Senate Higher Education Outcome study committee and Surgical Smoke Evacuation study committee. He was also awarded the Freshman Legislator of the Year by the Democratic Legislative Caucus. In 2019, Georgia Asia Times named Sen. Rahman the 25th Most Influential Asian American in Georgia. In 2020, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Georgia Muslims by Islamic Speakers Bureau of Georgia.

Asian Americans Form An Increasingly Important Voting Bloc

Asian Americans voted in record numbers in the presidential elections of 2016 and 2020, as well as in the 2018 midterm elections.

They are also the fastest-growing racial group in the country, with the population increasing by 81% between 2000 and 2019.

(The Conversation) — Asian Americans voted in record numbers in the presidential elections of 2016 and 2020, as well as in the 2018 midterm elections.

They are also the fastest-growing racial group in the country, with the population increasing by 81% between 2000 and 2019.

As political scientists who have written about electoral politics in America and abroad, we argue that the Asian American vote could have important ramifications for the 2022 midterms. That said, this group has historically not voted in lockstep but has shown a diversity of political preferences.

Asian Americans and the Democratic Party

Recent years have seen Asian Americans emerge as a Democratic voting bloc. This affinity for the Democratic Party manifests in public opinion polls, as well. In fact, the recent Asian American Voter Survey found that 56% of Asian Americans have either a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of President Joe Biden. By contrast, only 29% of Asian Americans had similar views of former President Donald Trump.

One potential reason for Asian Americans’ preference for the Democratic Party has to do with the demographics of Democratic candidates. Of the 20 Asian Americans currently serving in Congress, all but three are Democrats.

Picture : Las Vegas Sun

Political scientists have found evidence of Asian Americans’ desire for descriptive representation – a desire to see one’s race, ethnicity, gender or some other identity reflected in their member of Congress. In her recent analysis of state legislative elections, scholar Sara Sadhwani found that Asian American voter turnout increases when an Asian American is on the ballot, and Asian Americans make up a large proportion of the electorate.

On the other hand, Asian Americans may also be largely Democratic because of their policy preferences. A recent poll from Morning Consult, a public opinion outlet, found that only 23% of Asian Americans identified as ideologically conservative.

Not a monolith

Though Asian Americans are characterized by a general lean toward the Democratic Party, it would be misleading to refer to them as if they were a monolithic group. Indeed, despite a shared set of political views among these voters, there are also notable – and important – differences based upon Asian Americans’ particular ethnic identities.

This claim has a long history in political science scholarship. As scholar Wendy Cho argued nearly three decades ago, “the monolithic Asian group is heterogeneous in several respects” when it comes to voting patterns. Accordingly, her work emphasizes that a failure to examine the unique groups that compose the Asian American community can lead to misleading conclusions.

Consequently, breaking up these groups on the basis of ethnicity provides an extremely complex account of the likely voting preferences of Asian Americans.

For example, a recent comprehensive national survey revealed that only 25% of all Asian Americans intend to vote for a Republican as opposed to 54% for a Democrat.

However, broken down along ethnic lines, a more complex set of preferences emerges. As many as 37% of Vietnamese Americans are inclined to vote Republican while only 16% of Indian Americans have similar leanings. These statistics, it can be surmised, would provide a portrait of even greater complexity if they were broken down along sociodemographic lines such as gender and educational attainment.

Though a plurality of Asian Americans identifies with the Democratic Party, there is substantial variation along ethnic lines. When broken down in terms of ethnicity, the highest levels of support for the Democratic Party come from Indians (56%) and Japanese (57%); Vietnamese (23%) and Chinese (42%) Americans register the lowest levels of support for the Democratic Party.

With elections being decided by small swings from one party to the other, Asian American voters could play a key role in determining who obtains political power. The heterogeneous preferences of this group, often falling along ethnic lines, provide ample opportunities for both political parties.

Steven Webster does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

(Sumit Ganguly is a distinguished professor of political science and the Tagore chair in Indian cultures and civilizations at Indiana University, where Steven Webster is assistant professor of political science. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

Geeta Aiyer To Be Honored With The Lifetime Achievement Award At Tie Boston 2022 Annual Awards Gala

TiE Boston, the region’s largest organization supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists, announced the winners of its annual awards in various categories. All the winners will be honored at TiE Boston’s annual gala on Dec. 2 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, MA.

The winners are:

TiE Boston will honor Boston Common Asset Management’s  Founder and CEO Geeta Aiyer with its annual Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Aman Narang, Co-President, Founder, COO and Director, Toast, Inc.

Award for Corporate Excellence: Rohit Prasad, SVP and Head Scientist, Amazon Alexa

Venture Capitalist of the Year: Jamie Goldstein, Founder and Partner, Pillar VC

Rising Entrepreneur of the Year: Uroš Kuzmanović, CEO and Co-Founder, BioSens8

TiE Boston President’s Award: Dr. Dinesh Patel, MD, Co-Founder, TiE Boston; Emeritus Chief of Arthroscopic Surgery at Mass General Hospital

“On behalf of TiE Boston, I had the honor of chairing a panel of distinguished jury and it was not only inspiring but also demonstrated the strategic acumen of the entrepreneur community in Boston,” said TiE Boston President Yash Shah. “I would like to thank the winners, and also the jury for their hard work and good humor when the judging got tough! We’re looking forward to welcoming our guests at the annual gala on December 2 at the Sheraton Boston. It’s going to be one-of-its-kind event and you don’t want to miss it.”

Here are the brief bios of this year’s award winners:

Entrepreneur of the Year: Aman Narang

Aman Narang is President, Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer, and a Director of Toast, Inc. Prior to Toast, he worked on innovation initiatives at Endeca (now Oracle). Narang spearheaded the development of Endeca’s business intelligence platform as well as their mobile commerce platform, each of which became major business units. He holds BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from MIT and currently leads innovation and business development initiatives at Toast.

Award for Corporate Excellence: Rohit Prasad

Rohit Prasad is senior vice president and head scientist for Amazon Alexa, leading a multidisciplinary team to make Alexa a trusted AI assistant, advisor, and companion for everyone, everywhere. His team’s product, engineering, and scientific advances have driven the adoption of Alexa by millions of customers worldwide.

In his previous roles at Amazon, Prasad directed areas such as far-field speech recognition, natural language understanding, and the underlying machine learning technologies that were instrumental in launching Amazon Echo’s new paradigm of hands-free interaction with ambient devices. Prasad and his team are now focused on advancing generalizable AI, combining the best of human-like intelligence with machine learning to accelerate the future of ambient intelligence – where the underlying AI seamlessly blends into your environment, connects heterogeneous services and devices, and adapts on your behalf to provide greater utility.

Prior to Amazon, Prasad was deputy manager and senior director of the Speech, Language and Multimedia Business Unit at Raytheon BBN Technologies. In that role, he directed U.S. Government-sponsored research and development initiatives in speech-to-speech translation, psychological health analytics, document image translation and STEM learning. Prasad is a named author on more than 100 scientific articles and holds several patents. He received his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, India.

Venture Capitalist of the Year: Jamie Goldstein

Jamie Goldstein is Partner at Pillar VC, a firm he co-founded with leaders of many of Boston’s most important companies, including DraftKings, Wayfair, Ginkgo Bioworks and Circle. While at Pillar, he also co-founded Petri, a program supporting pre-seed biotech companies, and the melon, a crypto incubation studio. Goldstein previously spent 18 years at North Bridge Venture Partners. Prior to North Bridge, he was a Co-Founder of PureSpeech, a speech recognition company. Goldstein is a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School.

During his career, Goldstein has backed dozens of Boston-based startups, including many spinouts from MIT and Harvard. Goldstein invests in seed-stage companies at inception, and was the first investor in Algorand, an MIT blockchain spinout that has grown to a $3B market cap. His seed investments at Pillar include Jellyfish, an engineering management tool, PathAI, a diagnostic tool powered by machine learning, Asimov, a genetic circuits company and Desktop Metal. He also led later-stage investments in Circle and PillPack.

Rising Entrepreneur of the Year: Uroš Kuzmanović

Uroš Kuzmanović, the CEO and Co-Founder of BioSens8 and a Boston University BME PhD candidate, engineers novel biosensors to provide continuous insight into our body’s state. He is the winner of the TiE Boston University Pitch competition in the summer of 2022, and later went on to be the TiE Global Champion. His interest in understanding the world around him led him to study molecular and cellular biology and chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In contrast to learning only from textbooks, he was excited by the idea of partaking in work which was completely novel, so he joined a chemical biology research lab early on. There, he worked to discover and characterize an organic molecule which alleviates symptoms of myotonic dystrophy.

However, it was his participation in iGEM, a yearlong undergraduate synthetic biology competition, which made him realize the power of engineering microbes and how to take an entrepreneurial perspective on science. It was a ‘lightbulb moment’ in a sense where he understood the immense impact which synthetic biology could make in a multitude of fields such as medicine, agriculture, climate change, and more. He pursued that passion and continued with applied research, joining Boston University to work with Prof. James Galagan for his MS and PhD.

Kuzmanović has been growing BioSens8 since the summer of 2020 and more formally for the past two years as the CEO. During that time, Kuzmanović has raised over $500,000 entirely in non-dilutive funding, in part thanks to the TiE Boston organization, interviewed over 70 customers, worked directly with lawyers on 4 patents (including 2 which have been granted), gathered support from Fortune 500 companies, amassed a large network of advisors and mentors, and moved the company into a premiere incubator space in Cambridge, MA.

TiE Boston President’s Award: Dr. Dinesh Patel, MD

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dinesh Patel, MD is Emeritus Chief of Arthroscopic Surgery at Mass General Hospital and a co-founder of TiE Boston. He is also a founding member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America and the International Association of Arthroscopy. He has received many awards internationally for his pioneering work in Arthroscopic surgery, and has been invited by numerous governments to assist in establishing orthopedic best practices and training in arthroscopy, including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, India, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Indonesia and Egypt.

As an entrepreneur, Dr Patel had the opportunity to revolutionize the medical device industry with the launch of Acufex Microsurgical which has generated a billion dollars in revenue since inception in the 1980s. In the 80s, he was selected to be the first minority Chairman of the Board of Registration in Medicine in Massachusetts and an elected member of the Federation of State Medical Boards. He was also the founding president of IMANE and a former President of IAFPE. Within Tie-Atlantic he founded the TiE Life Sciences section. He has received numerous awards from the Government of Gujarat, the State of Massachusetts, Rotary International, and the global medical community.

About TiE Boston

Founded in 1997, TiE Boston connects tomorrow’s founders with today’s entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists. Operating for 25 years now, TiE Boston’s unparalleled network of successful, serial entrepreneurs are deeply engaged and committed to giving back to the community by providing mentorship, tactical advice, and expertise to rising entrepreneurs through signature programs.

Can Diabetes Medicines Help Lose Weight?

For diabetics with obesity, there are SGLT-2 inhibitors – which are the frontline drugs for diabetes management – and injectable GLP-1 receptor analogues, that help in moderate to substantial weight loss, says Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman of Fortis-CDOC Center of Excellence for Diabetes, New Delhi

Can diabetes medicines lead to weight loss? Can they be given to the obese who are non-diabetic?

For diabetics with obesity, there are SGLT-2 inhibitors – which are the frontline drugs for diabetes management – and injectable GLP-1 receptor analogues, that help in moderate to substantial weight loss, says Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman of Fortis-CDOC Center of Excellence for Diabetes, New Delhi

We have been using these injectables for diabetes management for ten years now. Over the years, there have been many such injectables available – first we had a twice-daily injection, then once daily injection, then we had once-a-week injection, and now we have oral form of these drugs. These are powerful drugs that can lead to a loss of 5 per cent to 10 per cent of body weight over six months to one year.

The newer versions of these drugs, which are currently not available in India, can make a person lose up to 15 per cent of their body weight. This is remarkable. There is a great potential of these drugs as far as obesity is concerned.

Picture: Share Physicians Group

Can these drugs be prescribed to obese persons who might not be diabetic?

As far as people who are only obese are concerned, right now the only approved drug in India is a very weak one called Orlistat. It’s a very old drug that has been on the market for more than 20 years. This drug blocks the absorption of fat in the intestine. But, since it works on the intestine, it can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea. Besides, the weight loss is not much.

On the other hand, worldwide, injections of these GLP-1 receptor analogues at a high dose are available for weight loss in non-diabetics. Now, another drug of the same class is being approved on the fast track for the treatment of obesity.

For diabetics with obesity, there are SGLT-2 inhibitors – which are the frontline drugs for diabetes management – and injectable GLP-1 receptor analogues, along with the oral GLP-1 analogue, that is available by the name Rybelsus for the last couple of months.

Just to repeat, in India however, there is only one approved weight loss drug. However, if you are using the GLP-1 receptor analogues in the doses currently available in India, then the patient has to be explained that it is being used out of the label (a drug used for the treatment of a condition for which it is not approved).

Does using diabetes medicines in non-diabetic obese persons lead to a drop in blood glucose levels?

No. These drugs are, in fact, known to not cause hypoglycaemia. These drugs are used by us, infrequently, in those who have morbid obesity and don’t want to go for bariatric surgery.

Importantly, since these medicines lead to weight-loss, can they result in remission of the disease?

Of course, if they lose that much weight. There is a 60 to 70 per cent likelihood that the persons go into diabetes remission. This is the additional advantage of using these drugs in pre-diabetic and diabetic persons who are obese.

Now, can people go off these medications after remission? Usually, the patients and their doctors set a target weight. If they reach the target and their sugars are normal, they can go off the medicines. But, they need to have, say, a high degree of exercise and a good diet to prevent regaining weight. Weight regain is always a problem with whichever modality is used to lose weight, except bariatric surger

Picture: NDTV

We have been using these injectables for diabetes management for ten years now. Over the years, there have been many such injectables available – first we had a twice-daily injection, then once daily injection, then we had once-a-week injection, and now we have oral form of these drugs. These are powerful drugs that can lead to a loss of 5 per cent to 10 per cent of body weight over six months to one year.

The newer versions of these drugs, which are currently not available in India, can make a person lose up to 15 per cent of their body weight. This is remarkable. There is a great potential of these drugs as far as obesity is concerned.

Can these drugs be prescribed to obese persons who might not be diabetic?

As far as people who are only obese are concerned, right now the only approved drug in India is a very weak one called Orlistat. It’s a very old drug that has been on the market for more than 20 years. This drug blocks the absorption of fat in the intestine. But, since it works on the intestine, it can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea. Besides, the weight loss is not much.

On the other hand, worldwide, injections of these GLP-1 receptor analogues at a high dose are available for weight loss in non-diabetics. Now, another drug of the same class is being approved on the fast track for the treatment of obesity.

For diabetics with obesity, there are SGLT-2 inhibitors – which are the frontline drugs for diabetes management – and injectable GLP-1 receptor analogues, along with the oral GLP-1 analogue, that is available by the name Rybelsus for the last couple of months.

Just to repeat, in India however, there is only one approved weight loss drug. However, if you are using the GLP-1 receptor analogues in the doses currently available in India, then the patient has to be explained that it is being used out of the label (a drug used for the treatment of a condition for which it is not approved).

Does using diabetes medicines in non-diabetic obese persons lead to a drop in blood glucose levels?

No. These drugs are, in fact, known to not cause hypoglycaemia. These drugs are used by us, infrequently, in those who have morbid obesity and don’t want to go for bariatric surgery.

Importantly, since these medicines lead to weight-loss, can they result in remission of the disease?

Of course, if they lose that much weight. There is a 60 to 70 per cent likelihood that the persons go into diabetes remission. This is the additional advantage of using these drugs in pre-diabetic and diabetic persons who are obese.

Now, can people go off these medications after remission? Usually, the patients and their doctors set a target weight. If they reach the target and their sugars are normal, they can go off the medicines. But, they need to have, say, a high degree of exercise and a good diet to prevent regaining weight. Weight regain is always a problem with whichever modality is used to lose weight, except bariatric surger

(Dr Anoop Misra is the Chairman of Fortis-CDOC Center of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases, and Endocrinology in New Delhi. He has been an advisor to the Ministry of Health, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and the Department of Biotechnology, offering his expertise on several issues related to diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. In the past two years, Dr Misra has published 40 papers on Diabetes and Covid-19 in top science journals.) (Couresy: The Indian Express)

A Referendum On Sikhs Worldwide Asks If Punjab Should Be An Independent Nation

Despite severe opposition and pressure from the Indian government, organizers are preparing for the next round of voting in the Khalistan Referendum which seeks secession of Punjab from India. The secessionist referendum was held on November 6th in Mississauga, Ontario is the second in the series with first voting held on September 18th in Brampton, Ontario in which over 110,000 Canadian Sikhs participated to vote on the question: “Should India governed Punjab be an Independent Country?”

Voting in the global referendum started on October 31, 2021, in London, UK and so far in addition to more than a dozen cities around the UK, voting has also been held in Geneva, Switzerland and in eight locations across Italy. To date, an estimated 450,000 diaspora Sikhs have voted in the referendum. Sikhs living outside India makeup almost 25% of the total Sikh population around the world, giving unusual importance to the voice and opinion of diaspora in Sikh affairs.

Canada is one of the first to hold votes, and organizers claim it attracted over 100,000 people on the first day of balloting near Toronto last month. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of Sikhs for Justice, the referendum’s organizer, states this referendum isn’t a call for secession, unlike the Khalistan referendum which calls for geographical and political secession from India.

Pannun likens this referendum to independence votes held in recent years in Scotland, Catalonia, Spain and elsewhere — non-binding but still a legitimate gauge of public opinion. However, supporters of the pro-Khalistan referendum have put this referendum in their focal points, thus causing rising tensions with the Indian government.

“This referendum is about showing support and solidarity for a separate country called Khalistan that would respect the rights and sovereignty of Sikhs and others living in Punjab” says Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a human rights lawyer and General Counsel of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) the NGO which launched the Referendum initiative.

The global voting in the Khalistan Referendum is being overseen and supervised by an independent panel of experts on democracy, secession and referendums called The Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC). PRC is comprised of five experts and is headed by M. Dane Waters, who heads the Initiative and Referendums Institute at the University of Southern California.

Key Issues:

In India, with 2% of the overall population, Sikhs are a religious minority, while in the region of Punjab under Indian control, Sikhs form the single largest community being 56% of the Punjab population. Since 1947, under Indian control, Sikhs have been persecuted and suppressed for their religious identity and political opinions. Most noted persecution of Sikhs under India’s rule since 1947 consists of:

  • Suppression of separate religious identity by labelling Sikhs as “Hindus” in Explanation II to Article 25 of the Constitution of India
  • Military attack, invasion, desecration, and massacre at the holiest Sikh shrine The Golden Temple in June 1984, killing more than 10,000 pilgrims including women and children
  • November 1984 anti-Sikh genocidal violence across India killing more than 30,000 Sikhs
  • Decade long extra judicial killing of Sikhs in 1980s and 1990s by Indian security forces in the name of counter insurgency to crush the movement for Khalistan
  • Unresolved economic issues such as plundering of river waters of Punjab and providing it to other States of India, without compensation to Punjab, thus forcing extreme economic hardship upon 80,000 Sikh farmers

The Indian Government has also banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for calling for the secessionist Khalistan Referendum. There has been detention, torture, and prosecution of several hundred Sikhs for merely possessing Khalistan Referendum material as well as filing sedition charges against them and attempting to extradite Mr. Pannun and other foreign based Khalistan activists. Dr. Bakhsish Singh Sandhu, President Council of Khalistan stated, “ever since Sikhs have been demanding the right of self-determination, the government of India has been criminalizing the political opinion of Sikhs and labelling the peaceful propagation of political opinion as crime, militancy, insurgency and terrorism”. (SOURCE: Sikhs for Justice)

Indiaspora-Give Philanthropy Summit 2022 Held

Amid continuing challenges of the pandemic, climate and humanitarian emergencies, leading philanthropists and non-profit organisations from India and the US have underscored the importance of collaborative and structured efforts for working towards solutions and joining forces to bring about transformational changes across sectors. Leading diaspora organisation ‘Indiaspora’ and India’s largest giving platform ‘Give’ hosted the Indiaspora-Give Philanthropy Summit at the Consulate General of India, New York on Tuesday.

In the inaugural year of our partnership, Give and Indiaspora jointly hosted the Indiaspora-Give Philanthropy Summit on October 28, 2022 at the Consulate General of India, New York. The event brought together leading philanthropists, foundations, and nonprofits to share insights about recent shifts and opportunities in philanthropy to India, understand pressing social issues in the United States, and explore how we can collectively work towards solutions.

The event brought together philanthropists, foundations and nonprofits to share insights about recent shifts and opportunities in philanthropy to India, understand pressing social issues in the United States, and explore ways to collectively work towards solutions.

Addressing the day-long summit, Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal said many in the diaspora around the world have got opportunities that have empowered them and they have scaled great heights in their lives and careers.

“Now we all have to give back because we have got so much from society. This is our moral duty, a moral calling,” he said.

Sharing his story, Jaiswal said he hails from a village in Bihar and now has the opportunity to serve as India’s Consul General in New York.

“But what good will my life be if I cannot change the lives of 10 people in my village. That is the commitment I have,” he said to a round of applause from the audience.

”Indiaspora’s core pillar is social impact and philanthropy and it was in evidence at the summit. We all want to be givers not takers,” entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist and Indiaspora founder MR Rangaswami said.

India Philanthropy Alliance Director Alex Counts described the collaboration between Indiaspora and Give as very important.

“If we’re going to solve big problems” through the non-governmental sector in India, ”we need to do it together in a collaborative way.” Referring to the deadly second wave of the COVID19 pandemic in India, Counts said Indian-Americans, including those who had achieved tremendous business success in the US, “opened up their pocketbooks like never before” and were extremely generous in donating to pressing causes and needs.

While a lot of money that was contributed during the difficult months of the pandemic by the Indian diaspora in the US was mostly well used, “people realised that if Indians are going to be giving more, it should be done in a more organised way, a more collaborative way with less fragmentation.” There was a thinking that “if you want to give for the long term, for something that’s not just an immediate response, it needs to be thought through, it needs to be done in a collaborative, coherent way,” Counts said.

Counts added that the India Philanthropy Alliance, which is a group of 14 organisations that have come together and raise about a quarter of a billion dollars a year, is launching a campaign that will culminate in March next year in the ‘India Giving Day’, the first annual day to celebrate giving from the US to India.

“We’re hoping that this will be the biggest India focused fundraising day in the history of the United States,” he said.

Ashish Shah, CEO North America, Give, noted that the ability of Indians in the US to contribute to philanthropic causes has increased manifold over the years.

WISH Foundation Founder and Co-founder of Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence Sunil Wadhwani said the summit provided an opportunity for organisations to learn from one another “because there are a lot of nonprofits in the room. Each one is doing something different and there’s a lot we can learn from each other”.

He said that beyond sectors such as education and healthcare, tremendous work is required in areas such as climate action, gender equality, women’s empowerment and girls’ education.

Established in 2000, Give, together with its partners, is the largest and trusted giving platform in India, according to its website.

Give’s community of over 2.6 million donors supports over 2,800 verified nonprofits, serving more than 15 million people across the country. (PTI)

Kannada Koota Celebrates Kannada Rajyotsava Community

Kannada Koota New York, a 49 year old non-profit organization, celebrated the 67th Kannada Rajyotsava with traditional flag hoisting and singing of patriotic songs at Alley Pond in New York on November 5, 2022.

Kannada Rajyotsava celebrates the formation of the Karnataka State in India on November 1, 1956. The day is celebrated in Karnataka with the state government giving awards to people who have made great contributions in the development of the state. A special cultural program is held that day inaugurated by the Chief Minister of the state.

The Kannada Rajyotsava is celebrated by the people with enthusiasm by getting together, hoisting the state flag, holding cultural events and processions. Kannada speaking Kannadigas constitute over 65 percent of the population of Karnataka State which was known before 1956 as the Mysore State.

Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner for Trade, Investment, and Innovation from New York City Mayor’s Office participated in the event. Deputy Commissioner hoisted the Karnataka flag along with members of Kannada Koota.

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The Deputy commissioner lauded the community and emphasized the cultural importance for future generations.  On behalf of NYC Mayor Eric Adams Mr. Chauhan conveyed Mayor Eric Adams message to all the members. Several cultural events followed after that like signing Karnataka Nada geethe(State Song) and other Kannada patriotic songs were performed by members.  Kannada Rajyotsava is a public holiday in the Karnataka state of India.

Kannada Koota celebrated it much in the tradition of the state with a hoisting of a 20 feet long Karnataka state flag by the Deputy Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Innovation Dilip Chauhan from New York City’s Mayor’s office, and members of Kannada Koota, including its President Ajith Bhaskar. Speaking at the event, Chauhan said the organization and the community had made notable contributions to NYC. Chauhan said preserving the traditions was important for future generations to appreciate the community’s efforts and cultural heritage. A cultural variety program followed the singing of Karnataka Nada Geethe(State Song) and other Kannada patriotic songs.

Kannada Koota, born out of the need to preserve traditions of home, was established by like-minded Kannadigas in New York with an aim to promote the language, art, heritage and culture of their forefathers in Karnataka. The organization has expanded its umbrella to include Kannadigas from New Jersey and Connecticut.

Kannada Koota New York Executive Committee organized the event under the leadership of Ajith Bhaskar, President of Kannada Koota New York.  Kannada Koota New York will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary on April 2023 and looking forward to community participation and support.

