Biden Lauds AAUC For Working For Asian American Political Empowerment

By, AB Wire

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]

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.”

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.

Indian-Americans Voice Concerns Over Hate Crimes At White House ‘United We Stand’ Summit

By, Ela Dutt

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)

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.

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.

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.”

AKMG’s 43rd Annual Convention Held At The Sheraton Center, Toronto

The 43rd annual Convention of the Association of Kerala Medical Graduates (AKMG) was held from August 4th to 6th, 2022 at the Sheraton Center in Toronto, Canada. Hosted by the AKMG Canada in Toronto and attended by nearly 600 Doctors of Kerala origin and their families from the US and Canada, the annual convention was the best forum for friends to get together, converse, reminisce about their past medical college campus life, while offering a platform to network and strengthen the bonds. 

Some of the highlights of the Convention included: Display of Multifaceted Talents; AKMG Got Talent, including Singing, Dancing, Instrumental, Fashion Show, Drama, Spousal Program, Mural Workshop, Photography Workshop, Golf and Literary Workshop. Delegates were also treated to a Pre-Convention Tours to the World Famous Niagara Falls & the CN Tower. The entire CN Tower Revolving Restaurant was booked for an event, which was a major highlight of the Convention. 

A wonderful musical night by Vijay Yesudas, Afzal and Team had all the Doctors and families on the dance floor grooving away till the wee hours of the morning.  Nine Hours of CME Program by Eminent Physicians spread over 3 days provided the delegates with an opportunity to learn of the newest developments in the health sector. Dr. Vinod Chandran, MD, PhD, DM, FRCPC served as the CME Chair, 43rd AKMG Convention, Toronto. 

A popular attraction of the Convention was the Chayakkada, which is an integral part of Kerala society, shaping popular culture and politics. Gourmet Kerala cuisine was served with live musical and cultural programs, with the traditional PALAHARAMS and Chai was served throughout. 

Being away from home, the participants were led to celebrate Onam with traditional festivities. It included a reception to King Mahabali with thalapoli and chenda melam followed by an Onam feast. Onam Sadhya, a sensational multi-course vegetarian meal that features over 24 dishes on a banana leaf, enjoyed without any cutlery, celebrating Onam festival, commemorating King Mahabali, was a treat to the body and soul of every participant. King Mahabali was very kind-hearted and loved by all, who is believed to have returned to Kerala on Onam.. The Onam Sadya Sarees typically have classic white and gold color but various unconventional colors were used by the attendees with various sartorial tastes, made the event a display of the rich cultural traditions of “God’s own country.”  

Warmth & Hospitality of the Convention organizing team and the volunteers was enjoyed by one and all. Camaraderie was evident with far away participants helping the local organizing committee in putting up the event- Like a Family. 

In his presidential address, while expressing gratitude to the members of AKMG “for giving me the opportunity this year to be the President of our wondrous organization”. Dr. Nigil Haroon, outgoing President of AKMG said, “I worked very hard to make sure that this year’s AKMG was the best it could be. Likewise, our executive team has worked very hard to make sure the convention would be successful and profitable. Thank you to all of you who have come from across the Continent to the AKMG Convention and to the Patrons and Champions.” 

Dr. Krishna Kumar Nair, Convention Chair described it to be “A Convention to Cherish. Hundreds of Kerala Medical Graduates poured in joined by families. Events were planned for every age group.” An elegantly done annual Souvenir was released during the convention. 

At the fabulous Saturday Nite Gala, Dr. Nigil Haroon handed over the charge to incoming president Dr. Geetha Nair, who in her inaugural address, said, “I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve as your president for its 43rd year. As I undertake to represent the AKMG as its President for 2022-23,” she promised “to work to strengthen the organization and enhance its relationship with organizations of other medical professionals. As always, AKMG will continue focusing on charitable activities and helping the medical colleges back in Kerala.” 

AKMG (Association of Kerala Medical Graduates} has been the premier and pioneer Alumni Organization in North America {USA and Canada} for Medical and Dental specialists of Kerala origin, since its inception in 1979-80, thereby setting the precedent for an organization of healthcare professionals of any ethnic or international origin in North America. Kerala origin medical professionals began arriving in the US since the 1950’s. This was a break in tradition, as the United Kingdom was the only destination that the medical graduates from the Indian subcontinent preferred even as of the 1950’s. For more details, please visit www.akmg.org.

IAMA – AAPI Holds Highly Successful Free Health Fair In Chicago

Continuing with the tradition of offering free medical services to the local population, Indian American Medical Association, Illinois in collaboration with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) organized its annual Community Health Fair in Chicago on Sunday, August 28, 2022.

Over a hundred registrants availed the free medical services rendered by nearly two dozen physicians from various specialists at the day-long event. “We offered vital signs measurement, Blood tests for total cholesterol, HDL, Sugar and Noninvasive Hemoglobin and consultation with primary care and various available specialists including internist, pediatrician, pulmonologist and critical care, urologist, obstetrician and gynecologist, anesthesiologist and pathologist,” Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of IAMA and a past President of AAPI said. “Having more specialists could have benefited several patients as there was a need for many more medical and surgical specialists like general surgeon, gastroenterologist, ophthalmologists,” he added.

The hugely successful IAMA – AAPI Free health fair offered discounted coupons just for $30 to have the CT coronary calcium screening done at Imaging Center. Also, the participants at the Health Fair were provided with the free lab services through the IAMA offices.  Among the many services offered to the registrants, the Fair stressed on the importance of Cardiac Health Awareness in view of so many sudden deaths and acute MI among people of Indian heritage at a younger age.

“Once again, these AAPI members have showed their dedication by conducting the free Community Health Fair, so well organized IAMA,” Dr. Meher Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI, while praising the efforts of IAMA members in reaching out to the local community, said. Describing them to “role models in selfless service for the younger AAPI generation,” Dr. Medavaram wished “them continued success.”

The Fair was organized by Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of IAMI, Dr. Meher Medavaram and Dr. Radhika Chimata, Treasurer and Secretary of IAMA, and the entire executive Committee members, including Dr. Piyush Vyas, Dr. Dilip Shah, Dr. Rajeev Kumar, Dr. Sukanya Reddy, Dr. Srilatha Gundala, Dr. Neetha Dhananjaya, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala. Dr. Reddy expressed his “deep appreciation and gratitude to all, particularly to the senior members of IAM, Dr. Amit Vyas, Dr. Geeta Wadhwani and several others who actively provided their services. Thank you Christy Dolan for your moral support.”

Radhika Chimata, Secretary of IAMA expressed gratitude to those who partnered with IAMA-AAPI in this noble effort included: Vinoz Chanamolu from Mall of India, Mamtani Foundation, Global Eye and American Telugu Association. “I want to thank Rep. Deanne Mazzochi who joined the event as the “Guest of Honor/ and lauded the efforts of IAMA-AAPI. Special thanks and appreciation to the more than 50 high school volunteers led by Shree Gurusamy and Alli Dhanaraj who enjoyed the educational experience,” she said.

“AAPI and IAMA are built on Core Value of Service.” And he commended “All the Doctors, Volunteers and the Executive Committee for continuing this tradition of service by bringing health care to needy and poor and the homeless patients of Chicago,” Dr. Reddy said. “I feel so satisfied we could bring basic healthcare to the homeless and poor people at the health fair. It was an amazing priceless experience to serve these many real needy people in a short period of time with limited resources and manpower.”

(IAMA-IL) is a non-profit organization comprised of Illinois physicians, fellows, residents, and medical students of Indian origin who are committed to professional excellence and quality patient care. The Indian American Medical Association Charitable Foundation Free Health Clinic is a non-profit organization that was established in 1994. The free clinic serves low-income populations, who are uninsured and under-served that have no affordable or culturally competent medical facility for their healthcare needs. Patients services are provided without regard to nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, or race.For more details, please visit: https://iamaill.org.

 

 

 

Debate Over Indian I-Day Parade At Edison, NJ Heats Up; Orgs Demand Legal Action

Civil rights organizations in New Jersey have demanded an investigation and legal action against the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) and the Indian Business Association (IBA) for their roles in organizing an alleged anti-Muslim hate parade on August 14, 2022. They have asked the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin an immediate investigation.

On August 14, a day before India’s Independence Day, OFBJP and IBA 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). The organizations said this the accompanying placard – ‘Baba Ka Bulldozer’ (Baba’s Bulldozer) – was a reference to his administration’s use of bulldozers to demolish homes, businesses, and places of worship of Muslims and Christians.

The UP government – run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – has denied that bulldozers are used only against minority communities, and that the demolition drives were organized only against illegal structures, regardless of what religion the property’s owner belongs to.

The civil rights organizations urged the US Secretary of State’s intervention to revoke the visa of Sambit Patra, BJP’s national spokesperson, who presided over New Jersey’s hate parade as ‘Grand Marshal’.

Earlier this week, at a press conference held at Edison Township in New Jersey, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Council on American Islamic Relations-New Jersey (CAIR-NJ), Black Lives Matter (BLM), American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), and Hindus for Human Rights (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”.

On August 19, Edison Mayor Samip Joshi reportedly told these organizations’ representatives that the bulldozer was “a symbol of division and is absolutely unacceptable. I would like to see an apology from the Indian Business Association.” Joshi told them that he was unaware of the bulldozer’s presence at the parade when he attended it.

In a statement former IAMC New Jersey President Minhaj Khan said, “Hindu and Muslim Indian Americans are peace-loving communities in Edison. We will not allow Hindu extremists to disturb that peace by hate speech and rhetoric. This parade has created a sense of fear of potential hate violence among the Indian Muslim community in New Jersey.”

The Indian Business Association (IBA) in Edison, however, refused to apologize. According to local media reports, Chandrakant Patel, the chairman of the IBA at the Township Council meeting said his organization would not be apologizing because “we have done nothing wrong.” A parade supporter at the township meeting said, “The bulldozer is not a symbol of hate. It’s a symbol of law and order… The person who uses bulldozers used it to protect law and order. I don’t think you should be apologetic.”

“This is clearly giving a message of intimidation to American Indian Muslims and other minorities saying ‘We are here, we are in control and you can’t do anything, even in America,” said Dylan Terpstra, operations coordinator at CAIR-NJ.

At the township meeting, Terpstra drew a comparison on how the bulldozer served to fear monger Muslims the same way the Black community faced intimidation with the symbol of the noose throughout history, which struck a chord with Council Vice President Joyce Ship-Freeman. “Had it been the noose, would we all have been walking behind it and following it? No,” Ship-Freeman said. “This is not the Edison we should accept. We should all stand out against it because if it’s on one group today, it will be on another group tomorrow.”

Selaedin Maksut, Executive Director, CAIR, New Jersey, said it was “important that the symbol of the bulldozer and the usurpation of Indian Independence Day by international political influence is universally recognized as wrong. Mayor Joshi and Mayor McCormac recognize the divisive and discriminatory motivation behind it. The precedent is now established to take extra care in preventing this from happening again or withhold official participation while maintaining the rights to free speech and assembly.”

BLM’s Zellie Thomas said bulldozers were being used “to terrorize” Muslim and other Indian minorities. “Just as black Americans were lynched from trees, and the noose became a tool to both intimidate and terrorize black communities, so too are bulldozers being used to remind Indian Muslims of the constant threat they are under,” he said.

Dr. Ali Chaudry of AMD said, “The inclusion of the bulldozer as the symbol of hate in the August 14 India Independence Day parade here should not be treated any different than an antisemitic, racist or Islamophobic incident.” He demanded that such symbols of hate must never be allowed to be used in any future parades.

The IAMC’s Minhaj Khan said Woodbridge Mayor John McMorcac, who had joined the August 14 parade but denounced it after he learned of the symbolism of the bulldozer, had “assured us he has already launched an investigation into the parade.” McMorcac reportedly told their delegation that he would reject future permits to hate parades, ensure float inspections beforehand, and vet speaker lists so that hate speeches are prevented.

Meet & Greet With Dr. RS Praveen Kumar IPS (Rtd)

Chicago IL: Global NRI Forum arranged a meet and greet event for Dr. RS Praveen Kumar IPS (Rtd.) hosted by Saireddy Gongati and Bindhu Gongati on 8/26/2022 at their Gongati Residence, Palatine, IL (Chicago). The program started with the Indian national anthem, and the agenda for the meeting was for Dr. Praveen Kumar to share his vision and take suggestions and Q&A from NRIs. 

Dr. RS Praveen Kumar has served in Indian Police Service (IPS) for 17 years, and for 9 years, he chose to be a Secretary for Social Welfare Schools for AP and Telangana states.

Dr. RS Praveen Kumar shared his experiences, and he visited Dubai, where people live like slaves as they drop out of their education. At the same time, in the USA, people live perfect lives because of a good education. People who came to the USA from social welfare schools have a good life, and he promised: “I would bring at least 1 lac students from poor and underprivileged families to the USA in the future.”

He also mentioned Telangana state is in the #2 position from the top in liquor consumption. The government opened belt shops in every village, and liquor became so cheap and easy access to buy on every corner that young people became drunkards. The government supposes to provide employment and invest in poor people for betterment instead of encouraging people for alcohol consumption. Until today, our CM has never visited a single University. We are living in a pathetic situation after 75 years of independence. In Telangana, one of the CMs had a 50-acre farmhouse in 2014, but today the same farmhouse is in 300-acre land surrounded by a big compound wall with high security. He questioned people, “where did this money come from?” It is all public money.

Social welfare schools are for impoverished background students who come from minimal needs in their houses, but the system always ignored these schools; During his service as secretary, he changed many student’s lives by introducing several innovative programs such as film schools, sports schools, coding schools, and sending children to foreign countries for the greater exposure, where he helped many students to achieve their dreams. He was able to achieve all these with significantly less budget in his hands.

He requested NRIs to give their ideas and get involved in programs that can help uplift the underprivileged and give them a better life by providing better access to education. Representatives from the different organizations such as Global NRI Forum: Roy Manthena, Venkat Maroju, Saireddy Gongati, and Bindhu Gongati, TTA: Rama Krishna and team, CAA: President Malathi Damaraju and Padmakar Damaraju and NATS: Emmanuel Neela and team were part of the meeting to join hands with his vision.

AAPI Leaders Honor India At 75th India Independence Day Parade in New York

In their efforts to spread the message of health and wellbeing for all, leaders of the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) joined the India Day Parade in New York City on Sunday, August 21st, 2022. Applause from the crowds reached a crescendo as the colorfully decorated Float bearing AAPI’s name, symbol, and message of health and wellbeing to all rolled on in New York City.

Allu Arjun, the popular Southern Indian Star was the Grand Marshal at the  India Day parade held on Sunday in New York City, commemorating the completion of 75 years of Indian Independence, earmarked as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ the celebration of eternal freedom.

Organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the annual parade returned to New York City after two years, when Covid Pandemic restricted public gatherings. The colorful celebrations at the heart of New York City was a salute to Mother India by the Indian American community.

While AAPI’s energetic leaders from across the nation led the AAPI float, dozens of physicians on the float were dancing and singing to the tune of beautiful Bollywood melodies, while saluting India on the glorious occasion of India’s 75th anniversary of Independence Day. 

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI along with several Regional Directors, past presidents, members of BOT from different parts of the country joined the over a hundred thousand fellow Indian Americans to be part of the largest India Day Parade around the world, organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA). 

A host of AAPI leaders, including Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI; Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI; and Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI Board of Trustees; along with Dr. Hetal Gor, Regional Director, Mid Atlantic II; Dr. Jagdish Gupta, member of BOT; Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, member of BOT; Dr. Kavita Gupta, member of BOT; Dr. Gautam Samadder, past President of AAPI; Dr. Sudhakar Johnalagadda, past President of AAPI; Dr. Durgesh Mankikar, past AAPI BOT Chair; Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of Women’s Forum; Dr. Bhavani Srinivasan, past BOT Member; Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, past Secretary of AAPI; Dr. Krishan Kumar, past Treasurer of AAPI; Dr. Sreeni Ganagasani, past Chair of AAPI Conventions; Dr. Vinni Jayam, President of AAPI QLI; Dr. Rakesh Dua from Long Island and, Dr. Sanjay Gupta from New Jersey. 

A record number of people thronged the sidewalks, filling Madison Avenue from 38th to 27th Streets at the heart of New York City, cheering jubilantly as the floats portraying the rich heritage of India and the rise of India as a world power, meandered through the Big Apple. The gods seemed to smile as the clouds lifted and the bright sun shone forth. The crowds acknowledged the contributions and achievements of the Indian Diaspora and their motherland, India. 

As the AAPI float passed through the VIP Salute Box, leaders of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) called out AAPI, stating, if there is one organization whose response to the Covid pandemic and beyond, serving selflessly millions of people around the nation,  and  their actions have become a benchmark for the rest of the Diaspora community, it is AAPI and the tireless work of its members. You have put a benchmark for all other diaspora organizations, they said. 

Calling the Indian American Physicians as the “real heroes” FIA leaders said “You are the real heroes who have risked your lives and have been out to assist others. “What is unique about AAPI is that you bring a global perspective to defeat the virus and serve the people. We are proud of the achievements of the 4 million Indians in the United States.” 

“AAPI is only about 40 years old, and we have achieved a lot in this young age,” Dr. Anjana Sammader said.  “This year India celebrates its 75th Independence Day remembering the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters, political leaders and citizens in order to free the motherland from colonial rule. After all, isn’t service of mankind the best way to celebrate India’s Independence?” 

Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI’s BOT, said, “AAPI members are putting their best efforts to help our patients. Our healthcare heroes are putting their lives on frontline  and working in every possible way to eradicate COVID-19, through preventive efforts, clinical, therapeutic and research trials, doing philanthropic services and many more other activities to help the community.” 

Dr. Sumul Rawal, Treasurer of AAPI, “This is another example of our ongoing efforts to make AAPI a mainstream organization and work on issues affecting physicians including physician shortage, burnout, and credentialing, while leveraging the strength of 100,000 Indian American physcians.” 

Dr. Ravi Kolli reminded AAPI members that through organizing such events, “We are continuing to make AAPI a more dynamic and vibrant organization playing a meaningful and relevant part in advocating health policies and practices that best serve the interests of all patients  and  promoting the  physician’s role   as  the  leaders of the  team based health care delivery.” For more details, please visit: http://www.aapiusa.org

Indian Flag Hoisting Held At The Daley Plaza, By FIA, Chicago

Federation of Indian Associations. (FIA) in Chicago celebrated the 76th Independence Day of India with patriotic fervor and festivity at the Daley Plaza in Downtown Chicago on August 15th, 2022. Mr. Amit Kumar, the Consul General of India in Chicago and Rakesh Malhotra, President of the FIA Chicago hoisted the Indian National flag at the Plaza, followed by singing of the United States and Indian National Anthems.

United States Congressman Brad Schneider, Alderman Debra Silverstein, Alderman Raymond Lopez, IL State Senator Darren Bailey, Cook County Treasurer, Maria Pappas, and candidate of IL State representative Kevin Olickal were amongst the dignitaries who attended the spectacular ceremony.  Close to three hundred people, representing Indian American Community, local government officials, Executive members and Trustees of FIA, and members of American, and local media attended the iconic flag hoisting ceremony, organized by the FIA.

Amit Kumar, India’s Midwest Consul General extended his greetings to Indian American people and dwelt on the wide-ranging India-US strategic partnership encompassing almost every facet of human development including The Quad for security in the Indo-Pacific as well as other multilateral agreements to confront global challenges. Welcoming the dignitaries, guests and wishing all those marking India’s Independence Day a wonderful celebration, Rakesh Malhotra, said “this is a special day commemorating the birth of a free nation after selfless sacrifice and relentless efforts of infinite freedom fighters, soldiers, and revolutionaries”. He applauded India’s successes and the many achievements under Prime Minister Narender Modi. He extended his gratitude to the Indian American community for their contribution and for acting as an important link between the two great nations. 

Wishing the people of India on the 75th anniversary, Congressman Brad Schneider stated that the Indian American community plays a crucial role in America and is involved in virtually every walk of life. Congressman Schneider described India and the USA as strong economic allies and the two countries’ largest trading partners.  “At the stroke of midnight on this day 75 years ago, the great nation of India was born”. Cook County Treasurer, Maria Pappas read this proclamation and presented it to the President of the FIA. 

Alderman Debra Silverstein and Raymond Lopez also greeted the Indian American people on 76th Independence Day. IL State senator Darren Bailey highlighted the contribution of the Indian diaspora to the socio-economic progress of the United States

Nimrit Dholakia of Sadhana School of Indian Music led the melodious patriotic medley of “Vande Mataram” by middle school students followed by a stunning kathak dance performance by renowned dancer Madura Sane.  FIA Trustees Hina Trivedi was the anchor, Sohan Joshi and Banquet Chair Iftekhar Shareef also greeted the people on the 76th Independence Day celebrations.  Hemant Patel, Executive VP recalls the selfless sacrifice of freedom fighters. Rajesh Patel Past president, Treasurer, Vijender Doma, Jt. Treasurer, Nirmala Reddy, Vice President Amar Upadhyay and Director Rohit Joshi marched around the Daley Plaza with Indian and American Flags and colorful balloons.

Indian Embassy Celebrates India’s 75th Anniversary Of Independence

Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Sandhu hosted a reception at India House to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and to commemorate 75 years of U.S.-India relations.

Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu addressing guests at the reception on August 15th at India House in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Addressing guests at the reception, Sandhu stated “when India became independent in 1947 predictions on its ability to survive challenges, political, economic, and social were rather mixed. 75 years later, India is here strong, full of hope and optimism for the future of humanity,” adding that India’s strength lay in its diversity. Sandhu went on to highlight India’s progress in different areas, and emphasized how India and U.S. are ‘indispensable partners’ whose strength would keep growing.

The chief guest at the reception, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, “As we commemorate India’s 75 years of independent history and 75 years of US-India relations, I want to say what a privilege it is to be a part of this bilateral relationship at a moment when it’s perhaps never been stronger.” Leaders of both countries are clearly committed to addressing  challenges together, she said, and reminisced about her trip to India last November.

 “I came away with a real flavor of your nation’s vibrant culture. Rich and very long history and dynamic economy. And while I’m always reluctant to draw comparisons among our very important trading partners around the world, I will acknowledge that Indian hospitality is hard to beat.”

The Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf while addressing guests said he was honored to be at the anniversary celebrations. “I’m here as an ordinary citizen, who has a great personal regard for India and a grand admiration for the way especially India won its independence, becoming the largest democracy in the world on  August 15, 1947.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, said it’s an incredible honor and pleasure to celebrate 75 years of Indian independence, Indian democracy, and US-India friendship. As a proud Indian-American, Dr. Jha said he was grateful to President Biden for crediting the three-and-a-half million Indian-Americans and its vibrant community for making America more innovative, inclusive, and a stronger nation.

“Now, I spent a lot of time in the last two-and-a-half years thinking about and working on this pandemic. And I can’t think of two nations that have done more to vaccinate and protect their own populations and to donate, support and vaccinate, and protect the world, than India and the United States.”

Director of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Rahul Gupta, said “Knowledge is the lever that moves mountains and that’s where India invested its power, its mind, and its youth all the way from 1947. It is that what is paying off today,” adding, “and that is a very important reason why working in the White House right now, I feel not only comfortable but enthusiastic. We’re looking at a future of two countries, the largest and the oldest democracies, working together to solve some of the most complex, and difficult often turbulent problems.”

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Brian McKeon, Deputy Secretary of  Treasury Department, Wally Adeyemo, Deputy Secretary of US Department of Commerce, Don Graves, and Secretary of United States Air Force, Frank Kendall spoke at the reception in which Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Christopher Grady, Astronaut and Deputy Administrator of NASA, Pamela Melroy, Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming at USAID, Isobel Coleman, Nobel laureate Dr. William Phillips, several members of the US-India CEOs forum, Punit Renjen, Rajesh Subramaniam, and Venkatesh Sharma along with other members from industry, US government, and others were also present.

The Islamic Society Of North America To Hold Largest American Muslim Convention In Chicago

By, Ashfaq Syed

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) will be hosting its 59th Annual Convention in Chicago September 2-5, 2022.  The theme this year is “Resilience, Hope, & Faith: With Hardship, Comes Ease“. ISNA’s Annual Convention is the largest gatherings of Muslims in North America. One of the main public attractions is the annual bazaar which features over 550 vendors including clothing designers, booksellers, non-profit and much more. ISNA is widely regarded as the most significant convener of Muslims in North America.

Mir Khan, ISNA Board Member & Chairman, Convention Steering Committee, while addressing the press conference in Chicago said: “Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. ISNA fosters the development of the community through convention, conference, education forums, interfaith activities, youth programs, civic engagement and other avenues. ISNA’s annual convention isn’t merely about bringing together the Muslim community.  Our goal is also to unite people across different faiths and backgrounds in the spirit of peace and better understanding. ISNA has invited a rich list of speakers, scholars, community leaders, and public servants. We live in challenging times by showcasing a diverse array of voices, stories and viewpoints, we hope to continue shaping a new narrative around what it means to be a mainstream Muslim today.”

 Mir Khan said “The Convention will have plenary sessions, main sessions, parallel sessions, round table discussion, health fair, young professionals sessions, around 200 renowned speakers, inspiring & leadership lectures, art exhibit, meet the author, largest bazaar in America with 550 booths, interfaith reception, entertainment, film festival, fashion show for ladies, young professionals banquet, photography exhibit, qira’at competition, matrimonial banquets, community service recognition luncheon, children’s program, babysitting, basketball tournament and more. There will be many featured speakers at this year’s Convention such as Khizr Khan, Siraj Wahhaj, Miko Peled, Sayyed Hossein Nasr, Dalia Mogahed and many well-known community leaders.    

Ashfaq Syed, Convention Steering Committee Secretary, said: “The four-days ISNA convention will unite both Muslim and interfaith individuals, families, businesses and non-profit organizations for a full schedule of lectures, discussions, debates and entertainment.” ISNA will have over 20,000 plus guest attending the 59th ISNA Convention during the long Labor Day Weekend from September 2-5, 2022, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018. This convention will have attendees from across the globe and there are more than 200 volunteers working hard for 3 months to make this convention successful.”

 Ashfaq Syed explained the incredible experience the Convention will be for the attendees. He also requested all the community members to join ISNA convention for the great experience. The Convention may be for four days, but the memories last for a lifetime.” he said. ISNA convention helps city to generating good business transaction in four days.  

 ISNA has its roots with the Muslim Student Association (MSA) from 1963 and ISNA was incorporated in 1981. Its headquarters is located in Plainfield, IN. ISNA has a wide variety of services and programs including education forums for Islamic schools, webinars, regional conferences, youth development, community resources, scholarships, mosque development, chaplaincy endorsement, matrimonial services, community outreach and interfaith programs. 

 The last two years have been challenging for the global community due to COVID-19 exacerbated by the climate crisis. As we know more than 6 million people globally and more than 1 million here in the United States have lost their lives. Our prayers are for those who have passed away and all who have been affected by this pandemic. For more information and registration, please visit www.isna.net

Ratan N. Tata Invests In Start-Up Offering Companionship To The Elderly

Goodfellows, a young start-up that provides authentic meaningful companionship to seniors through young, educated graduates that are vetted intensely for empathy and emotional intelligence, was launched on Wednesday. It is a for-profit start-up based on the concept of intergenerational friendships.

Shantanu Naidu, General Manager in the office of Ratan N. Tata, said, “The start-up emphasises that companionship means different things to different people. To some, it may mean watching a movie, narrating stories from the past, going on a walk, or having quiet company sitting around doing nothing together, and we are here to accommodate it all. In its beta phase, we discovered how organically the Grandpals bonded with the Goodfellows. Tata’s investment in our venture further is a huge source of encouragement to our dedication to this concept.”

Commenting on the investment, Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Emeritus of Tata Sons, said, “The bonds between the two generations created by Goodfellows are very meaningful and are helping to address an important social issue In India. I hope the investment helps the young team at Goodfellows grow.”

The launch was attended by Ratan Tata as well as some youth icons, including Shriya Pilgaonkar, Artist; Viraj Ghelani, Content Creator; with their grandparents and with existing “Grandpals” who have subscribed to the service.

Over the past six months, the start up has taken time to complete a successful beta and will now be available in Mumbai with Pune, Chennai and Bangalore as the next target cities. During the beta testing phase, it received a positive response with over 800 applications from young graduates looking to be employed here, of which a shortlisted cohort of 20 provided companionship to the elderly in Mumbai.

According to the team, it has been a challenging but rewarding task to ensure that the “Goodfellows” bond with their Grandpals in an authentic and meaningful way and not just cosmetically. This requires several rounds of vetting and some in-house psychometric tests to choose the best graduates.

In terms of services offered, a Goodfellow does whatever a grandkid would do. There are 15 million elderlies in India living alone, either due to loss of a partner, or families moving away for unavoidable work reasons. While many of them have caregivers or start-ups for utilitarian needs such as e-commerce, the issue of loneliness or lack of company has been the primary reason for deteriorating mental and physical health.

In addition to this, Goodfellows also hosts monthly events curated to the enjoyment and engagement of the Grandpals who participate, making the bond deeper and enjoyable in a different environment. This allows the Grandpals to meet each other as well as more young graduates, building a sense of community.

The business model is a freemium subscription model. The first month is free with only the goal of having the Grandpal experience this service, since it’s hard to understand the concept without actually going through it. The second month onward is a small subscription fee that has been decided based on the limited affordability of pensioners. The fee is in place for two important reasons:

The Goodfellows have been vetted for empathy and have an affinity towards the elderlies, but like any other graduate, they would like to be secure about their finances and do their best for the seniors. To give them dignified, respectable salaries for choosing this profession, this is a paid service. This also ensures that chosen few are retained, groomed and have a career ladder while giving back to society.

A subscription model guarantees that when the seniors bond with the goodfellows, we do not keep rotating the graduate visiting them since that does not allow enough time or emotional attention to form an authentic and real bond. When we make a friend we want to see the same friend often. A new person every time will prevent this from happening.

Several non-profit models in this space have failed since volunteering happens as per the availability of volunteers and no one invests enough time with one senior to form an authentic bond. Once the desire is over, volunteers move away which impacts seniors gravely.

It offers short term internships as well as employment to graduates looking to find a job that allows them to apply their educational background in this space while having a sense of purpose or fulfilment from the work that they do. These graduates are given the autonomy to ideate and create and make the company their own. For example Ketki from Sophia College has been instrumental in refining the psychometric testing in order to “mine” more numbers of empathetic graduates into the organisation based on psychological evidence.

The major percentage of funds from investors are currently geared towards scaling up the human capital, which is a slow process since empathy cannot be vetted quickly or by the traditional recruiting process. In the near future, it will offer travel companions for seniors holding back from making trips due to lack of security or company, and also plans to extend its services to the handicap community facing similar or more challenges.

Artist Shriya Pilgaonkar, known for her outstanding role in ‘Mirzapur’, ‘The Broken News’, and ‘Guilty Minds’, said, “The stories and experiences our grandparents have to share with us are nothing less than invaluable. They have seen it all and probably have evolved with it more considering how much more they are open to understanding our generation, compared to our parents. Which makes for the most riveting conversations when we are together. My grandfather’s zest for life and travel, to date, keeps inspiring me and in some ways makes him one of my best friends too, as we go on adventures together.” The star was also present with her grandfather Arun Narayan Sabnis, who shared wise words.

Popular YouTuber, Sherry Shroff, who is also a former model and law student, appreciated the initiative, and said, “Often younger people may not have the privilege to grow up with their grandparents, and won’t know what they are missing. From that standpoint, Goodfellows is such a great initiative for not just the Grandpals, but also the youth, to get the chance to learn from the older generation, who have a treasure trove of knowledge to pass down.”

Known for his hilarious videos and reels with his sassy grandmother, Viraj Ghelani, content creator, said, “I owe so much of my success to my grandmother. I still struggle to fathom the breadth of knowledge she holds, from how the city of Mumbai came to exist, to watching the Independence movement come to life. I get to learn so much from her and it is truly a privilege to be loved and protected by a grandparent.”

Senior citizens can avail the services by signing-up on thegoodfellows.in or can give a missed call at +91-8779524307 or check out the Instagram handle. (IANS)

India Day Parade In New York City Led By Iconic Allu Arjun Creates 2 Guinness Records

Allu Arjun, the popular Southern Indian Star was the Grand Marshal at the  India Day parade held on Sunday, August 21st, 2022 in New York City, commemorating the completion of 75 years of Indian Independence, earmarked as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ the celebration of eternal freedom.

Organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the annual parade returned to New York City after two years, when Covid Pandemic restricted public gatherings. The colorful celebrations at the heart of New York City was a salute to Mother India by the Indian American community.

Accompanied by his wife Allu Sneha and director Harish Sankar, the Pushpa star was greeted by more than 150,000 people and fans, who turned out to see him along the route on Madison Avenue in New York City. Eric Adams, New York’s Mayor, Randhir Jaiswal, a career diplomat and the Consul General of India in New York were among others who led the parade that filled Madison Avenue from 38th Street to 21st Street as dozens of floats showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India marched through the parade route, and greeted by enthusiastic Indian Americans, as they waved the tricolor, honoring India.  

Known as the world’s biggest Indian event outside of the country, the India Day Parade gave FIA to create two Guinness Book of World Records. As per the FIA, the two events at the parade entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of flags flown simultaneously at an event and the largest ensemble of Damru, an ancient musical instrument associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, being played at a time in any given event. 

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S. 

Kenny Desai, president of FIA and a seasoned veteran community leader expressed his gratitude to the community and board for trusting him with leading the organizational efforts. He said, FIA had in its own way tried to honor India by attempting the records and “making our motherland shine in our homeland.” Desai said FIA has made India proud and this achievement is a tribute to the unknown and unsung heroes of the freedom struggle.

FIA chairman Ankur Vaidya said that these records are dedicated to the global community. He thanked the community for their support without which the feat would not have been possible. The flags display, in keeping with the theme this year of honoring the Tiranga, the Indian flag, made a show of India’s universality by also including the flags of nations around the world.

Allu Arjun shared a story of having fun at the Times Square and participating in the New York India Parade on his Instagram account. “It was a pleasure meeting the Mayor of New York City. Very Sportive Gentleman. Thank You for the Honours Mr. Eric Adams. Thaggede Le,” Allu Arjun wrote and shared pictures of him with the Mayor sporting the ‘Thaggede Le’ signature mannerism which has become popular all over the world. Superstar Allu Arjun is one of the much-loved actors in the industry. His film Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1 was a box officer superhit, and earned Rs 300 crore worldwide. 

More than 1,500 volunteers who had registered for the record on FIA website turned up early in the morning, the release said. In an atmosphere of patriotic fervor lead conductor Kailash Kher sang ‘Hindustan Meri Jaan Tu’ (India you are my life) with the whole gathering of thousands joining him.

The annual cultural events on India Day in the City were held through several streets on Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA secretary Pravin Bansal, who served as event chair for the attempts said that the endeavor required massive efforts and the whole team of FIA volunteers had been working day and night for the past few months especially since the logistics were a big challenge in itself.

Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

In other events, as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the FIA NY-NJ-CT-NE organized a wide range of unique events to commemorate India’s 75th anniversary of independence. A fly-past by a 220 ft-long majestic Indian tricolor, made of Khadi, over the iconic Hudson river and the display of a giant billboard at the Times Square are among the highlights of the grand celebrations.

Chicago FIA Celebrates The 75th India Independence Day

The Federation of Indian Associations, Chicago (FIA) celebrated the 75 th India Independence Day Azadi Ka Amrit mahotsav with patriotic fervor during the day and a gala concert featuring prominent Bollywood Singer Javed Ali with his team in the evening on 7th August, 2022 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel.

The FIA led by Founder chairman Sunil Shah, and Current President Hitesh Gandhi, Past President Neil Khot, Founder and Past President Onkar Singh Sanga and the entire board of directors created an atmosphere of patriotism with an India centric program during the afternoon hours. The program started with a prayer Bharat Natyam dance by Board member Bharatnatyam exponent and choreographer Pika Munshi. This was followed by the Indian and American National Anthem. and Lamp Lighting by the FIA Leadership and the entire Board. Chairman and Founder President Sunil Shah Current President Hitesh Gandhi, Past President Neil Khot, Founder and Past President Onkar Singh Sanga in their brief speeches invited all those Present to the event. The Program keeping in view the importance of the day and to teach the children about leaders of the Independence movement the FIA organized a dress up segment for kids who marched on the stage providing a glimpse of their favorite leaders of the independence movement. Dances set to patriotic songs were presented by SR

Dance Academy. Jitendra Bulsara and Minoo Vasudevan regaled the sucience with their singing. The finale was a Beauty Pageant with mothers and kids showcasing different dressing styles from India.

In the Evening the FIA organized a Gala Concert featuring prominent Bollywood Singer Javed Ali. The concert was well attended by about a thousand people including the who’s who of the Indian Community led by Consul General Amit Kumar and his spouse Surbhi Kumar, congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, State Representative Mussman, Cristina Castro Senator- 22nd District, Rodney Craig Village President Hanover Park, William Duncan McLeod – Mayor off Hoffman Estates, Gopal Lalmalani – President Oakbrook Village, Tom Dailly – Village President Schaumburg, Dr. Suresh Reddy – Trustee Oakbrook Village. FIA felicitated– Anil Loomba : Guest of Honor, Grand sponsor : Rita Sunil Shah, Dr. Santosh Kumar, Deepakant Vyas, Dr. Asha and Anil Oroskar, Dr Sreenivas Reddy, and Pinky Thakkar. The FIA also felicitated other sponsors -Dr Parag Doshi, Chicago Cardiology, Manish Gandhi : Dr Prakash Shah & Sona Shah, Ketu Amin, Dr Bharat Barai, Brij Sharma, Ajeet Singh, Barrington Bank & Trust Co, Kuwait Airways, Dr Bhupinder Beri, .Hitesh & Kim Bhatt, .Jasbir Suga , Hitesh Gandhi : FIA President, Neil Khot : FIA Founding Member & Past President , Dhitu Bhagwakar: FIA Founding Member & Past President, .Vinita Gulabani : Executive Vice President , Richa Chand : Gen Secretary, Harry Sidhu, Pratik Deshpande, Harry Mohan, Sushma Bhanot, .Hemant Shah, .Dr Ajit Pant & Vasavi Chakka. .Prajesh Patel, Hiten Gardi : Gardi.

Javed Ali singer par excellence and his team took to the stage and enthralled the audience present for three hours belting his songs and melodious old songs. He kept the audience on their feet wanting to hear more of him. Singing along with him, dancing to his songs.

The FIA would like to thank all the vendors who set up booths during the day and Jigar’s Kitchen for providing the food. The Emcees to the event were Richa Chand and Suchitra Kukreja. The FIA further thanks the Media for their attendance and support.

Entrepreneur Vijay Garg Takes Over As President Of Rotary Club Of Plainsboro, North & South Brunswick, NJ

Rotary Club of Plainsboro, North & South Brunswick, held its Annual Changing of the Guard ceremony and inducted new officials for the rotary year 2022-2023.

District Governor John Shockley conducted the oath ceremony for the incoming President Vijay Garg and his team. In his acceptance remarks, Garg said that he is looking forward in working with the team and continue  various community projects aligned with the Rotary International causes. “I am excited and honored to accept the role,” said Garg, a successful entrepreneur, past north-east president of IT Serve, board member of TiE, GOPIO and other social organizations. 

With his immense community reach and leadership skills, the club is poised to take up bigger projects and extending its reach. The new team includes, Sanjeev Dixit as secretary, Sanjay Pagidimarri as treasurer, Venkat Jagarlamudi as president-elect, Ganesh Madda as the foundation chair, Jaydip Sen as PR chair, Suresh Pannala as membership chair, Sudharani Kankanala as service project chair, Srinivas Gattu as fundraising chair and Sunil Nambiar as international projects chair.

Outgoing President of the club Blisse Vakkalagadda presented various projects that the club completed during her presidency. Vakkalagadda along with Sudharani Kankanala, had also played a pivotal role as mentors of the Interact Club of North Brunswick and helped organize various service projects. During her presidency, club also undertook international service projects.

The changing of the guard ceremony was well attended by the Rotary Club members, Rotary Interact Club members, families, and prospective members. Past District Governor Dr. Tulsi Maharjan and Kalpana Patel, president, Rotary Club of Robbinsville-Hamilton, NJ, were among the attendees at the ceremony. Representatives from organizations like ITServe, IBA, SMEC joined and discussed collaboration on future Community Service Projects.

The club, which  is also celebrating its 20th charter anniversary this year, recognized six senior members, Suresh Pannala, Sunil Nambiar, Rajeev Mehta, Nishit Mehta, Mahalingam Narayan and Darshan Doshi, who completed over twelve years of service as dedicated and passionate Rotarians.

 In 2002 a few prominent people from the community, living in Plainsboro, South Brunswick, North Brunswick, and surrounding areas decided to charter a new Rotary Club in Central New Jersey with the intention of serving the local and international community. The club started out with three active members and rapidly grew to about more than 25 members living in various parts of the state. Although the club is open to people of all race, color, and religion, most of the current members are people of Indian Origin. Since its inception, the club has proudly sponsored a number of local and international charitable projects. 

For more information, visit PlainsboroRotary.org

Indian Americans Condemns Attack On Hindu Temple In Queens, New York

Leaders from the diverse Richmond Hill community in New York’s Queens borough came together on Tuesday to condemn an act of vandalism against a statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside of the Shri Tulsi Mandir Hindu temple. 

Residents of the diverse neighborhood of Richmond Hill, Queens, gathered outside a Hindu temple Tuesday morning (Aug. 9) to condemn last week’s vandalism of a statue of Mohandas Gandhi, an act Jenifer Rajkumar, a New York state assemblywoman, called an example of anti-Hindu hatred. 

“The desecration of Gandhi statues and anti-Hindu hate crimes will not be tolerated in Richmond Hill or anywhere in New York state,” said Rajkumar, the first Hindu American to be elected to New York state office. 

With Rajkumar at the Shri Tulsi Mandir were religious leaders of several faiths, state politicians as well as worshipers at the temple. 

“Hinduism is not just about tolerance,” said Rajkumar. “It is about actively loving people from different backgrounds and different faiths. This was Gandhi’s dream.”

Assemblyman David Weprin, who is Jewish and represents parts of Richmond Hill, said people of all religions needed to speak up against the attack. “An act of hate against any community is an act of hate against all of us,” said Weprin. “I may not come from a Hindu background, but I view this vandalism as if it were an act against my own synagogue.”

Harpreet Singh Toor, chairman of public policy and external affairs for the Sikh Cultural Society, said the vandalism at the mandir points to the necessity to stop the rise in religious hate crimes across the United States.

“Unless we are united against hate, we can’t eliminate hate,” said Toor. “And to do that, we have to make sure that every religion is respected, and every human being is respected.”

This statue of Mahatma Gandhi was vandalized last week outside the Shri Tulsi Mandir Hindu temple in Queens, New York. RNS photo by Richa Karmarkar

Hate crimes against the South Asian community in New York have increased over the past few years, including a brutal assault against a Hindu priest in Queens in 2019 that prompted a state hate crime investigation by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Since early April of this year, there have been at least four violent attacks against Sikh men in the South Richmond Hill neighborhood alone.

This is also the second alleged hate crime against the Shri Tulsi Mandir, and the second toppling of a Gandhi statue in New York this year. In February, an 8-foot bronze statue of Gandhi in Union Square was defaced. Similar attacks in California and Washington, D.C., have led to an increase in national attention toward anti-Hindu violence and hate speech, including a study released by Rutgers University highlighting a significant rise of Hinduphobia on social media.

The mandir’s statue of Gandhi, whose practice of nonviolence in the fight for Indian independence from Britain inspired Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, was allegedly pushed into a tulsi plant by three individuals around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 2. The plant, the mandir’s namesake, represents the goddess Lakshmi, adding to the insult for Pandit Lakhram Maharaj, the Shri Tulsi Mandir’s spiritual leader.

“We are all standing here to unite together,” said Maharaj. “Gandhi teaches us that when someone brings hate upon you, you show them love and kindness.”

“An attack on the Gandhi statue is an attack on the ideals of mutual respect, understanding and peace,” said Nikunj Trivedi, president of the Coalition of Hindus of North America. “We therefore call upon law enforcement, public officials and the general public to stand with the Hindu American community in upholding these ideals.”

P HinduPACT condemned the vandalization of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside the Shri Tulsi Mandir temple in Queens, New York last Wednesday. An unidentified individual knocked the statue over and left it face down on the ground with its arm cracked and hand broken into pieces. 

 Utsav Chakrabarti, Executive Director of HinduPACT, said, “This is the fourth attempt at destroying a Gandhi statue across North America and the fifth attack on a Hindu temple in the past year. There is a concerted campaign at spreading anti-Hindu hate in major urban centers across the country. The rise in anti-Hindu attacks over the last few years has been carried out by the same groups and individuals that target Jews and spread anti-Semitism.”

 Ajay Shah, the President of World Hindu Council of America and Convenor of HinduPACT and American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) said, “This represents not just a hate crime against American Hindus but also a deep rooted insecurity of hate mongers. We believe that the targeting of the Hindu mandir and specifically vandalism of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue is an act against the core Hindu ideals of peace, coexistence, respect for diverse religious beliefs and the promotion of diversity and equality among all human beings.” 

Tejal Amit Shah, Convener of Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference (HMEC), said, “This act of vandalism took place during the holy month of Shravan (9th month of Hindu Calendar), when Hindus are engaged in traditional worships, fasting, and, religious and spiritual practices.” She added, “This is very upsetting for the Hindu community in general. It is a sign of hate crime and Hinduphobia. We strongly condemn this. HMEC thanks Congresswoman Jennifer Rajkumar for holding the press conference and providing support to the local community. HMEC also appeals to law enforcement to get to the root cause and bring a lawful close to this unfortunate incident.”

andit Ram Hardowar, president of New York’s Federation of Hindu Mandirs, offered “condemnation at the highest level” for the attackers, while recognizing that Gandhi himself would discourage any acts of hatred or revenge in response to the crime.

Naidoo Veerapen, public relations officer for the Federation of Hindu Mandirs, said that part of the answer is education of the general public about Hinduism. “This goes to show that we need to do more. We have to promote our culture and our heroes, and hopefully non-Hindus and non-Indians will learn more about him and consider him with affection rather than hatred and desecration.”

Connecticut General Assembly Honors India for its 75th Anniversary

The Mill River Park in Stamford, CT on Sunday, August 7th wore a festive look as Indian Americans and other Americans gathered in large numbers to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day with an annual India Day Festival. A floating crowd of over 2,000 people attended flag hoisting followed by the India Festival and Kite flying at the Mill River Park. Dressed in colorful traditional Indian attire, with melodious music from the popular Bollywood world, dances depicting the wide variety of Indian culture, kite flying, spicy Indian cuisine, and booths decorated with Indian symbols and face art, the festivities were a treat to the fast-growing Indian American community in the state of Connecticut. 

The City of Stamford led by Mayor Caroline Simmons, along with Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and several elected state lawmakers joined hands with the Indian Diaspora in Connecticut for a celebration organized by the Connecticut Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT). 

 The day-long celebrations began with the hoisting of the American, Indian, and Connecticut flags at the Government Center in Stamford by Mayor Caroline Simmons, event Gold sponsor, an investment firm 3Lines Partner, Nandu Kuppuswamy, several elected officials from Connecticut General Assembly and Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International. American and Indian national anthems were sung students of Stamford’s Hindi and Tamil schools.

Connecticut General Assembly issued a citation honoring the India Day Celebration and presented it to GOPIO-CT. The citation was introduced by State Senator Patricia Billie Miller (27th Dist.) and supported by Rep. Daniel J. Fox (148th Dist.), Rep. Matt Blumenthal (147th Dist.), Rep. David Michel (46th Dist.), Rep. Corey P. Paris (145th Dist.) and Rep. Hubert D. Delany (144th Dist.)

“In Recognition Of: India is celebrating its 75th Anniversary of Independence, also known as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Today, we join you to celebrate the rich history and culture along with freedom and liberty with people of India. We urge all our citizens to join us in publicly acknowledging the many achievements and contributions Indian Americans have made to the economy of Connecticut especially in IT and Technology, Healthcare and Hospitality. Congratulations on your Independence Day!”

The entire membership extends its very best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses the hope for continued success. The citation was signed by CT General Assembly’s Pro Tempore Marten M. Looney, House Speaker Matt Ritter and Secretary of State Mark F. Kohler.

Following the flag hoisting, everyone moved to the adjacent Mill River Park for the inaugural ceremony at the Carousel Hall. There were vendors who served delicious Indian food, Indian arts and crafts, Indian clothing and other items were displayed at the Park giving a glimpse of India’s rich and diverse culture.

The ceremony started with a rendition of Vande Mataram sung by GOPIO-CT Vice President Dr. Jaya Daptardar and Hindi School Coordinator Kruti Jokhakar. Mill River Park Collaborative Board Member George Boyce was introduced who spoke on the various programs conducted in the park and that the park has become focal point for the community to come together and celebrate.  

In his welcome address, GOPIO-CT Trustee/Advisor and Chairman of GOPIO International Dr. Thomas Abraham, a veteran community leader who was instrumental starting numerous community and professional organizations said, “The India Festival in Stamford, CT is a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community that has excelled in almost all areas of life in this adopted nation of ours.”

“Through events like the India Festival, we are cultivating and developing community networking with all these younger elected officials,” Dr. Abraham added.  Dr. Abraham then introduced a young Indian American high school graduate from Norwalk Arnav Jhangiani, who spoke his perspective of what India’s independence means to him.

Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons proclaimed August 15th as India Day to commemorate Indian Independence when Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian flag at the Red Fort in New Delhi on August 15, 194In the proclamation presented to GOPIO-CT, Mayor Simmons said that the Indian Independence was marked largely by non-violent resistance and civil disobedience and the Independence Day is celebrated by the Indian Diaspora worldwide. The proclamation further noted that Stamford City will honor Indian community which is an integral part of city’s diversity, success and great future.