Lincoln Hospital In New York City Celebrates Diwali

Diwali, is one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The name Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit term “Dipavali”, meaning “row of lights.” The festival generally symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. It is one of the most popular festivals with south Asian communities and Indian diaspora. The festival has secured a sturdy foothold far from the subcontinent in places with significant Indian diaspora population – like New York. NYCHHC Lincoln provides a multicultural community setting to help the staff experience cultural diversity through participation in different forms of art.

On October 27th NYCHHC Lincoln hospital celebrated the India festival Diwali Festival of Lights with pomp and show. Lincoln Hospital truly exhibits how accommodating and accepting in regards to cultural diversity. Program started with the American national anthem sung by Pitique Desruisseaux and Indian national anthem sung by Tara Shajan & Sukhdeep Hayer.

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The program was inaugurated and the lamp was lit by Chief Executive Officer Christopher Roker in his speech he mentioned that Diwali is “Personally” a day of reflection, it’s also about celebrations and  “ happiness, positivity, bringing people together.” Unity and diversity is also our strength.

The chief guest & keynote speaker was Tom George Kolath, actor, writer, director, film producer addressed the audience and he stated “Be the Change for others through showing the spirit of Diwali and it reflect the light in other people’s life.” That bigger picture of accepting and recognizing other cultures and festivals is always admirable.

You healthcare workers are so awesome. I would like to inhale all your love & support and Exhale my gratitude.” Mr. Kolath also thanked our Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul for taking that initiative and recognizing an Indian Festival to this Empire state and also in NY City.

Davinderpal Hanjan did a wonderful job being the Emcee and all staff who were dressed in Indian clothes participated in a fashion show which was very interesting to watch the different styles and dresses representing different states of India.

Roshin Mammen entertained the audience with his performance with drum beats to a Bollywood song. Sukhdeep Hayer, Tara Shajan, and others performed a catchy performance of Bollywood dance and Indian fashion show. The closing remarks was by Dr. Usha Venugopal who delivered the vote of thanks. The dance floor was opened with Bollywood music & staff enjoyed dancing to that catchy music. Staff enjoyed the Diwali sweets and food which was served thereafter.  HAPPY DIWALI.

Harry Arora: The Most Qualified Candidate For CT State Treasurer

“I am running for Connecticut State Treasurer to bring leadership and experience to Hartford,” says Mr. Harry Arora, an Indian American and a State Representative of the Connecticut General Assembly. Mr. Arora has over 25 years of experience in investment management and running a successful business in Greenwich. Five years ago, the talented and experienced businessman pivoted to public service to give back to his community.  As a state representative for Connecticut’s 151st district, Mr. Arora has fought tirelessly for his constituents, and now he wants to play a bigger role at the state level, serving the 3.6 million people who have made this beautiful state their home.

Connecticut is considered one of the most expensive states to live. It’s residents have the second-highest tax incidence in the country after New York. According to WalletHub’s analysis, Connecticut proved to be the state with the most expensive residential energy bills, paying an average of $372 per month to keep warm, cool, lit, moving and entertained.

​ A new report by the Personal finance website Bankrate  has ranked Connecticut the 3rd most expensive, and 8th worst overall, in which to retire. Connecticut tied for 4th with Vermont in the crime category, and is ranked 8th overall for retiree “well-being,” but takes a beating in the data when it comes to affordability. The state ranks No. 48, right behind affluent enclaves Hawaii and California.

In this context, electing someone who understands the needs and the complexities of managing the finances of the state of Connecticut is very essential. “It’s time Connecticut has a Treasurer that actually has experience in the role they are elected for: managing our pensions and debt,” says Mr. Arora. “I ask for your vote on November 8th to fix Connecticut’s finances.”

Mr. Arora has extensive experience in portfolio management and investment analysis, with a proven risk manager with an excellent track record. He has a strong background in macro-economics and financial theory and has experience selecting third-party portfolio managers and fixed income experience, in managing duration and credit risk. All these endear him well to elect Mr. Arora as the next State Treasurer.

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“I am the most qualified candidate for this role. I am a finance professional with 20+ years as a portfolio manager and Chief Investment Officer,” says Mr. Arora. “I have led an investment firm for many years. My opponent is a lawyer with no formal education in business or economics and no experience in finance or investing. No private sector firm would entertain him to be their Treasurer.”

“My platform is to fix Connecticut’s finances,” says, Mr. Arora. “I want to work to improve returns on our $50 billion pension fund. We are lagging a passive index by billions of dollars. I will work towards managing our debt better and lower interest expense. We have $30 billion in outstanding debt and pay $1 billion + interest each year. I want to improve CT residents’ financial well-being by promoting financial education on budgeting, borrowing, and investing.”

Mr. Arora understands the need to be fiscally conservative and help lower the tax burden on the people of the state. “I have the plan to lower our interest expense, manage our debt and improve returns on our pension assets,” say Mr. Arora. “I will work to improve financial education and improve economic well-being of all residents in Connecticut. I hope to have your vote on November 8th to be Connecticut’s next State Treasurer.”

Mr. Arora, an immigrant American who came to the United States from India as a student and naturalized as a citizen 18 years ago, if elected will be the first Indian American to be in statewide office if elected. Reflecting on India and its steady growth to be a world leader, Mr. Arora says, “India has made significant economic and social progress in the last 75 years. This progress has improved the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people and created a vibrant middle class. India is ready for primetime with a younger, educated, and diverse workforce. It is also astounding how India has made this progress as a democracy with a free press and the rule of law. I left India 30 years ago to pursue graduate school. As an Indian American, I feel proud to see India – the country of my birth, make strides to become a leading nation in the world.”

“I have served two terms in the state legislature and have a proven record of working across the aisle and getting things done. My opponent has never served in elected office,” says Mr. Arora. “I started and ran an investment management firm for 15 years and have a proven ability to manage high-performing teams. As your next State Treasurer, I plan to improve returns on our pension assets, lower interest expenses, and focus on financial education for CT residents to improve their financial well-being.”

Mr. Arora is running to be the next State Treasurer, who manages the state’s $45 billion in pension assets for the state employees and teachers. With 25 years of experience in finance, Mr. Arora intends to leverage that expertise to produce higher returns for the state’s portfolio After years of underperformance, let us build a portfolio for outperformance.

Mr. Arora and his wife Nisha are raising their three kids in Greenwich. He came to the United States from India as a graduate student 27 years ago and naturalized as an American citizen in 2004. He truly represents the American dream.

Mr. Arora understands that this is a close race and every vote that is cast could be the deciding vote. He is urging every eligible voter in the state of Connecticut to come out and vote and help him get elected to be the next Treasurer of the state of Connecticut. “I ask for your vote on November 8th.” To learn more about the candidate and his vision for Connecticut, please visit: https://www.arora2022.com/

Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, Democratic Party Candidate For CT Assembly Seat

“For too long we have allowed our representatives in Hartford to finger-point and leave messes for others to clean up,” Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, a Democratic Party candidate, for the 123rd District seat in the state House of Representatives, said. “The time is now to take responsibility for getting our state back on the right path.”

Gadkar-Wilcox said her platform is based on creating a new kind of politics. Gadkar-Wilcox, an Indian American, is pitted against incumbent David Rutigliano, a Republican in the November 8th mid-term elections. Rutigliano has held the seat since 2012. An associate professor at Quinnipiac where she teaches Constitutional law and human rights, Gadkar-Wilcox spoke passionately about how she plans to represent the entire population in Trumbull that is fast growing and diverse.

Gadkar-Wilcox said she was running out of concern for the “contentious and divided” political environment. “The time is now to take responsibility for getting our state back on the right path,” she said. “We have an obligation to ensure that our children enjoy quality public education, preparing them to be innovators and problem solvers. We must find sustainable solutions to manage our budget while not imposing an undue burden on our residents. We must responsibly invest in upgrading our infrastructure, which is the economic lifeline to our state.”

A Trumbull resident for nearly two decades, Gadkar-Wilcox said she hoped to create a new kind of politics that would work for everyone. “I hope to earn your support so that I may carry your voice to Hartford, working to ensure that you are not only able to thrive, but that Connecticut remains the place you are proud to call home,” she said. “As we move towards election day in November, I will work to earn your trust (and your vote) by listening to your concerns and sharing my vision for a new kind of politics.”

Picture: ICT Post

Gadkar-Wilcox is a Professor of Constitutional, Comparative and Human Rights Law. She was honored to receive a Fulbright-Nehru Award to support her research on the framework of the Indian Constitution. She also is a former director of juvenile law at Family Services in Westchester where she worked to train attorneys and law students in violence and delinquency prevention programs.

She was awarded the prestigious William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which enabled her to travel to India during the 2015-2016 academic year to continue her research on the framework of the Indian Constitution.

“I am delighted to be selected for a Fulbright-Nehru grant to continue my research,” Gadkar-Wilcox said. “My interest in understanding the pluralism informing the drafting of the Indian Constitution relates to my own experience of being raised in the United States by immigrant parents who instilled in us an appreciation and understanding of our own Indian cultural heritage. The process of operating in overlapping cultural spaces has always enabled me to approach issues from a different vantage point, which is what I see in the drafting of the Indian Constitution as well.”

“Both of my parents were born in India, and I was inspired as a young adult by my grandfather’s stories of his presence at Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ speech, his involvement in pro-Congress Party student protests, and his admiration for B.R. Ambedkar, both as a Maharashtrian and as an advocate for dalit “untouchables.” These led me to be intrigued by the issues of constitutional change at the time of India’s independence.

In 2017, Sujata received the James Marshall Award for Service to the Quinnipiac community. She serves as a faculty fellow with the Albert Schweitzer Institute, is a member of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights and is a Carnegie New Leader with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Sujata, her husband Wynn, and their two daughters live in Trumbull, CT.

The race is a rematch of the 2018 contest which she lost by just over 900 votes, the closest showing by a Democrat in the district in 46 years, according to Trumbull Democrats. Trumbull First Selectman Vicki Tesoro said she was “thrilled” that Sujata is running, and described her as “passionate about doing what is right for others.”

According to Regina Haley, Gadkar-Wilcox’s campaign manager, “What’s remarkable about Gadkar-Wilcox’s incredibly fast fundraising effort is that it happened organically,” said Haley. “We posted on Facebook and sent out an email. Then the word just started to spread. It’s like people have been waiting for a candidate like Gadkar-Wilcox. The energy behind her is enormous.”

“In the long run, Connecticut requires a politics characterized by careful deliberation, open and direct communication, and good decision-making,” says Gadkar-Wilcox. “Politics needs to move away from the back and forth of partisan commentary and get to issues beyond the headlines and sound bites. We need to discuss the more fundamental structural issues that will create a better political climate and a more vibrant economy.”

Confident and determined, Gadkar-Wilcox says, “I hope to earn your support so that I may carry your voice to Hartford, working to ensure that you are not only able to thrive, but that Connecticut remains the place you are proud to call home,” she said. “As we move towards election day on November 8th, I will work to earn your trust (and your vote) by listening to your concerns and sharing my vision for a new kind of politics.” For more details on Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, please visit: http://sujataforct.com/

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Celebrates Diwali In Times Square; Announce Diwali Public-School Holiday

New York City Mayor Eric Adams inaugurated Diwali celebrations in Times Square on October 15. The festival of Diwali marks the beginning of the Indian New Year. Deepavali – the Festival ofLight, this year falls on Oct 24 but the celebrations started a week before, in Times Square. Mayor Eric Adams, Senator Charles E. Schumer, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, NY State Assemblywoman Jennifer Rajkumar – the first Indian American Assemblywoman, and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine attended the event along with hundreds of Indian American community members.

“We acknowledge the Diwali, and we need to acknowledge the power of women and the significant role women play in our country, in our city. Let’s continue to lift our women as we liftup our country – our city,” said NYC Mayor Adams. On October 20, the Mayor announced that Diwali will be a public-school holiday in New York City starting in 2023. This sends a message about the significance of the city’s inclusiveness and the “long overdue” step will encourage children to learn about the festival of lights.

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Consul General of India Randhir Jaiswal said, “Every year, we celebrate Diwali in Times Square but this year, it is somewhat different. It happened to be part of India’s 75th year of Independence.”

Renowned Oncologist Padma Shree Dr. Dattatreyadu Nori was recognized and honored for his lifetime excellent services to Medicine and Philanthropy by Mayor Eric Adam. Times Square witnessed huge participation of members of the Indian American community, Americans and others dressed up in traditional outfits from different states of India, showcasing India’s rich art, culture, and diversity. The Diwali Bazaar provided a variety of traditional Indian cuisines and sweets and merchandise for Diwali festivities.

The variety of traditional performances and lively acts by world-renowned artists like Jay Sean, Arjun, Rimi Nique, and Social Media fame artists Kiran + Nivi and Hrishi kept the audience glued for hours. 100s of students of Arya Dance Academy and Shiamak Davar School of Dance, Heeray, DanceX, Prashant Shah presented dazzling dance shows at the event.

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“We love our community, our Indian community, and we love that we all come together here in New York with our diversity,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. He has been celebrating the festival of Diwali with the Indian American community in New York for many years. “The Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist communities, you are so important to the city, and I wish you a holiday of light, prosperity, of happiness, health, and a wonderful year ahead,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine in his address.

Jennifer Rajkumar, the first Indian American NY State Assemblywoman was introduced by Mayor Eric Adams on the stage. “On the street, they call him Mayor Eric Adams – a Hindu Mayor. A plant-based diet, and meditation, he does it all. I am honored to be the first Hindu elected to be in the NYS office. The first Indian woman but definitely not the last one,” she said. Attendees were encouraged to take the advantage of Bivalent Vaccines at nearby COVID Clinics with the partnership of the “We Can Do This” campaign of Vaccines.gov, a Health & Human Services initiative.

“We appreciate the support and cooperation from the authorities of the City of New York, NYPD, FDNY, Health Department, Times Square Alliance, and other Government organizations to create yet another successful event at Times Square,” AR Helping Hands Foundation Diwali at Times Square organizer, Neeta Bhasin and Naresh Kumar said in a statement.

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Indian Overseas Congress, USA Organizes Unity Walk In New York

“A Unity Walk” in solidarity with Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Indian National Congress from Kanyakumari to Kashmir led by Shri Rahul Gandhi, was held at the iconic Times Square (47th St & Steps) to Union Square (Gandhi Statue) in New York City on Sunday, October 30th, 2022. 

Inspired by the ongoing ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) USA organized a ‘Unity Walk’ from Times Square in New York City  to underline the message of unity and peace in India, a press release issued here stated. 

According to an IOC press release, about 300 members of the Indian diaspora took part in the ‘Unity Walk’ that began from Times Square on Sunday and walked up to the Gandhi statue in Union Square in downtown Manhattan.

The Pada Yatra is inspired by the “Bharat Jodo Yatra, currently being led by Rahul Gandhi” and “emphasizes unity and peace in India and the sub-continent.”

Indian Overseas Congress President Sam Pitroda flagged off the Ekta Pad Yatra from Times Square. At the conclusion of the 2.5 kilometer padyatra, a wreath was laid at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Union Square. 

In his remarks, Pitroda “urged India to continue to be led by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and respect the ideals of democracy, freedom, human rights, justice, equality, inclusion, and related values and wisdom outlined in the Indian Constitution,” the release added.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Shri Rahul Gandhi will cover a distance of around 3500 kms and go through about 12 states and 2 Union Territories. It will be a padayatra throughout. The entire leadership and cadre of the Congress party will participate in the Yatra. Many other yatras will join the main padayatra from across the length and breadth of the country.

After 75 years of independence, the Indian National Congress pays rich tributes to all those who fought for India’s freedom, those who defeated the politics of divide and rule, those who came together to give the country its great Constitution, and those who put India on the path of progress, prosperity, social justice and harmony.

Today, as the politics of hate is being practiced by those who never took part in our country’s freedom movement, and whose ideologies resulted in the assassination of the Father of the Nation, the Bharat Jodo Yatra has been launched as a nation-wide movement to unite;

  • every Indian who is committed to the protection, preservation and promotion of the values anchored in our country’s freedom movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi;
  • every Indian who is dedicated to fighting the politics of hatred, bigotry and polarization;
  • every Indian who believes that instead of divisive politics, the focus of governance should be on providing productive jobs to crores of youth, easing the burden on crores of our families of the intolerable price rise of essential commodities, ensuring the welfare and well-being of kisans and khet mazdoors, and protecting our Jal, Jangal and Zameen for securing livelihoods and dignity for crores of Adivasis, Dalits, and other weaker sections of society;
  • every Indian who is determined to uphold the country’s Constitution against all odds, and ensure Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for all, irrespective of caste, class, faith, gender or language.

“US And India Need To Stand Together As Democracies That Stand For Values:” Rep. Jim Himes Says During Meet & Greet With GOPIO-CT Leadership

“The United States and India need to stand together as they are great democracies that stand for human values,” declared US Congressman Jim Himes, a Democrat representing the 4th district of Connecticut during a networking reception, Diwali Celebrations, Dinner, Music and Interactive Session With Congressman Jim Himes at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Stamford, CT on Friday, October 28th, 2022. 

Stating that the Indo-US relationship is fundamental to the stability of the world, Rep. Himes referred to the compulsions that led to India’s response to Russia’s unilateral invasion of Ukraine. “We underrated the long-standing relationship India has had with Russia. We understand the constraints India faces. No one needs to sit  in judgement of India’s position on Ukraine,” Rep. Himes said. 

Rep. Himes shared with the audience about his recent visit to Ukraine and meeting with the leadership in this war-torn nation. Describing the pain and the suffering inflicted on the people of Ukraine, Rep. Himes said, “Everyone we met in Ukraine stated, we will  do everything in our power to defend every inch of our territory.” 

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While hoping that the war ends soon, the Congressman pointed to how “Democracy is under threat today more than ever,” and he stressed the need for India and the United States need to “stand together to protect the democratic values.”

“There is a temptation to test the ties India and the United States have developed for centuries,” Rep. Himes pointed out. Stating that the this “friction is between India and the United States is only temporary” Rep. Himes said, “We will stand united and will work together towards the common values that are dear to both the nations.” Describing India and the United States as “cousin democracies” Rep. Himes said, “The Democratic party leadership is in understanding of the critical need for strengthening the relationship between India and the United States. We are very supportive of the need to build on the India US relationship,” he added. 

On the issue of long waiting, sometimes nearly 2 years to obtain an appointment for a Visa interview, while describing this as “a solvable problem, but the right intention and motive is essential,” Rep. Himes said, “We need to advocate with local representatives in every state to solve this back log.” As Chairman of the House Committee overseeing the State Department, Himes suggested that the US State Department will listen to Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. “You need to have them understand the long delay in visa interviews,”  he said. 

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On the Green Card back log, Rep. Himes said, attracting skilled laborers is “central to our economy.” On a question, regarding the discussions about the Country-based quota not being used and unused visas could be used to allow Green Cards to other qualified individuals who are caught in the backlog for Green Card approval, Rep. Himes was unsure if the Biden Administration will embrace the policy.

Rep. Himes serves on the US Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, a forum in which Members of Congress address the issues central to our relationship with this important South Asian nation. By promoting dialogue on issues of interest to the Indian American community, the Caucus strives to strengthen bilateral relations between the United States and India, promote trade with India, enhance economic development in India and the United States, increase anti-terrorism cooperation.

While commenting on the recent US decision to sell F-16 Fighter Jets to Pakistan, Rep. Himjes said, “I have my personal perspectives on India and Pakistan. I understand who are our partners in security.” 

On the question of “cyber security” Himes said, “It is getting more and more a serious issue.” While acknowledging that “China is very targeted” Himes said, “Russia is not as sophisticated.” Himes stated, the US is investing heavily on cyber security to address the fast and ever evolving security threats posed by many rogue nations and people, around the world. “We need to be more resilient and there is an urgent need to fix ther problem.” 

Congressman Himes had all praise for the Indian American community. He referred to how he came to meet with a new entrepreneur of Indian origin in Bridgeport recently, who is setting up a large firm that will help manufacture semiconductors that is in huge demand now. He also spoke about the contribution of the Indian American community for their contributions to creating a hub of tech innovation in Stamford in CT. “The brains of tech innovations are here,” he said, while pointing to the Indian community. 

While acknowledging that “We have so much to do on immigration” to enable these tech savvy and entrepreneurial Indian American community to have a smoother and faster way to have Green Card and Job Visas,  Rep. Himes, whose District has a fast-growing South Asian immigrant community, praised them for their contributions. “You are a secret weapon for economic growth,” he told the Indian American community, and called them “the future of US innovations.”

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In his inaugural remarks, GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, said, “Every year, GOPIO-CT has had an interactive session with Rep. Jim Himes and other elected officials.” Dr. Thomas Abraham initiated the discussion by raising the “H1 and H4 visa issues and what needs to be done by the Biden Administration, especially for the need to clear the backlogs of pending Immigration numbers for our community.” Responding to these concerns that were shared in a series of questions by GOPIO leaders on the Immigration issues, Dr. Abraham described the immigration policy and the current situation as “messy.”

During the interactive session among members of GOPIO, who raised concerns about the Western Media being anti-India, Ritu Johorey, Board Member of GOPIO-CT refuted the claim and stressed that the Western Media is neither anti-India nor anti-Modi Government, and stated speaking of the realities in India and portraying what is happening in India today cannot be described as anti-India. The Diwali celebrations at an eloquently decorated Meeting Hall included Cocktail Dinner and a live Bollywood Music by popular Playback singers from across the state of Connecticut, emceed by Dr. Jaya West. 

The program started with a welcome by GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani who said that Rep. Himes is a great supporter of GOPIO and the Indian community. He said, over the last 15 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities. For more details, please visit: http://gopio-ct.org/

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Honors NRIs At The Diwali Celebration At The Gracie Mansion

At a largely attended Diwali Celebrations at the Gracie Mansion, New York City Mayor Eric Adams honored Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), along with its Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, for its work in community mobilization and common good of the society in the New York area. Other recognized are Federation of Indian Associations of NY, NJ, CT (FIA) Chairman Ankur Vaidya, Indiaspora Founder M.R. Rangaswamy, Grammy Award Winner Falu Shah and Tulsi Mandir of Richmond Hill Queens represented by its priest Lakra Maharaj and Lion Romeo Hitlall of the Indo-Caribbean community. 

This was the first Diwali Celebration by Mayor Adams held at the Gracie mansion on October 25th evening after assuming office as the mayor of the city. Over 1100 people attended the festive celebration with Indian food, dances of India and people dancing to the tune of Bollywood music.

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The program started with Mayor’s Chief Advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin with a welcome saying that she was learning more and more about Diwali and that people from all over world have been celebrating Diwali. She then introduced New York State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, who introduced several other elected officials including NYS Senator Kevin Thomas and City Council Members Shekar Krishnan, Amanda Farías and Linda Lee. Others present with Mayor Adams were his senior team members of Indian origin including Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala, Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan and Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan (Trade and Investment).

Assemblywoman Rajkumar said that Goddess Durga showered her blessings, and that was why she won. She further added that she followed the teachings and focused like Arjuna on the Mahabharata, and that is why I won. 

Rep, Rajkumar said, “For over two decades, many of you in this room have fought to make Diwali a school holiday in New York City. I’ve been with you in that fight and for the first time, a New York City mayor has stepped forward to lift us up and create the Diwali holiday.”

Mayor Adams in his remarks has said that the Indian American community is very important for New York city.  “I looked at during the 70s when we saw such a large wave of those who came from India, moved to Queens, wanted to believe in American dream and you worked hard and opened small businesses, and you sent your children to school to learn different skills so they can be deputy mayors and doctors and leaders of agencies and help our city move forward, fortifying the strength of our city,” said Mayor Adams. 

“And you asked me on the campaign trail as we went from location to location, you said, Eric, we want to be acknowledged by having a holiday. While children can not only take off to acknowledge Diwali, but other children will have to now ask the question, “What is Diwali? What does it represent?” And we were faced with an awesome challenge. There were no more days in the calendar and everyone stated it was not possible, however, we have found a solution to make Diwali a holiday in the New York City School System in 2023,” Mayor Adams continued.

Mayor Adams further said, “And finally, we have to live true to what Diwali represents, since, there’s too much darkness engulfing in the desire to just find places we disagree. It is time for us to live up to Diwali, to sit down and communicate, to push back against hate crimes against Sikhs, against AAPI, against those of the LGBTQ+ communities, against African Americans, against Latinos, against Irish and Jewish and Polish and all the other groups that make this city. We need to be the beacon of light that shows the country how we need to push away darkness.” 

Mayor Adams concluded and said to live in the spirit of Ram, in the spirit of Sita, in the spirit of Diwali and live up to what this holiday represents and then we would know that we fulfilled our responsibility and obligation. 

New York city’s Trade and Investment Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan then introduced each of the honorees to receive their citation which was presented by him, Mayor’s Advisor Chief advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Rep. Jenifer Rajkumar. There were Indian dances before the ceremony started and ended with Bollywood dancing on the floor.

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The Kerala Center Presents The 2022 Annual Awards

The Kerala Center in New York held its 30th Annual Awards Banquet at the Center’s auditorium in Elmont, NY on Saturday, October 22, 2022.  The Center honored six individuals who made notable contributions in their professions and to the society with their selfless dedication. 