Prominent among those who addressed and greeted the Indian American community included:, State Senators Patricia Billie Miller and Ryan Fazio, State Assembly Representatives Harry Arora, Daniel J. Fox, Matt Blumenthal, David Michel and Hubert D. Delany. They all praised India, the world’s largest democracy, continuing its path through democratic route and that India and the USA being world’s two largest democracies have common interest to be together with close relationship.

“The India Festival is a tribute to a strong and vibrant Indian-American community that has excelled in almost all areas of life in this adopted nation of ours,” CT Assemblyman Harry Arora, who shared with the audience his childhood in India and later on, how he continued to cherish the memories of India’s non-violent freedom movement and close partnership between Indian and the United States, the largest democracies of the world. 

 Norwalk resident Mrs. Yashasvi Jhangiani was bestowed with Indian Independence Liberty Award for her service to GOPIO for the last dozen years and the larger Indian and American community. 

The cultural programs depicted the diversity of Indian culture and traditions. Among those who portrayed the diverse and cultural traditions of Indian traditions included Lakshmi Sujanan, daughter of Vineetha and Sujanan, former president of MASCONN. Other groups performed a the event were Thirakte Kadam by Neha Shah, Sindhis of Connecticut, Rajasthani and Punjabi Gidda dances.

As in the previous years, 2022 high school graduates were recognized. Coordinated by GOPIO-CT Treasurer Mahesh Jhangiani over 40 students registered, Of which 16 were present who were recognized with a certificate and an Amazon gift card.

The program sponsored by investment firm 3Lines and International Museum of the Saree, was efficiently compered by Dr. Jaya Daptardar and Nadita Kotian, who served as MCs.

 Over the last 16 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.

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI Hosts Legendary Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, Raising $54,000 Towards Heart to Heart Foundation

Legendary Cricket Star Sunil Gavaskar, well known around the world as an inspirational speaker, philanthropist, and the chairman of H2H Foundation has been on a Tour across the United States raising funds for Heart to Heart Foundation, which supports children with congenital heart diseases in India. 

As a part of the fundraising tour, Gavaskar graced the home of Dr. Satheesh Kathula, an eminent Oncologist and the Vice President of AAPI. Several physicians and business leaders attended the fundraiser and they collectively raised $54,000, which supports 27 open heart surgeries. 

“It was a memorable experience hosting the legend and raising funds for a great cause” Dr. Kathula said. “Mr. Gavaskar has really been spending his personal time and going one city to another to help children in need which is quite remarkable and commendable” he added. “He is one of the most humble people I have ever met” said Dr. Kathula. He thanked all the donors who made this possible with their generous contributions. 

During the Meet & Greet event with Sunil Gavaskar, recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards for his contributions to Indian cricket inspired the hearts and souls of participants by telling us how India remains the world capital for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), with 300,000 children born each year.

Without medical/surgical care, over 25% of children die before their 1st birthday, contributing to over 10% of the Infant Mortality Rate and resulting in 250+ children dying every day; many more die in infancy or the preschool ages. Only a small fraction of children with CHD can afford the cardiac surgery, which can cost over $100,000 in the United States.

With frugal innovations in CHD care H2H Foundation has reduced the average cost of an open-heart surgery to only $2000$  per patient, which would otherwise be $75,000 to $125,000 in the United States and $5,000 to $9,000 in India. Gavaskar has personally sponsored 34 surgeries to match his 34 test centuries. The legendary cricket master is touring the United States to raise awareness and funds to support the cause. 

Heart to Heart (H2H) Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children born with CHD, by providing FREE pediatric cardiac surgeries in collaboration with the group of Sai Sanjeevini Hospitals in India. Since February 2014, these hospitals have also been providing primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare exclusively to children with CHD and over 10,000 surgeries have been performed free of cost. 10,000 is also the number of innings played by Gavaskar. Additionally, for every test century, he has scored he has personally funded the same number of surgeries.

Gavaskar was the keynote speaker at the recently concluded AAPI Convention in San Antonio,  Gavaskar referred to his association with the “Heart to Heart Foundation” and how the Foundation is touching many hearts around the world. Gavaskar said “I really want to thank all the donors who opened their heart to help the children in need.”

FIA Attempts To Create Guinness World Records While Allu Arjun Leading India Day Parade In New York:

“Celebrating India’s 75 years of Independence -Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav with the annual India Parade on the Streets of New York City, the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the oldest and a leading Indian diaspora organization in the United States plans to create two Guinness World Records with the popular Indian actor Allu Arjun leading the largest India Day Parade in the world,” said FIA President, Kenny Desai.

Popular Telugu actor Allu Arjun, who starred in the hit film Pushpa will lead the annual India Day Parade in New York on Sunday, August 21st, 2022, as India marks 75th year of Independence. The Federation of Indian Associations — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — has planned grand events to celebrate India’s 75 years of Independence —  Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Allu Arjun, the Grand Marshal will lead the parade along with NYC Mayor Eric Adams and a host of other celebrities and distinguished participants.

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S., has announced it is eyeing two Guinness World Records relating to the India Day Parade. The two Guinness Records being aimed at include – 1. Most flags flown in an outdoor event; and 2. Largest Damru, 2-headed drum ensemble.

The FIA India Day parade is considered the largest parade outside India to mark the country’s independence and brings together thousands of members of the Indian Diaspora. The annual cultural events run through several streets on Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya welcomed the announcement of Arjun as FIA’s 40th Grand Marshal and complimented the mega star for his kindness and patriotism towards the motherland. “There is palpable excitement in the Indian-American community to welcome the popular superstar and FIA will ensure he feels at home in the US,” Vaidya said. Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

Under his leadership, FIA has organized several events. On celebrating 75 years of Independence of India, Desai said he is committed to “a jamboree of blockbuster mega-events” that will start with the International Women’s Day celebration and carry on into October of this year.

Some of the other events include FIA’s cultural event of children’s Dance Competition on May 7th;  a historical inaugural launch of the festivities from Capitol Hill in DC on May 12th; Press events in India; International Yoga day in NYC; and the flagship event of flag-hoisting at Times Square, followed by the World’s largest India Day Parade on Aug. 21st on Madison Ave in New York City.

FIA commemorated the 75 years of Indian Independence and honored the Asia Heritage Month on May 12, 2022 at Rayburn Building, Capitol Hill Complex Washington D.C. FIA was recognized for the event in Congressional Record Vol.168, No. 81. The event saw unprecedented participation from the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the states from the region of New England.

“It was a historical moment for Indian Americans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day at the US Capitol,” said Kenny Desai, FIA president. FIA is one of the oldest and largest non-profit grass-root umbrella organizations of Indian Americans.

Kenny Desai, FIA President for 2022 is being assisted by a dedicated team of community leaders. The new team consists of Himanshu Bhatia as the executive vice president along with Saurin Parikh and Haresh Shah, the vice presidents; Parveen Bansal as the general secretary; Smita Miki Patel as the joint secretary; Amit Ringasia as the treasurer with Mahesh Dubbal as the joint treasurer.

Desai completed his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Baroda, India, before immigrating to the United Statres and completed his Master’s Degree at the Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, NJ. He has over 30 years of construction and real estate development experience. Desai has successfully led the TAK Group, a conglomerate of enterprises involved in general construction, construction management, design build projects, real estate development, multi-family development, along with healthcare and senior housing development and operations.

Over the past 20 years, TAK has focused its development strategies in the healthcare space. With Kenny’s experience in construction and real estate development, he has led TAK to be a unique player in the healthcare market by combining his development experience with his operating experience to provide exceptional work and quality care. Currently, TAK has expanded into trade finance and established a venture capital fund in the healthcare sector. Kenny has had experience in developing and operating medical centers and senior housing facilities, as well as urgent care facilities, surgery centers, and health & wellness spas.

Kenny Desai has actively been involved in different philanthropic activities. His generous personal involvement and contributions have resulted in the successful completion of the Mahatma Gandhi Center and the Hindu Temple in Wayne, NJ. He is the Vice Chairman, Trustee, and Director of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, a premier cultural and educational institution. He was awarded “The Prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award”. He has served as the President of World Vegan Vision and currently he is serving as a trustee and is a member of the advisory board of Share and Care Foundation. He is currently a trustee at Vraj Temple, where he has previously served as chairman, vice chairman, and president.

Kenny Desai’s vision for the year 2022 is to be working on the following matters: Mega Independence Parade celebration for Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav 50th anniversary for FIA; attempt to achieve Guinness Worlds Records; provide 40,000 plus meals in Diwali-soup kitchen across the USA and India for less fortunate; establish Diwali celebration in the US senate; women’s empowerment; youth participation in entrepreneurship; Dance pe Chance Annual Cultural Dance Competition; establish FIA / Indian community Center and help all the community members for any support requiring to obtain visa and help with job opportunities.

Kenny Desai, a seasoned veteran community leader expressed his gratitude to the community and board for trusting him with leading the organizational efforts.  He assures that he would deliver on the expectation of enhancing the community’s image and through his selfless service and dedication.

Har Ghar Tiranga: Indian Flag On Every Home This Independence Day

As part of the 75th Independence Day this year, the government of India has launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign as part of which, Indians have been urged to display or hoist the national flag at their homes between August 13 and 15

As part of the 75th Independence Day this year, the government of India has launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign as part of which, citizens have been urged to display or hoist the national flag at their homes between August 13 and 15. In addition, the Ministry of Culture has launched a website under the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign that allows Indians to pin a tricolour at their location, which will be considered virtual hoisting.  

Reports stated,, over 12.5 million Tricolours have been pinned. “Get featured on our website by pinning a flag in Hotspot Location,” the website said. Also, participants can send their selfies with the national flag to participate in the initiative. The selfies will be displayed on the website. Over 3 million Indians have sent their selfies to the ministry.

The ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, part of the Centre’s ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ initiative to celebrate the country’s 75 years of Independence, was launched last month. Launching the campaign, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India had said in a tweet that it will “deepen our connect with the national flag”. The idea behind the initiative is to invoke a sense of ownership in the people and to celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in the spirit of Jan Bhagidari (community participation). 

“Today, 22nd July has a special relevance in our history. It was on this day in 1947 that our National Flag was adopted. Sharing some interesting nuggets from history including details of the committee associated with our Tricolour and the first Tricolour unfurled by Pandit Nehru,” the PM wrote in a tweet. 

On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted our National Flag. The flag that was finally chosen underwent several changes since it was originally designed by Pingali Venkayya in 1923. Since Independence, our relationship with the flag had been more formal and institutional rather than personal. 

The initiative aims to encourage people to bring our flag into our homes and hoist it to mark the 75th year of India’s Independence. Various events involving people from all walks of life will be organised at various locations connected with the freedom struggle. This will allow the new generation to discover the many threads of our freedom struggle, while older generations and communities reconnect to the events that led to a free India. 

As this is a ground-up initiative, the role of the government has been that of a facilitator. An initiative of such magnitude requires meticulous planning and execution.  “The Central Theme of the program is to inspire every Indian to hoist the National Flag at their home and to invoke the feeling of patriotism in the hearts of the citizen and promote awareness about our National Flag,” the Ministry of Finance said in a notification.

Since the dawn of civilization, flags have had a special place as a symbol of belonging and protection and to rally people together. Stretching back to times immemorial, flags have been a part of the Indian tradition, symbolizing glory and dharma.

Therefore, it is not surprising when this tradition is continued while building India as a modern nation state, drawing from her civilizational ethos. The flag, therefore, is not just a vision for the future, but the values and foundations of our rich and illustrious past.

IAAC Celebrates 75 Years Of Indian Independence With Art, Dance & Music In New York

(New York, NY: August 5th, 2022) Celebrating the momentous occasion of India completing 75 years of Independence, Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) has put together a series of amazing cultural programs from August 5 – 15, 2022, featuring art, dance, music and so much more, featuring world-renowned artists from around the world, giving a glimpse of the rich culture and traditions of India.

“At IAAC, we are honored to celebrate India’s 75 years of Independence with the Festival of [email protected]!,” Anil Bansal,  a member of the Board of Directors of IAAC said here. “The Indo-American Arts Council celebrates 75 years of Indian Independence this August with a series of cultural events across New York City. Showcasing India’s rich and unique culture and traditions, we have curated and will be presenting some beautiful, culture-rich programs filled with talented artists for all of you.”

The celebrations will begin with an India Photo Exhibition by Steve McCurry, inaugurated on Friday, August 5th at Sundram Tagore Gallery, located at 542 W 26th St, New York, NY-10011. The rare exhibition brings together stunning photographs of India—its people, monuments, landscapes, seasons, and cities—by the renowned photographer Steve McCurry, an American photographer, freelancer, and photojournalist.

Festival of Indian Dance with exceptionally talented artists will showcase the traditional Indian dance forms at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, New York, NY on Saturday Aug 6th. Sanjib Bhattacharya and Jagannath Lairenjam will present Sapta, Manipuri-Pung Cholom, a popular drum dance. Kavya Ganesh will perform Contemporary Bharatanatyam, while Bhavana Reddy will present a Solo Kuchipudi Dance.

The Festival of [email protected] and Erasing Borders Dance Festival will feature two live performances, August 6 & 7 at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, while on August 8th it will  feature a virtual streaming with world renowned artists from India, Canada, and the US.

Tanya Saxena will perform a Solo Bharatanatyam, Tanveer Alam will present Kathak, Subastian Tan/MDT will have a Modern Duet, Mythili Anoop will perform a Solo and Deepali Salil accompanied by five popular dancers will perform Contemporary Bharatanatyam. Jin Won will present Kathak Genre with live music. Ailey II will have Saa Magni, where Mythili Prakash will perform Contemporary Bharatanatyam.

The much anticipated Festival of Indian Music, being presented by the Consulate General of India in New York and Indo-American Arts Council in association with Carnegie Hall will be held from August 13 -15, 2022 at the Iconic Carnegie Hall at 881 7th Ave, New York. Carnegie Hall will join in the celebration with three spectacular concerts that feature some of the best Indian classical and contemporary musicians.

On August 13th, the Festival will feature Kaushiki Chakraborty’s Sakhi Ensemble with an  exemplary group of young female artists, including Kaushiki Chakraborty, Savani Talwalkar, Debopriya Ranadive, Bhakti Deshpande, Nandini Shankar, and Mahima Upadhyay.  Kaushiki Chakraborty is one of India’s leading classical vocalists, and she makes her long awaited return to Carnegie Hall as part of the India at 75 celebration.

The popular Saath Saath on Sunday, August 14, at the Zankel Hall will offer the audience an opportunity to experience a master class in improvisational music, in which breathtaking creativity and spontaneity rule within the parameters of an ancient tradition. The Saath Saath ensemble showcases the long-running musical partnership between flute maestro Rakesh Chaurasia, sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee, and rising tabla star Ojas Adhiya. They also welcome the unique perspective of master percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, who utilizes such tools as the African djembe and even his own breath to accentuate Indian rhythms. Performers at Saath Saath are: Rakesh Chaurasia, Purbayan Chatterjee, Taufiq Qureshi, and Ojas Adhiya.

During the third and final India at 75 event at Carnegie Hall on August 15th, the concert celebrates the wonderful mystery of Indian classical music and a synthesis of musical traditions motivated by Mahatma Gandhi’s message of truth, love, non-violence, and peace. Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash & Ayaan Ali Bangash / Lidiya Yankovskaya with the Refugee Orchestra Project in Concert will memorize the audience with their soulful performances.

The IAAC supports all the artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. ICCAC works cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. Its focus is to help artists and art organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work here. The IAAC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

The INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of the arts and artists whose heritage lies in the India in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by the law. For information please visit www.IAAC.us.

FIA Plans To Create Guinness World Records While Allu Arjun Leading India Day Parade In New York:

“Celebrating India’s 75 years of Independence -Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav with the annual India Parade on the Streets of New York City, the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the oldest and a leading Indian diaspora organization in the United States plans to create two Guinness World Records with the popular Indian actor Allu Arjun leading the largest India Day Parade in the world,” said FIA President, Kenny Desai.

Popular Telugu actor Allu Arjun, who starred in the hit film Pushpa will lead the annual India Day Parade in New York on Sunday, August 21st, 2022, as India marks 75th year of Independence. The Federation of Indian Associations — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — has planned grand events to celebrate India’s 75 years of Independence —  Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Allu Arjun, the Grand Marshal will lead the parade along with NYC Mayor Eric Adams and a host of other celebrities and distinguished participants.

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S., has announced it is eyeing two Guinness World Records relating to the India Day Parade. The two Guinness Records being aimed at include – 1. Most flags flown in an outdoor event; and 2. Largest Damru, 2-headed drum ensemble.

The FIA India Day parade is considered the largest parade outside India to mark the country’s independence and brings together thousands of members of the Indian Diaspora. The annual cultural events run through several streets on Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya welcomed the announcement of Arjun as FIA’s 40th Grand Marshal and complimented the mega star for his kindness and patriotism towards the motherland. “There is palpable excitement in the Indian-American community to welcome the popular superstar and FIA will ensure he feels at home in the US,” Vaidya said. Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

Under his leadership, FIA has organized several events. On celebrating 75 years of Independence of India, Desai said he is committed to “a jamboree of blockbuster mega-events” that will start with the International Women’s Day celebration and carry on into October of this year.

Some of the other events include FIA’s cultural event of children’s Dance Competition on May 7th;  a historical inaugural launch of the festivities from Capitol Hill in DC on May 12th; Press events in India; International Yoga day in NYC; and the flagship event of flag-hoisting at Times Square, followed by the World’s largest India Day Parade on Aug. 21st on Madison Ave in New York City.

FIA commemorated the 75 years of Indian Independence and honored the Asia Heritage Month on May 12, 2022 at Rayburn Building, Capitol Hill Complex Washington D.C. FIA was recognized for the event in Congressional Record Vol.168, No. 81. The event saw unprecedented participation from the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the states from the region of New England.

“Today was a historical moment for Indian Americans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day at the US Capitol,” said Kenny Desai, FIA president. FIA is one of the oldest and largest non-profit grass-root umbrella organisations of Indian Americans.

Kenny Desai, FIA President for 2022 is being assisted by a dedicated team of community leaders. The new team consists of Himanshu Bhatia as the executive vice president along with Saurin Parikh and Haresh Shah, the vice presidents; Parveen Bansal as the general secretary; Smita Miki Patel as the joint secretary; Amit Ringasia as the treasurer with Mahesh Dubbal as the joint treasurer.

Kenny Desai, a seasoned veteran community leader expressed his gratitude to the community and board for trusting him with leading the organizational efforts.  He assured he would deliver on the expectation of enhancing the community’s image and its selfless service and engagements.

Guru Purnima Mothsav By Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Institute Held

Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan organization associated with “Haridham” Sokhda “YDS Chicago” at Bartlett Jain Mandir on July 23rd, Haridham-Sokhda Past President P.P. Hariprasadaswamiji has Appointed his spiritual heir, as P.P. Premaswarup Swamiji’s Guru Purnima celebrations were celebrated in a grand manner in the presence of devotees and heads of social and religious organizations from various states of America and Chicago.   Which includes 16 Religious institutions, 15 local Organizations, 07 News Media publishers and editors and 09 Chief guests including businessmen and dignitaries.

Although the time of the program was kept half past five, as the invited guests and devotees arrived early, the program started from five o’clock and in sight, the hall of Jain Mandir was filled with more than 900 guests and devotees. From five o’clock the listeners were immersed in the Bhajan-kirtans. After that the secretary of YDS Chicago Shri. Chirantan Nanavati started the program welcoming by the saints from “Haridham” Sokhda. Anandswarup Swami and P. Gunagarahkaswami and P. Dinkar Uncle. He gave an occasional address to P.P. Hariprasadaswami described how he created this society from scratch with love and warmth.

Then Bhavbhutibhai, a young man from New Jersey, explained the glory of Guru in life. Hariprasad Swami spoke about the order given to him to hold the hand of His Holiness Premaswamiji. After that P. A video presentation showing the life of Hariprasad Swamiji was shown. In which Aksharniwasi P. P.O. Hariprasadswami showed the qualities of Premaswamiji and And when he (Hariprasadswamiji) will not be on this earth, then he will hand over this organization to Premaswamiji and Tyagavallabhswamiji also showed that video.

 After the presentation, Hon. Jayeshbhai introduced the guest dignitaries present followed by P.P Hariprasadswamiji and P.P. Premaswamiji’s idol was honored with flower garlands and bunches of flowers by the invited dignitaries, the guests included Congressman Mr. Raja Krishna Murthy – representing the 8th District of Illinois since 2017, Deputy Consulate General Officer Mr. Vinod Gautam, Vice Consulate General Officer Mr. Bhutia, Entrepreneur Mr. Mafatbhai Patel of Patel Brothers, Mayor of Lincolnwood Mr. Jasal Patel, CEO of Millennium Bank Mr. Moti Aggarwal, VHPA President – Harendra Mangrola, Regional Director of Vishwa Umiya Foundation and President of Umiya Mataji Mandir West Chicago Mr. J.P. Patel, Chairman of Sri Jalaram Temple Mr. Chirayu Parikh, Chairman of Trustees of Jain Metropolitan Society Mr. Chicago Mr. Tejash Shah, President of Jain Metropolitan Society of Chicago Mr. Piyush Gandhi, Representative of Sri Swaminarayan Mandir Wheeling – Vadtal Dham Mr. Kirit Patel, Mr. Hemant Bhrambhat, Publisher of Hi-India, Mr. Jatinder Bedi, Founder and Publisher of Hello-NRI, and Mr. Suresh Bodiwala, Publisher of Asian Media USA, Mr. Babubhai Patel, President of NFIA, Mr. Suryakant Patel – Gujarat Samaj, Founder and Ex-President of AASARP, Mr. Pradeep Shukla, Secretary of Overseas Friends of BJP Mr. Amar Upadhyay, President FIA Chicago Mr. Rakesh Malhotra, Former President FIA Chicago Mr. Rajesh Patel, Acting President Mr. Hemant Patel, President of 42 Village Patidar Samaj Mr. Dashrath Patel, United Senior Family President Mr. Rameshbhai Patel, Chicago Hindu Mahotsav Group President Mr. Shailesh Rajput.

On this auspicious occasion, all invited guests and Congressman Shri. Raja Krishnamurthy were welcomed by our Institute President Dr. C. M. Patel and PRO Shri Kantibhai N Patel. Flowers were offered to P.P. Hariprasadaswamy and P.P. Premaswamiji by Congressman Shri. Raja Krishnamurthy .In his exhortation, Shri Raja addressed his reminisced with P.P. Hariprasadaswamiji and P.P. Premaswarupaswamiji and expressed his wish that the temple under construction at Schaumburg will be completed and opened for devotees.

Then arrived from India Haridham. Anandswaroop Swami and P. Gunagrahakaswamy These two saints P.P. Hariprasadswamy did not leave the earth but P.P. Narrating the events of the devotees’ experiences manifested in Premaswarup Swami, he requested them to have faith and trust that now P.P. Hariprasadswamiji is working among us in P.P. Premaswarupaswamiji. At the end, all the guests took advantage of the Guru Pujan and felt blessed by taking Prasad.

Long Island, N.Y. Plans India Day Parade USA For August 7th

India Day Parade USA, which organizes the India Day Parade of Long Island set for August 7, 2022, in Hicksville, N.Y., announced July 28, that India’s Deputy Consul General in New York, Dr Varun Jeph, will join as Grand Marshal. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Mint Restaurant July 26.

announced the details of their 11th India Day Parade in which interest is soaring as famous Bollywood actress and sportsperson Prachi Tehlan will be the Celebrity Grand Marshal, and Guests of Honor are the singing sensation Shibani Kashyap who will perform for an hour on stage, Hollywood/Bollywood actor Prashantt Gupta who will do a surprise act, and Naveen Shah, President of Navika group.

Highlighting the Unity in Diversity theme of the parade, there will be banners of all 28 states of India, and “India lovers” have been requested to walk behind the banners of their respective states and come dressed up in their state’s traditional attire, organizers said. Many lawmakers from Long Island and New York have confirmed their participation in the parade, Goyal said.

Past President Mukesh Modi announced that Padma Shri Sudhir Parikh, Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, will join the parade with his wife Dr. Sudha Parikh. Attendees were informed of a parade route change. Starting at 2 pm from Hicksville Community Center at Carl Street West, the parade will go along Broadway North before turning left on John Street to culminate at 125 West John Street, where the food and other stalls will be set up as well as a children’s carnival area. There is ample LIRR parking nearby.

Parade organizers thanked the officials of Nassau County and Town of Oyster Bay for their cooperation in holding a safe and successful parade. Harry Malhotra, director South Asian Business & Development, Town of Oyster Bay, who shared the stage at the event, promised all help.

Tabla performance by Aryan Rishi at the meeting to announce details of Aug. 7, 2022, India Day Parade in Long Island. Photo: IDP USA

Other speakers urged the community to come to the parade which this year, is also celebrating the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. Raffle tickets will be sold with attractive prizes such as laptops and large TV sets.

Speakers at the well-attended dinner event included IDP Chair Indu Jaiswal, Past President Beena Kothari, Senior Vice President Bina Sabapathy, and Vice President Roopam Maini. Sunil Hali of Radio Zindagi and The Indian Eye and realtor Raj Jaggi also spoke.

Prominent attendees included representatives from ITV Gold/Parikh Worldwide Media, and two candidates for the New York State Assembly Vibhuti Jha and Sanjeep Jindal.

A tabla performance was given by Aryan Rishi. Indian and American national anthems were sung by Anoushka Rishi, accompanied by Aryan Shah on saxophone.

Rishi Sunak, Kamala Harris And The Rise Of The New Model Minority

By, Saif Shain At Outlook

Rishi Sunak is the latest poster boy for Indian success stories abroad. The chancellor of the exchequer until recently, he could well become Britain’s next prime minister. He and his parents featured in a 2001 BBC documentary series about the middle classes. Sunak, who had been educated at the prestigious Winchester College, bragged on camera he had friends among the British aristocracy and upper class — but, he stressed, “not working class”.

In the two decades since that interview — whose clips are currently doing the rounds on Twitter and TikTok — Sunak has assiduously maintained his select company. After graduating from Oxford and Stanford universities, he advised investment banks and hedge funds before becoming a Member of Parliament from the “safe” Conservative Party seat of Richmond in Northern Yorkshire. Somewhere in between, he also got married to the daughter of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy. The couple are counted among Britain’s richest people today.

Sunak is among a clutch of political figures of Indian origin who have recently risen to prominence in the West. These include British home secretary Priti Patel, US ex-governors and presidential hopefuls Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal and, most notably, US Vice President Kamala Harris. Their ascent is viewed either as epitomizing the intelligence and industry of Indians that makes them stand out everywhere — or as evidence of the prospects inherent in “inclusive” Western societies, which enable immigrants and people of color to achieve their potential. But as Sunak’s story suggests, the truth is quite the opposite. 

The newfound success of Indians reflects how the opportunity structure of Western liberal democracies rewards the privileged and the powerful — or those who serve their interests. At the same time, it illustrates how the politics of identity is abused to undermine any possibility of change.

The families of many of these political prodigies moved to the US or the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. This was a time of upheaval in both countries, which forced them to relax their immigration laws — although for different reasons. Britain, no longer the colonial power it used to be, needed more people from erstwhile colonies to rebuild after the Second World War. The US not only faced the challenge of the Cold War but also growing domestic discontent in the form of Black Americans taking to the streets to demand equal rights. A 1965 US law overturned several provisions that had curtailed immigration from non-European countries. Ostensibly meant to showcase the US as the land of the free, the new policy insidiously encouraged the expansion of non-Black minorities as a means of containing the civil rights movement.

It went hand-in-hand with a concerted campaign to typecast East Asian immigrants as the “model minority”. Soon after the immigration act was passed, the New York Times published an article praising Japanese Americans for achieving great success, measured in terms of higher education and low crime rates and contrasted directly with the failures of the ”problem minority”, viz. Blacks. Similar eulogies were sung for the Chinese Americans.

Virtually overnight, the same East Asians who had been regarded for more than a century as the “yellow peril” morphed into pliant, law-abiding, productive members of society who ought to serve as an exemplar for other minorities. The purpose behind the model minority stereotype was to discredit the demands of the civil rights movement by blaming Black Americans for all their suffering — whitewashing the history of slavery and segregation. The tag also served to divide minority groups and derail the possibility of multi-ethnic mobilisation.

Sixty years later, as the US simmers with chants of Black Lives Matter and China’s rise as a global power has once more transformed East Asians into the yellow peril, it is Indians who have emerged as the new model minority.

They do meet the requisite criteria. Nearly 79 percent of Indian Americans aged 25 or over have a bachelor’s degree, compared with just 33 percent on average for other communities, according to the 2019 census. Indians are also more likely to be employed than others and typically work in high-paying sectors. As a result, Indian households had a median income of $132,000, more than double the median for other immigrant groups combined.

These statistics are touted as proof that hard work can lead anyone to success in the US — the quintessence of the so-called American Dream. As Haley once said, “We’re just good at being Americans.”

But the figures hide more than they reveal. Comparing Indians and other communities is much like comparing proverbial apples and oranges. Many Indians in the US come from privileged sections of Indian society or the Indian diaspora. The vast majority have arrived in recent years. And they have migrated by choice, typically to take up plum jobs in management, business, science and technology, and the like — or to study and then take up plum jobs in these sectors.

This history is quite different from, say, the centuries of systematic persecution experienced by Black Americans initially brought to the US as slaves from Africa or the genocide that Native Americans had to live through. Talking about Jindal or Haley or Harris’s success as though it is exclusively Indian also disregards the progress on civil rights made possible by the political struggles of other minorities — struggles that Indians did not participate in but benefit from today.

This is not to suggest that Indian Americans do not experience prejudice — they do, and it is on the rise by all accounts. Nor does it imply that Indians do not work hard or do not deserve their success. But the glowing achievements of an already well-to-do community are mobilised to shade the injustices that other minorities are speaking out against. One moneyed Indian political figure after another, belonging to one mainstream political party or the other, is unveiled as an acceptable alternative to the uncomfortable politics of protest and grassroots mobilisation that Black Lives Matter represents.

Education, income and a general unwillingness to cause “trouble” even when dealing with racist violence has allowed Indians in the US to take on the mantle of the new model minority — especially at this moment of renewed racial angst that bears parallels with the civil rights era. A similar shift has occurred in Britain too, where Hindus and Sikhs are now regarded as part of the “middle classes” — in other words, the mainstream of British society.

The policy positions of these Indian politicians give the lie to claims that their rise somehow represents the cause of inclusivity and social justice. As governor of Louisiana, Jindal cut taxes on business investments while making it harder for the poor to receive healthcare. Haley, a fellow Republican, has supported the flying of racist Confederate flags. Meanwhile, Harris, a Democrat, fought to ensure more and more people — many of whom tend to be Black or other minorities — remained inside privately owned prisons while serving as attorney general of California.

The hypocrisy of these political leaders who hail from immigrant families is perhaps most evident when it comes to immigration policy. Jindal and Haley have supported a slew of laws that make immigration to the US difficult and the life of immigrants harder. While touring Latin American countries as vice president, Harris told would-be migrants, “Do not come. Do not come.” Across the pond, Patel is widely regarded as imposing a ruthless regime against immigrants and asylum seekers, especially during the Covid19 pandemic — bordering on illegality and termed by a judge as “extremely troubling”.

While champions of identity politics might celebrate the ascendance of Sunak and his ilk to the upper echelons of power in Western capitals, the success of these “different-looking” individuals is unlikely to make any difference. If anything, it shores up power and privilege within these liberal democracies. It also illustrates the emptiness of the liberal promise of representation, which barters the struggle for social change with the success of a few individuals who pride themselves in having no working-class friends.

Laxmi, The Leading South Asian Food Brand Celebrates 50 Years Of Bringing ‘Home’ To You

For many cultures and its people, the primary language of love is food. Mostly all immigrant families ensure their roots remain firm is by filling their dinner tables with dishes that represent their home countries Cooking ethnic foods allows them to experience a sense of comfort and belonging which is then passed down to generations keeping traditions alive!

For over 50 years  Laxmi has done just this – enabled millions of South Asian families stay connected to their roots by providing them quality ingredients to help them cook their traditional dishes and experience home away from home.

Established in 1970 in Jackson Heights, NY by G.L. Soni and his brother K.L. Soni, the impetus for their business venture , House of Spices was Mrs. Shobhna Soni who was tired of eating yogurt and potatoes as a new bride in a new country. This gave these entrepreneurs the idea to start a business that would bring Indian ingredients like daal and spices to the USA and allow the diaspora here to enjoy the taste of home. But it didn’t stop with dals and spices – their business soon expanded to include flours, rice, oil, ghee, juices and many other traditional ingredients essential for South Asian cooking. Their success was unstoppable, and the House of Spices’ flagship brand ‘Laxmi’ became a household name in no time.

As their family expanded so did their business and along with their children, the founders nurtured a growing line of products with a vast distribution network all over North America. Time flew and the torch was passed on to Neil and Amrapali Soni. They recognized the hard work and passion that built the business and decided to enhance the Laxmi brand by giving it a new look.

These exciting brand building efforts led to a logo update and the signing of Bollywood Superstar Shilpa Shetty as its brand ambassador. Ms. Shetty, who is known for her holistic approach to diet, nutrition, and fitness was the perfect choice to represent the renewed look for Laxmi, priming it for a perfect 50thth birthday celebration. The innovation continues with a new product lines that have been recently introduced on shelves throughout North America. Laxmi has now forayed into the convenience food category with a frozen range of products that includes vegetables, Samosas, Naan’s and many more items to be added to the roster in the following months.

According to Neil and Amrapali Soni, this journey to 50 would not have been possible without the support of the South Asian community. The family has never lost sight of this unwavering support and offer their utmost gratitude to the community for their loyalty over 5 decades. Many ingredients make this company special, but the one that got them to the top has consistently been their passion for providing quality products to their customers. The Soni family’s vision for their business continues to put quality at the forefront of everything they do and carry on the tradition of excellence.

To mark this legacy milestone ,Laxmi is currently Celebrating #50YearsOfLaxmi campaign. When asked about the campaign Suhasinee Patil ,VP Marketing shared that as Laxmi turns 50 we wanted to honor our consumers and our community by inviting them to share stories about their journey in US. We truly believe our success and the community success go hand in hand. Thus the next time you eat something that reminds you of someone, don’t just remember them, reach out to them.  And when you do, we would love to hear about your food memories. …

For more information on the contest and exciting prizes, please visit www.laxmihos.com and share your stories by submitting a video and using hashtags to participate: #LaxmiYadoonKiRecipe; #50YearsOfLaxmi; #ReachOutWithLaxmi

Allu Arjun To Lead India Day Parade In New York

Popular Telugu actor Allu Arjun, who starred in the hit film Pushpa will lead the annual India Day Parade in New York next month organized by the Federation of Indian Associations, a leading Indian diaspora organization, as India marks 75th year of Independence. The Federation of Indian Associations — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — have planned grand events in the coming weeks and months to celebrate India’s 75 years of Independence —  Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

According to reports, Super Star Allu Arjun will be the Grand Marshall of the India Day Parade in New York City on August 21. Allu Arjun, the Grand Marshal, will lead the parade along with NYC Mayor Eric Adams and a host of other celebrities and distinguished participants.

The FIA India Day parade is considered the largest parade outside India to mark the country’s independence and brings together thousands of members of the diaspora.

FIA President, Kenny Desai, during the fourth Parade Council Meeting, announced details of the FIA’s planned grand events lined up for the celebration of India’s 75 years of Independence -Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

he annual cultural events runthrough several streets of Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya welcomed the announcement of Arjun as FIA’s 40th Grand Marshal and complimented the mega star for his kindness and patriotism towards the motherland. “There is palpable excitement in the Indian-American community to welcome the popular superstar and FIA will ensure he feels at home in the US,” Vaidya said.

Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

India Aims To Fly Indian Flag Atop 200 Million Houses On Independence Day

According to the newly launched “Har Ghar Tiranga” nationwide campaign, the Indian government plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence by flying the Indian Flag, called Tiranga (tricolor) atop 200 million houses all across the country. According to Home Minister Amit Shah the campaign was devised to instill the spirit of patriotism into the hearts and minds of the people, media reports stated. 

In a communication to all ministries, the Cabinet secretary’s office has mandated ministries to ask their officers and employees to hoist the national flag in the run-up to the 76th Independence Day celebrations, people in the know of the developments said. 

This is the first time central government officials have been mandated to hoist the flag at their homes. The development comes amid the government’s ongoing ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ program, which is aimed at encouraging citizens to hoist the national flag in their homes.

Central government officials will have to hoist the tricolour at their homes and offices during 13-15 August as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations.

Dr. Babu Stephen Elected President of FOKANA

Washington DC based entrepreneur and leading community leader Dr. Babu Stephen has been elected as the president of the Federation of Kerala Associations in North America (Fokana) 2022-2024. Dr. Stephan defeated his opponent Leela Marret by an overwhelming two third majority, during the elections held at the annual Convention in Orlando, FL on July 8th, 2002.

Federation Of Kerala Association In North Americais in operation for the last 38 years, an umbrella organization of mostly high-net-worth diasporas of Keralites in the USA and Canada, with more than 500,000 members, engaged in a range of social and philanthropic activities, promoting rich cultural traditions in North America.

An accomplished organizer, outstanding businessman, journalist and political activist, Dr. Babu Stephen is quite well-known among the Indian American community for his social volunteering activities and organizational abilities. 

Dr. Babu Stephen is the CEO of DC Healthcare Inc., and is the President of SM Realty LLC. One of the founding members of Kairali TV, Babu Stephen started two newspapers for Indians in the United States, Express India and India This Week. He was the producer of Summer in America, a popular series directed by Shaji M and aired on Kairali TV in 88 episodes. He is also the founding producer of Darshan TV in Washington DC. 

Dr. Babu Stephen has held many leadership positions in the Indian American community. He served as President of the Indian Cultural Coordinating Committee for two years and was a member of the United States Congressional Advisory Council and Regional Vice President of the Federation of Indians in America. He has also served as President of the Association of Indians in America. He was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indo American Press Club and has chaired two international conventions.

Babu Stephen was honored by the Washington DC Mayor for his accomplishments in business, media and community organizationm. He was part of the Mayor’s delegation to China, which comprised the best business entrepreneurs in the US. This Thiruvananthapuram native has created such deep relationships among Americans but was never interested in holding official positions as he felt it would affect his business. 

Now that he has entrusted professionals to run his business empire which includes sixteen nursing homes and a construction company that has subleased 62 buildings, he wants to spend the rest of his life being more involved in social work. He has been running a voluntary organization, The Stephen Foundation, for the past few years. Every year a good portion of his profits is set aside for the welfare of the poor and needy around the world. The Stephen Foundation donated crores of rupees to the Kerala state government during the last floods and Covid pandemic. Dr. Babu Stephen has committed to provide $250,000 towards establishing FOKANA headquarters in New York. 

In his vision statement, Dr. Babu Stephen stated that as the president of Fokana,  he will be able to accomplish several things of things for American Malayalees, as well as for Keralites through Fokana, an organization he has been associated with for a long time in various capacities. He has served on the Board of Directors for the past two terms and has also been doing a commendable job as the Vice President of the Washington DC region. 

Dr. Babu Stephan, a winner of the NAMAM 2018 award, Dr. Stephan lives with his family, wife Gracy Stephan, daughter, Sindu Stephan, son-in-law, Jimmy George and three delightfully sweet and talented grandkids, Shriya, Pavit, and Tejas.

Kanchana and Jagadeesan V. Poola Honored as The South Asian Times-Couple of the Decade By Mayor Bill de Blasio

Kanchana and Jagadeesan V. Poola have been declared as “The South Asian Times-Couple of the Decade” during the 35th Annual Federation of Tamil Associations in North America (FeTNA) Convention in Queens, New York on July 2nd, 2002.  FeTNA is an umbrella organization of all Tamil Sanghams in North America.

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presented the award and acknowledged the couple for their social, cultural, and philanthropic deeds for the larger society in the USA. 

Kanchana Poola, a community leader and philanthropist, best described as the unassuming power-house of the Indian community, along with her husband, Jagdish, a highly successful businessman, were honored for their accomplishments, and service to the larger Indian American community. 

During the solemn ceremony attended by community leaders, diplomats, political leaders and hundreds of community members, including the President of FeTNA V. Caldwell, President-elect Bala Swaminathan, NYTS President Ram Mohan, NYTS leaders Ranga Purushothaman, K Kumaraja, The SA Times-Person of the year 2020 Ravi Bhooplapur, Eric Kumar, Anusuya, Amudha, and Anand Poola along with Nimmi and Kamlesh Mehta on the glittering stage of St. John’s University. The guest also includes Members of Parliament in India from Tamil Nadu. Over 1700 delegates attended the convention.

Kanchana Poola, who had served as the President of New York Tamil Sangam (NYTS) for several years, currently serves as an advisor of the decades old Tamill Sangam. She is a Life member of FeTNA and has been associated with American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association. 

Among the several philanthropic initiatives, Kanchana and Jagadeesan Poola have contributed generously to the Harvard Tamil Chair Fund.  They are Co-Chairs of The Asian Era and Aksharam magazines. In her acceptance speech, Kanchana Poola said her father instilled in her the value of giving —  for education, for the poor and the needy. The Poola couple were also honored by the NYTS.

“We are pleased to announce Smt. Kanchana and Shri Jagadeesan V. Poola as “The South Asian Times-Couple of the Decade” recognizing and honoring their exemplary and significant contributions to the community at large over the years. This week the South Asian Times also came up with a Special Section featuring the ‘Couple of the Decade’,” Kamlesh Mehta, Publisher of the South Asian Times said.

Nimmi Mehta presented flowers and Rajasthani bandhej saree to Kanchana Poola, and Kamlesh Mehta presented a shawl and flowers to Jagadeesan Poola as they welcomed them for the honor. Ex-Mayor De Blasio presented the plaque to Couple of the Decade. Mr. and Mrs. Poola gracefully accepted the recognition thanking The South Asian Times, FeTNA, New York Tamil Sangham, and Ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Kamlesh Mehta, in his vote of thanks, appreciated FeTNA for providing the facility, Ex-Mayor DeBlasio for taking the time out, Eric Kumar and Mrs. Totee for extending the help in organizing the event and the Founding Editor Parveen Chopra for the special feature and profiling the Couple of the Decade.

Social Realities of Indian Americans: Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey

By, Sumitra Badrinathan,  Devesh Kapur,  Jonathan Kay,  Milan Vaishnav

U.S. President Joe Biden remarked in a March 2021 phone call with Swati Mohan, an Indian-origin scientist charged with overseeing the highly anticipated landing of the Perseverance Mars rover for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: “It’s amazing. Indian—of descent—Americans are taking over the country: you, my vice president [Kamala Harris, whose mother was born in India], my speechwriter, Vinay [Indian American Vinay Reddy]. . . . You guys are incredible.”1

While some in the media interpreted Biden’s off-the-cuff remark as an unfortunate gaffe, others viewed it as affirmation of the growing influence of the Indian American diaspora. In the same exchange, Biden later added: “One of the reasons why we’re such an incredible country is we’re such a diverse country. We bring the best out of every single solitary culture in the world here in the United States of America, and we give people an opportunity to let their dreams run forward.”

Indian Americans are the second-largest immigrant group in the United States. As the number of Indian-origin residents in the United States has swelled north of 4 million, the community’s diversity too has grown.

Today, Indian Americans are a mosaic of recent arrivals and long-term residents. While the majority are immigrants, a rising share is born and raised in the United States. Many Indian immigrants might have brought with them identities rooted in their ancestral homeland, while others have eschewed them in favor of a nonhyphenated “American” identity. And despite the overall professional, educational, and financial success many Indian Americans enjoy, this has not inoculated them from the forces of discrimination, polarization, and contestation over questions of belonging and identity.

There is surprisingly little systematic data about the everyday social realities that Indian Americans experience. How do Indian Americans perceive their own ethnic identity? How do they respond to the dual impulses of assimilation and integration? And how might their self-conception influence the composition of their social networks?

These are not merely academic questions. As the profile of the Indian American community has grown, so too has its economic, political, and social influence. But how Indian Americans choose to deploy this influence remains an open question. To what extent do people of Indian origin encounter discriminatory behavior—on what grounds and by whom? As the United States witnesses a resurgence of violence and hate speech targeting Asian Americans, how might it affect Americans of Indian origin?

This study draws on a new source of empirical data to answer these and other questions. Its findings are based on a nationally representative online survey of 1,200 Indian American residents in the United States—the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS)—conducted between September 1 and September 20, 2020, in partnership with the research and analytics firm YouGov. The survey, drawing on both citizens and non-citizens in the United States, was conducted online using YouGov’s proprietary panel of 1.8 million Americans and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

This study is the third in a series on the social, political, and foreign policy attitudes of Indian Americans. The major findings are briefly summarized below.

  • Indian Americans exhibit very high rates of marriage within their community. While eight out of ten respondents have a spouse or partner of Indian origin, U.S.-born Indian Americans are four times more likely to have a spouse or partner who is of Indian origin but was born in the United States.
  • Religion plays a central role in the lives of Indian Americans but religious practice varies. While nearly three-quarters of Indian Americans state that religion plays an important role in their lives, religious practice is less pronounced. Forty percent of respondents pray at least once a day and 27 percent attend religious services at least once a week.
  • Roughly half of all Hindu Indian Americans identify with a caste group. Foreign-born respondents are significantly more likely than U.S.-born respondents to espouse a caste identity. The overwhelming majority of Hindus with a caste identity—more than eight in ten—self-identify as belonging to the category of General or upper caste.
  • “Indian American” itself is a contested identity. While Indian American is a commonly used shorthand to describe people of Indian origin, it is not universally embraced. Only four in ten respondents believe that “Indian American” is the term that best captures their background.
  • Civic and political engagement varies considerably by one’s citizenship status. Across nearly all metrics of civic and political participation, U.S.-born citizens report the highest levels of engagement, followed by foreign-born U.S. citizens, with non-citizens trailing behind.
  • Indian Americans’ social communities are heavily populated by other people of Indian origin. Indian Americans—especially members of the first generation—tend to socialize with other Indian Americans. Internally, the social networks of Indian Americans are more homogenous in terms of religion than either Indian region (state) of origin or caste.
  • Polarization among Indian Americans reflects broader trends in American society. While religious polarization is less pronounced at an individual level, partisan polarization—linked to political preferences both in India and the United States—is rife. However, this polarization is asymmetric: Democrats are much less comfortable having close friends who are Republicans than the converse. The same is true of Congress Party supporters vis-à-vis supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  • Indian Americans regularly encounter discrimination. 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 United States are much more likely to report being victims of discrimination than their foreign-born counterparts.

To some extent, divisions in India are being reproduced within the Indian American community. While only a minority of respondents are concerned about the importation of political divisions from India to the United States, those who are identify religion, political leadership, and political parties in India as the most common factors. (Courtesy: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

Indian Christian Day: A Day Of Unity And Spirit To Celebrate Indian Christian Heritage

The Indian Christian Day (Jesus Bhakti Divas) organized to celebrate the Indian heritage and Christian spirit to show solidarity with persecuted Christians in India, made history as Christians of Indian origin  gathered, read the Bible in their own languages and sang prayer songs, showcasing “a bright union of fervent faith” as they came from the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania in Elmont, NY on Sunday, July 3rd, 2022.

The event was organized by the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA), a forum of Christian organizations in response to the insidious attempts to alienate and attach the Christians through the propaganda that the Christian faith was left behind by British colonialism in India, despite its two thousand years of tradition.

The event also coincided with the 1950th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas.  Historically, July 3rd is celebrated as St. Thomas day by Christians across India. However, starting from 2021, the day is being celebrated as Indian Christian Day in India and among the global Diaspora of Christians. In the United States, it is estimated that Christians from India constitute about 20% of the Diaspora, which amounts to close to a million non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin.

The gathering, which was blessed with the presence of bishops and priests from various churches, began with a chendamela and a procession. St. Vincent de Paul Malankara Catholic Church in Elmont became a platform for Christian unity. The conference started with the bishops lighting the lamp as a symbol of Indian heritage and patriotism.

Fiacona President Koshy George pointed out  in his welcome speech that our established belief is that Saint Thomas has brought the gospel to India and was martyred in AD 72.  To mark its 1900 years, the government of India issued a postage stamp in 1972. So this year marks the 1950th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas. Mr. Koshy also expressed his deep concern on the growing persecution of Christians in India as the fundamental religious freedom guaranteed under India’s constitution is no longer guaranteed under the BJP rule under the Indian Courts’ eyes.   Last year alone 761 cases of persecution have been identified which have been published in a book form by FIACONA.  He said that the purpose of the meeting is to express our pain against such atrocities.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Dharmaraj Rasalam, the Moderator of the Church of South India, spoke about how the arrival of St. Thomas not only impacted the lives of Christians and paid tribute to the sacrifices of the Christian community to the nation in uplifting the poor and oppressed. Rev. Dr. Ruben Mark, the Deputy moderator Bishop spoke about the love Indian Christians in the Diaspora have for India and encouraged them to continue with the unity they have exhibited at the gathering. He described how the arrival and activities of St. Thomas influenced India. The works of St. Thomas is crucial in the Christian faith. He also extolled the diaspora’s love for India.  He said that we are proud to be Indian Christians.  He said the willingness to sacrifice for the faith was part of the Christian faith.  Despite being a persecuted community, Christians are not united.  But today, all the sects of Christians are happy to attend this event.