This year’s honorees who accepted the awards at the ceremony were: Jose Kaniyaly, Executive Editor and Partner of Kerala Express weekly newspaper, for his contributions to Malayalam Media and Journalism; Thomas Joy, police officer and president of the American Malayalee Law Enforcement United (AMLEU), for Public Service; Bindiya Sabarinath, founder of Mayura School of Arts, for achievements in the category of Performing Arts and P. T. Paulose, for contributions to Pravasi Malayalam Literature. Dr. Javad Hassan, Chairman of NeST Group, who won the award for Corporate Leadership and Dr. Silvester Noronha of MIT, in the category of Applied Science, were unable to attend and accept the awards due to personal circumstances.  

The program commenced with the American and Indian National anthems sung by Riya Kootumkal and Bincy Cheripuram. The MC was Mrs. Daisy P. Stephen who then introduced Kerala Center President Alex K. Esthappan, who welcomed everyone and provided a brief description of the activities and goals of the Kerala Center. Indian Consul for Trade and Commerce, Manish Kulhary, was the chief guest of the function. New York Senators Kevin Thomas and Anna Kaplan were present to say felicitations and to present the awards. 

The chief guest was introduced by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Trustee Board and Award Committee member. In his remarks, Dr. Abraham talked about the maturing of the Indian community in the last 50 years with our increasing political participation. He called upon the parents to inculcate community service in their children. 

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Chief Guest, Indian Trade and Commerce Consul Manish Kulhary stated that he had a relationship with Keralites from his childhood as his teachers in his school in Rajasthan were Malayalees.  He praised Kerala for its achievement in education and healthcare, and also praised the Kerala Center for honoring individuals who excelled in their professions and serving the society with dedication. 

Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, the chairman of the Award Committee and Board of Directors, in his speech explained the process of selecting the awardees.

The award for Malayalam Media and Journalism went to Jose Kaniyaly the Executive Editor and Partner of Kerala Express, a weekly Malayalam newspaper published from Chicago, which was founded in 1992.  In his speech, he encouraged associations and its leaders in America to give more recognition to medias and journalists here in conjunction with journalists in India. Kaniyaly was introduced by Christy Jose, youth representative of the Kerala Center, and Consul Kulhary presented the award.

The award for community service went to Thomas Joy, a police officer, a combat veteran of the Iraq war and president of the American Malayalee Law Enforcement United (AMLEU). In his speech, he encouraged our youth to get involved in public service.  Officer Joy was introduced by Samuel Joseph, youth representative of the Kerala Center, and Senator Kevin Thomas presented the award. 

The award for performing Arts went to Bindiya Sabarinath, the Artistic Director of the Mayura School of Arts in New Jersey established in 2001. In her speech, Mrs. Sabarinath said that she feels blessed that she was able to teach dance to more than thousand students already using her God given talents.  Bindiya was introduced by Annie Esthappan, youth representative of the Kerala Center, and Trustee Board member G. Mathai presented the award.

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The award for contributions to Pravasi Malayalam Literature went to P. T. Paulose, a journalist, freelance writer, theatrical performer and director. In his speech, he said that receiving awards are sweet, but it is sweeter when it was from the Kerala Center which always stood for secularism, humanity and inclusiveness.  Paulose was introduced by James Thomas, youth representatives of the Kerala Center, and J. Mathews, Chief Editor of Janani magazine, presented the award.

In addition to New York senators Thomas and Kaplan, Jose Kadapuram, Director of Kairali TV, USA, made a felicitation speech.  As part of the Award Ceremony, a Souvenir was released by the souvenir committee members Raju Thomas and Abraham Thomas by giving a copy of it to Dr. Theresa Antony. 

James Thottam was the chairman of the Award Dinner. Board members Abraham Thomas, Mathew Vazhappally and John Paul coordinated the event.  The MC of the program, Daisy Palliparambil, impressed everybody with her outstanding performance. The songs sung by Bincy Cherian, Indian classical dance performed by Maya Devi of Mayura School of Arts and Brazilian dance performed by Beena made the awards night a more colorful one. Kerala Center Secretary Jimmy John concluded the ceremony with a vote of thanks to the guests, awardees, audience, sponsors and everyone worked so hard to make it a successful event. With dinner, the 2022 Award Night came to the end.

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Bharat Rana Elected President Of National Seniors Organization

The Federation of Indian American Seniors Association of North America, FISANA recently elected Bharat Rana as its president. The election took place Sunday, October 16, 2022, at the Golden Era Medical Adult Day Care, a senior living provider in Edison, New Jersey.

Delegates from 18 different Seniors Associations from around the U.S. came to vote for their candidate between two contenders, Rana and Ranjit Patel.

Electors sipped hot Masala Chai and discussed the pros and cons of each candidate, and their ability to lead the organization, a press release from FISANA said.

It was a secret ballot and the process was conducted fairly by  G.K. Patel, who was in charge of it. The candidates first introduced themselves followed by the voting. Each person voting had to show their ID to confirm their identity.

The election commissioner G.K. Patel, announced vote counts — Bharat Rana secured 51 votes and Ranjit Patel received 22.

The newly elected president, Bharat Rana, thanked everyone and highlighted his vision for FISANA and urged members to support him in his efforts to take the organization to the next level

Diwali Celebrated With The Spirit Of Giving Joy And Happiness To The World

Ashton Place, Willowbrook, IL became the hub of melodious celebration of joy and happiness at the Diwali celebration hosted by Bollywood Sargam on October 21, 2022. The event hosts Pratibha Jairath of Bollywood Sargam and Ashok Potdar of Silver Senior group and Shreeji tours made every effort to bring smiles on all the guests present at the event. It was once again a full house. 

The lamp lighting ceremony included the sponsors and supporters Anil and Sweety Loomba, Mayur and Neelam Ganger, Pinky and Dinesh Thakkar, Bhupinder & Anita Beri, Brij and Vijay Sharma, Ashok Potdar, Hitesh Gandhi and Onkar sangha. Pratibha Jairath acknowledged the support and encouragement she received from each one present. The businessman, community leader and now a philanthropist Anil Loomba of Home Mortgage Solutions Inc. virtually sent his best wishes for Diwali to everyone. Pratibha also briefed upon the activities and initiatives of her Not-For Profit organization Vidya Jyoti. 

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The singing trio Pratibha Jairath, Raju Bankapur, Pradeep Sood kept the audience on their dancing feet throughout the celebration. The program started with melodious songs when Pratibha gave special tribute to legendary Lata Mangeshkar and paid respect to the legend’s unmatchable contribution to the world of music. There was pin drop silence throughout the listening numbers but then folks came to the dance floor with Pratibha’s dancing numbers. The next singer Pardeep Sood had a dramatic Kishore Kumar number and his Punjabi medley that people love brought even more people to the dance floor. Very well-known artist Raju Bankapur’s versatile and unique medley created a lot of excitement. 

The beautiful dance performances by Priyanka Parekh and Jenish Balsara got a big applause from the audience. Raju Bankapur’s fingers created magic on the flute and transported the audience to the world of pure joy and ecstasy.

Orchestra Sa Re Ga Ma with Hitesh Master Nayak, Pt. Puran Lal Vyas , Gopal Shah and sound engineer/DJ Saif enthralled the attendees. Friends and families thoroughly enjoyed the fun packed melodious evening which is the hallmark of Pratibha Jairath that makes her one of the most sought-after entertainers and artists of Chicago.

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World Trade Center In New York Lights Up For Diwali

As darkness fell over Lower Manhattan, the angular podium of the World Trade Center lit up with a sparkling digital mural celebrating the Indian festival of lights, Diwali. 

The spectacular square panel was turned on at 6:30 P.M. Oct. 22. It ran continuously for three nights until 2:00 A.M. Oct. 24. 

The event was organized by South Asian Engagement Foundation, a non-profit which aims to “elevate the Indian-American brand through educational initiatives and civic engagements.”

The initiative began last year, on Nov. 3. The rationale behind it is to draw a thread between the celebration of American Independence Day — a holiday celebrated since July 4, 1777, with a kaleidoscope of fireworks — with one that Indians have observed for over a millennium, also with the lighting of lamps and fireworks. 

School Holiday

New York Mayor Eric Adams is working with state Assembly member Jennifer Rajkumar on legislation that would declare Diwali an official school holiday.

“Continue the American tradition of watching fireworks over the Hudson River by embracing it with the Indian festival of Diwali,” wrote SAEF in a statement. 

After growing pressure from Indian Americans, New York Mayor Eric Adams announced at a press conference Oct. 20 that all children in the city’s public school system will get a day off, beginning next year, to celebrate Diwali.

“It is long overdue to say to our Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist students and communities that we see you, we acknowledge you,” said Adams.

State Legislation

New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said, “It’s important for not only the young people who celebrate and who honor Diwali, but it’s important for all students.” 

Some 200,000 New Yorkers celebrate Diwali each year, said New York state Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar, a Democrat, who has introduced a bill to remove Anniversary Day, commonly known as Brooklyn-Queens Day. Diwali could then be added to the list of school holidays.

“South Asian and Indo-Caribbean families like mine, all over the city, have made incredible contributions and today, I’m proud to say, our time has come,” said Rajkumar.

New IRS Rules Mean Your Paycheck Could Be Bigger Next Year

Inflation may be pushing prices up, but it also may help push up your take-home pay starting next year.

Thanks to inflation adjustments to 2023 federal income tax brackets and other provisions announced by the Internal Revenue Service this week, more of your 2023 wages may be subject to lower tax rates than they were this year, and you may be able to deduct higher amounts of income.

“It is very likely that you would see more in your paycheck starting in January [due to the IRS inflation adjustments, which] tend to result in lower withholding for a given level of income,” said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.

Since the changes don’t apply until 2023, they won’t have any affect on your 2022 tax return that you must file by mid-April of next year.

Here are some of the big changes the IRS is making:

Income tax brackets

  • There are seven different federal income tax rates at which earned income is taxed: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. And the range of income subject to each of those rates is called a tax bracket.
  • The more you earn, the higher your “top” rate – that’s the rate at which your last dollar is taxed.
  • The IRS inflation adjustments amount to a roughly 7% increase in each bracket.
  • Starting next year, here are the amounts of income that will apply to each rate:
  • 10% applies to the first $11,000 of income for single filers ($22,000 for married couples filing jointly).
  • 12% applies to income over $11,000 ($22,000 for joint filers)
  • 22% applies to income over $44,725 ($89,450 for joint filers)
  • 24% applies to incomes over $95,375 ($190,750 for joint filers)
  • 32% applies to incomes over $182,100 ($364,200 for joint filers)
  • 37% applies to incomes over $578,125 ($693,750 for joint filers)

Standard deduction

The standard deduction, which most filers claim, will go up by $900 to $13,850 for single people and by $1,800 to $27,700 for married couples filing jointly.

The standard deduction is the dollar amount that those who don’t itemize deductions can subtract from their adjustable gross income before federal income tax is applied.

Healthcare Flexible Spending Account contribution limits

Next year, you will be allowed to contribute up to $3,050 to a flexible spending account, which can cover some out-of-pocket healthcare costs not covered by health insurance. That money is deductible so it will reduce the amount of tax taken out of your paycheck. If your employer’s plan also allows you to carry over unused portions of your FSA amount, the maximum carryover permitted will be $610, $40 higher than this year’s maximum.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) enables low-income workers to keep more of their paycheck. However, they will not get paid the money until they file their 2023 taxes in early 2024.

The IRS raised the maximum amounts one can claim for the EITC by about 7%.

For example, a qualifying taxpayer with three or more qualifying children could get an EITC of up to $7,430 in 2023, up from $6,935 this year.

Nassau County In New York Celebrates Diwali

The office of Asian Community Affairs, Anissa Moore Nasssu County Deputy County Executive Jennifer Desena, Supervisor Town Of North Hempstead, Director of Asian American Affairs in Nassau County Arooj Islam, along with Indian American Forum Founding Member Dr. Bobby K. Kalotee & Chairperson Indu Jaiswal, celebrated Diwali honoring distinguished Indian American Community leaders. 

Emceed by Flora Parekh, the event highlighted the accomplishments of several prominent Indian American community leaders like Gurumaa Jyotishanand Saraswati (Vedic Heritage of India), Jasbir (Jay) Singh (Board Member – Asian American Advisory Board of Nassau County), Meena Shah, ( Vaishnav Mandir – VTNY), Dr. Bharathi Reddy (Internist), Madhu Pareek (Blue Host Hospitality), Hargovind Gupta (Vice President, IALI) and Dr. Neeru Bhambri (MemberAt-Large IALI). 

The tireless efforts of the county and founding members along with a dedicated Hosts committee of Dr. Bobby K. Kalotee, Chairperson Indu Jaiswal, Vimal Goyal, Bina Sabapathy, Veer Mukhi, Deepak Bansal, Jasbir Jay Singh, Beena Kothari, Flora Parekh, Jyoti Gupta, Anju Sharma, Nilima Madan, Shashi Malik, Indu Gajwani and Suhag Mehta and several volunteers and supporters, contributed to the success of the event keeping up the spirit of Diwali. 

Starting with the American & Indian National Anthems by Angel Shah, the event followed a traditional Diya Ceremony. Beautifully choreographed Diwali dances and performances by young girls and ladies group were the highlight of the evening. The venue was traditionally decorated by Jyoti Gupta, Anju & Sanju Sharma and Team. Mouth watering dinner and Prasad boxes were served. Several Indian American Forum Board members and community leaders namely Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, Deepak Bansal, Mukesh Modi, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Past Presidents of IALI, Vibhuti Jha, Anil Shah, Dr. Kunjbala Shah were in attendance. Indian American Forum has been instrumental in showcasing the Indian tradition in NY for several decades.

East Coast Durga Puja Association Celebrates 53rd Annual Sharod Utsav

East Coast Durga Puja Association (ECDPA)  hosted its annual three-day  Sharod Utsav on October 14th,15th &,16th in Queens, New York.  It was a spectacular event, replete with live music concerts by celebrated performing artists from India and magnificent cultural shows by talented local artists from New York. More than 2,000 people attended the event. 

In addition to musical and cultural celebrations, several exhibitors of Indian clothing and jewelry showcased their merchandise.  Another highlight of the celebration were inter-active participatory events for the audience, which made the event a huge success. Celebration of Indian cuisine was another attraction of this event. Mouthwatering multi-course Indian dinners are served to all guests on all the three days. 

A special attraction was our chief guest of the event, the honorable mayor of New York City, Mr. Eric Adams. Mr. Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner for Trade, Investment, and Innovation, an ardent, long-standing supporter of our community and event was also present. Our sincere thanks go to Mr. Mayor and Mr. Chauhan for finding time from their busy schedules to participate in the event said Himanshu Sehgal President of ECDPA. 

ECDPA’s  Sharod Utsav in New York is the oldest and the biggest celebration of its kind  in the US since 1970.

AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit 2023 Will Be Held In Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2022, organized by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in collaboration with Andhra Medical College Alumni Association, and Andhra Medical College, Indian Medical Association, AP, Association of Telugu Medical Graduates in the USA and Rangaraya Medical College Alumni Association and Government of State of AP will be held at the prestigious Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach, Andhra Pradesh, India from January 6th to 8th, 2022. 
 
Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI welcomed AAPI members to attend the 16th Global Healthcare Summit planned to be held in Vishakhapatnam, in Andhra Pradesh from January 6th to 8th, 2023. “I need all your input and participation to make it a grand success and I know I can count on all of you. Registration has been open for GHS. Pre-GHS Vietnam. Cambodia and Kaulampur family CME tour and the spots are filling up fast and will be sold out soon. So, I request you all to sign up soon.”
 
While elaborating on the themes and areas that are going to be covered during the Summit, Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI BOT, says, “The GHS 2023 will focus on Mental Health and Physician Burnout Issues, Rural Health Initiatives, Infant and Maternal Health issues as well as Medical Jeopardy, Research Poster presentations by medical students.”

According to GHS US Chair Dr. Prasad Chalasani, “There will be cutting edge CME and academic presentations organized by the CME Chair Dr. Sreeni Gangasani and Academic Chair Dr. Sharma Prabhakar, on topics covering, Psychiatry, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, Oncology and discussions on research methodology and scientific writing by academic experts organized by Dr. B K Kishore.  In our efforts to realize the core mission of AAPI, which is to share the best from leading experts from around the world, to collaborate on clinical challenges, the GHS in Visakhapatnam will have clinical tracks that are of vital to healthcare in India.” 


Dr. Ravi Raju, GHS Chair in India, says, “Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment. India is making significant improvements in its healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Indian doctors have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub. With hundreds of physicians joining from the United States, the summit is expected to be attended by three hundred delegates from around the world. AAPI Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) will have many new initiatives and will be carrying the torch of ongoing projects undertaken by AAPI’s past leaders.” 

Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “Dr. Lokesh Edara and Dr. Brahma Sharma, who are the co-chairs of International medical education will conduct a high-powered panel discussion by International Medical Education experts including CEOs of ECFMG, WFMC, and National Medical Council officials.” 

According to Dr. Kolli, “Dr. Sampath Shivangi is inviting senior leaders from leading healthcare organizations including pharmaceuticals, device and medical equipment manufacturers and major medical teaching institutions, hospitals and the Ministries of Health, External/Overseas Affairs and regulatory bodies to attend and collaborate with AAPI with an ultimate goal to providing accessible and affordable high-quality healthcare to all people of India.”

CEO Forum Chair Dr. Joseph Chalil said. “We will have discussions on Equity, Ethics and Physician Burnout Issues.” The Women’s Forum chair Dr. Udaya Shivangi announced that “there will be meaningful discussions and policy statements on gender bias and its impact on leadership.”

Dr. Manoj Jain, Chair of CETI – Collaboration to Eliminate TB in India supported by CDC and USAID, will discuss their ongoing long-term TB Elimination Projects in India.
  
While elaborating on the aims of the Summit, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI, says, “This innovative Summit is aimed at advancing the accessibility, affordability, and the quality of world-class healthcare to the people of India. Among other areas, the Summit will focus on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options and share ways to truly improve healthcare transcending global boundaries.”
 
Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, says, “It is these learning opportunities and collaborative relationships that have now enabled AAPI and participating organizations to plan and prepare for an outstanding event that is expected to have over 300 prominent and experienced physicians and surgeons of Indian origin from around the world, who are very passionate about serving their homeland, Mother India.” 
 

Dr. Meher Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI says, “Being organized at this critical phase, GHS 2023 is aimed at exploring possibilities for greater collaboration and cooperation between the physicians and health care providers in India with those of Indian origin and major health-care providers abroad.”

According to Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI, “With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision and AAPI would like to make a positive and meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India.”
 
The global healthcare summit has come a long way from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 15 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations.

“It will be a one-of-a-kind experience at a unique and novel location where you will be guaranteed to have a most memorable experience of a lifetime. Do not miss it. Limited early bird registration is open and filling up fast. We are looking forward to your participation, suggestions, and support,” Dr. Kolli said. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/  To register for the Global Healthcare Summit 2023, please visit: https://summit.aapiusa.org

President Biden Hosts Diwali At White House

“We are honored to host you. This is the first Diwali reception of this scale in the White House ever to be held. We have more Asian Americans than ever before in history and we want to thank you for making the Diwali celebration a joyous part of American culture,” US President Joe Biden said, after lighting the traditional lamp, marking the largest-ever celebration of Diwali, the South Asian Festival of Lights at the White House in the nation’s capital on Monday, October 24th, 2022. 

As described by President Biden as the largest ever Diwali Celebration, since the “People’s House” started celebrating the festival during the George Bush administration, the annual event was hosted by US President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden.

President Biden wished a happy Diwali to over a billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists celebrating the festival across the world. He thanked the Asian American community in the US for making the Diwali celebration a joyous part of American culture.

“As we host the official White House Diwali reception, we are honored to light the diya surrounded by members of the most diverse administration in American history, led by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black American and South Asian American to become vice president.”

More than 200 eminent Indian Americans attended the reception at the East Room, a venue, which has witnessed some of the landmark events related to the India-US relationship, including the signing of the nuclear deal and the joint press conference by then US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2008.

“The incredible South Asian community all across America has helped the country emerge stronger from this pandemic, building an economy that works for everyone, teaching children and caring for elders, responding to the cry for action on climate, working to fix immigration system, defending rights and freedoms, building a more just and equitable country, serving and protecting our communities and the nation, informing, entertaining and inspiring,” Biden said. 

Kamala Harris, the Vice President, in her remarks from the White House on the occasion of Diwali celebrations, said, “White House is the people’s house and together our president and first lady have made this place where every American can celebrate their honor and tradition.” Tonight, Vice President Harris said, the Biden administration joins over 1 billion people around the world to light the ‘Diya’ and celebrate the fight for good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness.

First Lady Jill Biden praised the Asian American community in the US for “helping us light our way forward. With persistence, with faith, with love, I am grateful that today these diyas have guided you to this home. A home that belongs to all of you,” the first lady said.

President Biden thanked for the optimism, courage, and empathy demonstrated by the incredible South Asian community all across America. “Together, South Asian Americans reflect the soul of who we are as a nation, whether helping us emerge stronger from this pandemic, building an economy that works for everyone, or serving and protecting our communities and our country.”

As the world celebrates this gathering of light, he said, “as this community has experienced too often–that there is always darkness lurking. American history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh reality that we have never fully lived up to it. By marking the victory of light over darkness, Diwali is a reminder that each of us has the power to bring light to the world, whether here in America or around the world.”

The White House reception saw some enthralling cultural events, including performances by sitarist Rishab Sharma and dance troupe, The Sa Dance Company. The guests, dressed in traditional Indian attires such as saree, lehenga and sherwani, relished some mouthwatering Indian delicacies.

“The room is full at the East state dining room… This is a real celebration of what the Indian American community has achieved in the United States. It’s a wonderful recognition by the President and by the White House to host all of us on Diwali. I feel very privileged to be here as an Indian American,” Atul Keshap, president of US India Business Council said during the reception.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here to celebrate Diwali. Indian Americans thank the President and the First Lady for this,” said H R Shah, chairman and CEO of TV Asia, the largest South Asian television channel in the US.

Ajay Jain Bhutoria, a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, said the event was held to recognize the South Asian community’s contributions in economic development and managing Covid crisis among others.

Lauding the Diwali celebration, Bhutoria said it sent a message “how much President Biden and this administration loves and respects the South Asian community”. Biden has appointed a record number of over 130 Indo-Americans at various high levels of the administrations, he said.

Diwali is an auspicious festival that symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Spectacular lights, firecrackers, irresistible traditional sweets and exchanging gifts mark the festival. While, the Hindus celebrate this festival to commemorate the homecoming of Lord Rama after 14 year-long years in exile and his victory over Ravana, for the people of Jain faith, this festival carries the essence of spiritual upliftment because it marks the achievement of Nirvana or Moksha by Mahavira, the last Tirthankara.

Diwali is popularly known as the “festival of lights” and is observed incessantly for five days that kicks off in late Ashwin and concludes in the early Kartika month according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar. Each day of the festival is associated with six different principal stories. In North India, worshipping of Lord Ganesha and Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is an important part of Diwali that signifies the welcoming of prosperity and wealth.

Indian American Caucus Hosts Political Forum In Preparation For Midterm Elections in IL

Indian Americans are coming of age in the United States and are beginning to exert influence in the public sphere. They epitomize how new waves of immigrants have been renewing and shaping comunitythe United States. ‘Indian Americans taking over the country’ highlights the contributions of Indian immigrants to the US economy and acknowledges the stellar role played by the community in fields such as healthcare, education, technology and entrepreneurship.

Recognizing this trajectory of growth, and the coming of age of the fast-growing Indian-American community, particularly in the state of Illinois, the Indian American Caucus (IAC), a non-partisan platform formed with the objective of educating and encouraging the civic engagement of the Indian-American community,  hosted a political forum on Thursday, Oct 13th, 2022 at the Mall of India in Naperville, IL.

Attended by a record number of 43 candidates running for offices to several local, district and statewide elections, representing both the Democrat and the Republican parties, the event provided the Indian American community with a platform to learn of the local and national issues that impact our lives on a day to day basis. The first of a kind event held three weeks ahead of the midterm elections scheduled for November 8th, attracted local residents, visitors, and the media.

Describing the objectives of the Caucus, Dr. Anuja Gupta, President of IAC commented, “Indian-Americans are realizing their influence in the elections. The Indian American Caucus was established to provide a platform for our community to get to know the candidates of both parties and make a more informed decision.”

Members of the organizing committee included Ms Shree Guruswamy, a local community leader and delegate of the Democratic party, Mr Vinoz Chanamolu, the proprietor of the Mall of India property and the VP of the American Indian Engineer’s Organization, Mr Girish Kapur, a Naperville community leader from the Indian Community Outreach organization and Ms Ghousia Wajid, a prominent person for civic engagement in the South Asian community.

The organizers are active members of the Indian American community of Chicagoland and serve in leading roles in many local organizations. The Mall of India is unique property development with Indian retail, restaurants, and hosting several public events.

The wide range of candidates who participated at the event shared with the audience their perspectives and the objectives/goals they want to accomplish by contesting the election. The forum offered a unique opportunity for the Indian American community toi hear from their candidates, some of them are elected representatives, who are seeking re-election in November 2022.

Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and a current Trustee of the Village of Oak Brook, and a candidate for the Mayor of Oak Brook attended the event and shared his perspectives on the importance and need for the Indian American community’s active role in the political life of the United States.

The list of candidates who attended the event included, for the Supreme Court Justice Michael Burke, for IL Circuit Court Judge Mike Reidy; for IL Appellate Court Judge Sonny Choi Williams, Judge Liam Brennan & Judge Joe Birkette; for IL Congress Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy, Scott Gryder & Catalina Lauf, For IL State Senate Senator Laura Ellman, Rachel Ventura, Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton & Laurie Novak; For IL State Rep Paul Leong, Deanne Mazocchi, Stephany Hood, Janet Yang Rohr, Jackie Williamson, Stephanie Kifowit & Anne Stava Murray; For Dupage County Chairman Deb Conroy; for Dupage County Sheriff Jim Mendrick, for Dupage County Treasurer Gwen Henry & Don Potoczny; for Will County Treasurer Tim Brophy & Raj Pillai; for Dupage County Clerk Evelyn Sanguinetti, for Dupage County Board Bob Larsen, Cindy Cronin Cahill, Patty Gustin, Kari Galassi, Tina Tyson Dunne, Sheila Rutledge & Saba Haider; for Will County Board Meta Mueller, for Forest Preserve Commissioner Jeff Garhis; for Forest Preserve Liz Van Arsdell, Bob Schillerstrom, Daniel Hebreard & Mary Beth Carlson. State Attorney Bob Berlin is not running for re-election but attended the event as a well-wisher.

AAPI-GAPI Diwali Banquet & Governing Body Meeting In Atlanta Raises Funds For Suicide Prevention

Over 250 delegates from around the nation attended the annual Governing Body Meeting and Diwali- Dussehra Celebrations organized jointly by the national American Association Of Physicians Of Indian Origin (AAPI) and the Georgia Association Of Physicians Of Indian Origin Chapter from October 7th to 9th, 2022 at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel in Atlanta, GA.

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Shree V. Muraleedharan and the  Consul General of India in Atlanta, Dr. Swati Kulkarni were the chief guests at the Gala, which began with the lighting of the traditional lamp, symbolizing the celebration of India’s national festival, Diwali that represents celebrating Light over Darkness.

CME topics encompassing recent advances were well received by the AAPI fraternity. Meticulous planning of the events made the delegates feel that they were attending a national convention with the most delicious food, elegant decorations, unique entertainment, great CME and late nite Mehfil. The Bollywood and Garba Nite by popular artists led by Samir and Dipalee was the icing on the cake.

The gala began with Dr. Uma Johnnalagadda, President of GAPI, Dr. Sreeni Ganagasani, and Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, welcoming community members, family, friends, colleagues, and sponsors.  “We, the AAPI-GAPI team worked hard to stick to the mission of AAPI, for education and charity to serve humanity. We thank each and every member that attended and supported the event. Our special thanks to all our Sponsors,” Dr. Jonnalagadda said. 

In his presidential address, Dr. Ravi Kolli, president of national AAPI thanked “GAPI leadership Drs. Uma Jonnalagadda, Sreeni Gangasani, Raghu Lolabhattu, Raj Alappan, Tarak Patel, Amol Takalkar, Syamala Erramilli, Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Brahma, Amol, Chandana, Mukul,  Uday and the rest of the organizing committee for the wonderful & fantastic teamwork for a masterful Governing Body, GALA & Fundraising Campaign.”  While lauding their efforts, Dr. Kolli said, “You certainly raised the bar for the next meeting. We had a productive meeting with thoughtful and helpful discussions from all EC BOT & GB members and senior leaders. As always our speaker Dr. Goyle masterfully managed the meeting.”

September is recognized as “National Suicide Prevention Month.” AAPI Women’s Forum initiated a fundraiser to support Suicide Awareness programs. During and post Covid, physician burnout and the suicide rate among physicians had gone up. Every year about 200 + physicians die by suicide. Suicide has a devastating effect on the lives of family members, friends, co-workers, and society. In 2021, in the US alone, more than 47,000 people lost their lives to suicide, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Forum pointed out. “By learning the signs, starting conversations, understanding barriers, and sharing resources we can all contribute to preventing this loss of precious life.”

The amount, of $15,000 raised during the Gala has been donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Georgia Chapter whose mission is to help save lives and bring hope
to those affected by suicide. A check was presented to the Board Chair for the Georgia chapter of AFSP Cheryl Cloar during the GAPI-AAPI Gala on October 8th. Dr. Shivangi thanked all, especially the Women’s Forum members, Dr. Gita Mehta, Dr. Manju Sachdeva, Dr. Sapna Aggarwal, Dr. Anupama Bhatt, Dr. Sunitha Polepalli, Dr. Hetal Gor, Dr. Shubha Jain, Dr. Uma Jonnalagadda, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala, Dr. Malti Mehta, Dr. Ammu Thampi Susheela, Dr. Indira Veerisetty and Advisor, Dr. Anjana Samadder for their hard work. 

While urging the AAPI members and the medical fraternity to use all the resources available to prevent suicide, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI said, “We must become aware of, utilize and help others become aware of and use all the resources available that will help prevent suicide.”

In his address, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said, “Thank you Drs. Sreeni Gangasani, Raghu Lolabhattu, Uma Jonnalagadda & the entire GAPI Team for a fabulous event. AAPI made the right choice by choosing Atlanta once again for the governing body meeting.”

Dr. Kolli urged AAPI members to come and attend the next edition of the Global Healthcare Summit planned to be held in Vishakapatnam, in Andhra Pradesh from January 6th to 8th, 2023. “I need all of your input and participation to make it a grand success. I know I can count on all of you for that and registration has been open for GHS. Pre-GHS Vietnam. Cambodia and Kaulampur family CME tour spots are filling up fast and will be sold out soon. So I request you all to join our AAPI GHS from January 6-8th 2023 in Visakhapatnam.”

The GHS 2023 will focus on Mental Health, Infant and Maternal Mortality as well as Medical Jeopardy, and Research Poster presentations by medical students, panel discussions by International Medical Education experts and National Medical Council Board officials, Mentoring of Young Professionals, CEO forum on Equity, Ethics and Physician Burnout Issues, Women’s Forum on Gender bias and Leadership, TB Elimination Projects in India, Latest Advances CME, ENLS, Discussions on Research Methodology and Scientific Writing by Academic Experts, Advocacy on Stigma and Suicide Prevention and Chronic Disease Reversal and Prevention, Rural Health Initiatives and Global Health Issues including Climate change and health and many more current topics along with delicious food and enchanting cultural and popular entertainment programs. 

“It will be one-of-a-kind experience at a unique and novel location where you will be guaranteed to have a most memorable experience of a lifetime. Do not miss it. Limited early bird registration is open and filling up fast. We are looking forward to your participation, suggestions, and support,” Dr. Ravi said. For more details, please visit: www.aapiusa.org/ And to register for the GHS 2023, please visit: www.summit.aapiusa.org 

Religious Polarization In India Seeping Into US Diaspora

(AP) – Recent events in the US and violent confrontations between some Hindus and Muslims last month in Leicester, England have heightened concerns that stark political and religious polarization in India is seeping into diaspora communities.

In Edison, New Jersey, a bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression of India’s Muslim minority, rolled down the street during a parade marking that country’s Independence Day.

At an event in Anaheim, California, a shouting match erupted between people celebrating the holiday and those who showed up to protest violence against Muslims in India.

Indian-Americans from diverse faith backgrounds have peacefully co-existed stateside for several decades. But these recent events in the US — and violent confrontations between some Hindus and Muslims last month in Leicester, England — have heightened concerns that stark political and religious polarisation in India is seeping into diaspora communities.

Hindu nationalism has split the Indian expatriate community just as Donald Trump’s presidency polarised the US, said Varun Soni, dean of religious life at the University of Southern California (USC). It has about 2,000 students from India, among the highest in the country.

Soni has not seen these tensions surface yet on campus. But he said USC received blowback for being one of more than 50 US universities that co-sponsored an online conference called “Dismantling Global Hindutva.” Hindutva is different from Hinduism, an ancient religion practiced by about 1 billion people worldwide that emphasizes the oneness and divine nature of all creation.

Soni said it’s important that universities remain places where “we are able to talk about issues that are grounded in facts in a civil manner,” But, as USC’s head chaplain, Soni worries how polarization over Hindu nationalism will affect students’ spiritual health.

“If someone is being attacked for their identity, ridiculed or scapegoated because they are Hindu or Muslim, I’m most concerned about their well-being – not about who is right or wrong,” he said.

Anantanand Rambachan, a retired college religion professor and a practicing Hindu who was born in Trinidad and Tobago to a family of Indian origin, said his opposition to Hindu nationalism and association with groups against the ideology sparked complaints from some at a Minnesota temple where he has taught religion classes.

He said opposing Hindu nationalism sometimes results in charges of being “anti-Hindu,” or “anti-India,” labels that he rejects.

On the other hand, many Hindu Americans feel vilified and targeted for their views, said Samir Kalra, managing director of the Hindu American Foundation in Washington, D.C.

“The space to freely express themselves is shrinking for Hindus,” he said, adding that even agreeing with the Indian government’s policies unrelated to religion can result in being branded a Hindu nationalist.

Pushpita Prasad, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Hindus of North America, said her group has been counseling young Hindu Americans who have lost friends because they refuse “to take Youthsides on these battles emanating from India.”

Rajiv Varma, a Houston-based Hindu activist, said tensions between Hindus and Muslims in the West are not a reflection of events in India but rather stem from a deliberate attempt by “religious and ideological groups that are waging a war against Hindus.”

Rasheed Ahmed, co-founder and executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Indian American Muslim Council, said he is saddened “to see even educated Hindu Americans not taking Hindu nationalism seriously.” He believes Hindu Americans must make “a fundamental decision about how India and Hinduism should be seen in the US and the world over.” “The decision about whether to take Hinduism back from whoever hijacked it, is theirs.”

Uttarakhand Samaj Of Greater Chicago Hosts Grand Deepavali Celebrations

Uttarakhand Samaj of Greater Chicago hosted a Grand Diwali – The Festival of Lights celebrations, on Friday October 7th 2022 at Ashton Place Banquets, Willowbrook IL with family & friends. 

Guests came from near and far to attend the glittering evening to celebrate Diwali together, dressed in their traditional pahadi attire, ‘Pahunchi’, ‘Galobandh’, ‘Hansuli’, ‘Nathuli’ & ‘Rangwali Pichauda’.  Colorful rangolis, marigold flowers, brightly lit deeyas and Lord Ganesha’s idol presiding at the entrance welcomed the guests into the beautifully decorated Banquet Hall. 

Cultural programs began with USOGC Video presentation, compiled by Mrs Rashmi Joshi, covering all the past year’s activities by Team USOGC, followed by Nanda Devi Yatra ( coordinators: Rajni Rawat & Rajeshwari Rawat), which represents a traditional pilgrimage journey that takes place every year in Uttarakhand. USOGC 2022 Board was invited on the stage for Team Introductions. The Indian National Anthem was beautifully sung by Ms Sahiba Sidhu, followed by the US National Anthem to honor and pay their respect to our motherland India and our adopted country which has given us a new life and we love them both equally. 

President Chandan Singh, in his speech welcomed all the guests and dignitaries and said, “USOGC was registered as a charitable organization in Sep 2016. It was designed with a shared vision of bringing the Uttarakhandi community together living in the Greater Chicagoland area by increasing awareness, and promoting our culture, heritage, and language. Our goal is to bring all our Uttarakhandi friends and families together to share their views and provide social, and networking opportunities to all Uttarakhandies.” Singh informed the gentry about USOGC’s various community programs and its various initiatives conducting charitable events in the areas of education, health care, etc for people who need it the most here in Chicagoland as well as back home in Uttarakhand, India. He thanked all sponsors, and volunteers for their continued support. 

Event inauguration was performed by lighting of the traditional Deeya by Chief Guest & Grand Sponsor: Mrs & Mr Anil Loomba ( HMSI Home Mortgage Solutions) and Mr Chandan Singh (President USOGC) & wife Mrs Richa Chand (Founder/Past President) , along with the Guest of Honors: Consul Hon Vinod Gautham and Mrs Rita Sahstri & Mr Manesh Shastri (TECMA ), and special guests Mrs Kanan & Mr Om Dhingra, Mr Ravi Rawat, Advisory Board Member Dr Ajit Pant, Dr Vijay Prabhakar (Founder President AMEC & GSA), FIA President: Mr Hitesh Gandhi. Other members invited and acknowledged to join Lamp Lighting were:  USOGC Executive Board Members: Mrs Smita Pant(Vice President), Mrs Rashmi Joshi (Secretary), Mr Vikram Negi (Treasurer) and Guest of Honor: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Mr Jagmohan Jayara (India House), Mr Jesse Singh (Remax), Mr Sunil Shah (Chairman FIA, NYL agent) Mr Mayur Max Ganger (Sajmil Builders), Mr Ajeet Singh (President IABC), Mr Keerthi Reevori(Chairman IABC).

Chief Guest, Mr Anil Loomba, in his speech, expressed happiness that we all came together to celebrate the first Diwali event of the season. and he hoped that we will continue the tradition in the following years as well. 

The Guest of Honor at the Event, US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi was introduced by Mrs Richa Chand and President Chandan Singh & his Executive Board, Advisory Board members Sudha & Hans Upadhyay welcomed and joined Congressman Krishnamoorthi on the stage as he got ready to address the excited and cheering audience. 

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, stole the hearts of the audience by addressing them as “Namaskar Dagadiyo!” Dagadiyo means friends in Kumaoni/Garhwali language.  In his eloquent manner, Raja continued his speech and commended President Chandan Singh and his Team for putting together a beautiful Diwali celebration and keeping the Uttarakhandi culture alive.  

Guest of Honor Consul Vinod Gautham, also echoed the same sentiment, and assured Consul General Office support to the members of Uttarakhand Samaj of Greater Chicago. He applauded the efforts by team USOGC and congratulated Mr Chandan Singh and the entire team USOGC.  Expressing his happiness and joy, he wished a very Happy Diwali to the Uttarakhandi community gathered there. 

For expressing Gratitude & Appreciation, for acknowledging Community Leadership Achievement, a special trophy memento depicting Uttarakhand’s famous Dham- “Kedarnath” was presented to Grand Sponsor & Chief Guest Mrs & Mr Anil Loomba, Guest of Honors: Congressman Hon Raja Krishnamoorthi, Consul Vinod Gautham, Mrs Rita & Mr Manesh Shastri, Sponsors: Mr Sunil Shah, Mr Jesse Singh, Mr Mayur Max Ganger, Mrs Om & Kanan Dhingra, Philanthropic efforts: Dr Vijay Prabhakar (Dr VGP), Dr Ghanshyam Pandey (Founder UP Association), USOGC Language Learning Program Teachers: Mr Ashutosh Joshi & Mr Dinesh Joshi. The trophy recipients all expressed happiness and spoke highly about the good work USOGC has been doing over the years. 

By purchasing the special Kedarnath trophy mementos, USOGC has helped support DTribals, a USA based corporation, which is working on an ecommerce platform to give opportunity to Tribal, Disable, Women operating small scale business and other minority people living in the remote villages of India.  A Food drive was also conducted by USOGC in partnership with SEWA International. USOGC Food Drive coordinators were Mr Shailendra Rawat & Mr Vikram Negi. A Silent Auction to promote Kumaon’ethnic art “Aipan” was also conducted by Mr Ashutosh Joshi. 

 As the evening progressed, various cultural performances were presented to the audience. 1)  Chalka Chalka Re – Kathak DanceBy Aarya Bahuguna, 2) Bedu Pako Baaro Masa – A Pahari Folk Song. Singers: Rashmi Gandhi & Hans Upadhyay; Accompaniments: Om Dhingra, Kanan Dhingra, Deepa Pant, Usha Shah; Choreographer: Sudha Upadhyay. 3) Tero Lehanga – Ladies Group Dance  Participants: Rajeshwari Rawat, Richa Chand, Rajni Rawat, Rashmi Joshi, Deepa Pant, Suparna Sharma, Meenakshi Jain; Choreographer:Rajeshwari Rawat 4) Cham-cham Ghunghuroo Solo Dance – By Kiran Rawat.

5) Ramayana skit. Director: Mohan Rawat,  Artists: Tanay Pant- Ram, Rishabh Mohan-Lakshman, Lavanya Sharma -Sita, Dancers: Roopali Dabral, Shenaya Sharma, Coley Fielding, Choreographer: Suparna Sharma, 6) Mero Pahada – Ladies Group Dance, Participants: Rajeshwari Rawat, Smita Pant, Aparna Bahuguna, Tara Bhandari, Roopali Pandey; Choreographer: Rajeshwari Rawat  7) Dolida Dance – By Chetna Pant & Puneeta 8) Moms & Minis Group Dance, Participants:Neetu Bhatt,Jinisha Bhatt, Ruchika Deepak, Sharanya Deep 9) Uttarkhandi Special – Board Group Dance, Participants: Rajeshwari Rawat & Chetna Pant, Richa & Chandan Singh, Rajni & Shailendra Singh, Renu & Vikram Negi, Suparna & Rahul Sharma, Meenakshi & Rajeev Jain, Choreographer: Rajeshwari Rawat.

The cultural events led by superstar emcees Mrs Richa Chand, Mr Mohan Rawat, Mrs Ruchi Dabral & Mrs Smita Pant, kept the audience thoroughly engaged and entertained throughout the evening. There were 4 raffle $50 gift cards sponsored by Mr Jesse Singh, given out to the lucky winners throughout the evening. Mrs Arti Rawat along with Mrs Pinky Thakkar, Mrs Rita Shastri and Mr Sunil Shah helped to pick the lucky winners. Each family was given a Diwali Gift. A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to the participants. Other notable and distinguished guests felicitated at the event were Mr Dinesh Thakkar, Mr Altaf Bukhari, Mrs Deepali Saraogi, Mr Ganesh Kar, Mr Dharmesh Gandhi, Mr Ravi Rawat, Mrs Vandana Jhingan(TV Asia), Mr Suresh Bodiwala(Asian Media), Mr Harry Sidhu & Mrs Anu Sidhu(Outland Media), Mr Subbu Iyyer, Mr Manne Lingaiah, MrMandar Piter, MrNick Verma, Mr Sateesh, Ms Shree Gurusamy,  Mrs Hema Shastri and many others who attended the event.  

Registration Desk was managed by Mrs Arti Rawat & Mrs Rajni Rawat. DJ Thomas provided music, Mr Ajit Patel & Mr Suresh Bodiwala – photographers, Mr Iliyas -Videographer, from Asian Media USA and Mrs Vandana Jhingan, TV Asia, and Desi Talk, Desi Junction, Adbhhut Media as Media partners for event coverage. 

Uttarakhand Diwali celebration was a very successful and well attended event. People left with a huge smile on their faces and said that they are looking forward to the next one now! USOGC believes and preaches… “Garv se kaho hum Uttarakhand se hain”. For more information, check out www.usogc.org and FB page. Contact email: [email protected]. Last but not the least, USOGC greatly appreciates our sponsors and supporters without whom this event would not have been a success. Sponsors: HMSI, TECMA Engineering Group, India House, New York Life, Sajmil Builders, REMAX Realty, Royal Basmati, VR Fabrics & Home Design, Health 4 Silvers, Care for Soul.

MAFS Celebrates The Glorious 30 Years Of Community Services

Metropolitan Asian Family Services celebrated its Pearl Anniversary this year. The remarkable event of the glorious 30 years of service to the community was held on Saturday, October 8th, 2022. This year’s fundraiser gala was so special as MAFS, a multicultural/multiethnic 501 (C) (3) organization that has changed the landscape, recognized and licensed by State and federal Governments. The event was emceed by Sameer Saini and Shweta Vasudev who had come from Texas.

The celebration started with the traditional “Deep Lighting” performed by Pandit Jagdish Joshi, followed by a beautiful Kathak-based Ganesh Vandana by Gauri Jog and her students. They danced gracefully and effortlessly well portraying the essence of lord Ganesha.

Prominent dignitaries in attendance were Congressman Bill Foster, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, US Senator Laura Murphy, State Representative Michelle Mussman, State Representative Janet Yang Rohr, State Representative Barbara Hernandez, Mayor of Hanover Park Rodney Craig, Village President Oak Brook Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, Mayor of Orland Park Keith Pekau, Mayor of Barrington Paula McCombie, Candidate State Senate at District 22 Raees Yawer, Executive Director of CLESE Marta  Pereyra, CEO, and President Age Options Diane Slezak, Businessman Darshan Dhaliwal, Doctor Hematology Oncologist Bharat Barai, Chairman Maneesh Media Mr. Chandmal Kumawat.

 The keynote address was given by Diane Slezak CEO, and President of Age Options, a long-standing partner of MAFS. In her speech, she praised the incomparable work done by MAFS for so many years and she remembered the initial years, and how they started their partnership with MAFS.

The life journey of Dr. Santosh Kumar was showcased by the Board Members and the MAFS staff with a theatrical performance. The performance was the depiction of her story of how MAFS founded and touched thousands of lives of seniors. In the end, all the artists thanked Mrs. Kumar on behalf of everyone for doing exceptional work for three decades and continuing to do so. The storyline was beautifully narrated by Ms. Roshita Pandey, and the creation and direction were by Ms. Dipti Shah and scripted by Manju Karla.

Mrs. Kumar felt very emotional and appreciative toward the performers, the board members, and all the supporters. In her speech, she revealed her immeasurable gratitude for all the honorable guests, partners who attended, the seniors, all her staff, and all the supporters of MAFS.

In a passionate speech, Congressman – Raja Krishnamurthy, wished the hundreds of people gathered at the gala to stand united, to serve the seniors. And gave the best wishes to continue the noble work MAFS is doing for so many years in the future. Mrs. Kumar and her sons Sagar and Prashant Kumar presented a beautiful painting of Mr. Raja Krishnamurthy as a gift to him during the event. The painting was made by highly artistic MAFS staff Mr. Rajender Singh. He commended Dr. Santosh Kumar for her exemplary service to the community for 30 long years.

 A very special tribute was given to Dr. Santosh Kumar by the MAFS senior staff Promila Mehta, Dahyabhai, Himali, Harish Mahajan, Harivadan Patel. A trophy, shawl, and rose flowers were given. The Global Eye Magazine, MEATF, and AMFC also honored Mrs. Kumar with a specially made beautiful trophy to congratulate her on 30 years of amazing services to greater Chicago by the Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy and Dr. Vijay Prabhakar.

Governor of Illinois Mr. J. B. Pritzker’s sent us a special video message on Pearl’s anniversary of MAFS that was much appreciated. He praised and mentioned that MAFS has touched thousands of lives for 365 days through a variety of programs they offer for the past three decades. Later, the dignitaries in their speech acknowledged the exemplary 365 days of nonstop hard work MAFS is doing for such a long period.

The highlight of the show was giving away awards and recognizing their support throughout the three decades to form and run the Non-Profit organization that serves our elderly day and night. Dr. Santosh Kumar gave the posthumous awards to the families of the founding mentors Mr. S. S. Bhatt, Mr. Manohar Manchanda, Mr. Ramesh Goyal, Mr. Naren Patel, and Mr. Pramod Kumar. She points out that the astonishing support they gave to form the MAFS will never be forgotten, and always be grateful for their help. 

The next category of the award was the outstanding partnership without which the MAFS would have not survived through 30 years. CLESE, Age Options, City of Chicago, Retirement Research Foundation, Wintrust Community Bank, Steeplechase, Healthcare Solutions Team, MODE Architect, Patel Brothers, Northwestern University, Mark T. McKinney, and Maneesh Media were the partners MAFS applauded. The pillars of MAFS awards were given by the dignitaries to MAFS staff for their wonderful contribution over all these years. The Pillars of MAFS were Prem Jalota, Promila Mehta, Harish Mahajan, Harivadan Patel, Dahyabhai Patel, Awilda Gonzalez, Pankaj Patel, Zareen Ahmed, Jahnavi Bavisi, Khyati Dave, Himali Bharucha, Dipti Shah.

Special Awards were given to Mr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal (Pramod Kumar Philanthropy), Dr. Bharat Barai (Community Service Award), and Ms. Marta Pereyra (Partnership Award). Also, MAFS recognized and gave community support awards to Ramesh Soparwala, Vandana Jhingan, Prashant Shah, Suresh Bodiwala, Sohan Joshi, and Vijay Prabhakar.

The mesmerizing fashion show with such a stunning collection of Indo-Western styles by Raaz Boutique. The audience could not take their eyes off fashion show models. The showstopper of the fashion show was none other than glamorous Mannara Chopra, An Indian Actress, and Model who predominantly works in Telugu and Hindi films, cousin of Actresses Priyanka Chopra and Parineeti Chopra. The evening was filled with a spectacular musical night by the electrifying singers Shilpi Paul and Nimesh Nagar. The

The audience was interacting with the performers by singing the famous Bollywood melodious songs. The singers thoroughly enjoyed themselves and created the same vibe in the audience that made the

the audience gets up and dances with them. Shilpi Paul was out of this world. Her singing style was full of energy that lasts for more than two hours. The celebration of Pearl Anniversary of MAFS was a huge success with the fund raised about $200,000 plus. Everybody had food, fun and entertainment.

Indian American Forum/Nassau County Organize Diwali

The office of Asian Community Affairs, Anissa Moore Nasssu County Deputy County Executive Jennifer Desena, Supervisor Town Of North Hempstead, Director of Asian American Affairs in Nassau County Arooj Islam, along with Indian American Forum Founding Member Dr. Bobby K. Kalotee & Chairperson Indu Jaiswal, celebrated Diwali honoring distinguished Indian American Community leaders. 