Bishop Johncy Itty, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Long Island, New York, said that India, along with the rest of the world, is going through a serious crisis today.  However, our faith should sustain us in such a time as this.  He pointed out that India and the world are in various conflicts. There is no time in life without conflict. But now it is too much. But God leads us by the hand. We may not be able to change the times, but we can make changes.

Rev. Dr. Itty Abraham of the Indian Pentecostal Church, in his speech, encouraged Christians to be steadfast and said, “It is Christ that built the Church, and no forces would be able to undo it. The propaganda to paint Christianity in India as part of the colonial legacy is ill-conceived and will not gain footing.”

The persecution against Christians is increasing Rev. Dr. Itti Abraham pointed out. But it won’t break us. Christ builds the church. No evil shall prevail against it. Jesus himself said that there will be such persecutions. In such situations, we need to move forward with unity. He said that it is wrong to think that the Indian Christianity is a faith arisen from British colonialism.

CSI Church General Secretary Adv. Fernandez Rathinaraja pointed to Saint Thomas as a social reformer.  It was work against human sacrifice and caste system that led to his martyrdom.  Secularism is enshrined In the preamble of the Indian Constitution. There have been concerted efforts to undermine it. Religion should not be a part of political life. The state should be neutral in religious matters. Protests against these are taking place in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Kerala. He pointed out that the administration is able to suppress the voice of protest in other states.

Father John Thomas representing Orthodox Church, urged his fellow Christians to follow the path of St. Thomas in taking the message of Christ across the people.  Christ had many followers. But in the end only a few remained. Faithful men like St. Thomas did not hesitate to sacrifice themselves. The situation can be dire. But trust in God. Let the cross of Jesus guide us, he said.

Bishop Mar Joy Alappatt who has just been elevated to the head of Syro Malabar Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Chicago expressed his thrill to participate in the program which he though he had participated in ecumenical functions in New York and Chicago, this was the first time he was participating in one of this kind.   “This gathering on St. Thomas Day is significant. We become Christian people through the mission work of Thomas. The contribution of Christians to the development of India is inestimable.   We are saddened that Christians are being persecuted not only in India but all over the world. Prayer is our weapon against it. Christian faith strengthens us for martyrdom. Jesus himself has said that there will be such persecutions. But He has also assured that He will always be with us. So don’t be afraid. We do not hesitate to suffer. But persecution caused by injustice is unacceptable. We must question it. Through his own life and death, Thomas has shown us the way.  So we must strengthen our faith,” he said.

Saint Thomas is one of the strongest characters in the Bible. Especially in the Gospel of John. St. Thomas is mentioned there three times. In Chapter 11, Thomas arrives to comfort Martha and Mary’s family.   They are mourning the death of their brother Lazarus. Thomas forces Jesus to visit Bethany. Thomas also witnessed a miracle when Jesus came.  We see the bravery of St. Thomas in the Bible. But today’s Christians have lost that courage. We dare not bear witness to Christ. Likewise, we must strive for our unity should be willing to testify to Christ with prayer – he said.

The General Secretary of Church South India, in Chennai, Adv. Fernandas Rathaniraja, in his speech, warned the audience about the concerted efforts vested interests are making to remove the word secularism from the constitution and transform India into a Hindu Rashtra and urged vigilance.

George Abraham, one of the leading organizers of the program began his vote of thanks by repeating from Bible “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in the unity”.  He said that we have witnessed an extraordinary manifestation of unity, unit of Christians from india, across regions and languages despite the denominational differences.

The program was enriched with Bible readings in Malayalam, Telugu, English, Tamil, Punjabi, Kannada, Hindi, and Gujarati and prayer songs by choirs from Saint Mary’s Syro Malabar Catholic Church, St. Paul’s International Lutheran Church, CSI Jubilee Memorial Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, and Bethlehem Punjabi Church. A group of nurses from Saint Mary’s Syro Malabar Church entertained with a Marggam Kali, a traditional Christian dance from Kerala.  The program was moderated by Shre John and Leno Thomas.

Mega Peace Festival With Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Held In Chicago

Global Humanitarian spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led the convergence of large gathering ‘I Stand for Peace’ – a Peace Festival in Chicago that attracted a large attendance including ranking United States Congressmen, Local, County and State elected officials and a great host of business and community leaders on June 26, 202 at the University of Illinois Forum Auditorium.  

The Peace Festival “I Stand for Peace”  elicited inspiring remarks from the ranking elected officials in the backdrop of growing unrest, violence, crime in Chicago and all across the globe and the compelling imperative to usher peace, harmony, love and brotherhood. The Peace Meet attracted the attendance of Ranking Congressman Danny Davis 9D, IL-7th Dist.), Ranking Congressman

Raja Krishnamoorthi (D, IL-8th District), Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Representative Jim Durkin (R, 82nd District), Adarsh Shastri, Grandson of former PM of India Sri.Lal Bahadur Shastri, Hoffman Estates Police Chief Kasia Cawley and a host of State Senators, State Representatives, Suburban Mayors and other prominent faith leaders.

Amidst the series of remarks, State Representative Jim Durkin (R,82nd District) said that he would table a resolution on the floor of the Illinois General Assembly to declare June 26th as the World Peace Day and celebrate its observance in the State of Illinois every year – which elicited sustained applause. Mayor Lori Lightfoot also sent a proclamation to the event, which was read by Alderman David Moore in which she declared June 26 each year to be “I Stand for Peace” Day.

Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, Chair of the event & Chair of the Illinois Medical Board welcomed the large gathering and emphasized on the significance of meditation as a proven effective tool by which we can purify and quieten our minds, thus rejuvenating the body.” Dr. Reddy said, as a Physician, I can attest to this medical reality as to the compelling correlation between peaceful mind and healthy body. Dr. Sreenivas Reddy said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has come to Chicago at this critical juncture in time to reflect and address ways we can advance peace, harmony and love in the city, nation and indeed across the globe teeming in unrest.

 Ajeet Singh, President, Indian American Business Council President – in a statement – said this Peace Meet fostered a robust interaction to advance peace, harmony, happiness, amity and goodwill and added “I Stand for Peace” campaign endeavors to strengthen and channel individuals’ commitment to peace holistically during these turbulent times. Ajeet Singh profusely thanked Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for paying a visit and described his visit as historic.

Vinesh Virani of the Art of Living in Illinois – in his statement – said the worldwide sense of helplessness and hopelessness caused by the pandemic, war, and inflation has weighed heavily on the human psyche and therefore took a toll on mental health. He added Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s visit represents hope in these turbulent times.

Adarsh Shastri, grandson of former Prime Minister of India Sri. Lal Bahadur Shastri and a former minister in Delhi government addressing the audience said “  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian and spiritual leader, an ambassador of peace and of human values and added that he provides techniques and tools to live a deeper, more joyous life.

Taking the stage amidst the deeply permeated silence Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed “In this polarized society, we need more people who can bring peace, who can bridge the gap from conflict to proper communication and celebration; and outlined advancing peace and goodwill through the World Culture Festival next year and bring people together of all backgrounds and all ideologies. We want to give the message, ‘Wake up, We are one family,'” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.  Later, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led the participants in a half-hour guided meditation and spoke about what he has experienced while on this worldwide tour and how it can help Chicagoans achieve meaningful peace and amity. 

“Meditation makes you emotionally strong, mentally sharp intuitively more alert, and mindful in your work, whatever you are doing. It has incredible list of benefits, including physical health benefits. It can help with hypertension, depression, digestive issues  and many others it can help with,” Sri Sri added.  He further said, “When you share your misery, it will not diminish. When you fail to share your joy, it diminishes. Share your problems only with the Divine, not with anyone else, but share your joy with everyone.

 Indian Americans Physicians held another exclusive event on June 27, 2022 at the Double Tree Hotel in Oakbrook where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed the Physicians and held a half-hour meditation. The event brought a host of Indian American physicians converged to engage in a solemn interactive session with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.  Several prominent physicians spoke in admiration of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s exemplary contribution in advancing peace amidst the growing turmoil in contemporary human life. At the event, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar honored Dr. Bharat Barai, Chair of Indiana Medical Board, Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, Chair of Illinois Medical Board, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Trustee of Oakbrook Village, Ravi Kolli, AAPI President, Dr. Vishnu Chandy and Adarsh Shastri.

 Earlier, Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, Chair of the event welcomed the physicians, acknowledged several key organizers of the event, and thanked them for their tireless efforts in hosting such a mega event for peace and subsequently invited Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who honored Ajeet Singh, President of Indian American Business Council, VineshVirani of the Art of Living for their tireless hard work and able leadership in putting together an event of this magnitude. Dr. Radhika Chimata and Trisha served as the moderators of this event.

 In conclusion, IABC President Ajeet Singh thanked the host committee for their unstinted hard work and dedication in making the peace festival a grand success. He publicly thanked and expressed highest appreciation to Dr. Anuja Gupta, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Keerthi Ravoori, Nag Jaiswal, Mrs. Santosh Kumar, Rita Singh, Anu Malhotra, Harish Kolasani, Johnny Patel, Mitesh Kamdar, Sanjay Shah, Subu Iyer, Sunil Shah, Vibha Rajpput, Vijay Muralidaran,Ajai Agnihotri,  Anil Oraskar,  Dr.Vijay Prabhakar, Vinita Gulabani, Alli Dhanraj, Nick Verma & Satish Dadepogu

Indian-American Business Council, a non-profit organization that promotes business opportunities, forums, networking, trade delegations and productive exchanges between India and the United States and hosted the mega event in partnership with the Art of Living.

By, Asían Media USA ©

Gandhian Society Organizes Interfaith Meeting

The Gandhian Society in partnership with Rotary Club and Zakir Husain Foundation organized a Interfaith Prayer meet and Khadi Fashion show in Parsippany (New Jersey) on June 26, 2022. The event was organized to pray for peace, understanding and spreading love/ brotherhood amongst all human beings and also to show cause the national fabric of India – Khadi in a modern way for the younger generation of American Indian’s. Khadi represents the Indian thinking of simple living with elegance and dignity.

The event was attended by most of the elected officials from District 11/ Morris county/ Parsippany including District 11 House of Representative Candidate (Republican) – Paul DeGroot, Mayor Jamie Barbierio, Council President – Michael dePierro, Councilwoman Loretta Gragnani, Ponnala Lakshmiah (Indian Politician who earlier lived in Parsippany).

The event started with the singing of National Anthem’s for USA and India and continues with Devotional Songs that Mahatma Gandhi used to have during his prayer meetings. The religious leaders from many diverse faiths like Christianism, Hindu (Iskon) Islam, Jewish (Hebrew), Jain, BAHA’i and many faiths prayed for peace, understanding and making the world a better place.

This was followed by a Khadi Fashion designed/ conceptualized by designer Sonal Gadhavi and choreographed by Bharat Gadhavi. Sonal had a workshop with the kids prior to the fashion show to explain to them the significance of Khadi and the designs being displayed. The fashion show saw many American Indian children take part and display Khadi in a modern and elegant manner. Charkha Boutique sponsored the Khadi clothes for the fashion show. Gandhian Society Founder Bhadra Butala was instrumental in sponsoring the show with support fron sponsors. 

The Gandhian Society also honored Dr.Satish Aanchan and Ramesh Maganti for their community service and also honored them with a special certiciate and Gandhian Statue. Ponnala Lakshmiah was recognised for his role in helping rural India with his earlier role as Major Irrigation Minister where he helped irrigate thousands of acres of land that helped millions of farmers in South India.

The Interfaith and Khadi event was mainly organized by Balaji Jilla, Rajender Dichpally and supported friendly by Santosh Peddi (Rotary International  Club members of Parsippany). The Gandhian Society team of Mahesh Wani, Shravan Natakala, Varsha Joshi, Dr.Deepak Naran, Asha Sawant, Shiv Kumar, Hasmukh Patel, Vijaya Nadella and others. A simple Gandhian lunch was provided for participants and devotional songs that Mahatma Gandhi used to listen to were sung at the event. Free biographies of Mahatma Gandhi were distributed at the event for participants.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal Highlights South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Bill, While Promising Full Support To AAPI In Its Efforts

“With your help and advocacy, we will pass this Bill in the Full House next month,” Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal told delegates of the American Association of Physcians of Indian Origin (AAPI) during the 40th annual Convention held in San Antonio, TX on Saturday, June 25th, 2022. While expressing gratitude and appreciation to the physical fraternity for being in the frontline, especially during the Covid Pandemic, the first ever woman Congress Representative of South Asian Origin, Rep. Jayapal, who is the Chair of Democratic Caucus said, “One of the legislations I have been very passionate about has been the Bill I had introduced in the Congress, South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act,” which has now been  passed by the subcommittee of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, and she was hopeful that will pass the full House next month.

“As the first South Asian American woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, I am fully committed to not only raising awareness and educating the South Asian community about the risk factors for heart disease but also ensuring that those living with heart disease receive the care, treatment, resources and support they need,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “I am proud that this urgently necessary legislation passed committee and I won’t stop fighting until it becomes law.”

Heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem. South Asians are at a four-times greater risk of heart disease than their western counterparts and have a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50 years of age, says a . Heart attacks strike South Asian Men and Women at younger ages, and as a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group. They tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups.” 

Dr. Ravi Kolli, the new President of AAPI, pointed out, “While South Asians make up only 23% of the global population, they account for 60% of all heart disease cases. And, tragically, the mortality rate for heart disease is a staggering 40% higher among South Asians. South Asian Americans are four times more likely to suffer from heart disease than most people, and experience heart problems nearly decade earlier on average.”

Among the many issues, AAPI has been focused on in recent times, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, immediate past President of AAPI, said, “Creating awareness about this major health issue among South Asian Americans has been a major task undertaken by several not-for-profit organizations, including the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States.” 

Dr. Kolli thanked Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal for her efforts in introducing the critical legislation, South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act, which has now passed the subcommittee of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 11 and is now set to advance to the full House and for working with her colleagues to ensure its passage. 

The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act (H.R. 3131) is aimed at providing grants of up to $1 million per year to fund research and prevention of heart disease in South Asian communities. The bill establishes, or authorizes to be established, programs that support heart-disease research and awareness among communities disproportionately affected by heart disease, including the South Asian population of the United States.

As per the Bill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must award grants to states for awareness initiatives, educational materials, and research catalogs regarding the prevalence of heart disease, including the association of type 2 diabetes, with respect to the South Asian population and other at-risk populations. The bill would raise awareness about the alarming rate of heart disease in South Asian communities in the United States while investing in strategies to reverse this deadly trend. 

Studies have shown that South Asians in the United States—people who immigrated from or whose families immigrated from countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal—are experiencing a dramatic rise in heart disease. South Asians make up 25 percent of the world’s population but 50 percent of global cardiovascular deaths. Additionally, South Asian Americans are four times more at risk of developing heart disease than the general population, have a much greater chance of having a heart attack before age 50 and have emerged as the ethnic group with the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, which is a leading cause of heart disease.

Representative Jayapal’s legislation would do the following:

  • Direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to create grants, such as South Asian Heart Health Promotion Grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide funding for community groups involved in South Asian heart health promotion and to develop culturally appropriate materials to promote heart health in the South Asian community.
  • Direct the HHS Secretary to fund grants through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research on cardiovascular disease and other heart ailments among communities disproportionately affected by heart disease, such as South Asian populations living in the United States, and develop a clearinghouse and web portal of information on heart health research, such as South Asian heart health.

The bipartisan legislation—originally introduced in 2017 with Republican Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02)—has 40 co-sponsors in the House and is endorsed by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, American Stroke Association, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, South Asian Public Health Association, Hindu American Foundation, Hindu American Physicians in Seva, South Asian Health Lifestyle Intervention, MASALA, AAPCHO, Mended Hearts, Bangladesh Medical Association of North America and South Asian Heart Center, and American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI).  

 For more information on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org. Please watch the Video Link at: (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N_WzV9dcKPQuViGO5fNYul3TMn_C_4Zr/view )

GOPIO And Indian Consulate Celebrate Yoga Day With Happy Life Yoga

On the occasion of International Yoga Day 2022, GOPIO Northeast chapters in cooperation with the Indian Consulate in New York and Emmy-nominated filmmaker and Happy Life Yoga speaker Tirlok Malik hosted a highly interactive and informative Yoga Zoom event on June 23rd featuring experts and speakers from various walks of life. 

Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York sent his best wishes to GOPIO and Malik for celebrating the International Yoga Day 2022. The chief guest Indian Consul Vipul Dev, who looks after Political, Press, Information and Culture at the Indian Consulate, New York (USA) and special guest Congressman Subramanian Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Indian-born American businessman who has been serving as the U.S. representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district since 2017, were present on the occasion. 

GOPIO-Manhattan Secretary Bhavya Gupta was the MC for the event which was hosted in the presence of Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International as well as distinguished members of GOPIO International and its chapter officials from the Northeast of USA and many viewers from all over the world. The event was also supported by The Indian Panorama, Indian American Forum, GOPIO Chapters (New York, Central New York, Central Jersey, Edison and Connecticut).

The event was energetic, knowledgeable, inspiring, and celebratory in nature. While emphasizing upon the growing importance of Yoga in today’s times, Malik explained his vision behind Happy Life Yoga and its underlying philosophy, “A way of living inspired by the wisdom of Ayurveda, Yoga and Indian Philosophy, Happy Life Yoga is beneficial for one and all. The pandemic has made the world realize that it is of paramount importance to have a good health, physically and emotionally, and the Happy Life Yoga platform can show how to achieve it.”

GOPIO Chairman Dr. Abraham in his welcome remarks said, “Yoga has now become an international brand after the UN declaration in 2014 and Yoga Day is now celebrated all over the world.” Dr. Abraham also complimented the Indian Consulate for continuing to hold the celebration at the Times Square in New York City.

 Indian Consul Vipul Dev said, “Yoga has become very popular in our life and personally I feel great that something like Yoga from my country has been adopted and owned by the rest of world.” He also added that Yoga brought positivity in his life. He also mentioned that the Indian Consulate in New York has been celebrating Yoga Day with community groups starting in the first week of June, including one at the Niagara Falls.

In his brief remarks, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi congratulated GOPIO and Tirlok Malik for propagating the power of Yoga globally through the Happy Life Yoga event. “Today, the International Yoga Day has evolved into in major annual event that’s celebrated all across the globe. The key is to celebrate Yoga as a health practice that is truly universal. I would like to congratulate GOPIO and Mr. Malik for playing an active role in propagating the power of Yoga.”

One of the major highlights of the Happy Life Yoga event was the knowledge sessions moderated by Malik who is known for his ability to engage with his audience using the right mix of banter and substance.

The distinguished speakers included Prof. Indrajit Saluja (Chief Editor/Publisher, The Indian Panorama), Indu Jaiswal (Chairperson, Indian American Forum), Sangeeta Agarawal (CEO and Founder, Helpsy), Dr. Jaya Daptardar (Author and Ayurveda Practitioner), Domini Monroe (Model and Actress), Dr. Tara Shajan (President, Nurse Association), Prakhar Gupta (Podcaster), Dr. Renee Mehrra (Reenbow Media), Anil Narang (Vegan Ambassador), Anna Pillai (Ayurveda Practitioner), and Victoria Moran (Founder, Main Street Vegan Academy).

The event ended with a thunderous applause even as Malik promised to bring more Happy Life Yoga events in the near future. Happy Life Yoga is the creation of Tirlok Malik. It is essentially an educational platform that offers a unique holistic approach to health and happiness using tools from Ayurveda, Indian Philosophy, and Yoga to help better manage modern-day challenges such as work, finances, relationships, family and other social pressures. It was launched in June 2019 in New York. Malik’s portfolio of work has won many awards and has been acclaimed in media and people worldwide. Through his work he intends to inspire others to live happier and healthier lives and the journey continues.

During the program, GOPIO Foundation Executive Trustee Lal Motwani, who also serves as honorary chair of GOPIO-New York chapter spoke on the new initiative from the chapter on launching India Collection of Books at the Queens Public Library on August 13th when the library will also honor India for its 75th Independence. GOPIO-Manhattan Chapter Board Member Siddharth Jain spoke on the various services from the chapter including community feeding on the last Monday of every month and invited members of the community to sponsor this effort. 

GOPIO-Manhattan Chapter President Shivender Sofat invited the community to participate in other chapter activities including welcoming new students from India for a Welcome Dinner event in late September. GOPIO-New York President Beena Kothari, who managed the Zoom session gave the vote of thanks.

Also present at the event were community leaders including AIA National President Govind Munjal, India Association of Long Island President Bina Sabapati, The Kerala Center President Alex Esthappan, Milan Cultural Association President Suresh Sharma, Indo American Senior Citizen Association President Mukund Mehta and community leader Pam Kwatra. 

GOPIO Manhattan, in accordance with its mission to serve the larger society and those in need, has taken several initiatives in the recent past. A Community Feeding is organized by the Chapter providing ​vegan or ​vegetarian lunch for the homeless and needy at Tomkins Square Park in Manhattan on the last Monday of every month. The chapter appeals to the community to support the initiative by being a volunteer and/or a sponsor.

AAPI’s 40th Convention Inaugurated In San Antonio, TX

(San Antonio, TX. June 25, 2022) The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI)  was officially inaugurated with ribbon cutting and lighting of the traditional lamp at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Friday, June 24th, 2022, celebrating the achievements of Indian American Physicians and focusing on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first of a kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out.

Describing it to be a “historic 40th annual convention celebrating 40 years of AAPI and India’s 75 years of Independence in collaboration with the Indian Consulate in Houston and Indian Embassy with invited dignitaries from the US and India,” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades-long history of AAP,  expressed gratitude to “the entire AAPI leadership and members for their participation in AAPI activities, making AAPI stronger.”

Dr. Jayesh Shah, Convention Chair and Past President of AAPI said in Texan style. “It is with great pleasure that I, along with the San Antonio -2022 Convention Team, welcome you to the 40th AAPI Annual Convention in San Antonio, the 8th largest city in the US. I still have vivid memories of inviting you to San Antonio in 2014. This is going to be the 4th convention in Texas.”

Welcoming AAPI delegates to San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, whom Dr. Jayesh Shah called as the next Governor of Texas, declared June 24th as AAPI Day and International Yoga Day in the City of San Antonio. While praising AAPI and its members for their contributions, Nirenberg said, “We are honored to host the largest gathering of Indian American physicians in our vibrant city, home to some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation.”

Addressing the evening gala, Aseem Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston, referred to the significance of “India and the United States, the two most vibrant democracies, representing two great multicultural societies with shared values, who are natural partners” working together in several areas of interest to both the nations.

He pointed to the immense opportunities for collaboration in healthcare between the US and India, as India is working towards “Expanding on the MedTech sector for global presence and position India as a global hub for medical devices.”

By encouraging manufacturing, innovation, and R&D based on emerging technological landscapes, and transforming India into a hub for medical devices, India may emerge as the “diagnostic capital of the world,” Mahajan said.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said. During a Plenary session, he provided a detailed description of the many steps AMA has been undertaking to root out the causes for physician burn out and enhance healthcare delivery in the nation through education and advocacy at the state and national levels.

Keynote speaker for the noon luncheon event, Little Master Sunil Gavaskar was introduced by Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention. Gavaskar, a record holder of numerous international Cricket matches, in his address shared with the audience about his own personal life story of how his life was “transformed” at birth. He said, “It’s a unique honor to be part of the important AAPI convention in Texas.”

Gavaskar said, he had wanted to be a Doctor as a youth, after he was a witness to how his aunt, a Doctor by profession had touched so many lives by the care she had provided. “Yours is the greatest of all professions in the world. You have put your lives at risk during the Pandemic to save the lives of others. Yours is the noble profession that I have admired always.”

He eloquently described the similarities between Cricketers and Physicians, especially for the need for preparations in cricket matches and surgery, the need for focus and concentration in  both the professions, the need for physical and mental fitness, choosing the right kind of movements and actions in both the fields, and so forth. However, a physician needs to have empathy with the patients, while a cricketer wants to achieve and win the game. Doctors serve for a very long time, the life span of a cricket’s professional life is very limited. A doctor’s work schedule is 24/7 – 365 days, while a cricketer’s professional life is seasonal. Gavaskar referred to his association with the Heart to Heart Foundation and how the Foundation is “touching many hearts around the world”.

In her spiritual discourse, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author, said, “It’s such a joy to be here. Such a deep gratitude. Covid did not create you as heroes, but you have been heroes all along.” Sharing her own personal journey, she said, we all have only one life and how her coming to the banks of the Himalayas, transformed her own lifafter having experienced the unique culture and wisdom of India. While pointing to how we are creating a vicious negative health through fear, stress and anxiety in this country, her message today was to focus on the Synonym for HEALTH: Health, Embrace, Allow, Love, Time for yourself, and Help others.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said, she flew in from the Banks of Mother Ganga where she celebrated International Yoga Day. “Let all of us together bring that practice of yoga and meditation into the practice of healthcare. Be the best for ourselves, for the community and for the universe,” she said.

In his live video message, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga, told AAPI leaders as to how “each of you have sacrificed your life. I congratulate the organizers for focusing on heal the healers and using Yoga our traditional method to help us in our daily lives.” In his message, he said, “We all experience similar things in life, but respond from our inner self. How we tend to react to people and situations makes the difference.  When you abuse a situation it’s agitation, but when you use them effectively it’s liberation.” Referring to the 7th anniversary of India’s Independence he said, “It must help us transcend all that divide us on the basis of caste, creed and status.”

The Women’s Forum, organized by the Convention Committee led by Dr. Chaithanya Mallikarjun, Chair in association with the National AAPI Women Physicians Committee Chair, Dr. Seema Arora,  put together a galaxy of successful women, who shared with the AAPI delegates their own stories of growing up and facing challenges with conviction and courage, and have today become role models for other women around the world.

The panelists at the prestigious Women’s Forum included: Dr. Juby A. Jacob-Nara, a Public Health Physician, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme) who has been a part of over 50 new medicines successfully launched including vaccines in the US and globally; Dr. Kalpalatha Guntupalli, Endowed Professor for Pulmonary Disorders, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Sowjanya Mohan, Group Chief Medical Officer, Texas Group/Tenet Health; and, Ms. Rosemary Hickman, Semmes Foundation Education Manager at the Mcnay Art Museum.

Dozens of local children from ages 8 to 16, trained by Yoga Masters in San Antonio by presenting and demonstrating multiple Yoga Aasanas to the tune of Vande Mataram provided valuable education on Yoga and its importance in life. Every evening the popular AAPI Got Talent and Mehfil gave AAPI members to showcase their skills. Dr. Satheesh Kathula in the incoming Vice President of API was declared the winner of the contest. During the popular Fashion Parade presented by world renowned fashion designer Archana Kochar had beautiful and handsome young men and women wearing handmade colorful apparel made by villagers in Madhya Pradesh, cat walked on the ramp.

Some of the major themes at the convention include: Yoga and Meditation practices, Welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, A Personal Reflexology Session, Take home wellness routine, Ailment based yoga therapy sessions, Workshop on Spiritual well-being, Book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine. Yoga gurus and experts leading the wellness sessions include Paramguru Sharatha Jois, Sadhvi Bhagawati, Saraswati Eddie Stern, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, Dr. Dilip Sarkar, Dr. Pankaj Vij, and Dr. Param Dedhia.

Each day of the convention has a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Some of the major events at the convention include: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

AAPI delegates have the opportunity to attend a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers discussed gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

“Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and from around the world have convened and are participating in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to help develop health policy agendas, and encourage legislative priorities in the coming year. We are excited to have you in San Antonio!” said Dr. Gotimukula. “Representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians is 40 years old.” For more details, please visit:  https://aapiconvention.org

AAPI’s Historic 40th Convention Begins In San Antonio, TX , Celebrating The Achievements of Indian American Physicians & Celebrating Unique Culture of India

(San Antonio, Tx. June 24, 2022) The historic 40th annual convention organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) began at the world famous Riverwalk Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio in Texas on Thursday, June 23rd, 2022, celebrating the achievements of Indian American Physicians and focusing on the theme, “Physician Heal Thyself” with several unique and first of a kind opportunities to help AAPI members self-care, especially in the context of Covid related physicians burn out.

There was a sense of joy and relief on the faces of the over 1,000 physicians who have come together to celebrate their achievements, contributions, and to network and deepen their relationship even as the Covid Pandemic is waning and people are able to mingle freely and interact with one another cautiously.

In her opening remarks at the beginning of the Gala organized by TIPS on the inaugural nite of the four days long convention, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the President of AAPI said, “Our leadership team has worked diligently on so many wonderful projects and activities including educational, philanthropic, legislative, networking, and many more activities benefitting our members and communities. This has been possible because of the incredible work and support from the dedicated team of leaders, members, and our supporting office staff,” the only 4th woman President of AAPI in the four decades long history of AAPI, said.

Dr. Jack Resneck, President of American Medical Association praised the contributions and achievements of Indian American physicians, who serve and provide best healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States. “It’s time our nation renews our commitment to you for the incredible services you provide to our nation,” he said.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr.  Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Dr. Shah praised the dedication and generosity of each member for giving their best, to make this Convention truly a memorable one for every participant.

Put together by a highly talented and dedicated team of Convention Committee members, the 4 days long event will be filled with programs and activities that cater to the body, mind and soul. The Convention is going to be a unique experience for everyone, he added.

Convention Committee members include Mr. Venky Adivi, Chief Executive Officer of the Convention; Dr. Aruna Venkatesh, Convention Treasurer; Dr. Vijay Koli, Past President of AAPI & Convention Advisor; Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy, Convention Advisor; Chief Operating Officers, R. Reddy Yeluru and Ram Joolukuntla; Dr. Rajeev Suri, President of TIPSSW & Co-Chair of the Convention, and the other Co-Chairs of the Convention, including Dr. Shankar Sanka, Dr. Hetal Nayak, and Kiran Cheruku. Each of them was honored on stage with a plaque appreciating their dedication and for putting together a fabulous convention.

Honoring India and its  75 years of Independence Day celebrations- co-sponsored by the Embassy of India & the Consulate General of India (CGI) – Houston, AAPI delegates had a rare glimpse to the rich cultural heritage of India through a video presentation depicting the unique diversity of India and a variety mesmerizing performance of Indian/Mexican Fusion Dances, ranging from Bharatnatyam, folk dances, and the traditional Indian dances in sync with Mexican pop dances, which were a treat to the hearts and souls  of everyone. National Spieling Bee Champion 2022 Harini Logan was recognized during the convention Gala.

The much anticipated wellness package in collaboration with all the 10 City Council Districts of San Antonio, TX and Mayor Ron Nirenberg and iDoYoga San Antonio is organizing its flagship Free Yoga Classes and Education on the benefits and ways to make yoga a part of one’s daily life during the course of the entire convention.

Led by internationally famed yoga gurus, including  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, Spiritual leader, teacher and author; Paramaguru Sharath Jois, Lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga; and, Eddie Stern, Yoga teacher, speaker and author, the highly anticipated and popular Yoga on the famous Riverwalk is part of the global celebration of the 8th International Day of Yoga (IDY).

The convention is focused on themes such as how to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession.

Accordingly, the wellness sessions at the convention include: Yoga and Meditation practices, welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, personal Reflexology Sessions, take home wellness routine, ailment based yoga therapy sessions, workshop on Spiritual well-being, book talk with Yoga Gurus, including on the science of Yoga & Lifestyle medicine, and a unique opportunity to visit first of its kind in San Antonio, Aum Ashram.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI said, “This is the first time in the AAPI convention we offer these exclusive wellness packages geared towards the well-being of Physicians and their families by bringing the essence of science and spirituality of yoga and lifestyle medicine into our self-care routine. As we all are aware, a calm mind and a refined intellect are essential for making right choices. We promise to leave you empowered with the tools required.”

Each day of the convention has a specific theme. On Thursday, the theme chosen is “Unity in Diversity” and the delegates showcased one’s own state dress code. Heritage India is the theme for Friday honoring and celebrating India’s rich culture and diversity. On Saturday, the focus is on the much loved Bollywood with special performance by popular Bollywood singer Shaan, The cuisine served each will day match the theme chosen for each day.

Some of the major events at the convention include: Workshops and hands-on sessions on well-being, 10-12 hours of CMEs, Women’s Forum, CEOs Forum, AAPI Got Talent, Mehfil, Bollywood Nite, Fashion Show, Medical Jeopardy, Poster/Research Contest, Alumni and Young Physicians events and Exhibition and Sale of Jewelry, Clothing, Medical Equipment, Pharma, Finance and many more.

Physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally have convened and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

AAPI delegates have the opportunity to attend a multidisciplinary CME conference that allows specialists and primary care physicians to interact in an academic forum. World-renowned speakers will discuss gaps between current and best practice of wide-ranging topics at the CME sessions.

“Welcome to my home city, San Antonio and thank you for coming here to the annual convention offering extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” Dr. Gotimukula added. For more details, please visit:  www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Life Expectancy in India Rises But Disparities Remain

The current life expectancy for India in 2022 is 70.19 years which is a 0.33% increase from 2021, according to reports. In 1950, three years after the country gained independence, the life expectancy stood at 35.21 years. Although its life expectancy is lower than its comparators in the middle-income range, namely, Sri Lanka (77.39 years), Brazil (76.37 years), China (77.3 years) and Costa Rica (80.75 years), the gains in India’s life expectancy have definitely been noteworthy. Due to improvements in healthcare facilities and availability, there have been significant enhancements in infant and child mortality along with maternal mortality. All of these have contributed to the gains in the longevity of life in India.

India’s life expectancy at birth inched up to 69.7 in the 2015-19 period, well below the estimated global average life expectancy of 72.6 years, reports TOI. It has taken almost ten years to add two years to life expectancy.

A look at life expectancy at age one and at age five in this period suggests high infant and under-five mortality could be the reason India finds it difficult to raise life expectancy at birth faster.

Data in the recently released “abridged life tables” 2015-19 of the sample registration system (SRS) shows that the gap between life expectancy at birth and life expectancy at age one or age five is biggest in states with the highest infant mortality (IMR), Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

In Uttar Pradesh, with the second highest IMR of 38, life expectancy jumps the highest, by 3.4 years, on completion of the first year. In Madhya Pradesh, with the highest IMR of 43, surviving the first year after birth raises life expectancy by 2.7 years.

Over a 45-year period, India had added about 20 years to its life expectancy at birth from 49.7 in 1970-75 to 69.7 by 2015-19.

Odisha has had the highest increase, of over 24 years, from 45.7 to 69.8 years followed by Tamil Nadu, where it increased from 49.6 to 72.6. Uttar Pradesh had the second lowest life expectancy of 65.6 in 2015-19, after Chhattisgarh with just 65.3. However, from having the lowest life expectancy in India of just 43 years in 1970-75, it has increased by 22.6 years in Uttar Pradesh.

In the neighborhood, Bangladesh and Nepal, which had lower IMRs than India (24 compared to 28), now have higher life expectancy at birth of 72.1 and 70.5 respectively, according to the UN’s Human Development Report, 2019.

Life Expectancy is one of the most important and most used indicators for human development. It helps in assessing the overall health of the population. It captures mortality along the entire life course, very different from infant and child mortality. There has been an unprecedented increase in life expectancy due to better availability of medicines, technology and treatments.

While like other nations, life expectancy in India has improved in general, there is a huge gap in data between people from different social and economic groups. As India moves ahead with the idea of Universal Health Coverage, it is important to address the pressing need of giving attention to the health of marginalized populations in India.

Disparities in mortality and morbidity among various social-economic categories have existed in India for several decades. A study published in 2020 in BMJ which analyzed data from National Family Health Survey Round IV (2015-16) showed that the life expectancy of SCs, STs and OBCs were lower than other higher caste individuals.

This was common across both males and females. NFHS-IV data also showed that Muslim female life expectancy was 69.4 years, 2.8 years less than Hindu high caste female life expectancy, and Muslim male life expectancy was 66.8 years, 2.6 years less than high caste male life expectancy.

Furthermore, compared to upper-caste Hindus and other backward castes (OBCs), Adivasis die four years earlier, Dalits three years earlier. This data is from a new 2022 study that looked into Social disadvantage, economic inequality, and life expectancy in nine Indian states. It was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

In absolute terms, the disparities in life expectancy between higher-caste Hindus and life expectancies of Adivasis and Dalits are comparable to the Black-White gap in the United States. To no surprise, another study concluded that individuals with a family income of Rs 50000 had more than double the mortality rate than those with an income of more than Rs 1 lakh.

American India Foundation Raises $2.5 Million In New York Gala

After more than two years of virtual events during the pandemic, the American India Foundation (AIF) returned to hosting its annual New York gala this year to a sold-out crowd of over 600 guests at the American Museum of Natural History June 2, 2022.

The event celebrated AIF’s achievements over the last 20 years and honored the philanthropic accomplishments of Arvind Krishna, chairman and CEO of IBM, a press release from AIF said.

The AIF’s NY Tri-State Board—co-chaired by Jay Tambe and Niharika Cabiallavetta—and emceed by Ali Velshi of MSNBC and Reena Ninan of CNN, the evening spotlighted the success and impact of AIF’s Digital Equalizer (DE) program across India—especially with girls in government-run middle and high schools—transforming students’ STEM skills, confidence, and determination to master technology and stay in school through the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Generously supported by IBM and other partners for many years, the Digital Equalizer program provides and integrates technology into underperforming, under-resourced public schools, training teachers in techno-pedagogy and STEM methodology, and transforming classrooms into collaborative and interactive places for students to learn, while preparing them for success in the 21st century global economy.

The government schools engaged in the DE program show improved learning outcomes in STEM subjects alongside a marked increase in the utilization of technology for teachers and students. IBM’s partnership with AIF focuses particularly on STEM education for girls to narrow the digital divide and increase the number of girls in STEM careers over time, the press release said.

Digital Equalizer is a cornerstone of AIF’s mid- and long-term COVID-19 relief work. During the prolonged lockdowns related to the pandemic, AIF observed widespread learning regression, increasing dropout rates, and widening of the already sizable digital divide, especially for girls. With schools reopened AIF is making up for lost time, working with students on their grade level competencies, motivating them to stay in school, and providing them with the tools and skills to succeed, the organization said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of IBM’s partnership with AIF to catalyze social and economic change in India. Among the most pressing challenges facing our society today is closing the STEM skills gap, which holds back both technological and socioeconomic progress. We must take big and bold steps to expand access to digital skills so that more people—regardless of their background—can take advantage of the digital economy,” said Arvind Krishna, as he addressed the gathering.

“That’s why we engage with governments at the highest levels—and with committed partners like AIF—to improve access to the education and skills needed for modern, rewarding jobs. In fact, IBM has committed to providing 30 million people of all ages with critical skills by 2030, as part of our global education programs like IBM SkillsBuild,” Krishna said to widespread applause.

After undertaking significant life-saving relief efforts in India during the COVID-19 crisis, AIF is now focused on rebuilding the lives of those suffering from the more medium-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis across its programmatic verticals—education, health, and livelihoods, the organization said. In the education vertical DE plays a crucial role in keeping children, especially girls, in school and supporting teachers in imparting quality STEM education to prepare them for careers in tomorrow’s world, AIF noted.

At the June 2 gala, two inspiring stories of young girls who were able to stay in school thanks to AIF’s DE Program—Archana Nishad, a 10th grade student from Uttarakhand and Navpreet Kaur, a 9th grade student from Punjab.Their stories highlighted two markedly different scenarios. Archana had lost her father at a young age and wanted to drop out of school during the pandemic to help her mother run the household. However, her mother’s encouragement, as well as the support of her teachers and the DE facilitator turned her into a finalist at a National Drone and Satellite event.

In Navpreet’s case, Her father, grappling with financial issues, was the one who wanted her to drop out because of his lack of faith in her ability to succeed in learning, AIF said. It was the young girl’s grit and the DE team’s support that led her to be a winner at the codeathon championship and that changed her father’s mind. Both girls are flourishing in school and determined to stay that way, AIF noted.

Founded in 2001 at the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a request from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, AIF said it has impacted the lives of 12.9 million of India’s poor in 31 states and union territories. Its vision is to catalyze social and economic change in India and build a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development, with a particular emphasis on empowering girls and women to achieve gender equity. It works closely with local communities and partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact.

FIA Wants To Create History During India’s Independence Day Parade In New York

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S., has announced it is eyeing two Guinness World Records relating to the India Day Parade held annually in August this year in New York City.

Ankur Vaidya, chairman of FIA announced this during a press conference held on June 1, 2022 at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. The FIA delegation was led by Ankur Vaidya, chairman of the organization and several of its executive team members.

The press conference was attended by several leading members of the sports and entertainment world, the FIA said, including Sumit Das, Piyush Chawla, Sameep Shastri, Kapil Gupta, Bipin Babu, and Renu Hussain among others.

At the press conference, FIA gave details about the Aug. 21, 2022, India Day Parade festivities in Manhattan, considered the largest such event outside India,  where the two Guinness Records being aimed at include – 1. Most flags flown in an outdoor event; and 2. Largest Damru (2-headed drum) ensemble.

The delegation also met elected officials of India in their Parliamentary offices in South and North Blocks, presenting them souvenirs and brochures, bouquets and shawls. Among those they met were India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

US Files Charges Against Indian Gang Preying On Senior Citizens

The US Department of Justice announced that an Indian has been charged in a continuing crackdown on a gang from India that preyed on the elderly with fraud and physical threats.

The Southern Texas Federal Prosecutor Jennifer Lowery announced that the Indian citizen Anirudh Kalkote, 24, has been charged in a large nationwide conspiracy involving at least five people to commit fraud against the elderly.

He was in custody in Virginia and brought to Houston to appear in court, the Justice Department said. Also charged with him is MD Azad, 25, an illegal migrant living in Houston, who had been arrested in August 2020, the Department said. Azad’s nationality was not disclosed.

They are charged with participating during 2019-2020 in a fraud ring which operated from several cities including Houston and targeted the elderly, according to the department.

Three Indians living illegally in the Houston area, Sumit Kumar Singh, 24, Himanshu Kumar, 24, and MD Hasib, 26, have already admitted in court to being guilty of participating in the fraud scheme and are awaiting sentencing, the Justice Department said.

“The ring tricked and deceived victims using various ruses and instructed them to send money.”

They allegedly used many techniques and one of them was to trick the victims into believing their computers needed fixing and pretended to be tech support to get access to their machines and collect personal information and bank and credit card data, according to the Department.

Another was to tell the victims that they had overpaid for their services and claiming to make a refund get access to their bank and credit card accounts and manipulate them to show excess refunds.

The members of the ring would then allegedly ask the victims to make up for the non-existent overpayment by sending money through Western Union or MoneyGram, or through gift cards or by mailing cash to alias names via FedEx or United Parcel Service, according to the Department.

They threatened bodily harm if the victims did not pay up, it added.

United Christian Forum Alarmed At Sharp Rise In Violence Against Churches And Worshippers In India

The United Christian Forum (UCF) has demanded urgent judicial and government intervention to check the rapid rise in incidents of violence, coercion and false arrests, traumatising the community. This persecution is most acute in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka; the UCF said citing data collected from its National Helpline Number 1800-208-4545 and human rights groups.

Though the year 2022 is not even halfway over, there already have been 207 cases of violence.  Just in May this year, we recorded 57 cases.  In 2021, UCF had documented 505 cases, with Christmas seeing 16 acts of violence, including desecration and breaking of statues of Jesus Christ at a historic church in Haryana.

“This data flies in the face of statements by government functionaries and leaders of the ruling parties at the centre and in the states that there is no persecution, and that there are only a few stray incidents by fringe elements”, UCF National President Michael Williams said.

It is ironic that the culprits, many of whom film their acts of vandalism and physical violence on unarmed women and men, seem to defy the law; peaceful pastors and others are arrested on charges of “conversion” during routine prayer services. In all such cases, the police is either a mute spectator, or an active participant in the persecution. Despite our appeals to senior officials and administrators, the police have failed to follow protocol, rules, and investigations.

January 40
Feb 35
March 33
April 40
May 57
Total 207

More than one incident has taken place each day so far in 2022. There were 40 incidents in January, 35 in February, 33 in March, 40 in April and nearly double in May with 57 incidents in 31 days with almost 2 incidents a day. There were 48 incidents in Uttar Pradesh, 44 in Chhattisgarh, 23 in Jharkhand and 14 in Madhya Pradesh.  As the new anti-conversion ordinance is implemented in Karnataka, 6 cases were reported from the state.

Other than physical assaults, incidents include brutality against women, vandalism, forcible closure of churches, disruption of Sunday prayers and social ostracization which is most visible in small towns and villages.

We cite two cases from Chhattisgarh and one from Uttar Pradesh as illustrative of the persecution of Christians.

On 2nd May, in Bastar district, a 65-year-old Christian woman and her son were threatened with a social boycott by the panchayat if they professed the Christian faith. The two maintained they were Christians and would remain so. At this, they were attacked and severely injured. The woman sustained multiple injuries, including a wound on the head, and had to be hospitalised. A complaint has been filed before the Superintendent of Police and the District Collector.

On 31st May, in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh, a pastor was conducting a prayer service when a mob barged in, dragged him out, beat him up, saying he was converting people. The police, rather than acting against the assailants, arrested the pastor, booking him u/s 295A IPC (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings). He remained behind bars until his bail on 3rd June 2022.

ABOUT UCF TOLL-FREE HELPLINE NUMBER

2014 127
2015 142
2016 226
2017 248
2018 292
2019 328
2020 279
2021 505
2022 207

UCF toll-free helpline number: 1-800-208-4545 was launched on 19th January 2015 with the aim of upholding fundamental freedom and promotion of values of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity of India. The helpline helps people in distress, especially those who are not aware of the law of the land and the system by guiding them how to reach out to the public authorities and by providing the way to legal remedies.

As per the records of UCF, there were 127 incidents in 2014, 142 in 2015, 226 in 2016, 248 in 2017, 292 in 2018, 328 in 2019, 2020 in 279 (perhaps pandemic gave some relief to Indian Christians), and 505 incidents in 2021 and year 2022 so far till the end of May have witnessed 207 incidents in 151 days.

GOPIO-CT Participates In The Hope In Motion Fundraiser To Help Cancer Patients

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) has been participating in the Annual Hope in Motion Walk and Run Fundraiser to help cancer patients at the Stamford Hospital for the last 12 years.  Now in its 27th year, the Hope in Motion Walk event continues to raise the funds necessary to provide a broad range of supportive services at no charge to those cancer patients in need.

This year’s program on Sunday June 5th was held as a hybrid with limited physical presence. Over 500 people gathered at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center to raise funds for cancer patients who rely on Stamford Health’s important services. The proceeds from the event were donated to the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Health.

 GOPIO-CT donated about $2,300 this year with physical presence of seven of its members.

Stamford Health Foundation has helped needy cancer patients during and after cancer treatments. Over the last 16 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. The chapter financially supports several service organizations in Connecticut.

The ASHA Workers Won A Huge WHO Honor. They’d Like A Raise, Too

India’s task force of over a million female health-care workers has won a prestigious award from one of the highest institutions in global health. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a cash prize. “Awards don’t fill stomachs,” says Archana Ghugare, 42, a health-care worker from Pavnar, a village in the state of Maharashtra.

Ghugare works as an ASHA, short for Accredited Social Health Activists. It’s a program run by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that provides health care to rural and low-income communities in the country. They are not medical professionals but are entrusted with a long list of crucial health-care responsibilities, from advising new mothers about breastfeeding to raising awareness about COVID vaccines.

On May 22, the ASHA workers were named one of six recipients of the World Health Organization’s Global Health Leaders Awards — sharing the honor with such luminaries as the late Dr. Paul Farmer. The annual prize, created in 2019, recognizes individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to global health.

But while an honor is satisfying, the pay for these workers is not. They earn around $60 a month on average and have few benefits. In recent years, the government has raised monthly pay by a few tens of dollars, but workers say this is still too low. Many ASHAs, as the workers are known, and those in the global health community hope this moment can put pressure on the government to bump up their salaries, among other job improvements.

Indeed, pay equity has been an ongoing issue. Over the past two years, ASHAs across India have held several protests, including one during the pandemic in 2020, demanding better wages and safer working environments.

“Let’s hope the award draws attention to their working conditions,” tweeted Jim Campbell, director of the WHO’s Health Workforce program.

Despite their dissatisfaction with pay, many ASHAs take great pride in their work. True to the spirit of their acronym (asha means “hope” in some Indian languages), the workers represent hope for better health care, particularly for many of India’s underserved populations.

NPR spoke to three ASHAs about their day-to-day tasks and aspirations — and their reaction to the WHO honor.

‘We aren’t asking for much’

Ramrati Chauhan, a community health worker from the city of Palwal, keeps a diary of inspiring stories about the people she’s helped. She reads it when she feels disheartened about her job.

Ramrati Chauhan, a 42-year-old ASHA from the city of Palwal in Haryana state, says she gets very attached to the pregnant women she assists.

One time, a woman suddenly went into labor. Chauhan, who is not a midwife, couldn’t reach the woman in time to get her to a hospital — and the woman lost her baby due to complications. “I felt deep remorse” for not being able to help her, says Chauhan.

So when the woman became pregnant again, Chauhan made sure to visit her every day for the entire nine months of her pregnancy — and counseled her repeatedly about childbearing do’s and don’ts. There were complications during that delivery too — but this time Chauhan was there to get the woman to the hospital on time, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

“When I pass their house now, the woman points to me and tells her son, ‘That’s your mother too. She saved your life,’ ” says Chauhan. Chauhan says she writes down important moments like these in a diary to read when she feels disheartened about her job.

“We have to struggle [with the government] to get a raise of even $20 to $25” a month, she says. She currently makes about $100 a month. Payment varies across states and depends on how many additional duties a worker carries out.

And when the pandemic first started, she says the government didn’t give her much safety equipment — even though she had to check on people who had tested positive for COVID. “We sewed our own masks,” she says.