Emceed by Flora Parekh, the event highlighted the accomplishments of several prominent Indian American community leaders like Gurumaa Jyotishanand Saraswati (Vedic Heritage of India), Jasbir (Jay) Singh (Board Member – Asian American Advisory Board of Nassau County), Meena Shah, ( Vaishnav Mandir – VTNY), Dr. Bharathi Reddy (Internist), Madhu Pareek (Blue Host Hospitality), Hargovind
Gupta (Vice President, IALI) and Dr. Neeru Bhambri (Member- At-Large IALI).

The tireless efforts of the county and founding members along with a dedicated Hosts committee of Dr. Bobby K. Kalotee, Chairperson Indu Jaiswal, Vimal Goyal, Bina Sabapathy, Veer Mukhi, Deepak Bansal, Jasbir Jay Singh, Beena Kothari, Flora Parekh, Jyoti Gupta, Anju Sharma, Nilima Madan, Shashi Malik,
Indu Gajwani and Suhag Mehta and several volunteers and supporters, contributed to the success of the event keeping up the spirit of Diwali.

Starting with the American & Indian National Anthems by Angel Shah, the event followed a traditional Diya Ceremony. Beautifully choreographed Diwali dances and performances by young girls and ladies group were the highlight of the evening. The venue was traditionally decorated by Jyoti Gupta, Anju &
Sanju Sharma and Team. Mouth watering dinner and Prasad boxes were served.

Several Indian American Forum Board members and community leaders namely Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, Deepak Bansal, Mukesh Modi, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Past Presidents of IALI, Vibhuti Jha, Anil Shah, Dr. Kunjbala Shah were in attendance. Indian American Forum has been instrumental in
showcasing the Indian tradition in NY for several decades.

Shattering the American Dream, 4 Members Of An NRI Family Kidnapped And Killed

The terrifying kidnapping and murder in Merced, California, of 8-month old Aroohi Dheri, her mother and father, Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, and his older brother, Amandeep Singh, have horrified and left heartbroken the relatives in this tight knit Sikh family. 

A grieving close relative of the brothers told media, “You can’t even fathom. They were just starting a family, just making family memories… it was so short lived, it’s so heart breaking.” 

Two brothers, Jesus Manuel Salgado and Alberto Salgado, have been arrested in connection with the kidnapping and killing of the family members.  Jesus, a former worker at the victims’ family business, was arrested late Thursday on four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping in the case, Merced County sheriff’s spokesperson Alexandra Britton said. 

Alberto also was arrested in the case Thursday night on preliminary charges of criminal conspiracy, accessory and destroying evidence in connection with the case, Britton told CNN Friday. 

Police say the four slain family members were kidnapped from the family’s trucking business in Merced on Monday, and parts of the kidnapping were captured on surveillance video. 

On Wednesday, the bodies of the four were recovered from an orchard in Merced County after a farmworker alerted authorities to the remains. 

As Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke announced the family’s bodies had been found Wednesday evening, he said, “there’s a special place in hell” for the perpetrator. 

“The circumstances around this, when we are able to release everything, should anger the hell out of you,” Warnke said. 

CNN was not immediately able to identify attorneys for the Salgado brothers, and calls to family members have gone unanswered. 

‘They worked very, very hard’ 

The Singh brothers came to America with their parents in 2002 from Punjab, India. Struggling to find work and master English, the family at one point slept in their car, recounts the family member. 

“They worked very, very hard to reach the point they did. They worked warehouse jobs, hourly jobs,” the family member told CNN. 

Older brother Amandeep was the one who decided driving a truck would give him autonomy, so he got his commercial truck driver’s license. After establishing himself, he bought a second truck and involved his younger brother Jasdeep. And in what is another example immigrants becoming part of the American dream, the pair then expanded, buying more trucks and opening up their own trucking and dispatch service in Merced. 

Jesus Manuel Salgado, left, and Alberto Salgado were arrested in connection with the kidnapping and killing of a California family of four. 

Merced County Sheriff’s Office 

According to the family member, Jasleen came to the United States in 2019 and soon after married Jasdeep. Because she had a background in billing and accounting, she handled the books for the trucking business. 

Early this year, Jasleen and Jasdeep became parents of Aroohi Dheri. The baby was part of a growing family that lived together – two grandparents, the two young children of older brother Amandeep, and his wife, now a young widow. 

Of the family being together in their grief, the relative says, “There are different cycles of grief – it’s the shock; it sinks in. We go into the memories and if you see anything that reminds you of something, you burst into tears. If you see another person or other crying in the hall, you burst into tears.”

Thousands Celebrate Grand Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations In New York

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan, New York State Senator John Liu, New York State Assembly member David Weprin Councilmember Linda Lee, Sandra Ung, Councilmember Shekhar Krishnan and thousands of worshipper attended Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration with Hindu Temple Society of North America  and Ganesh Festival last week. 

The much anticipated celebrations were organized by Sreenath Enterprise in New York.  The Rath Yatra of the Ganesh Temple in Flushing was enjoyed by thousands of devotees as well as elected officials. “Such a great experience to be a part of Grand Ganesh Rathyatra at the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing. Diversity is our strength. #GaneshTempleStreet,” he had later tweeted.

GSA India Expo @75 Curtain Raiser Honors Indian American Youth

From September 23-24th, Chicago hosted an event of utmost grandeur and elegance. It was called the GSA (Global Strategic Alliance) India Expo @75 Curtain Raiser, which was meant to set the scene for the GSA India Expo that is going to occur in December. This Curtain Raiser truly set the bar, and it set the bar high. This event has made it clear the the GSA India Expo will one hundred percent be one of the most impactful events of our time for India’s recognition and cultural diversity.

 In an event of such spell-binding presence, the Curtain Raiser made it one of its missions to recognize the Indian American youth of the nation for the service they have contributed to both the United States and India. From Arizona to Maryland, 18 Indian American youth under the age of 18 were chosen to receive a timeless and tremendously impactful award on September 24th, 2022. This was the first annual 18under18 Indian American Achievers celebration, meaning that 18 more people will be recognized next year, and the following year, and so on. To make this event as spectacular as possible, the GSA Expo organized a Youth Empowerment Conclave under Dr. Vijay Prabahakar, a guiding light for all Indian Americans looking for cultural exposure and recognition. This conclave featured college students, graduates, adults, senior citizens, doctors, gemologists, and, of course, the 18under 18 youth.

This Youth Conclave served as a free platform for talented, unique minds to get together and bounce off ideas on society, education, leadership, etc. It was a platform of sharing and platform of purpose. The Conclave was held in a conference room that resembled a United Nations conference room or an international diplomacy room. With this, came tons of speeches about life experiences and what it means to look to the future of society. Sathya Padmanabhan, a student leader from Phoenix, AZ moderated the conclave with dazzling influence. He drove the event with determination and confidence and was also honored as one of the 18under18 during the event.

Four honored panelists were featured at the event as they gave their motivational and powerful speeches on the stage. Arushi Jain, a senior consultant at Thoughtium gave her advice to the youth on what it means to be successful and what it means to adapt to life’s changes. Following her, Mohansrinivas Chennakesavalu gave his thoughts on life and encouraged the youth to enjoy the world for what it is while pushing hard to make an impact. As a medical student at the University of Chicago, Mohansrinivas shared some of his experiences as a student and drove the youth to always look to the future when making decisions. Swetha Loka, who is currently pursuing her masters at Stony Brook, shed some light when talking about adversity and what it means to overcome it. Finally, Zak Khan, a debonair gentleman who is currently the director at Lumen Technologies – a fortune 500 company. He shared his style through his speech as he explained how one must always persevere and look for new perspectives as they traverse through the ups and downs, twists and turns, and bends and bumps of life.

The 18under18 were also then prompted to give a speech about their visions, missions, and impact as the Concalve progressed. Here are the profiles of these outstanding, high-achieving 18under18 Indian American youth:

Sathya Padmanabhan from Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the most influential Indian American student leaders of our time. As the Student Wing Secretary of the World Federation of Tamil Youth, Sathya has spoken at Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Press Conference in which he urged for the supply of COVID vaccines to help India during the pandemic, won a Congressional Medal of Excellence at the 11th Congressional Met Gala with Congressman Danny K. Davis, and has also conversed with TamilNadu Chief Ministers and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. He has also founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Brillianaire, that seeks to provide free educational opportunities to students and under-privileged communities internationally. His organization has reached 510+ students, served 1000+ hours, accrued 50+ volunteers, and has even established 5 global chapters. In fact, Sathya was recognized by the Federation of India Association for his work as he was awarded a Youth of the Year trophy for Community Excellence.

Aarya Rajesh from Naperville, Illinois is an ambassador for a global sports nonprofit that connects students for scholarship opportunities. He also leads a team of sixteen at his school to conduct ground-breaking research on advanced photons at Argonne National Laboratory. He was also a political affairs intern for the Borgen Project.

Abhra Ghosh is a cricket player who has put lots of time and effort into expanding the sports scene from students and under-served communities. He connects people globally to appreciate athletics and sports for its talent and dedication.

Advaith Srikanth is a Karate Black Belt and a Tabla enthusiast. The tabla is an Indian musical instrument and Advaith has achieved milestones with his incredible Tabla playing. He has been recognized nationally and he also plays Cricket.

Arul Kolla is a mathematical genius who has a countless number of achievements. He represented the USA in the International Linguistics Olympiad and pushed his team to win a gold medal. He is also ranked in the top 5% of competitive programming. He loves to spread his joy for math, so Arul has alos written and published his own book called Taking Aim in which he describes how to approach math creatively and from outside the box. He has also made a math game called Blocks which has been published on Math Playground, receiving 1.5 million plays. He won the International Telugu Spelling Bee and currently does research on linear algebra with a UCLA professor.

Arushi Kashyap is the pioneer of the no plastic bags campaign in which her nonprofit pushes toi ensure that no oceanic waste in the form of plastic is seen in her community and beyond. She is also involved in lots of research and works to promote the STEM fields.

Arya Babu is an international pianist who has been able to play at Carnegie Hall 12 times. She is the co-founder of Feed the Soul Through Music foundation and has also been recognized in Germany, London, etc. for her piano skills.

Farah Raman is the youth ambassador for Eye Level, which is a STEM academy. She is the head of internal affairs for the Tri-M Honors Society and the President of Youth and Government in her community.

Karthik Rajaram is a school ambassador and outstanding leader that has pledged time to make an impact in his own unique way. Motivated by a slow computer, Karthik has made his own startup selling custom built PCs to people across the nation. As the world advances further and further into tech, Karthik has proven to make a larger and larger difference in society.

Manish Rangan is the creator of UVSET-SAFETouch, which is a multi-patent pending innovation that seeks to eliminate germs from dorr handles and public settings. His vision is to create a germ-free society, especially after witnessing the impacts COVID brought upon our world.

Anirudh Seshadri is the founder of TeenAiders who has volunteered to create immense learning curricula for villages in India. He has been recognized globally for his impacts

Pinakin Kale worked as a legislator in Youth and Government and has been selected by the Rotary Club to attend a selective leadership program. He has also taught computer courses in high school. Riya Kapoor is the winner of the Sudden Cardiac Death Awareness Research Foundation (SCDARF) Scientific Symposium. She has tons of leadership experience as she works hard to further her school’s mission at Lake Forest Academy, and she has also been appointed as the Public Relations Board Driector for the SCDARF.

Rohit Sharma is a financial mastermind and has published a book on financial guidance for teenagers. His book seeks to give advice to teenagers on how to manage their finances as their life goes on.

Sachi Singh is the co-founder of the no plastic bags campaign with Arushi Kashyap and has been working hard with local and national organizations to further their mission of making sure the oceans are clean of any plastic residue.

Sathvik Sankaranarayanan started the Ekam Houston chapter and has raised over $30k to help with COVID relief. He has also made strides in health and hygiene and has brought clean water to hundreds of families in India. Sathvik is also an incredibly accomplished Mridangam player.

Vedant Shukla is the leading volunteer for Sewa International and has served 150+ hours of community service. He loves to play golf, tennis, and volleyball for his school team and he has also organized $5k in funds to school and community clubs.

With this in mind, it is only right that these individuals be recognized for their work in this nation. For that matter, US Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy flew in from Washington D.C. just to present the awards to these 18 amazing individuals.

The Kerala Center Announces 2022 Honorees For Annual Awards Banquet

The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center, Inc. will honor six Indian American Malayalees for their outstanding achievements in their field of specialization and for their service to the society at its 30th Annual Awards Banquet to be held on October 22, 2022.  Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India, New York, NY senators Kevin Thomas and Anna Kaplan, and other dignitaries will be attending the event.

“Kerala Center has been honoring outstanding achievers since 1991. Every year we invite nominations and the committee has to make a unanimous choice for a candidate in a category to receive the award and this year is no different from previous years in terms of their achievements,” said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Kerala Center’s Trustee Board Chairman and Award Committee Member.

“Kerala Center is very happy to honor American Malayalees who excel in their professions and who work for social progress — their examples should be an inspiration for others,” said Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, Board and Award Committee Chairman.

This year’s honorees include: Dr. Javad Hassan, Chairman of NeST Group, for Corporate Leadership, Thomas Joy, Suffolk County police officer and president of AMLEU, for Public Service; Bindiya Sabarinath, founder of Mayura School of Arts, in the category of Performing Arts; Dr. Silvester Noronha of MIT, in the category of  Applied Science, , P. T. Paulose, for contributions to Pravasi Malayalam Literature and Jose Kaniyaly, Executive Editor and Partner of Kerala Express weekly newspaper, for his contributions to Malayalam Media and Journalism. 

The awardees will be honored at the Kerala Center’s 30th Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, December 22, 2022, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Kerala Center, 1824 Fairfax St., Elmont, New York. There will be variety entertainment programs and a fabulous dinner for the evening.

Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran was the Award Committee Chairman and other members were Dr. Thomas Abraham, Daisy P. Stephen and Dr. Marilyn George. Kerala Center President Alex K. Esthappan said that the Center has recognized over 165 American Malayalees in the last 30 years and it is great to see that they have continued to rise further in their careers and serve the society. All are invited to join this Annual Award Banquet honoring the awardees. Please contact the Kerala Center to reserve your seats at: 516-358-2000 or at email: [email protected].

 Javad K. Hassan – for Corporate Leadership

Javad K. Hassan is the founder and chairman of NeST Group, a global conglomerate of more than 25 companies spread across several continents. Under the leadership of Dr. Hassan, NeST Group has become a worldwide leader in technology, with operations in India, the Middle East, Japan, Europe and the Americas.  After earning his Master’s degree in Material Science and Engineering from the University of Bridgeport, he joined IBM. Within a span of ten years, he advanced to the top of the company’s semiconductor development operations, leading an organization of more than 2,000 engineers and scientists.  After leaving IBM, Mr. Hassan joined AMP Inc., another Fortune 100 firm. Since retiring in 1998 from AMP, Mr. Hassan has built JKH Holdings piece by piece, company by company, into what it is today: a global leader across a spectrum of technologies and industries.

Bindiya Sabarinath – for Performing Arts

Bindiya Sabarinath is the Artistic Director of the Mayura School of Arts established in 2001. Bindiya is an acclaimed Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam dancer.  She has performed extensively in India, UK and the US with solo programs and dance productions with her senior students. Her awards and recognitions include the presidential award for the best Mohiniyattam dancer representing Kerala in 1998, the Bergen County Cultural Community service award, and being bestowed the Kalaimamani Award from Chennai. She also got the opportunity to perform at the Indian Consulate & United Nations in New York. She has over 1000 students.

 Jose Kaniyaly – for Contributions to Malayalam Media and Journalism

Jose Kaniyaly is the Executive Editor and Partner of Kerala Express, a weekly Malayalam newspaper published from Chicago, which was founded in 1992.  He oversees both the print and online editions of Kerala Express. He has held leadership positions in many Malayalee social, cultural and community organizations in America.  He was president of Chicago Malayalee Association (CMA), president of India Press Club of North America (IPCNA), president of Knanaya Catholic Congress of North America (KCCNA) and chairman of FOKANA convention in Chicago.

 Thomas Joy – for Community Service

Thomas Joy has completed 25 years of service in the US Army which included combat duty in Iraq.  Since 2007 Thomas has served as a police officer and now serves in the Suffolk County Police Department, Long Island, NY. Thomas was the founding member of the Suffolk County Police Asian Jade Society. He is a board member of the Suffolk County Asian American Advisory Board.

Thomas is the first president of the American Malayalee Law Enforcement United (AMLEU) founded in 2020. The organization is a national law enforcement charity organization made up of Malayalee Americans in law enforcement. The organization focuses on community outreach, scholarships for college students and other philanthropic efforts. Thomas continues to serve the community through his career in law enforcement, serves the nation as a member of the US Army and continues his philanthropic efforts through the societies he founded.

  1. P. T. Paulose – for Contributions to Pravasi Malayalam Literature
  2. T. Pauloseis a journalist, freelance writer, a theatrical performer, director and an immense lover of Malayalam literature. He was the founder president of Calcutta Malayalee Association and founder Secretary of Bengal Rationalist Association. He wrote seven books in Malayalam including short stories, essays and dramas.  He presently writes short stories and essays in print and online medias. He is a coordinator of Sargavedi, New York which promotes Pravasi Malayalam writers. He is a winner of literary awards of FOKANA and Emalayalee.

Dr. Sylvester Noronha – for Applied Science

Dr. Silvester Noronha – is one of the team of scientists from MIT and startup company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), who invented a large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet which would realize power generation by using heat from nuclear fusion reactions. The new electromagnet is the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on earth. Silvester is currently a visiting faculty of MIT and a lead engineer of the CFS in the US. He got his PhD from the Indian Institute of Science in Material Science Engineering and took a post doctoral degree from Britain’s Oxford University.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centennial Celebrations held

On Saturday, September 24, 2022, thousands of female devotees and well-wishers of all ages and backgrounds gathered at the B.A.P.S Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, IL, to joyfully celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of their guru, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

The event titled “A Beacon of Values, Hope and Faith,” a cultural program organized by women, and for women, took place at over 100 BAPS mandirs across North America. The program centered on an immersive experience where guests could understand and experience the lasting impact that their guru had on individuals, families, and communities.

When asked about her thoughts on the program, Yogini Patel, a disciple of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, remarked, “What inspired me the most about today’s program was to hear real women come together and share stories of the vulnerabilities in their lives. It is crucial that women can come together in that way and support each other. It is truly a testament to Pramukh Swami Maharaj that he has created this beautiful space for everyone to come and be vulnerable and be able to share and grow from each other’s experiences.”

Rinku Patel, a BAPS volunteer, commented “One quality of Pramukh Swami Maharaj that I admire is his ability to lead. He does so through humility which is a very unique quality to have in a leader.”

HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life motto was: “In the joy of others, lies our own. In the progress of others, rests our own. In the good of others, abides our own. Know this to be the key to peace and happiness.” Grounded in this very motto, the program highlighted how Pramukh Swami instilled timeless values in leaders, was a source of hope for devotees, and guided individuals to become the best versions of themselves through expressions of faith.

The program included live, colorful performances by women portraying timeless values, experiences, stories from the past and present day, insightful multimedia presentations and energizing dances.

As the emotional program ended, thousands paid their respects and gratitude to Pramukh Swami Maharaj for their spiritual guidance, upliftment, and for deeply touching their hearts. Attendees left with a renewed commitment to continue HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s legacy by imbibing his life’s motto as their own.

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.

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.

With Half A Dozen Murders In A Week, Are Indian-Americans Safe?

A total of six murders, including that of an eight-month-old infant, within a week’s time begs answer to the question every Indian wants to know — is the community safe in the US?

The US is home to more than 4.5 million Indians, which is the highest-earning ethnic group in the country.

President Joe Biden recently went on record to say: “It’s amazing, Indian of descent Americans are taking over the country: you, my Vice President (Kamala Harris), my speechwriter, Vinay (Vinay Reddy)… You guys are incredible!”

Even as one grappled with the shock of four Sikh family members, within the age groups of eight months to 39 years, found dead in California, news of 20-year-old student Varun Manish Chheda stabbed to death on Purdue University campus, sent shockwaves running across the Indian community world over.

Earlier this week, Gurpreet Kaur Dosanjh, a Walmart employee, was shot dead and lumped inside a car in a parking lot in San Jose, California.

In June this year, Satnam Singh, 31, was shot dead while sitting in a parked SUV down the street from his home in New York. This came days after Sai Charan Nakka, a 25-year-old techie from Telangana, was killed after sustaining an apparent gunshot wound to his head in Maryland

Apart from the gruesome killings, Indian-Americans have been consistently battling racial taunts, assaults, hate crime robberies, and vandalism of their properties.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 161 anti-Asian hate crimes took place in 2019, which rose to 279 in 2020.

Giving a religious break-up, the FBI said that 54 anti-Sikh crimes occurred in 2019, which rose to 89 in 2020.

Anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339 percent last year compared to the year before, with New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities surpassing their record numbers in 2020, according to research by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Late in August, four Indian American women were told that they were “ruining” America and should “go back to India” by a Mexican-American woman in Texas. In the same month, Krishnan Jayaraman was racially abused and called a “disgusting Hindu” by Californian Rajinder Singh in a Taco Bell outlet in Fremont.

Community members have also expressed concerns over multiple brazen attacks on Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in New York and other US cities.

“Such bigoted attacks motivated by racism, xenophobia, and other forms of hate victimise not only those directly targeted by them but also broader communities through creating an atmosphere of fear and danger,” Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi had said recently.

Last month, Indian-Americans held a peaceful protest at Time Square against the recent spurt in hate crimes and instances of vandalism of the Gandhi statue in the city.

An Indian American Attitudes Survey released last year found that “one in two Indian-Americans reports being discriminated against in the past one year, with discrimination based on skin color identified as the most common form of bias”.

Somewhat surprisingly, Indian-Americans born in the US are much more likely to report being victims of discrimination than their foreign-born counterparts,” the survey, supported by Carnegie Endowment, said.

Biden had spoken strongly against hate crimes at a recent event against racism.

It remains to be seen what Biden, who boasts of having appointed more than 130 Indian-Americans to key positions in his administration so far, does now for the community that has made significant contributions to this great landscape. (IANS)

A Big Fat Wedding Of Irma Shareef With Ubaid Jafer, Daughter Of Iftekhar Shareef Held

It was a ‘Big Fat Wedding’ September 30, 2022, when Iram Shareef, daughter of Indian-American businessman and community leader Iftekhar Shareef, tied the knot with Ubaid Jafer, at Shalimar Banquets in Chicago, Illinois.

Leading businessman Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, came all the way from India to attend.

Over 1000 people attended including businessmen, politicians, community elders. In addition to , Robert Vadra from Delhi, India a leading businessman, special guests included Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy. Robert Vadra presented a special congratulatory message to Iftekhar Shareef signed by Gandhis. Also attended by Dr Bharat Barai a respected community elder from Indiana and many important leaders.

Iftekhar Shareef has held many important local and state level positions and been recognized for his community leadership as well as his business acumen and philanthropy. He has been a political activist supporting many candidates for office both at state and national levels and been bestowed numerous community leadership awards.

According to his eponymous website, iftekharshareef.com, he  has been President and CEO of many small and mid-size companies including National Bankcard Corporation, a credit card processing company. Other banks he has worked with include Old Kent Bank Of Michigan, Bank Of America, North Carolina, Columbus Bank and Trust Company, Columbus, GA, First National Bank Of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, Fifth Third Bank, Columbus,Ohio.

Apart from being the founder, chairman and managing director of National Bankcard Chicago, Shareef is founder, president and CEO of Secure Check USA; founder, president and CEO of Skincare Systems Inc.; NBC Credit Card Solutions Private Ltd in Hyderabad; founder, chairman and managing director of IGS Real Estate Developers. He also owns and operates multiple shopping complexes,  motels, and commercial real estate in Chicago and Hyderabad.

AIA-NY Organizes 35th Annual Deepavali Celebrations At New York’s South Street Seaport

The Association of Indians in America, NY Chapter (AIA-NY) organized its 35th Annual Deepavali Celebrations at South Street Seaport on October 2nd, 2022. 

Traditional and fusion dancers, scrumptious food, music, a bazaar with variety of vendors, happy crowd, all made the annual event held after the Covid pandemic, a memorable one for thousands of people from the New York tri-state who had come in large numbers to celebrate Indian culture.  

The celebrations were capped by a visit from the Mayor of New York City Eric Adams, who lit the traditional lamp along with leaders of the AIA-NY including President Harish Thakkar and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold, the media sponsors of the event.

Dr. Parikh, a Padma Shri recipient, praised organizers, especially Thakkar, for a successful festival and assured AIA-NY that he was there personally to support them as was his media conglomerate.

Several members of AIA wished everyone Happy Diwali and told ITV Gold they were happy the event took place. They included Dr. Jagdish Gupta, Nita Jain, who is also a Democratic District Leader, Vimal Goel, vice president of AIA, Nishant Garg, and Sunny Thakkar.

“Rain or shine, we still do the festival. There are a lot of vendors here. This is one of the biggest Diwali festivals, going on throughout the day” Harish Thakkar told ITV Gold.

Members of World Vegan Vision Drs. Shrenik Shah, Kalindi Bakshi, Suman Munjal, extolled the virtues of a vegan lifestyle in helping lower cholesterol, counter heart disease and diabetes.

Fireworks sponsored by Cheapo Air and Qatar Airways, rose to the sky for 23 minutes,  to everyone’s delight at the end of the event. During the fireworks, dinner was served on the Hudson, so that attendees had a ringside view. Mayor Adams addressing the crowd from the stage said he is trying to push for including Diwali as a school holiday in the city. He urged the community to lobby councilmembers to strengthen the case for it. Heeta Thakkar, the daughter of Harish Thakkar, made an appeal saying all cultures and communities deserved a holiday.

The Mayor said he was very involved with Indian-American and other minority communities in the city and has been trying to address their concerns. He also said any concerns the community or businesses had should be brought to his attention.

A few thousand people came to the festival where there were 22 stalls, representing 8 different restaurants, non-profit groups, and jewelers, etc., as well as four corporates – New York Life, Cheapo Air, Qatar Airways, and Verizon, Harish Thakkar told Desi Talk.

Mayor Eric Adams with highly accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer and student, 14-year old Maheshwari Jagabattula, right, and Harish Thakkar, president of AIA-NY, at Oct. 2, 2022, Deepavali festival at South Street Seaport. Photo: courtesy AIA-NY

Several youthful dance groups showed their talent on stage, and Bollywood singer Rex D’Souza, and New Jersey’s Vidya Dave, performed at the event. Fourteen-year old Bharatnatyam dancer Maheshwari Jagabattula impressed the crowd with her performance. A semi finalist in India’s Got Talent season 5, she has won many accolades and at this young age is doing her Masters in Forensic Science at Pace University, NYC.

“We wanted to make the show go on and at the end of the day, people were happy the event happened,” despite inclement weather, Thakkar told Desi Talk.

Mahatma Gandhi’s 153rd Birth Anniversary Celebrated Across USA

Rich tributes were paid to Mahatma Gandhi across America on the occasion of his 153rd birth anniversary on Sunday. Gandhi’s message of non-violence, respect and tolerance matters the most today, said many people celebrating his birth anniversary across cities.

In Washington, Gandhi Jayanti celebrations resonated with a special event at the Gandhi Memorial Center (GMC) with the recitation of Gandhi’s famous Bhajans by several Americans and members of the Indian diaspora.

The Indian Embassy in Washington, DC paid tribute to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, on his 153rd birth anniversary at the Gandhi Memorial Center. Floral tributes were paid at several installations of Gandhi’s statue including in New York, San Francisco and Houston. “Happy Gandhi Jayanti! Delighted to celebrate #GandhiJayanti in the presence of Ambassador Shri Taranjit Singh Sandhu @SandhuTaranjitS at Union Square Park, New York,” India in New York tweeted.

Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated every year at GMC since 1959. Gandhi never traveled to the United States, but it is perhaps the only country that has the largest number of statues and busts of India’s father of the nation.

Floral tributes were paid at several installations of Gandhi’s statue including in Washington, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago.

“Glimpses of the celebration of #GandhiJayanti at Mahatma Gandhi Statue, Hermann Park, Houston,” India in Houston tweeted.

“On the auspicious occasion of #GandhiJayanti, CG @nagentv & members of Indian diaspora paid rich tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi statue #Embarcadero, SF. Consul General recalled contributions of #fatherofthenation and his enduring legacy,” the Consulate General of India in San Francisco tweeted.

The teachings and philosophy of the apostle of peace have deeply influenced America’s civil rights movement, in particular, that led by Martin Luther King Jr. The two men never got a chance to meet. However, King learned about Gandhi through his writings and a trip to India in 1959. He drew heavily on the Gandhian idea of non-violence in his own activism. King wrote that Gandhi was a “guiding light” for him.

Born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar town of Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi believed deeply in the principles of non-violent resistance and was at the forefront of the freedom struggle against British colonial rule.

The Indian Consulate in New York celebrated Gandhi Jayanti Oct. 2, 2022, at Union Square where Mahatma Gandhi’s statue stands. The celebration is held every year on Gandhiji’s birthday. This was the 153rd anniversary of Gandhiji’s birth. The International Ahimsa Foundation New York and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan USA joined the Indian Consulate to celebrate the event.

Close to 50 people including India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph and several Indian-Americans, including President of Federation of Indian Associations NYNJCTNE Kenny Desai, were at the event.

The statue of Gandhiji was garlanded by the Ambassador and Consul General. Consul General Jaiswal spoke briefly thanking everyone for being there and about living the life and treading the path laid out by Gandhiji.

Ambassador Sandhu was presented with a painting of himself done by well-known local New York artist Manoj Vyas who was also present. The Ambassador thanked organizers for the gift and spoke about Gandhiji’s legacy being relevant to this day, and the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam (The World is One), where “There is no compartmentalization in the world,” and what happens in one place affects another. 

He also spoke of India’s achievements since independence, and the strides India has made under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He focused on the medical field and the production of vaccines at affordable prices was an immense contribution of India to the world, including for treating COVID. India and the U.S. were playing a very important role in the welfare of the world, Ambassador Sandhu noted.

The event was part of the year-long celebration of India’s 75th year of Independence, the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

October 2 also coincides with the International Day Of Non-Violence. “On this day every year, the world celebrates the International Day Of Non-Violence, remembering the life path and strategy of the pioneer of the philosophy of Non-Violence, Mahatma Gandhi. It is an occasion to spread the message of Non-Violence through education and public awareness.”

According to the UN General Assembly resolution of June 15, 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day of Non-Violence is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness.”
The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding, and non-violence,” the UN noted.

Globally, Gandhi’s birth anniversary is celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. Several events are held in India and across the world to mark the occasion.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Leads Durga Puja Celebrations In New York

New York City Mayor Eric Adams joined Durga Puja celebrations in the city, emphasizing that the festival’s message of the triumph of good over evil can be appreciated by all in these challenging times. The Durga puja this year will be celebrated from October 1 to 5.

New York Puja Association’s Board of Director Biswajit Chakraborty said The New York Puja Association (NYPA) is a non-profit social and cultural association that has been serving the greater NYC area for the last 27 years. This year NYPA hosted their 25th annual Durga Puja Celebration September 30th – October 2nd in Queens after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.  

Adams was accompanied by New York City’s Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs Dilip Chauhan.

Last month, Adams attended Ganesh Rathyatra festivities at the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing in the city.

“Such a great experience to be a part of Grand Ganesh Rathyatra at the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing. Diversity is our strength.  #GaneshTempleStreet,” he had tweeted. PTI YAS AMS AMS

The community had a chance to meet and honor two very special guests on Saturday – NewYork City Mayor Eric L Adams along with Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan. “Their presence and support boosted moral within our South Asian community. We left the weekend festivities with renewed inspiration and hope to continue to serve NYC in whatever way possible for years to come.”  

On Sunday, Mayor took to Twitter and posted a few images from the event and wrote, “Durga Puja celebrates the triumph of good over evil. That’s something we can all appreciate in these challenging times. What a joy and honor to join our city’s Bengali Hindu community in Queens tonight”. 

Desai Foundation Brightening Lives for 25 Years!

More than 400 of the TriState area’s creme-de-la-creme philanthropists, socialites, and celebrities are expected to rub shoulders at the Desai Foundation’s annual Festival of Lights fundraiser, Diwali on the Hudson, at HK Hall (605 W 48th St., between West End Avenue and West Side Highway) on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

Pop artist Rhea Raj will light up the stage this year, along with other celebrity guests from media, film, and entertainment. Check out Rhea’s latest release “Outside,” which is making waves on international pop charts and all over social media.

The event will celebrate Diwali, the Indian New Year, which signifies luck and the triumph of good over evil, through dancing, dining, and partying for a purpose. “The global pandemic has given us a renewed appreciation for friends, family, and colleagues,” said President Megha Desai, “as well as the knowledge that the work of The Desai Foundation is more important now than ever before.” This year, the non-profit was invited to participate in the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative, a community of doers who are taking action on the world’s most pressing challenges. 

The charity gala will feature an open bar, rocking entertainment, big NYC personalities, and delicious food from Desi Galli. All funds raised will go directly to long-term COVID relief efforts in rural India. Tickets range from $201 to $295 and can be purchased HERE. For more information about the organization and its mission, please visit www.thedesaifoundation.org.

Green Mentors Organizes Green Scholl Conference 2022

Dilip Chauhan Presented With Patron For Planet Award 2022

Green Mentors, an India-based Responsible Education Solution Provider organization successfully its 6th NYC Green School Conference -2022 at SUNY Maritime College New York on September 24, 2022. This Conference was the 1st Conference on Responsible Education in the America   during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Responsible education empowers   Schools and Universities to accept accountability for the future of their pupils’  and   responsibility of the  local  environment. The conference was associated with Climate Week NYC, the largest event on climate on the Planet.

This conference was held months after the India and the U S held the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and agreed further to strengthen cooperation in education and skill development through collaborations and promote student and scholar mobility to build people-to-people linkages between the two countries.

School leaders of India and America has launched the Indo – American  Green School Network at this conference. The first network of schools will bring Indian and American Schools together to build a sustainable future for every child.  The conference was divided in the  eight sessions, including Rethinking for Responsible Education, Leaders to learn from, SDG 4.7, and inspiring stories from outdoor Learning. In addition, Green Awards were presented to the celebrated Individuals and institutions for their exceptional contributions toward sustainable education.  In every session, inspiring speakers presented their  inspiring green stories, vision, and plans for sustainable and responsible education.

Virendra Rawat, the event organizer, said that this event inspired schools, Universities, Policymakers, education leaders  and the member states of the United Nations to bring back responsible education for a sustainable future. Event Keynote Speaker was Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner of  New York City Mayors Office for International Affairs. During his address Mr. Chauhan mentioned that New York City Mayor Eric Adams t launched Building Action NYC a new citywide campaign to promote steps to make New York City’s buildings greener and more resilient while fostering a healthier future for the city and New Yorkers.

The city’s more than one million buildings — covering more than five billion square feet — constitute the largest source of the city’s carbon emissions, contributing almost 70 percent of the city’s total emissions. The work to limit building emissions will be a critical component of the city’s work towards reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. “Buildings are the largest emitters of carbon, so we are investing in bringing renewable energy to them and making New York City a national leader in green buildings — creating tens of thousands of jobs for New Yorkers and delivering environmental justice for our city.

Event was attended by high profile speakers from around the world, like  Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Office for International Affairs, New York delivered the Keynote  Address in the Conference,  Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis,  President of SUNY Maritime  College, New York, Dr Henry  Stoever, President&  CEO of  Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB),  Ryan Mcenany, Director, Energy & Resiliency of  PaceUniversity,New York, Paulo Vasconi Speroni, Coordinator of Youth Leadership and  Innovation of United Nations,  Dr.Nick Pozek, Assistant Director of Parker School of Foreign & Comparative Law at Columbia University,  Arlae Castellanos Executive Director, Green Schools Alliance, Laura Johnson Collard Executive Director, Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, Sibyl MaerFillo Director,Washington Outdoor School, Dr. Helen Bond, Professor ,School of Education  Howard University, Washington DC, Deepa Vedavyas from Neighborhoods and Environment, Cleveland Foundation, Ramya Shivkumar Director of Energy & Sustainability Windward Engineers and Consultants, Dr. Frederick Kakembo Deputy Vice Chancellor Ndejje University  Uganda, Birgilio Rivera Cabrera, CEO  of Civil ssociation,Mexico, Julio C. Garay, Professor  Bronx Community College of the CUNY have presented their inspiring stories at the conference.

The Committee presented PATRON FOR PLANET AWARD 2022 to Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner for NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs

A Business Expo, Mashtal, By Dawoodi Bohra Women Held

The Dawoodi Bohra community of Chicago hosted a two-day event, the Women Entrepreneurs Expo – or “Mashtal” – at their masjid, Burhani Park Complex, at Willow brook, IL from 10am to 6pm, Saturday September 10 & Sunday September 11, 2022.

The Dawoodi Bohras of Chicago have lived and worked peacefully here since the 1950s. They are Muslims who hail from South Asia under the leadership of His Holiness Dr Mufaddal Saifuddin; over 1,000 families worship at Al-Masjid-al-Badri in Willowbrook, IL.

The word “Mashtal” means nursery.  The expo seeks to nurture the business ventures of Dawoodi Bohra women, enabling them to use their talents and skills to develop small-scale businesses.  The word “Bohra” means traders, and Mashtal taps into this deep-seated tradition. And their message is, “Mashtal – Nurture Your Venture!” Their aim is to develop small scale and household businesses of women within the community to use their skills to support their families and help them achieve excellence in their respective fields.

Over 50 committee members, primarily women, came together for over 6 months of planning. Several committees were formed to distribute this immense amount of work including Decor, Food, Accommodations, IT/AV, PR, Marketing, Sponsorships, Infrastructure & Construction, and Flow Management.  Because Mashtal is an international event, the Chicago core committee was in constant communication with the central Mashtal department in Mumbai. Members of His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s family attended the event.

US Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy, Representative Jim Durkin, DuPage County Elected Officials, the Mayors of Willowbrook and Glendale Heights were amongst many local VIPs who attended the formal opening ceremony. The names of some of the VIPs present: Karen Yarbrough, Cook County Clerk, Bob Berlin, DuPage County State Attorney, James Mendrick, DuPage County Sheriff, Greg Hart, DuPage County Board Member, Frank Trilla, Mayor of Willowbrook, Chodri Khokhar, Mayor of Glendale Heights, Linda Painter – DuPage County Forest Preserve Commissioner, Greg Boltz – Downers Grove Assessor, Michele Bauman, Avon Township Supervisor, Asif Yusuf, Oakbrook Trustee, Suresh Reddy, Oakbrook Trustee, Theresa Sullivan, Naperville Councilwoman, Quin O’Brien, Gurneee Trustee, Saba Khan, Morton Grove Trustee; Shia Imami Esmaili community President Imran Dhatwani & Mrs Dhatwani, Mr. Sadruddin Noorani, Ms. Madison Signor on behalf of Congressman Sean Casten.

Mashtal Chicago also arranged free seminars ranging on topics such as the practicalities of breast feeding to strategies for a successful career to women’s mental health and tips on overcoming exhaustion.  DIY projects for children to enjoy and a variety of food stalls with Indian street food and traditional barbeque fare were available. Members of the public experienced a wide range of vendors of clothes, beauty products, jewelry designers, and home décor, as well as realtors and travel agents.

Most of the women-owned businesses at the expo were operated by members of the USA community of Dawoodi Bohrs, but women-owned businesses from India, Pakistan, Dubai, and Canada also attended. Ongoing environmentally friendly projects were on display with demonstrations on how to reuse, reduce, and recycle. There were exciting prizes in a fun filled raffle. Overall, there were 70+ stalls, of which about 40 were local vendors, 12 out of country, 30 out of state!

The VIP Reception was emceed by Shabbir Karimi. As is the tradition, the program began with a recitation from the Holy Quran by 11-year old Tameem Al-Qamari, a Hafiz, followed by a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, by Rashida Moosabhoy and Amatullah Morbiwala.

Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy applauded the tremendous efforts put forth by the Bohra community women; he said, “Count me in as an ally, resource and partner in everything that you are doing!”

Mansoor Broachwala, on behalf of Dawoodi Bohra Community, welcomed all the guests to the first ever Mashtal Expo in the Midwest area, and expressed his hope to make it a recurring event. He spoke about Maulatona Khadija, wife of the Prophet Mohammed. a successful businesswoman in her own right 1400 years ago, from whose strength and entrepreneurial spirit Dawoodi Bohra women community worldwide draw inspiration to this day.

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough said, “A lot is going on out there in the world, but the one thing we have to strive for in the world is peace. Peace, a simple word, but it seems tough for us to get there. So I wish all of you peace today from me from the Cook County Clerk’s office.” She presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Bohra community from Cook County.

Greg Hart, running candidate for DuPage County Chairman, was also invited to speak. DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick in his speech, praised the community for being very quiet, with zero crime. State Attorney Bob Berlin, who has served DuPage for the past 30 years, shared that 60 percent of all the attorneys in his office are women and he firmly believes in empowering women and fostering a culture of women empowerment.

On Sunday, Sep 11, the Honorable Tariq Karim, Consul General Pakistan in Chicago and Mrs. Aasma Karim were special guests at Mashtal. He said, “First of all I am really thankful to organizers … and all others who have contributed to this event – Mashtal.” He shared that he appreciates the two themes, business and women, because both are critically important for us. He too spoke about the role of Prophet Mohammad’s wife Khadija as an inspiration. He commended the entrepreneurial spirit of the women of the Bohra Community.

He recalled the hosting of Ashara by the Bohra Community in Karachi during the time when Pakistan had started its War on Terror initiative, and the event helped with the opening of business and trade between India and Pakistan and other neighboring countries. Using the platform, he also took the opportunity to appreciate all the Flood Relief efforts and help from the community. He appealed to all Pakistani Americans and the Muslim community at large to come forward and to continue to help the victims of flood affected areas in Pakistan. He reiterated the constructive and productive role of Pakistan’s Bohra community in Pakistan’s success.

The team worked tirelessly to promote the event through social media (IG, Facebook, and Twitter), Flyers, WGN news, and word of mouth. The expo was hosted by Burhani Women’s Association Chicago and Taalebaat ul Mumenaat, the organizations of women students and young adults.

New York City Celebrates Krishna Janmashtami @ Hare Krishna Temple

Krishna Janmashtami, the appearance day or birthday of Lord Krishna, was celebrated at the New York Hare Krishna Temple on Friday, August 19th, from 4pm until midnight with over 2500 guests taking part in the festivities.

The free cultural and spiritual event encompassed a full experience of bhakti yoga practices, including live music, sacred chants, reading of sacred texts, dance and dramatic performances, meditation classes, books, gifts, and food sales. and opportunities for children to take part in Krishna related arts and crafts. A free vegetarian feast was served in the evening to all visitors.

Special guests at the Temple’s celebration included Jenifer Rajkumar, New York State Assembly member – District 38, Dilip Chauhan, NYC Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs, Dr. Varun Jeph, Deputy Consul General of India, Sheetal Desai, Milan Cultural Association NY and Harish Thakkar, President of Association of Indians in America, NY Chapter.

Honoring the significance of the celebration and the work of ISKCON, the Temple received proclamations from Ms. Rajkumar, on behalf of the New York State Assembly, and from Mr. Chauhan on behalf of NYC Mayor Eric Adams.  In his proclamation, Mayor Adams, declared August 19th, 2022, as ISKCON Day in New York City.   Also Deputy Commissioner Chauhan emphasized the great community service of ISKCON during the time of COVID-19 by providing free vegetarian food to the needy people.

Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings you all the devotees are so blessed to have a ISKCON temple in the heart of New York City.

Lord Krishna is revered as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the speaker of the famed Bhagavad-Gita, by hundreds of millions of people across the world.  “India’s sacred wisdom texts, the Vedas, explain that the ultimate personality of God is an ever youthful, all-attractive person, and the most intimate friend of everyone,” says Hansa Rupa Das, ISKCON NYC Temple President, “That is why Janmashtami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna, is such a joyous occasion for us all.”

Today, Sri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated by people of diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds across the world.

Desai Foundation Brightening Lives for 25 Years!

More than 400 of the TriState area’s creme-de-la-creme philanthropists, socialites, and celebrities are expected to rub shoulders at the Desai Foundation’s annual Festival of Lights fundraiser, Diwali on the Hudson, at HK Hall (605 W 48th St., between West End Avenue and West Side Highway) on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

Pop artist Rhea Raj will light up the stage this year, along with other celebrity guests from media, film, and entertainment. Check out Rhea’s latest release “Outside,” which is making waves on international pop charts and all over social media.

The event will celebrate Diwali, the Indian New Year, which signifies luck and the triumph of good over evil, through dancing, dining, and partying for a purpose. “The global pandemic has given us a renewed appreciation for friends, family, and colleagues,” said President Megha Desai, “as well as the knowledge that the work of The Desai Foundation is more important now than ever before.” This year, the non-profit was invited to participate in the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative, a community of doers who are taking action on the world’s most pressing challenges.

The charity gala will feature an open bar, rocking entertainment, big NYC personalities, and delicious food from Desi Galli. All funds raised will go directly to long-term COVID relief efforts in rural India. Tickets range from $201 to $295 and can be purchased HERE. For more information about the organization and its mission, please visit www.thedesaifoundation.org.

New York City Celebrates Krishna Janmashtami @ Hare Krishna Temple

Krishna Janmashtami, the appearance day or birthday of Lord Krishna, was celebrated at the New York Hare Krishna Temple on Friday, August 19th, from 4pm until midnight with over 2500 guests taking part in the festivities.

The free cultural and spiritual event encompassed a full experience of bhakti yoga practices, including live music, sacred chants, reading of sacred texts, dance and dramatic performances, meditation classes, books, gifts, and food sales. and opportunities for children to take part in Krishna related arts and crafts. A free vegetarian feast was served in the evening to all visitors.

Special guests at the Temple’s celebration included Jenifer Rajkumar, New York State Assembly member – District 38, Dilip Chauhan, NYC Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs, Dr. Varun Jeph, Deputy Consul General of India, Sheetal Desai, Milan Cultural Association NY and Harish Thakkar, President of Association of Indians in America, NY Chapter.

Honoring the significance of the celebration and the work of ISKCON, the Temple received proclamations from Ms. Rajkumar, on behalf of the New York State Assembly, and from Mr. Chauhan on behalf of NYC Mayor Eric Adams.  In his proclamation, Mayor Adams, declared August 19th, 2022, as ISKCON Day in New York City.   Also Deputy Commissioner Chauhan emphasized the great community service of ISKCON during the time of COVID-19 by providing free vegetarian food to the needy people. 

Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings you all the devotees are so blessed to have a ISKCON temple in the heart of New York City.

Lord Krishna is revered as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the speaker of the famed Bhagavad-Gita, by hundreds of millions of people across the world.  “India’s sacred wisdom texts, the Vedas, explain that the ultimate personality of God is an ever youthful, all-attractive person, and the most intimate friend of everyone,” says Hansa Rupa Das, ISKCON NYC Temple President, “That is why Janmashtami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna, is such a joyous occasion for us all.”

Today, Sri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated by people of diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds across the world.

A Business Expo, Mashtal, By Dawoodi Bohra Women Held

The Dawoodi Bohra community of Chicago hosted a two-day event, the Women Entrepreneurs Expo – or “Mashtal” – at their masjid, Burhani Park Complex, at Willow brook, IL from 10am to 6pm, Saturday September 10 & Sunday September 11, 2022.

The Dawoodi Bohras of Chicago have lived and worked peacefully here since the 1950s. They are Muslims who hail from South Asia under the leadership of His Holiness Dr Mufaddal Saifuddin; over 1,000 families worship at Al-Masjid-al-Badri in Willowbrook, IL.

The word “Mashtal” means nursery.  The expo seeks to nurture the business ventures of Dawoodi Bohra women, enabling them to use their talents and skills to develop small-scale businesses.  The word “Bohra” means traders, and Mashtal taps into this deep-seated tradition. And their message is, “Mashtal – Nurture Your Venture!” Their aim is to develop small scale and household businesses of women within the community to use their skills to support their families and help them achieve excellence in their respective fields.

Over 50 committee members, primarily women, came together for over 6 months of planning. Several committees were formed to distribute this immense amount of work including Decor, Food, Accommodations, IT/AV, PR, Marketing, Sponsorships, Infrastructure & Construction, and Flow Management.  Because Mashtal is an international event, the Chicago core committee was in constant communication with the central Mashtal department in Mumbai. Members of His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin’s family attended the event.

US Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy, Representative Jim Durkin, DuPage County Elected Officials, the Mayors of Willowbrook and Glendale Heights were amongst many local VIPs who attended the formal opening ceremony. The names of some of the VIPs present: Karen Yarbrough, Cook County Clerk, Bob Berlin, DuPage County State Attorney, James Mendrick, DuPage County Sheriff, Greg Hart, DuPage County Board Member, Frank Trilla, Mayor of Willowbrook, Chodri Khokhar, Mayor of Glendale Heights, Linda Painter – DuPage County Forest Preserve Commissioner, Greg Boltz – Downers Grove Assessor, Michele Bauman, Avon Township Supervisor, Asif Yusuf, Oakbrook Trustee, Suresh Reddy, Oakbrook Trustee, Theresa Sullivan, Naperville Councilwoman, Quin O’Brien, Gurneee Trustee, Saba Khan, Morton Grove Trustee; Shia Imami Esmaili community President Imran Dhatwani & Mrs Dhatwani, Mr. Sadruddin Noorani, Ms. Madison Signor on behalf of Congressman Sean Casten.

Mashtal Chicago also arranged free seminars ranging on topics such as the practicalities of breast feeding to strategies for a successful career to women’s mental health and tips on overcoming exhaustion.  DIY projects for children to enjoy and a variety of food stalls with Indian street food and traditional barbeque fare were available. Members of the public experienced a wide range of vendors of clothes, beauty products, jewelry designers, and home décor, as well as realtors and travel agents.  

Most of the women-owned businesses at the expo were operated by members of the USA community of Dawoodi Bohrs, but women-owned businesses from India, Pakistan, Dubai, and Canada also attended. Ongoing environmentally friendly projects were on display with demonstrations on how to reuse, reduce, and recycle. There were exciting prizes in a fun filled raffle. Overall, there were 70+ stalls, of which about 40 were local vendors, 12 out of country, 30 out of state!