The WHO award isn’t a first for ASHAs, says Chauhan, adding that local governments and municipalities have honored them several times. True recognition, she says, would be if the government recognizes ASHAs as full time workers instead of volunteers, and provides them with a steady salary, pension and other benefits.

“We aren’t asking for much,” Chauhan says. “Only what is commensurate with our hard work.”

‘People trust me because I’m an ASHA worker’

When the ASHA program began in 2005, the health workers were envisaged as volunteers working about 2 to 3 hours a day and a bit extra on some days, according to the National Health Mission, a program that’s part of India’s Ministry of Health. But over the years, ASHAs say their responsibilities have increased multifold.

At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Archana Ghugare says she was working 14 hours a day. And even today, she’s got a full workload. She’s been going door-to-door to identify people in the community who have a variety of medical needs, from pregnant people to kids under the age of 14 eligible for COVID vaccinations.

“If the government is getting so many things done from us, shouldn’t we get something in return?” asks Ghugare. Payments are frequently late, she says, sometimes by as much as 6 months. She’s worried about how she’ll pay for the education of her two daughters, one of whom has a speech and hearing disability.

In tough times Ghugare tries to remember why she started doing this job in the first place. Several years ago, a dying HIV-positive woman told Ghugare her last wish — for Ghugare to take care of her young daughter. After the woman’s death, Ghugare didn’t adopt or raise her, but gathered donations from villagers to fund the girl’s education. Now she’s 22 and studying to be a nurse, says Ghugare. “People trust me because I’m an ASHA worker, and that trust shouldn’t be broken,” she says.

‘We are being exploited’

Veena Dyani says there’s so much work she has to do as an ASHA that she sometimes asks her older children to help her complete her paperwork.  Veena Dyani, a 37-year-old ASHA from Nainidanda at the foot of the Himalayas, has a packed schedule.

Her day typically starts at 4 a.m. After preparing meals for her three older children and her in-laws who live with her, she sets out for home visits. Routine duties include weighing newborns and handing out vitamin and folic acid tablets to pregnant women.

To do her job, she sometimes has to enlist the aid of others. In the hilly jungles around Dyani’s remote village, there’s risk of attacks by wild animals. So whenever she has to walk through the woods to visit households on the other side, she pays a villager from her own pocket to accompany her for safety.

And if her kids don’t have schoolwork, they help out, too. At the end of the workday, Dyani has to organize the data she’s collected on her patients — what ailments they have, what treatments they need and demographic details, for example. Her children, ages 15, 17 and 20, sometimes write the data in notebooks to be submitted to her bosses.

Lately, her boss has been asking her to file this information online and take photos of the health-care meetings she holds in the community.

This frustrates her. “How [are we supposed to] do this online work? Not all ASHAs have money to buy a good enough smartphone,” says Dyani, who uses a basic cellphone. Only some states provide ASHAs with smartphones. Many years ago a politician in her state had promised to provide tablets to the ASHAs — but that hasn’t happened, she says.

To make matters worse, the last time she received a payment, about $65, was in February. She’s a widow, so she really needs the money to support her family.

“We are being exploited,” she says, adding that she could probably make more as a day laborer. But she sticks around, she says, because she likes the work.

When news of the WHO award broke, her WhatsApp group of ASHAs lit up with congratulatory messages. Recognition or no recognition, she says she will continue to do her job — and raise her voice for her rights. “The ASHA herself [can’t] lose hope,” she says.

Firearms Are Leading Cause of Death Among U.S. Youth

Newswise — Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents 0-19 years of age, with a staggering 83 percent increase in youth firearm fatalities over the past decade, according to a commentary published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. Nearly two-thirds of youth firearm deaths were from homicides. Strikingly, Black youth had an unprecedented 40 percent increase in firearm fatalities between 2019 to 2020.

These tragic statistics come in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Texas earlier this week, pointing to the urgent need to take action to prevent more youth from dying by firearms.

“We must reverse this deeply troubling and unacceptable trend in youth firearm fatalities, especially among youth of color,” said co-author Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician and Medical Director of Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Professor of Pediatrics, Medical Education and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We need more funding allocated to research-based prevention efforts so that we can save young lives before it’s too late.”

The authors also note that although firearm fatality rates started to rise in 2014, the dramatic societal upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic likely accelerated this increase with the escalation of mental health stressors and existential despair experienced by youth. The seismic shift in youths’ lives during the pandemic occurred in the context of a decades’ long void of prevention efforts to decrease firearm injuries and deaths.

After Congress passed the Dickey Amendment in 1996, federal funding of firearm research was effectively halted, until 2019 when $25 million in research funding was appropriated. This pales in comparison to research funding for other pediatric diseases and does not meet the current needs to advance the field. Congress has continued to fund firearm research at this same level for the last three years, while studies estimate that $600 million should be appropriated in fiscal years 2022-2026 for data infrastructure and research funding for firearm injury prevention research.

“In addition to better understanding the risk and protective factors for firearm injuries and deaths, more funding is essential to develop, implement, and evaluate firearm injury prevention interventions at the individual, hospital, community, and policy levels,” said co-author Samaa Kemal, MD, MPH, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Lurie Children’s.

Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Emergency medicine-focused research at Lurie Children’s is conducted through the Grainger Research Program in Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

Counting Gun Deaths In The U.S.

More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record, according to recently published statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That included a record number of gun murders, as well as a near-record number of gun suicides. Despite the increase in such fatalities, the rate of gun deaths – a statistic that accounts for the nation’s growing population – remains below the levels of earlier years.

Here’s a closer look at gun deaths in the United States, based on a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the CDC, the FBI and other sources. You can also read key public opinion findings about U.S. gun violence and gun policy in our recent roundup.

How we did this

How many people die from gun-related injuries in the U.S. each year?

In 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC. That figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three other, less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were unintentional, those that involved law enforcement and those whose circumstances could not be determined. The total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries played a contributing, but not principal, role. (CDC fatality statistics are based on information contained in official death certificates, which identify a single cause of death.)

What share of U.S. gun deaths are murders and what share are suicides?

Though they tend to get less public attention than gun-related murders, suicides have long accounted for the majority of U.S. gun deaths. In 2020, 54% of all gun-related deaths in the U.S. were suicides (24,292), while 43% were murders (19,384), according to the CDC. The remaining gun deaths that year were unintentional (535), involved law enforcement (611) or had undetermined circumstances (400).

What share of all murders and suicides in the U.S. involve a gun?

Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) U.S. murders in 2020 – 19,384 out of 24,576 – involved a firearm. That marked the highest percentage since at least 1968, the earliest year for which the CDC has online records. A little over half (53%) of all suicides in 2020 – 24,292 out of 45,979 – involved a gun, a percentage that has generally remained stable in recent years.

How has the number of U.S. gun deaths changed over time?

The 45,222 total gun deaths in 2020 were by far the most on record, representing a 14% increase from the year before, a 25% increase from five years earlier and a 43% increase from a decade prior.

Gun murders, in particular, have climbed sharply in recent years. The 19,384 gun murders that took place in 2020 were the most since at least 1968, exceeding the previous peak of 18,253 recorded by the CDC in 1993. The 2020 total represented a 34% increase from the year before, a 49% increase over five years and a 75% increase over 10 years.

The number of gun suicides has also risen in recent years – climbing 10% over five years and 25% over 10 years – and is near its highest point on record. The 24,292 gun suicides that took place in 2020 were the most in any year except 2018, when there were 24,432.

How has the rate of U.S. gun deaths changed over time?

While 2020 saw the highest total number of gun deaths in the U.S., this statistic does not take into account the nation’s growing population. On a per capita basis, there were 13.6 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2020 – the highest rate since the mid-1990s, but still well below the peak of 16.3 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 1974.

The gun murder and gun suicide rates in the U.S. both remain below their peak levels. There were 6.2 gun murders per 100,000 people in 2020, below the rate of 7.2 recorded in 1974. And there were 7.0 gun suicides per 100,000 people in 2020, below the rate of 7.7 measured in 1977. (One caveat when considering the 1970s figures: In the CDC’s database, gun murders and gun suicides between 1968 and 1978 are classified as those caused by firearms and explosives. In subsequent years, they are classified as deaths involving firearms only.)

Which states have the highest and lowest gun death rates in the U.S.?

The rate of gun fatalities varies widely from state to state. In 2020, the states with the highest rates of gun-related deaths – counting murders, suicides and all other categories tracked by the CDC – included Mississippi (28.6 per 100,000 people), Louisiana (26.3), Wyoming (25.9), Missouri (23.9) and Alabama (23.6). The states with the lowest rates included New York (5.3), Rhode Island (5.1), New Jersey (5.0), Massachusetts (3.7) and Hawaii (3.4).

How does the gun death rate in the U.S. compare with other countries?

The gun death rate in the U.S. is much higher than in most other nations, particularly developed nations. But it is still far below the rates in several Latin American countries, according to a 2018 study of 195 countries and territories by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The U.S. gun death rate was 10.6 per 100,000 people in 2016, the most recent year in the study, which used a somewhat different methodology from the CDC. That was far higher than in countries such as Canada (2.1 per 100,000) and Australia (1.0), as well as European nations such as France (2.7), Germany (0.9) and Spain (0.6). But the rate in the U.S. was much lower than in El Salvador (39.2 per 100,000 people), Venezuela (38.7), Guatemala (32.3), Colombia (25.9) and Honduras (22.5), the study found. Overall, the U.S. ranked 20th in its gun fatality rate that year.

How many people are killed in mass shootings in the U.S. every year?

This is a difficult question to answer because there is no single, agreed-upon definition of the term “mass shooting.” Definitions can vary depending on factors including the number of victims and the circumstances of the shooting.

The FBI collects data on “active shooter incidents,” which it defines as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” Using the FBI’s definition, 38 people – excluding the shooters – died in such incidents in 2020.

The Gun Violence Archive, an online database of gun violence incidents in the U.S., defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people are shot, even if no one was killed (again excluding the shooters). Using this definition, 513 people died in these incidents in 2020.

Regardless of the definition being used, fatalities in mass shooting incidents in the U.S. account for a small fraction of all gun murders that occur nationwide each year.

How has the number of mass shootings in the U.S. changed over time?

Striving to arrive at an exact number of mass shooting fatalities comes into play when trying to determine the frequency of U.S. mass shootings over time. The unpredictability of these incidents also complicates matters: As Rand Corp. noted in a research brief, “Chance variability in the annual number of mass shooting incidents makes it challenging to discern a clear trend, and trend estimates will be sensitive to outliers and to the time frame chosen for analysis.”

The FBI found an increase in active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2020. There were three such incidents in 2000; by 2020, that figure had increased to 40.

Which types of firearms are most commonly used in gun murders in the U.S.?

In 2020, handguns were involved in 59% of the 13,620 U.S. gun murders and non-negligent manslaughters for which data is available, according to the FBI. Rifles – the category that includes guns sometimes referred to as “assault weapons” – were involved in 3% of firearm murders. Shotguns were involved in 1%. The remainder of gun homicides and non-negligent manslaughters (36%) involved other kinds of firearms or those classified as “type not stated.”

It’s important to note that the FBI’s statistics do not capture the details on all gun murders in the U.S. each year. The FBI’s data is based on information voluntarily submitted by police departments around the country, and not all agencies participate or provide complete information each year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahavir Jayanti, Lord Mahavir’s 2620th Birth Anniversary Held In New York

The International Ahimsa Foundation Inc. and Consulate General of India, NY hosted Mahavir Jayanti, Lord Mahavir’s 2620th birth anniversary on May 15th, 2022. The event also celebrated organization’s 10th anniversary and India’s yearlong initiative-Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of India’s independence. “The program was attended by more than 200 people,” Dr. Neeta Jain, founder and president of IAF told. “ Many people watched the live coverage on television downstairs because there was no more space left upstairs ” she added.

The event was attended by many dignitaries, elected officials and community leaders such as Consul General of India Ho. Randhir Jaiswal, Hon.  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Hon. Congresswoman Grace Meng, Hon. Assembalyman David Weprin, Deputy Consul General of Isreal Hon. Isreal Nitzan, Democratict District Leader Shimi Pellman and Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, Professor of Religion Jeffrey Long from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. On behalf of new yorks city mayor eric adams A south Asian community lays on mr.rohan narain attending the event he presented the mayors proclamation to  Dr. Neeta Jain president of IAF for promoting non violence and peace and he also declared may 15th, as internatiol ahimsa day in new York city. New Board of Director Dr. Ravi Goyal and new Vice President Amarjyoti Jain were introduced by the President and Founder Dr. Neeta Jain.

A trailer of the movie “Tirthankar Mahavir, Ahimsa-the Ultimate Dharma” Directed by Surbhi Pandya and Produced by Digambar Jain Sangh of Northern California on the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir was played for the scores of attendees at the event.

Dr. Jain dwelt on Lord Mahavir who was born in 599 B.C. during the program entitled, “Non-Violence “A Message of Lord Mahavir” on this his 2,620th birth anniversary. She noted the 5 basic principles of Jainism – Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-control, and non-possession. She stressed on teaching children the 5 Jain principles to make the world a better place. She also said the Lord Mahavir is the one who told the wotld that “Non-Violence is the Supreme Religon”

On this occasion of organization’s 10th anniversary three people were honored with “Ahimsa Award”for their extra ordinary contributions to society–  Mr.Haridas Kotahwala in business field, Dr. Subhash Jain in medical field and Prof. Jeffery Long in education field who was also a Guest Speaker “All three honorees are purveyors of peace and align with our mission to spread Lord Mahavir’s message of “Live and Let Live,” Dr. Jainsaid. Dr. Parikh thanked those present and thanked Dr. Jain for the honor of speaking. “Lord Mahavir message was very simple, do not harm plants, animals and human beings,” Dr.  Poarikh said.

Congresswoman gave her condolences to 10 African Americans massacre in Buffalo by an 18 year old White man and also expressed her condolences for 27 people who died in a fire accident in India”. “It is so important for us to stand together as diverse communities against violence” Rep. Meng said. Consul General Jaiswal also said that “ Mahavir’s message of Non-violence is more relevant in today’s time.”

Sister Sabita from Brahma Kumaris at U.N. led the gathering in a moment of contemplation and meditation through breathing exercises. Ambassador Nitzan in his speech, also said on how leaders in several countries had followed the teachings of nonviolence and Ahimsa, which if adhered to by everyone, would not lead to tragedies like the killings in Buffalo or the war in Ukraine. Consul General Jaiswal said he has a special connection to Lord Mahavir because he was born in the same town, Trishala, in Bihar. The Consulate celebrates Mahavir Jayanti every year, he noted, but this year it was even more important as it was part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, India’s 75th independence year. “Walk on the path of Lord Mahavir so that we can build a better world to live.

The International Ahimsa Foundation Inc., was founded in 2012 with the goal of spreading the message of non-violence and peace based on Jain teachings throughout the world. The foundation’s mission has been to promote nonviolence and peace teachings in thought and action across cultures through discourse, peace-building activities, and civic involvement. The foundation wants to inspire students and the general public to participate in making the world a better place

Event was Emceed by Aditi Lamba and started with the National Anthem sung by Michelle Della Fave, Indian National Anthem – Dr. Smita Guha, Performance: Meri Bhavana (My Musings Directed by Surbhi Pandya performed by Ishita Bansa; Maahir Kasliwal, Anusha Pandya,

Sunidhi Ajmera, Hitasha Kasliwal, Vivaan Pandya, Dr. Joel Levine,Peace dance was performed by Angela Tettey and Diana Tettey, Navakar mantra and patriotic performance by Angel Shah and finale performance was Directed by Shilpa Mithaiwalaand performed by Eesha Butani, Saira Chabria, Maalika Mehta, Saanvi Sharma, Nishi Sheth, Angel Shah

Rhythm Dance Academy. Mr. Rajeev Pandya Chair, Advisory Board of IAF thanked all the sponsors, media partners and volumteers. At the end Jain lunch was served for attendees!

CRY America’s “Heroes For Life” Gala Raises $1 Million

Call it the most “feel-good” road movie yet to be made: A Bollywood heartthrob and a salt-of-the-earth social reformer from rural India race coast-to-coast via plane, train and automobile on a two-week fundraising mission benefiting kids in post-pandemic India.

“Heroes for Life,” Child Rights and You (CRY) America’s annual gala series, returned after a two-year pandemic break to honor the organization’s U.S.-based donors and field workers across 30 CRY America-supported projects in villages and slums throughout India.
The gala series ran from May 14-22, with sold-out events in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, New York City and Houston, with a virtual event in Seattle, a press release from the organization said.

This year’s fundraising total smashed previous records, raising over $1 million.
CRY America is a 501c3 registered nonprofit that supports projects in India and the U.S. with a mission to ensure access to education and healthcare for underprivileged children, as well as protection from child labor, early marriage and trafficking.

The galas featured veteran Bollywood actor Vivek Anand Oberoi (“Saathiya”, Amazon’s Emmy-nominated “Inside Edge”) as celebrity guest who spoke about the importance of supporting the cause of children. Lalithamma, director of People’s Organization for Rural Development (PORD), a CRY America-supported project in Andhra Pradesh shared her work during the pandemic.  \The pandemic took a particularly cruel toll among underprivileged communities in India, the press release said, adding that with the ongoing lockdowns and school closings, child marriage, trafficking and child labor rates spiked, accompanied by increased incidence of malnutrition, gaps in learning, and abuse of girl children.

CRY America CEO Shefali Sunderlal noted that project workers were given special permissions by the Indian government as essential workers during the pandemic and they went the extra mile to ensure that challenges faced by their communities and children were addressed, while CRY America’s donors maintained their funding support unabated throughout the crisis.“We had to pivot from our regular plans for the year and get a grasp on what was happening in the field where our project partners work,” said Sunderlal at the May 20, 2022, New York gala, held at the Taj Pierre.

Oberoi brought star power and charisma to the CRY Gala event series, making his grand entrance nightly with a bevy of dancers and select hit songs from his 20-year film career. In addition to making a special address to the attendees, he led the evening’s pledge sessions, telling stories about the importance of philanthropy and appreciating the donors with personal thanks and photo ops.

Oberoi cited his mother’s dedication as a palliative care worker as inspiration for his long track record of philanthropy, which he termed as “karmic investment”.
“The world is full of two kinds of people – those who need help, and those who can help,” said Oberoi, closing his New York City remarks. “Every time you find yourself among those who can help, you need to count your blessings. Heroes like Lalithamma and CRY do all the hard work; we write the checks, and we share in that karmic capital.” Dubbed a “superhero in a sari,” by Oberoi, PORD director J. Lalithamma took the stage nightly to share her story from growing up as a victim of gender discrimination herself to her work today to empower girls in her district.

Lalithamma founded PORD in 1992 to focus on girls’ education as a means of preventing early marriage. She shared the compelling journey of Revathi, a child who benefited from PORD’s help. Today, Revathi works at (India technology company) Wipro, and devotes herself to hygiene programs among girls.
As no gala would be complete without glitz, music, and dance, the series featured Bollywood dance performances, musical numbers and comedians across the cities. All galas ended with guests taking to the dance floor in celebration to the jubilant beats of current and classic Bollywood hits.

At Indian American Impact Summit, Kamala Harris Calls On South Asians To “Continue To Lead With Conviction, Continue To Strive To Do The Impossible”

Vice President Kamala Harris praised Indian-Americans for providing leadership in the country and engaging political system at the Indian American Impact Project summit and gala held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Indian American Impact Project hosted a first of its kind ‘Dream with Ambition’ summit and gala with a call by Vice President Kamala Harris to “continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible.”

The event, which began May 18, 2022, was attended by more than 300 prominent community members including celebrities, politicians, philanthropists and organizers in a first-of-its- kind event by Impact during AAPI Heritage Month, a press release from Impact said.

In her pre-recorded speech played on May 18, Harris recalled her mother’s work in cancer research and how she and her sister were taught to “Dream with Ambition,” by their mother.

“Every day, in communities across our nation, you are advancing equality, opportunity and justice. You are inspiring the next generation of leaders, and in particular — the next generation of South Asian leaders,” Harris lauded the attendees.

“Today my message to you is this — let us always remember, what brought us to this moment and continue to dream with ambition, continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible. Because you, and we all, are standing on the shoulders of so many who came before, and living their dreams. Our nation is counting on you, on Impact, and all of us to lead us forward,” Harris said.

Besides Harris, all four Indian American US House members Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ami Bera as also celebrities, politicians, philanthropists and organizers attended.

The ‘Dream with Ambition’ summit was a successful educational experience for the guests as they explored the policy & advocacy and constituency subtopics of their choice, according to the release.

The event, it said, is Impact’s latest push to energize and prepare the largest growing voting bloc in the country — South Asians — to integrate into their communities with knowledge on running for office, combating misinformation, mobilizing locally and all the tools with which to lead.

“As you all know, when my mother was 19, she came to the United States from India to become a breast cancer researcher,” Harris, the first Indian American and first African American vice president recalled.

“She raised my sister and me to believe that we could be anything and do anything, if we set our minds to it. She taught us to ‘Dream with Ambition’ and so many of you gathered here today have something special in common. You see what can be unburdened by what has been.”

“Every day, in communities across our nation, you are advancing equality, opportunity and justice. You are inspiring the next generation of leaders, and in particular — the next generation of South Asian leaders,” Harris said.

“Today my message to you is this — let us always remember, what brought us to this moment and continue to dream with ambition, continue to lead with conviction, continue to strive to do the impossible.”

“Because you, and we all, are standing on the shoulders of so many who came before, and living their dreams,” Harris said. “Our nation is counting on you, on Impact, and all of us to lead us forward.”

“Historically, South Asians have been overlooked, underestimated, and underrepresented politically,” said Indian American Impact executive-director Neil Makhija.

“But after witnessing so many community members and future leaders come together this week, it is clear that is a thing of the past,” he said. “At Impact, it is crucial for us to empower young South Asians to mobilize their friends and families to get involved in the political process.”

“As the fastest growing voting bloc in the country, we have strength in numbers and the future of the Democratic party needs to be reflective of the communities they serve.”

“The significance of this event was made possible by our extensive panel of guest speakers and attendees,” Makhija said. “Countless voices this week proved that our community is stronger when we collaborate and celebrate our intersectionality. It’s incredibly encouraging to imagine the possibilities for our collective futures.”

Policy sessions during the Summit including the Climate Crisis, Healthcare Access and Equity, Civil Rights and Voting Rights, and Educational Equity.

After lunch, sessions on women leaders, running for office, combating misinformation, youth leaders mobilizing the pan-South Asian community,

Organizers said in a press release that the event is Impact’s latest push to energize and prepare the largest growing voting bloc in the country — South Asians—and to raise awareness on how to join the political system.

Neil Makhija, executive director of Indian-American Impact contended that historically, South Asians had been overlooked, underestimated, and underrepresented politically, “But after witnessing so many community members and future leaders come together this week, it is clear that is a thing of the past.”

The Summit, he noted was significant because of the high profile lineup of speakers and attendees.

“Countless voices this week proved that our community is stronger when we collaborate and celebrate our intersectionality. It’s incredibly encouraging to imagine the possibilities for our collective futures,” Makhija said.

“Thank you to the Indian American Impact Project for inviting me to take part in their panel discussion on the importance of representation and public service, as well as the pressing issues that our country faces today,” Rep. Krishnamoorthi tweeted May 18.

IAPC Organizes Induction Of The New BOD And National EC And Awards Ceremony At Indian Consulate In New York

The Indo-American Press Club, the largest organization of Indian descent journalists and media persons working across North America, organized the swearing-in ceremony and inauguration of new office bearers on Saturday, May 21st during a solemn induction ceremony, organized at the Indian Consulate in New York.

Kamlesh C. Mehta was administered the oath of office as the Chairman of the IAPC Board of Directors by Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York, while Ginson Zachariah, Founding Chairman of IAPC administered the oath to IAPC’s new President Aashmeeta Yogiraj, while IAPC General Secretary CG Daniel and several others were given the oath virtually.

Four distinguished and accomplished community leaders/professionals were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Awards for their accomplishments and contributions to the larger society.

Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General, was the chief guest, while New York Mayor De Blasio was the Special Guest of Honor during the ceremony. Mayor De Blasio presented award to Pamela Kwatra, a trailblazer and the only Indian American woman recipient of the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor award in 2008, Pam Kwatra. She has a proud record of civic-social and professional accomplishments and recognition.

Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, the only 4th Woman elected to be the President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in its nearly four decades-long history was honored fgor her visionary leadership of AAPI benefitting AAPI members and the larger societies in India and the United States.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, who has been honored with the Bharatvanshi Gaurav Award of Anthar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for his services to the NRI/PIO communities for the last 49 years since he moved to New York as a graduate student at Columbia University, was another awardee whom IAPC honored today.

The other honoree whom IAPC recognized today was Sudhir M. Parikh, M.D., a physician by profession and currently the Chairman and Publisher of Parikh Worldwide Media Inc., the largest Indian-American publishing group in the United States, and Chairman of ITV Gold, a 24×7 TV news channel, and is one of the most honored Indian Americans with Padma Shri and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Special Recognition at the event was given to: Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York for his vision, dedication and community service; Mayor Bill De Blasio, Former Mayor Of New York City, for Excellence in Public Service and Leadership; Dr. Prabhakar Kore, Member of Parliament, India, for his distinguished services in Education and Public Services; and Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator For excellence in Community Service and leadership.