The VIP Reception was emceed by Shabbir Karimi. As is the tradition, the program began with a recitation from the Holy Quran by 11-year old Tameem Al-Qamari, a Hafiz, followed by a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, by Rashida Moosabhoy and Amatullah Morbiwala. 

Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy applauded the tremendous efforts put forth by the Bohra community women; he said, “Count me in as an ally, resource and partner in everything that you are doing!”

Mansoor Broachwala, on behalf of Dawoodi Bohra Community, welcomed all the guests to the first ever Mashtal Expo in the Midwest area, and expressed his hope to make it a recurring event. He spoke about Maulatona Khadija, wife of the Prophet Mohammed. a successful businesswoman in her own right 1400 years ago, from whose strength and entrepreneurial spirit Dawoodi Bohra women community worldwide draw inspiration to this day.

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough said, “A lot is going on out there in the world, but the one thing we have to strive for in the world is peace. Peace, a simple word, but it seems tough for us to get there. So I wish all of you peace today from me from the Cook County Clerk’s office.” She presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Bohra community from Cook County.

 Greg Hart, running candidate for DuPage County Chairman, was also invited to speak. DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick in his speech, praised the community for being very quiet, with zero crime. State Attorney Bob Berlin, who has served DuPage for the past 30 years, shared that 60 percent of all the attorneys in his office are women and he firmly believes in empowering women and fostering a culture of women empowerment.

 On Sunday, Sep 11, the Honorable Tariq Karim, Consul General Pakistan in Chicago and Mrs. Aasma Karim were special guests at Mashtal. He said, “First of all I am really thankful to organizers … and all others who have contributed to this event – Mashtal.” He shared that he appreciates the two themes, business and women, because both are critically important for us. He too spoke about the role of Prophet Mohammad’s wife Khadija as an inspiration. He commended the entrepreneurial spirit of the women of the Bohra Community.

He recalled the hosting of Ashara by the Bohra Community in Karachi during the time when Pakistan had started its War on Terror initiative, and the event helped with the opening of business and trade between India and Pakistan and other neighboring countries. Using the platform, he also took the opportunity to appreciate all the Flood Relief efforts and help from the community. He appealed to all Pakistani Americans and the Muslim community at large to come forward and to continue to help the victims of flood affected areas in Pakistan. He reiterated the constructive and productive role of Pakistan’s Bohra community in Pakistan’s success.

The team worked tirelessly to promote the event through social media (IG, Facebook, and Twitter), Flyers, WGN news, and word of mouth. The expo was hosted by Burhani Women’s Association Chicago and Taalebaat ul Mumenaat, the organizations of women students and young adults.

Book On Rise Of Indian Americans Presented To Indian Minister

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was presented a book on the phenomenal rise of Indian Americans in diverse fields by M R Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, in Palo Alto, California last week.

The book, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans,” a first-of-its-kind anthology on the Indian American community in the US, was presented to Goyal during an interactive Indiaspora lunch event to discuss trade, regulation, tech infrastructure and diaspora issues.

Inspired by the US Vice President, the book evidences the progress and accomplishments of the Indian-American diaspora through 16 essays written by influential Indian Americans.

From politics to the new administration, entrepreneurship to technology, medicine to hospitality, science to academia, business to entertainment, philanthropy to social activism, leaders from various arenas detail their own paths to success and offer their perspectives on diasporic progress. These stories culminate in a larger narrative of the Indian-American community’s coming-of-age in the US.

Edited by the Delhi-based veteran journalist and foreign policy analyst, Tarun Basu, the book was released by New Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree and is available in the US via Amazon at: https://bit.ly/HarrisIA – Amazon India book link, and at https://bit.ly/HarrisIndAm – Amazon USA link.

Authors who have contributed to the Book include: former Indian ambassadors TP Sreenivasan and Arun K. Singh; Deepak Raj, chairman of Pratham USA; businessman Raj Gupta; hotelier Bijal Patel; Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor of UC San Diego; scholar-professor Maina Chawla Singh; Sujata Warrier, Chief Strategy Officer for the Battered Women’s Justice Project; Shamita Das Dasgupta, co-founder of Manavi; and journalists Arun Kumar, Mayank Chhaya, Suman Guha Mozumder, Ajay Ghosh, Vikrum Mathur, and Laxmi Parthasarathy.

Ganesh Festival Attracts Thousands Over Five Days In Jersey City

The non-profit corporation, Shri Ganesh Events, hosted one of the biggest Ganesh Festival celebrations Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 2022, in Jersey City, N. J.

Events began daily at 10 am and continued till 9 pm. They featured dances and various kinds of other entertainment at India Square on Newark Avenue in Jersey City.

The Ganesh Sthapana (installing of the idol) took place on Aug. 31 morning. And the Ganesh Visarjan (immersing the Lord’s idol in  water) happened on Sept. 4.

A Hindu priest performed the daily poojas and ceremonies; prasad and sweets were distributed to all devotees, worshippers and even visitors; the murti on the stage was elaborately decorated; and there was a separate stage for the various cultural events. Local groups performed dances; the Marathi Dhol was also part of performances, as was classical Indian dance. Indian television personalities also attended.

Shri Ganesh Events is run by “a team of successful entrepreneurs with a common goal to get the Indian festivals, music and entertainment in front of the Indian diaspora in Indian centric areas in United States of America,” the website of the organization says (ganeshfestivalusa.org).

The festival is believed to bring peace, prosperity and well-being in the community.

Sponsors included Parikh Worldwide Media, and the main organizers of the event were Bhavesh Patel and Suresh Patel.

Indian-Americans Voice Concerns Over Hate Crimes At White House ‘United We Stand’ Summit

Leaders from Indian American and other South Asian communities were among bipartisan officials, faith leaders, activists, business leaders, law enforcement officials, former members of violent extremist groups, who came together to address hate crimes.

Several Indian and South Asian Americans were in the limelight at the White House ‘United We Stand’ Summit Sept. 15, 2022, focused on hate crime. The hall was packed with leaders of faith organizations, mayors of cities that are taking steps to counter hate violence, victims and family members of victims who had directly suffered from the consequences of hate violence.

Vice President Kamala Harris jumpstarted the full-day conference which concluded with an address from President Biden. The conference was held on the same day that 59 years ago, four white supremacists planted dynamite in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that took the lives of four little girls and injured many others, Harris reminded those presen

At that time, “people across America of all races, all ages, all backgrounds” came together and refused to yield to violence and hate, “as we do now,” Harris said.

“Today, America is again looking at and confronting the epidemic of hate-fueled violence — in Oak Creek, Orlando, Victoria, Pittsburgh, El Paso, Atlanta, Buffalo, and in so many other communities,” Harris noted.

The attack on the Oak Creek gurdwara on August 12, 2012, which killed 7 devotees, received considerable attention with at least two people from the Oak Creek Sikh community speaking about their experiences of that event – Mandeep Kaur and Pardeep Singh Kaleka, both of whom suffered as a consequence of that attack by Wade Michael Page who had links with white supremacist organizations. Apart from Vice President Harris, Kaleka, and Mandeep Kaur, from the Indian American community, there was Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith America (previously Interfaith Youth Corps), and Rais Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi-American who lost an eye in a hate crime 10 days after 9/11, and whose experience of changing the beliefs of his attacker Mark Stroman, grabbed national attention.

Many others from the community played behind-the-scenes roles in the Summit and were in the audience at the White House event. Mandeep Kaur said the violent attack by Wade Michael Page on that fateful day at Oak Creek Gurdwara, had “deepened” the community’s care of its members and had built bridges between different peoples. The goal was to carry the spirit of Oak Creek to every part of the globe.

Kaleka, the son of one of the victims, and founder of The Forgiveness Project, said the Oak Creek massacre was the deadliest hate crime in more than 50 years. Sikhs around the United States began questioning whether they were ‘American enough’ and whether they belonged in the country, and whether they were doing enough.

As a result of the self-examination, Kaleka said he reached out to the organization that had influenced the Oak Creek attacker. “We’ve got to get better at listening to the pain… not get offended by the pain,” he said, adding, “We need to find the net person who may commit the hate crime and listen to their pain,” he said. “We have to have the courage to go further…,” he emphasized.

The scariest day of his life, he said was when members of the Sikh congregation had to clean the blood and pull out the bullets from holes in the walls of the Gurdwara and he saw the expressions on the faces of the youth. “They felt left out,” and their trauma was immense. He was scared also when his own children were born.

Eboo Patel noted that the first victim of the 9/11 backlash was an Indian-American, Balbir Singh Sodhi of Mesa, Arizona, barely 2 days after the World Trade Towers went down in New York City. Patel noted the United States is the most religiously diverse democracy. “Faith cannot be the bomb of destruction. It has to be the bridge of cooperation,” he asserted. His organization, along with others, has established ‘A Nation Of Bridgebuilders’, an organization with the mission of training at least 10,000 people a year about hate violence and how to counter it.

Over the last year, several hate attacks have been perpetrated against those of Indian and South Asian origin around the country, which has set the community on edge. Calls for investigation by federal, state, and city officials have been rising, from New York to California, and groups from different Asian minorities are coming together to counter the phenomenon. (News India Times)

US India Security Council President Hosts Fund Raiser Lunch for Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy

US India Security Council – President Ramesh Viswanath Kapur hosted a lunch and fund raiser for Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy at his home in Winchester (MA). The lunch was attended by many priominent Indian Americans like – Vikram Rajyadaksha, Dr.Dinesh Patel, Abhishek Singh, Amar Sawhney, Deepika Sawhney, Dr.Raj Raina among others.

The event was held to support Congressman Raja KrishnaMoorthy for his forthcoming election in November and also express the support of the Indian American Community for the Congressman’s consistent and constant stand supporting causes that help the Indian American Community and also build stronger US-India relations. The event raised around 40k and there are more events planned to help the congressman.

Speaking at the event, Ramesh Viswanath Kapur welcomed the Congressman to his home and expressed gratitude to Raja Krishnamoorthy for his support in the past and urged the community to come forward and help the congressman in his tough election. He said that Raja Krishnamoorthy has been identified as one of the candidates by the republican party that wants to defeat him to reclaim the majority in the house.

He said that he is proud of the congressman who has never shied away from his roots. He said that Raja Krishnamoorthy is first Indian American Congressman he is hosting at his home. Ramesh Viswanath Kapur said that Raja Krishnamoorthy attended the Kashmir files program in the House of Representatives and was the keynote speaker at the Indian American’s against the genocide in ukraine event on the capitol hill. The Congressman arranged for the room and assisted with his staff for the event.

Raja Krishnamoorthy spoke about his journey from his humble beginning to being a house of representative and said he will always stand with the Indian American Community and celebrate their journey and success in the greatest countries in the world – USA. He also spoke about about his trip to Taiwan with speaker – Nancy Palosi and the stare down with the Chinese during the historic flight. He said that the delegation led by the speaker arrived to a massive gathering of people who welcomed the speaker and delegation in Taiwan and were seen as national heroes in the country.

He also said that due to his consistent stand he has been banned by China and Russia. He said that the ISI in pakistan also views him as a enemy for his stand against radicals in Pakistan. He reiterated that he respected all religions and never discriminated against any color, race or religion. He assured that if he wins, he will continue to support strategic relations between USA and India so that this friendship can deter China from its ambitions in the pacific.

The event ended with a informal interaction with the Congressman and a sumptuous lunch.

Hundreds Participate In 2022 Shree Umiya Mataji Navaratri Garba With Kinjal Dave

More than 6200 peoples attended Shree Umiya Mataji 2022 Navratri garba with Kinjal Dave organized by Shree Umiya Dham Chicago Midwest (SUDCM) on Saturday 17thth 2022 at RENAISSANCE SCHAUMBURG CONVENTION CENTER Schaumburg Illinois. Mtaji Palki was beautifully decorated and was placed in the center of the venue in a decorated mandap.

 It was a well-organized flow controlled set up. Starting with registration, the online ticket pick up station is managed by the KPS team managed by Dipak Desai, Tejas Patel & Satish Patel along with others at the left side inside the entrance. On the right side there was a special desk set up for unusual kase handling purposes which was managed by Vijay Patel. From here next station was set up with a hand bend distribution and putting on station managed by V, T Patel & Gaurang Patel with Unjha Team, before proceeding to the entrance of the venue. Good control and strict policy were set up (no hand band on, no entry in venue). It was all 100% implemented. Dr. Hemant & Rajendrabhai Patel were actively helping to continue moving attendees toward venue entrance. Show was sold out after record breaking tickets sale.

Program started at 6.30 pm with Deep pragatya ceremony attended by Mafatbhai Patel, Himanshubhai Modi, Mithabhai Patel, Jayantibhai Patel, Bhavic Patel, Harmil Patel, Haribhai Patel, Dahyabhai Prajapati, Prafulbhai Rami accompanied by SUDCM chairman Chhotalal Patel. After a deep pragatya ceremony Kinjal and her team took the stage.

Grand sponsors, Platinum sponsors & Maha Arti sponsors were honored by flowers on stage. Dr. Bharat & Panna Barai were honored on behalf Federation of Seniors of Chicago

Kinjal Dave’s event drew the largest Indian community crowd in the history of Chicago. In the audience we saw all generations having the time of their life. Gujarati Daughter’s wonderful voice in two tali, three tali, ras garba, sanedo and every type of song got everyone on their hills all night alone. Of course ladies did a little bit of shopping to support their test as well at the booths.

The SUDCM team and volunteers did a great job on reaching out to the community to bring in high profile sponsors, selling booths, banners, tickets, and organizing & managing the event. Lucky Draw was planned and managed by the Hemant Patel team. Thanks to them. They have collected over $2600.00. Good job guys. Lucky draw object was the latest model I-phone 14. Which was one of the brilliant idea SUDCM team came up with.

After Maha Arti by Mithabhai Patel & Jayantibhai Pate & family with rocking SANEDO and wonderful rocking songs by Kinjal, the event was concluded.

Special thanks to Rajesh Desai who organized and managed the entire project. He took control of the project and managed from start to end. Narendra Patel and Pankajbhai Patel worked with Rajesh on every step of the program. Kirti Patel & Falguni Patel worked as MC along with Rajesh Desai and Narendra Patel. KPS and SUDCM volunteers were a great help in every area.

SUDCM Chairman Chhotalal Patel complimented Rajesh Desai, Narendra Patel, Pankaj Patel, Kirti Patel & Falguni Patel for taking full responsibility in resulting a great successful event.

We can’t say enough about our sponsors who open their hearts and pockets which made this program possible, thanks to all of them.

MASCONN’s Onam Celebrates Kerala’s Culture, Traditions

Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut (MASCONN) organized its annual Onam celebrations at Madison Middle School, Trumbull, CT on Saturday, September 17th, 2022.

Attended by nearly 250 people, the long awaited Onam celebrations brought together the fast growing community of people of Kerala origin from across the state of Connecticut to celebrate their culture, traditions, and fellowship.

The day long Onam celebrations began with the lighting of the traditional Nailavilakku or the lamp by honored guests of MASCONN and the executive committee members of MASCONN, including, Tijo Josh, President; Sreejith Mambarambath, Vice President; Giby, Vice President;  Veena Ramesh, Secretary; Reshmi Parakkal, Joint Secretary; and, Jacob Mathew, Treasurer; and members of the Board of Directors: Sujanan TP, Anitha Nair, Aswathy Rajeevan, Jose Kalarikkal, Kaushik Prakash, Prince Lal, Roy Sebastian, Sofia Salim, and Sudhi Balan. Kids Club President Lakshmi S Nair introduced the members of the Club and announced of the planned Blood Drive in collaboration with the local RED CROSS on October 4th.

The chief guests who graced the event and shared their Onam greetings and message included, Connecticut State Assemblyman Harry Arora and Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, a candidate for CT State Assembly representing Trumbull. Both Mr. Arora and Ms. Gadkar-Wilcox urged the Indian community to come out and vote on November 8th and at every election cycle to make the voice of the Indian Americans heard on the corridors of power. They, later on volunteered and served food to the participants at the Onam Sandhya.

A colorful Pookoalm and the traditional lamp with a sandalwood tilak on forehead at the entrance of the school, welcomed the participants with a warm traditional Indian welcome. Legendary King Mahabali was given a traditional welcome as he mingled with the participants showering his blessings.

Earlier the legendary King Mahbali was welcomed on to the state in a procession led by children and women, including Veena, Aswathy, Nimmi, Roniya, Avani, Deepa, Hency, and Shreya, who set the stage for the Onam celebrations with their beautiful performance of Thiruvathirakali.

“MASCONN an offshoot of the natural growth of the Indian-American especially Malayalee Community in the southern Connecticut region,” said Tijo Josh, President of MASCON, in his welcome address. He led the participants to a moment of silence praying for those who lost their lives due to Covid and honoring those healthcare professionals who worked bravely to save the lives of those who were affected by the deadly virus. Tijo praised the Masconn Youth Group and the executive committee and the members for their dedication.

Eloquently emceed by Clarence Xavier and Mini Ajay, who explained the story behind this cultural festival of Kerala, a southern Indian state. “Onam awaits one very special visitor, Kerala’s most loved legendary King Maveli. He is the King who once gave the people a golden era in Kerala. The King is so much attached to his kingdom that it is believed that he comes annually from the nether world to see his people living happily. It is in honor of King Mahabali, affectionately called Onathappan, that Onam is celebrated,” Mini Ajay said.

The whole ambience was filled with nostalgia since it was an occasion for all the Malayalees in Connecticut to cherish their childhood memories, especially everyone enjoyed the sumptuous Onam Sadhya (meal), the most important and main attraction of the day with different traditional dishes and payasam that was served on banana leaves.

For the 1st time, MASCONN organized Onachamayam photo contest was held for Malayalee Manga and Family Chamayam photo contest and winners were awarded. The winners of the Chess and Cards Games were recognized with trophies.

In his Onam message, Mahabali told the audience that the “beauty of the festival lies in its secular fabric. People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. Onam also helps to create an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood by way of various team sports organized on the day,” he added.  Sreejith Mambarambath and Jaya Giby, Vice Presidents of MASCONN proposed vote of thanks, while thanking all the organizers for the great event they had worked so hard to put together.

Participants were dressed in their traditional attire. The most traditional costume for the men of Kerala is the “Mundu” which is mostly white in color. It is worn tightly at the waist with a knot and comes down till the feet. Women following Hinduism wear a blouse and mundu known as “Mundu neriyathu.” Children were seen elegantly in mundus, shirts, sarees and salwar.

The celebration of Onam festival provides them with a perfect opportunity to encourage the new generation of children of Indian origin to witness, learn and appreciate these rich traditions, even while it offers the first generation NRIs to stay connected and cherish the rich cultural heritage they hold so dear to them.

Living in countries that are far away from their homeland, in the midst of different cultures, busy with the day-to-day mundane work and home tasks, the Non Resident Indian (NRI) community made this “land of opportunities” their home, have brought with them these cultural traditions and have sought to pass them on to their children, who are often born and raised here.

Onam is a festival celebrated in the south-western state of Kerala, India. Keralites or the Malayalees, the illustrious people of the beautiful state are known around the world for their hard work and spirit of adventure, celebrate the festival of Onam wherever they are.

Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut (MASCONN) which was formed a dozen years ago, the cultural extravaganza was in many ways “reliving the culture and traditions” and “cherishing the past with a view to pass it on to the future generation.”

 

Biden Lauds AAUC For Working For Asian American Political Empowerment

President Joe Biden has lauded the Asian American Unity Coalition (AAUC) for using the power of civic engagement to exert its clout and influence as part of its march toward political empowerment.

By “educating your members about the power of civic engagement, you are helping bring the full promise of America within reach for so many,” he said in a message to AAUC’s third annual National Civic Leadership Forum.

AAUC, comprising more than 13 Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ethnic non-profit organizations, held the Sep 11-13 forum with the theme of “Asian American Pacific Islander: The Great Awakening,” at the Paris Hotel, LasVegas, Nevada.

“Your work reminds all of us that every voice deserves to be heard, that involvement in civic life makes a real difference, and that–in this Nation–everyone is meant to thrive,” Biden said according to an AAUC press release.

“The diversity of cultures and the breadth of achievement in the AA and NHPI community shapes and strengthens the fabric of America,” he said to the community which has faced a spate of horrific and bigoted racial attacks during the Covid pandemic.

The President acknowledged that the community is fully cognizant “that there is no singular AA or NHPI identity, but there is so much strength in the values you share.”

As his administration “works to build a more just and inclusive country, I am grateful to have partners like the AAUC by my side,” he declared.

“May you reflect with pride on the positive impacts you have made and will continue to make long into the future,” Biden said. “Together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”

Earlier, welcoming the delegates AAUC president and NCLF event chair Dr. S.K. Lo said AAUC believes that the AAPI community is no longer a passive, silent minority and argued that civic engagement is an important ingredient to become part of the integrated fabric of the USA.

“We need to capture this awakening momentum to create the change we all desire, ” she said. “It is the long-term goal of our forum to forge unity among our diverse communities and to speak with One Voice.”

“Thus, we have the power to change the environment for our communities and to live our collective American Dream,” Lo said. “It is our hope that through this Forum we are able to find the One Voice that unites rather than divides us!”

At the conclusion of the conference, Lo exhorted the conference leaders to draft a Call-to-Action Plan, “to create the change we want to see in the US at all levels of government from school boards to the federal levels.”

Reflecting the rise and influence of the Asian population Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, and Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tem Stavros Anthony, were among those who sent messages of greetings.

Nevada’s First Lady Kathy Ong Sisolak and Kaying Yang, who serves on Presidential Advisory Commission on Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders representing Hmong ethnic community among other ethnicities, were also present.

The keynote speakers included Chinese American Maeley Tom, former Chief Administrative Officer, California State Assembly, who shattered the glass ceiling twice in California, county circuit court judge from Oregon Chanpon Sinlapasai, and Meta representative Mona Pasquil Rogers.

Former Executive Editor of India Abroad Aziz Haniffa, spoke on the importance of an independent media from the vantage point of a journalist with more than three decades of experience covering political and diplomatic stories and chronicling the immigrant experience of the South Asian and the broader Asian American community.

The plenary sessions included the “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Civic Engagement: Past, Present, and Future” and “How to Influence Legislation and Public Policy.”

Afternoon breakout workshops and sessions included topics ranging from Community Building, Developing a Successful Political Career by Election or by Appointment, Successful Community Engagements, Developing Political Skills, Building a Financial Support System for Nonprofits, Fundraising for Political Campaign and The Power of Block Voting; presented by Kevin Hirono of APIA Vote.

Moderators and panelists included, Suhag Shukla, executive director and co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation; Islam Siddiqui, who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations and is now president of the American Muslim Institution; Angela Anand, vice president, AAUC and founder of the South Asian Women’s Network; Jack Hanna, New Portland Foundation; Haipei Shue, president, United Chinese Americans; Thomas Abraham, founder and president of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO); Anthony Ng, executive director of the Civic Leadership USA(CLUSA); Dr. Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.

At the gala banquet on the second day, Maeley Tom and US Rep Pramila Jayapal (in absentia), Washington state Democrat and chair of the Progressive Caucus in the US House of Representatives, were presented two special awards for being leaders exhibiting outstanding public service and political leadership.

The awards commemorate two past Asian American political giants — former US Congressman and Commerce and Transportation Secretary respectively in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, Norman Mineta and Dilip Singh Saund, the first-ever Indian American US Congressman.

President’s youth award went to Vivek Pandit, and Philanthropy award was given to the benefactor and major funder of all three conferences, Sandy Chau. The non-profit group from Minnesota, CACC was also awarded for doing great service to the community.

A cultural program followed with Chinese folk to Hawaiian and Samoan dancing and some rollicking Bollywood dancing, including the bhangra.

AAUC came into existence through the historic conference held in Alaska in 2018 in which 12 unique AAPI organizations and 20 leaders representing five major ethnicities — Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Korean and Japanese Americans — were present. Through the annual in-person/virtual National Civic Leadership Forum, AAUC has now connected more than 20 ethnic groups and 90 plus organizations. Other ongoing signature programs of AAUC, include its monthly podcast on “Building our Collective American Dream” and the web-based AAPI Community Hub project to connect all AAPI nonprofit organizations.

Author: AB WireAB Wire stories are filed by American Bazaar staff writers and contributors. If you want to contact one of our reporters, feel free to email [email protected]

NIAASC Holds Its 33rd Conference In Chicago On Mental, Physical And Spiritual Health

National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) held its 33rd Conference on 26th Aug 2022 in Naperville, Chicago in collaboration with Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) on Mental, Physical and Spiritual Health.

The conference was very ably emceed by Ms. Roshita Pandey, MAFS Grant Manager. She introduced and thanked NIAASC President Ms. Gunjan Rastogi; Founder Chairman NIAASC Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad; Geriatric Psychiatrist, Founder and Executive Director of India Home and NIAASC Board member Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi for collaborating with MAFS. Dr. Santosh Kumar, Founder, and Executive Director of MAFS and a NIAASC Board member, welcomed all for coming to attend a very timely conference on mental health. Dr. Santosh Kumar stated that mental health is a subject that is hidden under the sheet. Even though the pandemic has made mental health worse, it helped us to bring this topic to discuss at this conference and we have very specialized speakers on mental health. She also believed that mental health is not taboo, but it is a sensitive topic.

The conference started by lighting the auspicious lamp by all the dignitaries followed by the beautiful Ganesh Vandana kathak performance by the graceful Madhura Sane. All esteemed guests and panel of speakers Ms. Gunjan Rastogi; Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad; Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi; State Rep Janet Yang Rohr; Ms. Sadia Covert, DuPage County Board member; Dr.  Radhika L. Chimata; Dr. Santosh Kumar; Mr. Harish Doshi, MD International University of Vedic Wellness; Shree Guruswamy, case worker and social activist and Mr. Gopi Nair, the renowned motivational speaker addressed a very important issue that not just the senior community but all of us as a society are facing – the issue of Mental or behavioral health in the conference.

Ms. Gunjan Rastogi, apprised us that NIAASC works with Indo-American organizations in providing technical and logistic support in organizing activities for seniors. When it comes to mental health, she believes depression is something that can occur to anyone irrespective of age, gender, and status. Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad stated that NIAASC is not just a theory; it’s a practice.  He also mentioned that NIAASC has nine different language-speaking people to serve the community.

Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad honored Dr. Santosh Kumar by giving her a certificate of appreciation. Vasundhara Kalasapudi, M.D.  geriatric psychiatrist shared their journey of serving seniors in the New York area. India Home is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of and empowering the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean senior immigrant community in New York City through culturally competent services. Anybody can join the India Home even if the senior is on a tourist visa and enjoy their services.

Dr. Radhika L. Chimata, Psychiatrist & Neurologist gave a deep knowledge of the Importance of Mental Health. In her speech, she stated Mental health is a state of mind. When you’re mentally healthy, your feelings, actions, and relationships are in a good place. You’re able to live, learn, work, and enjoy your life. She shares her personal experience as a Psychiatrist & Neurologist which was related to the South Asian community.

Mr. Harish Doshi gave a presentation on Ayurveda & Mind-Body Connection. He highlighted the PPD (Psycho Physiological Disorders) or Psychosomatic Disorders & Its management with Ayurveda. The conference ended with a positive approach given by Mr. Gopi Nair in his speech on the Importance of Gratitude. ‘Gratitude is the only attitude a person should have; this is the mantra he gave to all of us to lead a happy life. Such a positive vibe he created at the end of the conference.

All speakers handled the questionnaire patiently. As they were speaking in Hindi the seniors felt more comfortable asking questions. All the speakers were honored by giving them a shawl and the book ‘India Calling 2022’ by Dr. Santosh Kumar. Ms. Radhika Subramanian, Public Benefits Coordinator sums up the conference and gave a vote of thanks to all speakers, guests, and attendees.

NIAASC is a non-profit 501c3 organization. It is the leading national information, referral, and advocacy organization committed to the well-being and quality of life of Indo-Americans in their senior years. NIAASC will be holding its Annual Meeting in New York on Dec 6th for information or membership queries, kindly email [email protected]

Indian Business Association Tenders Formal Apology For Bulldozer At Indian I-Day Parade

The Indian Business Association (IBA) issued a formal apology on Tuesday for including a bulldozer in its Indian Independence Day parade in Edison and Woodbridge townships in New Jersey on August 14. The apology letter to the mayors of both towns was made public on Tuesday.

The letter, signed by IBA president Chandrakant Patel, acknowledges that certain aspects of the Independence Day event offended Indian American minority communities, especially Muslims.

The letter stated, “Unfortunately, there was a bulldozer among the floats in the parade which is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission. Our parade should never be about politics and should never include these blatant divisive symbols. Our parade should recognise us as South Asians living in two of the best towns in the country.”

On August 14, the IBA along with the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) held a parade along Oak Tree Road, from Edison to Woodbridge, to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. Videos and photographs indicated that the parade featured a bulldozer with a picture of Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Critics and civil rights organizations said that the bulldozer and the accompanying placard – ‘Baba Ka Bulldozer’ (Baba’s Bulldozer) – was a reference to Adityanath’s administration’s use of bulldozers to demolish illegal homes, businesses, and places of worship of Muslims and Christians. Other BJP-governed states such as Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat also implemented this tactic to demolish allegedly illegal buildings.

“We hereby made the commitment that we will not allow these symbols in the future and that we will work with all different groups of South Asian heritage to make sure that our parade remains the best in the State of New Jersey,” Patel said in the letter.

He further said, “The parade should be and has always been about a celebration of our Indian heritage and inclusion and diversity among our many different cultures and religions. Unfortunately, there was a bulldozer among the floats in the parade which is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission. It was seen quite negatively by many who are deeply impacted and insulted by certain activities that have been happening in India. Many who participated or watched the parade or heard about the activities from social media accounts were offended by this symbol and by comments made by our guest speaker and that was not our intention.”

On August 16, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) along with rights groups Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) issued statements against the use of the bulldozer in the parade.

At a press conference held at Edison, IAMC, CAIR-NJ, Black Lives Matter (BLM), American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), and HfHR said they had met with the US Attorney General’s office and the New Jersey Attorney General’s office to seek legal action against the parade’s organizers. They said they had filed charges with the Edison Police Department against the IBA and sought police investigation into the event, which they categorized as a “hate parade”.

Samip Joshi, the mayor of Edison township in New Jersey, criticized the inclusion of a bulldozer by Hindutva groups saying that “any symbol or action that represents discrimination is unwelcome”. He added that the parade was not sponsored by the township.

On Tuesday, the New Jersey chapter of the CAIR acknowledged the apology. Selaedin Maksut, executive director of CAIR-NJ, the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the IBA’s apology acknowledged its wrongdoing, which he said is “a step toward making future parades representative of the Indian population, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits and Tribals.”

He said, “We agree that future parades cannot include blatantly divisive symbols and guest speakers and should never be about politics. Such hatred cannot be tolerated. Instead, the parade should celebrate India’s independence and rich culture and diversity.”

AIA Diwali Celebration In New York To Feature Vegan Fair, Dance Competition, Fireworks

The Association of Indians in America, New York Chapter, (facebook.com/theaiany.org), considered one of the oldest community organizations in the United States, will be holding its flagship Diwali event October 2, 2022, a date that coincides with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

The AIA’s 35th Deepavali celebrations at the scenic South Street Seaport site, will also play to the Government of India’s initiative – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – celebration throughout the year to mark India’s 75th anniversary of independence.

Traditionally, the signature event attracts thousands of people to the celebrations and the same is expected this year. Local and national-level politicians and administration officials make sure to be seen at the event, which concludes with an impressive fireworks display over the Hudson River.

The festival features numerous stalls in its bazaar, both from vendors and corporation, offering everything from jewelry and clothes to life insurance, travel options, and health care services.

The highlight of this year’s celebrations includes an Inter-Collegiate Dance Competition named ‘Naach Inferno’ as well as a Vegan Expo featuring vegan food, cooking demonstrations and information sessions, hosted by World Vegan Vision (worldveganvision.org).

Umiya Mataji Sanstha Chicago Midwest Hosts Third Annual Patotsav & India’s Independence Day

Umiya Mataji Sanstha Chicago Midwest (UMSCM) hosted Third Annual Patotsav, held at Umiya Mata Mandir at West Chicago, IL, from August 11 to August 14, 2022. The four-day festival included recital of Bhagwat Parayan for first 3 days, which included, Mahayagya, Umiya’s Grand Annakoot and Alokik Shringar Jagan Janani Darshan and on the fourth day, a Cultural Program to commemorate India’s Independence Day for Aug 15th was held.

On behalf of Umiya Mataji Santhana, the Chairman of the organization Mr. J.P. Patel, President Mr. Devendra Patel, and Secretary Shri Andi Patel, invited all the families living in Chicago and America.

The three-day Bhagwat Dasam Skand Katha Parayan was organized from August 11 to August 13 as part of the program of Umia Mataji Sansthan Chalit Tritiya Patotsav, for which Shastri Sri Dharmaswarupdasji, Swami Sanstha, had sent a special invite to Sri Swaminarayan, from Gurukul, Khirsara, Gujarat. His Guruji Shastri Sri Narayanaswarupadasji Swami also arrived with him. Every devotee who came to the festival took the benefit of his Amritamai Vani.

Bhagwat Katha was started on August 11 with Pothi Yatra and Kalash Yatra. All the devotees of the organization enthusiastically participated in the Pothi Yatra and Lord Shri Bhagwat was taken to Vyas Gadi.  On Aug 12th, at the end of the story, the aarti of Lord Krishna was performed by the main Sponsor, followed by the Mahaprasad. On Aug 13th, a beautiful description of Lord Krishna in Gokul and how Lord Krishna married Mata Rukamani was narrated by Mr. Dadramswarup Dasji, followed by Arti and Mahaprasad. Shastri Shri Narayanaswarup Dasji in his speech appreciated the management and hospitality by the organization during the Karan Divas. Krishna Janmotsav, Makhan Leela and beautiful decorations of Rukamani marriage were also made, which became the center of attraction for all. The entire atmosphere was resounding with joy and bliss.

The fourth and final day of Patotsav, was 14th August 2022, Sunday, on which the Mahayagna, which started at 9 am and completed at 4 pm, was successfully led by head priest Shri Kritarth Vyas, amidst chanting of mantras by the Brahmins. On the same day in the evening, India’s Independence Day (15th August) was celebrated by singing the American and then Indian Anthems. All the volunteers who served during these four days and throughout the year were honored.  A grand cultural program consisting of about 15 different performances was started with Deep Pragatya (lamp Lighting) and glorification of Lord Ganapati. Kathak dance, monologues, plays, garba, songs and performances by children giving messages to the society, from small children of different institutions to the elders of the group, everyone participated enthusiastically.

After that the book of Sanskrit, Gujarati and English Mantras “Poojantray” authored & published by prepared by Umiya Mataji Sansthan was released in the presence of Chairman Mr. J.P. Patel, President Mr. Devendra Bhai Patel, Secretary Mr. Andy Patel, Maharaj Mr. Kritarth Vyas and guests. Gifts were given to the guests. A 15 minute documentary film of the organization in Gujarati and English was also shown to everyone, in which various activities taking place in the temple, festivals & celebrations and talks about the proposed new temple nirmana were included.

Sponsors donated generously for this event and every volunteer worked hard with love and dedication to help manage with the arrangements for kitchen, dining, yajna, food preparation, decoration, donation collections and parking. Thus, Shri Umiya Mataji Sansthan Chicago Midwest Third Chalit Pratistha Festival 2022, led by President Shri Devendra Bhai was celebrated with great grandeur and in four days more than 3000 devotees stayed in the Ghasaro temple, making it a very successful event for the community.

Wisconsin Celebrates 10th Year Of India Day At Indiafest

India celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence from Britain and IndiaFest Milwaukee marks its 10th year in Wisconsin. On Saturday Aug 20th, 2022 festivities began with the hoisting of the tricolor flag of India. This was followed by the rendition of the national anthems of both countries, India and the United States, in the presence of dignitaries and leaders. A chariot of Lord Jagannath, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, adorned with intricately decorated deities and traditional ornaments led the parade, accompanied by devotional songs.

India Day celebration at IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 was graced by State Representative Scott Allen, former Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, State Representative Dan Knodl, Former State Representative Jim Ott, Fond Du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney, and Milwaukee County Chief Equity Officer Jeff Roman.

Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers, Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn, US Senator Ron Johnson, State Senator Chris Larson, Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Consul General of India (Midwest) Amit Kumar, Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton and Mayor of Sun Prairie Paul Esser were among the invitees. Both the country’s flags were highlighted throughout the celebration, signifying the strong India-US relationship.

Officially, Aug 15th, 2022 was proclaimed as INDIA DAY in Wisconsin by Governor Tony Evers, in Milwaukee County by Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and in the City of Milwaukee by Mayor Cavalier Johnson. Proclamations attached.

IndiaFest Milwaukee showcased the culture, history, and heritage of India’s ancient Indic civilization. It is more than food and dance. Ancient Indic culture is promoted through displays of traditional clothing, explanations, and displays of arts. Indian Instrument DJ Jason McKinsey, who is associated with David Latterman’s show, returned from a European tour the day of IndiaFest Milwaukee; and performed a unique rendition with classical Indian instruments. Hindustani classical music with Sitar, an eons-old Indian stringed instrument, was presented by Indrajit Banerjee, who traveled from Texas to Milwaukee. Contemporary Bollywood music was performed by the popular Orchestra SaReGaMa from Illinois.

Local talents were showcased through martial arts, classical and contemporary music, and traditional and Bollywood dance art forms. Children engaged in creating Indian flags and making arts/crafts related to Indian culture and heritage.

A travel blogger from Los Angeles traveled to attend IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 in Wisconsin, before planning a trip to India. IndiaFest Milwaukee in Wisconsin delighted him.

A number of companies, including Wisdom Infotech, Trayix, Planned Parenthood, Airport Animal Hospital, India Garden, True Skool, VK Petroleum, West Allis Veterinary Clinic, North Side Petroleum, and Best Brains supported and contributed to India Day celebration at IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022. A few volunteers of IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 helped with morning set up despite occasional showers, even when it seemed like it would be soaked for the entire day. Perhaps Lord Jagannath had protected the celebration from up above.

IndiaFest Milwaukee is an opportunity to get a glimpse of the warmth, breadth, and depth of India, launched by Spindle India, Inc, a nonprofit organization, founded by Purnima Nath. IndiaFest Milwaukee is an inclusive platform that transcends religion, region, language, culture, community, borders and political bias to promote true diversity, equality, and the value of inclusion and coexistence.

Ms. Nath, who serves as volunteer President of Spindle India, Inc., and produces IndiaFest Milwaukee says, “in America, people do not know much about Indian culture beyond a few popular food items such as curry, samosa, naan. Sadly, there are many misconceptions about India, the Indian community, and the ancient Indic civilization in the United States. Through such avenues and platforms, we can break barriers of cultural differences and communicate about the oldest-living-surviving Indian civilization through education, learning, and connecting that fosters understanding and opens the doors to potential broader acceptance.”

Leading Diaspora Groups Condemn Hate and Violence Against Indian Americans

A group of Indian American and Asian organizations such as India Association of Greater Boston and India Society of Worcester have condemned the rising hate and violence against Indian Americas in the United States.

In a statement titled Condemnation of Hate and Violence – From New England Asian American Organizations” and posted on ISW and IAGB websites, the representatives of these and other organizations said the following:

“We the representatives of Indian American organizations in New England and our allies, strongly condemn the recent act of anti-Asian violence in Plano, Texas. We are very disturbed by this and recently increased acts of violence and hate crimes against Indians, South Asians, and Asian Americans in general. We do commend the Plano Police department for responding to the incident with urgency and understanding.

Asian Americans, like all other immigrants, have made significant contributions to this great land despite facing ongoing prejudice based on accents, color, religion, or perceptions of leadership or other abilities.

We believe in the fair treatment of all human beings regardless of age, education level, race, ethnicity, gender expression and identity, nationality, national origin, creed, accent, physical and mental ability, political and religious stance, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, veteran status, profession, or any other human differences.

We unequivocally and unapologetically condemn the divisive forces of hate, inequity, and injustice. We stand united in love and peace and stand against racist, discriminatory, violent acts against any community. Together, we say to those who are victims of such acts, “We see you; we hear you; we stand with you.”

Digital Rape?

Digital Rape – is a new terminology for me, and somehow my subconscious mind led me to a misunderstanding. It has nothing to do with modern digital technology, except some correlation with the fingers that you use to text on your smartphones.

The term ‘Digital rape’ does not relate to any sexual offense committed digitally, like defaming someone’s identity on the Digital platforms. It refers to the act of forcibly inserting fingers or toes inside the other person’s private parts without their consent. The word digital rape is derived from the word ‘digit’, which also means a ‘finger including the thumb or toe’; hence digital rape is meaningful now.

Similarly, there is a term “Digital Rape” that people often misinterpret-able and wonder how someone can rape digitally.Not knowing the actual term, they often consider it digital abuse. Sometimes it is confused with defacing someone’s identity on the digital platform. People think sharing naked pictures, or video’s on a digital platform without the owner’s consent is called Digital Rape.

Digital Rape is a term used to classify cases of rape. In the case of digital rape, the perpetrator used his finger or fingers to violate and force the sexual act upon the victim. Simply, a person is accused of Digital rape when the perpetrator used his/her finger or fingers to penetrate the vagina of the victim without her consent.

In India, until 2012, these types of offenses were not considered under the purviews of rape.In June 2022, there was a case in Noida, India, where a five-year-old girl was subjected to digital rape by her father.

In order to understand the sensitivity of this subject, three cases clear out the real meaning of the term ‘digital rape’.

Case 1: 2 year old digitally raped in Mumbai

In Mumbai, a 2-year-old girl was brought bleeding to the hospital. On examination, doctors found that her vagina was raptured, though there weren’t any sign of sexual assault or rape.

Case 2: 60 year old digitally raped in Delhi

In another incident which was occurred in Delhi, a 60 years old woman was sexually assaulted by an auto rickshaw driver, who used an iron rod to penetrate the 60 years old passenger who was visiting her relative’s wedding. Again, the driver was arrested but wasn’t convicted under Section 376 of the IPC.

Case 3: Conductor sentenced to 20 years in prison for digitally raping four-year-old girl onboard school bus

On December 12, 2018, Times now news published a report that explained a digital rape case. Here, a school-going girl was digitally raped by the conductor.

It all comes down to the point that the dignity of a female can be violated even without being raped. And how digital rape can have the same effect as rape.

But knowing that there are other ways that a man can use to violate a woman or child’s dignity; Supreme Court had to make some changes to its definition of rape. Keeping all the above cases and heinous instances of crime, the purpose of rape was extended in 2013.

According to this new definition, rape is considered an act of forcefully penetrating a woman’s vagina, mouth, anus, or urethra by a penis, any foreign object, or any other part of the body.

In many reports, it has been made clear that most of the time, the  offenders who disrespects  the modesty of a woman or violated the dignity of a child, is someone they knew personally. Usually, these crimes are committed by people close to the victim. Cousins, close friends, uncles (other relatives), neighbors, and sometimes their own father came out to be accused.

Luckily, most of the cases now do justice to the victim. And the offender has to spend a minimum of 5 years in jail. In some cases, the offender has to serve a lifetime prison sentence of 10 years, which can also be extended later.

Thankfully, the term digital rape has joined the definition of rape, and now there are strict laws for criminals who think digital rape is not raping. Better be aware of this terminology, and it’s consequences too!

Wisconsin Celebrates 10th Year Of India Day At Indiafest

India celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence from Britain and IndiaFest Milwaukee marks its 10th year in Wisconsin. On Saturday Aug 20th, 2022 festivities began with the hoisting of the tricolor flag of India. This was followed by the rendition of the national anthems of both countries, India and the United States, in the presence of dignitaries and leaders. A chariot of Lord Jagannath, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, adorned with intricately decorated deities and traditional ornaments led the parade, accompanied by devotional songs.

India Day celebration at IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 was graced by State Representative Scott Allen, former Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, State Representative Dan Knodl, Former State Representative Jim Ott, Fond Du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney, and Milwaukee County Chief Equity Officer Jeff Roman.

Governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers, Mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn, US Senator Ron Johnson, State Senator Chris Larson, Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Consul General of India (Midwest) Amit Kumar, Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton and Mayor of Sun Prairie Paul Esser were among the invitees. Both the country’s flags were highlighted throughout the celebration, signifying the strong India-US relationship.

Officially, Aug 15th, 2022 was proclaimed as INDIA DAY in Wisconsin by Governor Tony Evers, in Milwaukee County by Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and in the City of Milwaukee by Mayor Cavalier Johnson. Proclamations attached.

IndiaFest Milwaukee showcased the culture, history, and heritage of India’s ancient Indic civilization. It is more than food and dance. Ancient Indic culture is promoted through displays of traditional clothing, explanations, and displays of arts. Indian Instrument DJ Jason McKinsey, who is associated with David Latterman’s show, returned from a European tour the day of IndiaFest Milwaukee; and performed a unique rendition with classical Indian instruments. Hindustani classical music with Sitar, an eons-old Indian stringed instrument, was presented by Indrajit Banerjee, who traveled from Texas to Milwaukee. Contemporary Bollywood music was performed by the popular Orchestra SaReGaMa from Illinois.

Local talents were showcased through martial arts, classical and contemporary music, and traditional and Bollywood dance art forms. Children engaged in creating Indian flags and making arts/crafts related to Indian culture and heritage.

A travel blogger from Los Angeles traveled to attend IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 in Wisconsin, before planning a trip to India. IndiaFest Milwaukee in Wisconsin delighted him.

A number of companies, including Wisdom Infotech, Trayix, Planned Parenthood, Airport Animal Hospital, India Garden, True Skool, VK Petroleum, West Allis Veterinary Clinic, North Side Petroleum, and Best Brains supported and contributed to India Day celebration at IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022. A few volunteers of IndiaFest Milwaukee 2022 helped with morning set up despite occasional showers, even when it seemed like it would be soaked for the entire day. Perhaps Lord Jagannath had protected the celebration from up above.

IndiaFest Milwaukee is an opportunity to get a glimpse of the warmth, breadth, and depth of India, launched by Spindle India, Inc, a nonprofit organization, founded by Purnima Nath. IndiaFest Milwaukee is an inclusive platform that transcends religion, region, language, culture, community, borders and political bias to promote true diversity, equality, and the value of inclusion and coexistence.

Ms. Nath, who serves as volunteer President of Spindle India, Inc., and produces IndiaFest Milwaukee says, “in America, people do not know much about Indian culture beyond a few popular food items such as curry, samosa, naan. Sadly, there are many misconceptions about India, the Indian community, and the ancient Indic civilization in the United States. Through such avenues and platforms, we can break barriers of cultural differences and communicate about the oldest-living-surviving Indian civilization through education, learning, and connecting that fosters understanding and opens the doors to potential broader acceptance.”

Umiya Mataji Sanstha Chicago Midwest Hosts Third Annual Patotsav & India’s Independence Day

Umiya Mataji Sanstha Chicago Midwest (UMSCM) hosted Third Annual Patotsav, held at Umiya Mata Mandir at West Chicago, IL, from August 11 to August 14, 2022. The four-day festival included recital of Bhagwat Parayan for first 3 days, which included, Mahayagya, Umiya’s Grand Annakoot and Alokik Shringar Jagan Janani Darshan and on the fourth day, a Cultural Program to commemorate India’s Independence Day for Aug 15th was held.

On behalf of Umiya Mataji Santhana, the Chairman of the organization Mr. J.P. Patel, President Mr. Devendra Patel, and Secretary Shri Andi Patel, invited all the families living in Chicago and America.

The three-day Bhagwat Dasam Skand Katha Parayan was organized from August 11 to August 13 as part of the program of Umia Mataji Sansthan Chalit Tritiya Patotsav, for which Shastri Sri Dharmaswarupdasji, Swami Sanstha, had sent a special invite to Sri Swaminarayan, from Gurukul, Khirsara, Gujarat. His Guruji Shastri Sri Narayanaswarupadasji Swami also arrived with him. Every devotee who came to the festival took the benefit of his Amritamai Vani.

Bhagwat Katha was started on August 11 with Pothi Yatra and Kalash Yatra. All the devotees of the organization enthusiastically participated in the Pothi Yatra and Lord Shri Bhagwat was taken to Vyas Gadi.  On Aug 12th, at the end of the story, the aarti of Lord Krishna was performed by the main Sponsor, followed by the Mahaprasad. On Aug 13th, a beautiful description of Lord Krishna in Gokul and how Lord Krishna married Mata Rukamani was narrated by Mr. Dadramswarup Dasji, followed by Arti and Mahaprasad. Shastri Shri Narayanaswarup Dasji in his speech appreciated the management and hospitality by the organization during the Karan Divas. Krishna Janmotsav, Makhan Leela and beautiful decorations of Rukamani marriage were also made, which became the center of attraction for all. The entire atmosphere was resounding with joy and bliss.

The fourth and final day of Patotsav, was 14th August 2022, Sunday, on which the Mahayagna, which started at 9 am and completed at 4 pm, was successfully led by head priest Shri Kritarth Vyas, amidst chanting of mantras by the Brahmins. On the same day in the evening, India’s Independence Day (15th August) was celebrated by singing the American and then Indian Anthems. All the volunteers who served during these four days and throughout the year were honored.  A grand cultural program consisting of about 15 different performances was started with Deep Pragatya (lamp Lighting) and glorification of Lord Ganapati. Kathak dance, monologues, plays, garba, songs and performances by children giving messages to the society, from small children of different institutions to the elders of the group, everyone participated enthusiastically.

After that the book of Sanskrit, Gujarati and English Mantras “Poojantray” authored & published by prepared by Umiya Mataji Sansthan was released in the presence of Chairman Mr. J.P. Patel, President Mr. Devendra Bhai Patel, Secretary Mr. Andy Patel, Maharaj Mr. Kritarth Vyas and guests. Gifts were given to the guests. A 15 minute documentary film of the organization in Gujarati and English was also shown to everyone, in which various activities taking place in the temple, festivals & celebrations and talks about the proposed new temple nirmana were included.

Sponsors donated generously for this event and every volunteer worked hard with love and dedication to help manage with the arrangements for kitchen, dining, yajna, food preparation, decoration, donation collections and parking. Thus, Shri Umiya Mataji Sansthan Chicago Midwest Third Chalit Pratistha Festival 2022, led by President Shri Devendra Bhai was celebrated with great grandeur and in four days more than 3000 devotees stayed in the Ghasaro temple, making it a very successful event for the community.

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