In his address, while highlighting the many recent initiatives of the Government of India to lead India to prosperity and strength, Ambassador Jaiswal praised IAPC for its “significant contribution to promoting India-US friendship and the welfare of Indian diaspora in the United States. It has brought together people from the diaspora media fraternity under a cohesive umbrella so that the voice of the community could be heard in a meaningful manner.

We look forward to their continued support to bring developments from India to the readers in the US and carry all the excitement from the United States to the people of India. I invite Indo American Press Club to join hands with us in celebrating [email protected], our Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. I wish the Club steady growth, progress and success,” he said.

Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, while congratulating Pam Kwatra on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, described her as a trailblazing businesswoman, a community leader, and a political force with executive chops. No wonder she worked with elan on important projects in my administration on my request.

I also came to know that her involvement with the community spans across culture, art & literature – preserving and promoting abroad the rich and varied culture of India.” While extending his greetings to IAPC, the Mayor said, “Congratulations are due to IAPC for doing a good job, to Kamlesh Mehta, its new Board Chairman, new committee members and all the honorees. We will continue to support this media organization.”

In his acceptance speech, Kamlesh Mehta said,  “These are unprecedented times for journalists and the media, when many have sacrificed their lives in the pandemic. At IAPC, we salute these brave men and women who risk their lives to bring to the world accurate reporting and being an effective voice of the media world.

IAPC envisages its vision through collective efforts and advocacy activities through its nearly one thousand members across the US and Canada, by being a link between the media fraternity and the world at large. We will work together with dedication to enhance the working conditions of our journalists, exchanging ideas and offering educational and training opportunities to our members, aspiring young journalists and media professionals around the globe.”

In her presidential address, Aashmeeta Yogiraj, Director – Programming & Marketing, JUS Broadcasting Corporation said, “I t is said that the media is the fourth pillar of democracy. Never was that statement truer than in the times we live in now. While media as an entity has certainly evolved to fit modern times, its invaluable service to society persists. As a member of the media, it is my honor to serve as President of the Indo-American Press Club. I look forward to furthering the principles of democracy alongside the rest of the IAPC leadership and team.” By becoming a member IAPC , she said,  You gain “access to a unique professional network, exclusive events with high-profile global influencers, cutting-edge Newswire services and an opportunity to network with others in the media industry.”

Ginsmon Zachariah, Founding Chair of IAPC BOD said, “Our homeland India is known to have a vibrant, active and free media, which plays a very vital role in the functioning and growth of the largest democracy in the world. And we recognize that as members of the media we have an important role to play in our adopted land. We are aware of our call to be a source of effective communication around the world. We as members of the media realize that we have a role to play in shaping our world to be a just and equitable place where everyone enjoys freedom and liberty.”

Providing the background to the formation of IAPC, Akay Ghosh, Founding President of IAPC  said, “We as individuals and corporations that represent the media world, consisting of print, visual, electronic and online, realize that we have a greater role to play. We have been working in this field for decades and often stand alone in a large media world. As individual members of the media, our voice is often drowned in the very large world of multi-media. We lack a collective voice to raise our voice, to pool our talents together and work as a cohesive group to reflect and respond to the challenges of the modern world. IAPC was  (IAPC), formed to fill this vacuum, and is committed to strive to be a common platform to raise the voice and explore the possibilities of helping shape the world to be a world that is fair, just and equitable for today and future generations.”

Eric Kumar, a major supporter to IAPC introduced Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In his address, he mentioned how closely Mayor Bill DeBlasio worked with the Indian American communities and made a law to support Ethnic Media. Famous Punjabi Singer Malkit Singh could not attend the event for delays in flight, he sent his gratitude for honoring him and best complements to IAPC for continued success.

The induction ceremony was attended by elite members and community leaders, including, Padma Shri Dr. Nori, Kenny Desai of FIA,  Girish Patel of BAPS, Girish Shah of Jain Samaj, Babu Stephen, former Chairman of IAPC, Shashi Malik of Long Island Association. Harish Thakkar of the American Indian Association, Ravi Bhooplapur of Xavier University,  Dr. Neeta Jain, Nilima Madan, Darshan Singh Bagga, Arvind Vora of Shanti Fund,  and Vipul Dev, the Consular  at CGI.

Parveen Chopra, past president of IAPC welcomed the audience. A souvenir with colorfully designed pages, depicting the history and objectives of IAPV, edited by Parveen Chopra and Dr. Mathew Joys was released.

A visual presentation of the Nine Years of IAPC history beautifully presented by Dr. Mathew Joys, IAPC BOD member from Las Vegas and Shan Justus from Texas provided a glimpse of the trajectory of IAPC’s growth since its inception in 2013. The closing ceremony included scintillating dances traditional folk dances and fast moving Bollywood dances by The Arya School of Dance and was followed by a sumptuous dinner. The hybrid event was also streamed simultaneously on social media platforms and watched live on YouTube by several members and supporters of IAPC.

WHO Honors 1 Million ASHA Volunteers

India’s one million all-women ASHA volunteers were honored by the World Health Organization on Sunday, May 21st for their “crucial role” in providing direct access to healthcare facilities in rural areas and their indefatigable efforts to rein in the coronavirus pandemic in the country. They were praised for their contributions in providing basic health care services to the rural population of India.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the group of over a million government volunteers, as one of the six recipients of the World Health Organization Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Awards recognizing their outstanding contributions to advancing global health, demonstrated leadership and commitment to regional health issues.

Dr Tedros decides on the awardees for the World Health Organisation Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Awards. The ceremony for the awards, which were established in 2019, was part of the live-streamed high-level opening session of the 75th World Health Assembly.

“Among the honorees is ASHA, which means hope in Hindi. The more than 1 million female volunteers in India were honored for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system, to ensure those living in rural poverty get access to primary health care services, as shown throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. PM Modi also hailed the selfless service of the Asha Volunteers and congratulated them as their efforts were recognized by WHO.

Accredited Social Health Activists — or ASHA volunteers — are Indian government’s affiliated health-care workers who are the first point of contact in rural India. Most of them gained spotlight during the peak of the pandemic in India for conducting door-to-door checks to trace coronavirus patients. ASHA – means ‘hope’ in Hindi. These health workers provide maternal care & immunization for children against vaccine-preventable diseases; community health care; treatment for hypertension & tuberculosis & core areas of health promotion for nutrition, sanitation & healthy living.

Hindupact To Host Panel Discussion On Diaspora Geopolitics

HinduPACT Executive Director Utsav Chakrabarti and CHINGARI Director Rakhi Israni will speak on a panel at the Gold Institute for International Strategy (GIIS) on May 25 titled, “How the Indian American Diaspora is Affected by Issues on the Indian Subcontinent.”

“As the United States and the Indo-Pacific region become increasingly interconnected, the Indian American community will become an important player in the exchange of soft power between the two regions. At the same time the Indian American community has to watch out for growing efforts to vilify and marginalize them using disinformation, by India’s geopolitical adversaries” said HinduPACT Executive Director Utsav Chakrabarti. “Mutual respect” and “greater interdependability” are going to be the watchwords in this growing relationship.

Issues affecting Indians on the subcontinent also impact the immigrant diaspora communities in the United States. More than 5 million Indian Americans now deal with the impact of geopolitical issues from the Indo-Pacific and South Asian regions in their everyday lives, on campuses, and in the public square.

“As Indian Americans are increasingly being viewed and handled in America as an extension of the Indian subcontinent, it becomes increasingly important to talk about the other side of that same region: Pakistan,” said CHINGARI Director Rakhi Israni. “Until 1947, the people of both India and Pakistan were one people: sharing similar languages, food, and overall customs. The daily atrocities faced by Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs in Pakistan after partition should naturally affect all people from that region. The gross and severe injustices being committed against one part of a cultural people must be a part of any discussion about the region as a whole.”

“As a daughter of immigrants, I understand all too well how issues in the homeland affect and impact the diaspora community,” said Adelle Nazarian, Media Fellow at the Gold Institute for International Strategies. “I look forward to discussing this important topic so that we may find ways to improve the situation for immigrants here in the United States and to foster a healthier environment for all.”

This panel discussion dives into some of those issues and how the Indian American community deals with them.

IAPC To Hold Induction Ceremony Of The New Board Of Directors And National Executive Committee On May 21, 2022 At Indian Consulate In New York

The Indo-American Press Club, the largest organization of Indian descent journalists operating in North America since 2014, is pleased to announce the swearing-in ceremony and inauguration of new office bearers for the years 2022-2024 on Saturday, May 21 from 5pm to 8pm. This induction ceremony is organized at the Indian Consulate in New York. Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General, will be the chief guest inaugurating the event at the Grand Ballroom of the Consulate.

The new Board of Directors, including Chairman Kamlesh C Mehta and Secretary Ajay Ghosh, and members of the IAPC National Executive Committee led by President Aashmeeta Yogiraj and General Secretary CG Daniel will be sworn in at the ceremony.

The event, which will be attended by several dignitaries, including former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Dr. Prabhakar Kore, Member of Parliament, India;  Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator; Harry Arora, State Assemblyman, Connecticut; Malkit Singh, Music Legend, and several other elected officials, will surely go down in IAPC history.

IAPC will honor Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and Pamela Kwatra with Lifetime Achievement Award.  The closing ceremony will include an entertainment feature by the Arya School of Dance, NY followed by a sumptuous dinner.

The hybrid event will also be streamed simultaneously on social media platforms. Your participation and valuable support is requested – please attend this magnificent event in person or Virtually Live on YouTube.

GOPIO-CT Outreaches To Indian American Academics In Connecticut

As part of the GOPIO-CT’s outreach to the university faculty, the chapter joined hands with Quinnipiac University for a Meet and Greet Program on Friday, April 22nd at Clarion Hotel in Hamden, CT. It was an event where GOPIO members and other community organization representatives had a networking reception and an open mike interaction followed by an Indian dinner. Academics were from Quinnipiac, Yale, University of Connecticut and University of New Haven. This is first time Indian American and Indic academics from these schools came together on a Pan-Indian platform.

After the networking Meet and Greet, the program started with a welcome by GOPIO-CT Executive Vice President Prasad Chintalapudi who then introduced GOPIO Founder and current Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham. Dr. Abraham, spoke on the journey of GOPIO over the years since 1989 and how, the Indian Diaspora community which was outside the political mainstream in many countries changed over to political mainstream in countries with large Diaspora population.

Dr. Abraham also spoke on the Welcome Dinner for new students from India at the UConn Business School at Stamford and Hartford campuses organized by GOPIO-CT and hoping to do the same in the Hamden/New Haven area.

Dr. Abraham also mentioned that the Indian Am3rican academics could play important roles in correcting misinformation on India and the Indian American community, as for example the recent statement by University of Pennsylvania professor Amy Wax.

This program to reach the academics was initiated by GOPIO-CT Board Member Prof. Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, who has also been a Democratic Party candidate from the assembly district in Trumbull.

“It is a pleasure to have faculty members from Quinnipiac University, Yale University, the University of New Haven, and from the greater South Asian community come together to discuss shared connections and opportunities for collaboration and we look forward to hosting future events that will incorporate students and continue to build programming that serves the local community and highlights the many important contributions of the South Asian community in Connecticut,” said Prof. Gadkar-Wilcox.

Academics who participated included Prof. Ravi Dhar, American behavioral scientist, an expert in consumer behavior and branding, currently the George Rogers Clark Professor of Management and Marketing at Yale School of Management; Prof. K. Sudhir, James L Frank Professor of Private Enterprise, Management and Marketing & Director of the Yale China India Insights Program (CIIP) Yale School of Management; Prof. Shyam Sunder, James L. Frank Professor Emeritus of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Yale School of Management; Prof. Ramesh Subramanian, Gabriel Ferrucci Prof of Computer Information Systems, Quinnipiac; Asha Rangappa, Former FBI agent, Senior lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and a commentator on CNN; Kamal Upadhyaya; Professor of Economics and Business Analytics, University of New Haven; Prof. Narasimahan Srinivasan, Associate Professor Marketing, UConn School of Business; Prof. Ewa Callahan, Associate Professor of Interactive Media and Design, Quinnipiac; and Prof. Mohammad Elahee, Professor of International Business, Quinnipiac.

Connecticut Association of Physicians of India (CAPI) was also represented at the event with Dr. Subbarao Bollepalli (Former President of CAPI), Dr. Veena Vani and Drs. Raminder (Micky) and Rachna Walia. The program was sponsored by Wire and Plastics Machinery manufacturer Rakesh Narang and his wife Neelam along with Prof. Wyn Gadkar-Wilcox who is Professor of History & Non-western Cultures, Western Connecticut University.

In the interactive session many new ideas were shared. Plans are ahead to continue this network and to organize a Welcome Dinner for the new students from India in September in central Connecticut and at the UConn, Storrs campus.

Over the last 16 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 the Indian Diaspora through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.

FIA Celebrates Gujarat Maharashtra Day

The Federation of Indian Association and the Indian Consulate celebrated Gujarat Maharashtra Day on May 1. 2022 at the Indian Consulate premises in New York as part of the ongoing celebrations of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ commemorating 75 years of Indian Independence.

The chief guests to grace the occasion were  Ms. Archana Joglekar – a celebrated actress, director & a renowned Kathak exponent, and Ms. Kaajal Oza Vaidya – a noted author, scriptwriter, radio jockey, and a motivational speaker.

The event was attended by Hon Consul General Sh. Randhir Jaswal, Hon DCG Dr. Varun Jep, FIA President Mr. Kenny Desai, FIA Chairman Mr. Ankur Vaidya, Padma Shri Sh. H R Shah, Padamshri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Mayor of Edison Mr. Sam Joshi and FIA’s Srujal Parikh, Alok Kumar. Smt Smita Miki Patel amongst others.

Hon CG Shree Randhir Jaswal welcomed the guests and said that the Indian Diaspora from both the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, not only in America but in other countries as well, continues to contribute towards the economic and social progress of the countries they live in.

Hon DCG Dr. Varun Jep, in his speech said that people from both the states are leaders in Finance, Business, Entrepreneurship and they also stand out for their rich cultural traditions and heritage.

FIA president Mr. Kenny Desai said that the state of Gujarat is the ‘Karambhoomi’ of Lord Krishna and has been the land of many notable figures hailing from different fields like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Bhakt Narsi Mehta, Vikram Sarabhai, PM Sh Narender Modi, and the Industrial houses of Ambanis and Adanis. He mentioned that Mahrashtra has been the guardian of Hindu Sanatan Dharam and have produced bravehearts like Chattrapati Shivaji, Baji Rao Peshwa and Ahilyabai Holkar. He said that people from both states have contributed to the Economic, Industrial and Financial growth of India.

FIA Chairman Mr. Ankur Vaidya in his speech said that he was born and brought up in Baroda in Gujarat which had a significant Maharashtrian Influence and as such had the best of both cultures. He also emphasized the need to engage other Indian Communities and have events and gatherings where all the members from the various Indian communities can participate. He said that Hon CG Sh Jaiswal has done a tremendous job in this direction to bring the communities together. He also lauded the efforts of the officials and staff of the Indian Consulate for doing an unprecedented job and in being accessible to all.

One minute silence was observed in the memory of founding member, Past President and Vice Chairman Emeritus Late Mr. Yashpal Soi. Mr. Vaidya remembered him for his selfless service and dedication to the cause of FIA and lamented the loss FIA has suffered in his passing away.

Guru Archana Joglekar spoke about the folk of Maharashtra. She explained in detail about the culture and folk tradition of Maharashtra. She also spoke about the shared culture of both states.

Kajal Oza Vaidya said that both the states should be seen in unison and commended the fact that the twin states took to the path of progress and development and have excelled in the fields of enterprise, culture, commerce, and entertainment. She said that today’s gathering is proof of the fact that our country lives in our hearts.

Padma Shri Mr. H R Shah said that he is honored to be there for the event and gave a brief outline of the history behind the Gujarat Maharashtra day when the 2 states came into being. Ms. Sam Joshi Mayor of Edison said that it was an honor to be present and spoke about his vision to have a satellite office of IIT India in Edison. He thanked the FIA for their initiatives which go a long way in keeping the Indian Community in touch with their Indian roots.

Event Chair, Past President, and member of Board of Trustees of FIA,  Sh. Srujal Parikh said it’s a great honor to celebrate the event and took pride in the fact that Gujarat is the Land of Lord Krishna & Mahatma Gandhi. He recognized and felicitated the sponsors, supporters, partner associations, and members in their effort to make the event successful

Padma Shri Sudhir Parikh said that he shares a personal bond with Maharshtra as he did his schooling from Mumbai. He attributed his success to the State of Gujarat as it accorded him his higher education

The audiences were regaled with cultural performances from both the states and especially the ‘Garbha’ and ‘Laavni’ which they thoroughly enjoyed. The Maharashtrian folk dance was performed by the students of ‘Archana Nritalya’ which is run by Guru Archana Joglekar.

AAPI Presents A Five-Week Webinar On Meditation Practices

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in collaboration with the Heartfulness Institute organized a five-week webinar, from March 20th to April 17th on Heartfulness Meditation Practices, guided by Revered Kamlesh D. Patel (DAAJI), who is the Heartfulness Global Guide, and initiated by Dr. Anupama Gotimukula President of AAPI and Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI. The Heartfulness Institute has held a series of wellness lectures that provide meaningful practices to AAPI physicians and continuing medical education credits.

AAPI members, including Dr. Chandra Koneru,  Dr. Murthy Gokula, Dr. Jayaram Thimmapuram, and Dr. Kunal Desai, who have been engaging in heart-based meditation for decades presented and led the hundreds of AAPI members who had joined in and participated in the webinars.

“The Covid pandemic has impacted all aspects of human life as never been before,” said Dr. Gotimukula.  “The past two years have been challenging to everyone, particularly those who are assigned with the responsibility of caring for the sick, especially as millions have been impacted by the big pandemic. There has been a noticeable rise in burn out among healthcare professionals,” she pointed out.

AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the country, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, has been focusing on ways to help AAPI members, who have been in the forefront helping millions of patients around the nation, to take care of self and find satisfaction and happiness in the challenging situations they are in, while serving hundreds of patients everyday of their dedicated and noble profession, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula said.

In this context, in partnership with the Heartfulness Institute, AAPI has embarked on a mission to educate its members and provide opportunities to promote self-care, improve physician wellness, and reduce burnout.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the covid 19 pandemic. The Heartfulness Meditation has allowed AAPI to serve these hard working members who are our COVID 19 Heroes.  It is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness as we rejuvenate and relax,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, who, along with several AAPI members visited and experienced Heartfulness Meditation at the Kanha Shantivanam on the outskirts of Hyderabad, during the Global Healthcare Summit organized by AAPI in January this year.

The Heartfulness Institute is a not-for-profit organization established in 130 countries that provides meditation techniques that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, enhance emotional intelligence, and explore the depth of human consciousness.

The Heartfulness Institute’s mission is “to offer all humanity a simple and effective set of practices for relaxation, meditation, regulating the mind, and building inner strength and attitudes to create a lasting sense of fulfillment and overall, wellbeing.”

“Our practices include heart-based meditation,” said Dr. Chandra Koneru, an Internal Medicine Professional, AAPI member, and Heartfulness Trainer. “Our values align with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) mission to facilitate and enable Indian physicians to improve patient care and engage in research that brings distinctive contributions from India.”

The first webinar session led by Dr. Koneru was an introduction to Heartfulness practices: “A Program Overview: Why Meditate? Health, Happiness, and Harmony.”  Dr. Koneru said, “Meditation unleashes the potential within us that we never before knew.” He shared with the audience the values of meditation, how meditation translates to evidence-based health outcomes, and how the harmony and happiness that meditation can evoke in physicians can have a ripple effect on their patients.

Dr. Koneru explained the relaxation techniques physicians can practice to create restorative and refreshing energy boosts. He outlined what it means to connect with the heart, fix your thoughts, and allow divine energy to fill the heart through a practical demonstration. “Heartfulness relaxation techniques remove stress and tension from the body, calm the nervous system, and settle our breathing habits,” he said.

Dr. Koneru also discussed meditation methods, centering oneself, and finding inner stillness and contentment. Heartfulness meditation is supported by the ancient yogic technique of Pranahuti, which allows us to dive deeper into the heart from the outset., he added.

Dr. Murthy Gokula, M.D., C.M.D., DipABLM, Family Medicine, Geriatrics & Lifestyle Medicine, AAPI member, and Heartfulness Trainer, while leading the discussion on “Rejuvenation: Adding Lightness, Joy, and a Carefree Attitude to Life” spoke about the rejuvenation technique, which involves a well-established scientific methodology using guided imagery to remove the day’s stressful impressions and undesirable interactions.

Dr. Gokula said, “Cleaning purifies the mind of all its complexities and heaviness, allowing you to feel light in your approach to life. This 30-minute practice will detox your mind. After the rejuvenation technique, you will return to a simpler and more balanced state. Every cell of your body will emanate simplicity, lightness, and purity.”

Dr. Jayaram Thimmapuram, Internal Medicine, AAPI member, and Heartfulness Trainer, who spoke about “Inner Connect and Good Sleep and Cultivate Meditative Mind, Heartful Living” in two separate sessions, said, “Our quality of sleep and sleeping habits shape our physical and mental health. Our attention, intention, and attitude at bedtime play a significant role in transforming ourselves. With a proper attitude of humility, love, and openness to change, improving our sleeping habits can transform our lives.”

According to him, “Cultivating a meditative mindset is an outcome of meditative practices. A meditative mind is a dynamic state of inner stillness that progressively fills our life with contentment, calmness, compassion, courage, and clarity.”

Dr. Kunal Desai, an Infectious Disease Specialist, AAPI member, and Heartfulness Trainer, while addressing the participants on “Tips for Deeper Meditation Experience” stated that the best way to experience meditation and find purpose is to focus on health-related benefits like stress improvement, sleep quality improvement, and anxiety reduction. He suggested adopting an approach of sitting silently at your desk for a few minutes to focus inwardly. “This small practice can pave the way for more mindfulness and intentional acting. He also advocated for small moments of meditation before bed, prayer, and diary writing to focus on meditation,” Dr. Desai said.  “With interest and the right attitude, you can evaluate yourself to see that you will evolve to find the real purpose of your life,” he added.

Dr. Ranga Reddy, a Past AAPI President stated, “I have been with AAPI for over 25 years. This is the first time AAPI has collaborated with the Heartfulness program to bring awareness to physicians about the benefits of meditation in reducing stress and anxiety and improving patient care during these trying times. I hope AAPI will continue this collaboration to bring harmony and happiness to physicians, patients, and the public to create a healthy and peaceful society for the greater good.”

Dr. Rida Khan, who had attended the webinar, while sharing the impact it had on him, stated, “I have always been a meditation aficionado, so it was heartening to discover that it could be a continuing medical education activity. The practical meditation sessions taught the techniques in real-time and backed them with scientific, informative, and journal club-style didactics.”

Dr. Khan went on to state, “No doctor should battle the vicissitudes of the work of a physician alone. Introducing physicians to meditation provides a powerful tool to help alleviate stress, maintain stability, and enhance fulfillment in their lives.  It helps to meditate in groups to protect your practice from lapsing, receive regular feedback, and exchange intellectually stimulating ideas. Meeting like-minded people in your field broadens your perspective of how a physician should and could be. As a newly minted physician myself, I find it invaluable to have those role models in my life.”

What was begun as a five week series has been planned to be extended for a longer as the AAPI members have shared for the need and expressing as to how the sessions have helped them personally and professionally.

“Heartfulness meditation practices are offered free of cost. By connecting with a local trainer at one of our 6,000 global Heart Spots, you can dive deeper into meditation with free assistance from a certified Heartfulness trainer,” Dr. Gokula added. For more details, please visit: https://heartspots.heartfulness.org. To connect with a virtual trainer, download the Heart-In-Tune app at  https://www.heartintune.org.

For more information on AAPI and its several noble initiatives in the past 40 years, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

Salman Rushdie, Sabyasachi Mukherjee Among Inducted Into American Academy Of Arts & Sciences

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected several Indians from around the world to be members of the august body which was established in 1780, and which “honors excellence and convenes leaders to examine new ideas and address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and advance the public good.”

The list which was announced April 28, 2022, contained Indians from U.S., U.K. and India in several fields of endeavor ranging from science to arts and humanities.

This year’s election of 261 new members includes at least 14 persons of Indian descent. “We are celebrating a depth of achievements in a breadth of areas,” David Oxtoby, president of the American Academy is quoted saying in the press release. “These individuals excel in ways that excite us and inspire us at a time when recognizing excellence, commending expertise, and working toward the common good is absolutely essential to realizing a better future.”

The new members join the likes of Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791) in the eighteenth century; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), and Charles Darwin (1874) in the nineteenth; Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966), Stephen Hawking (1984), and Condoleezza Rice (1997) in the twentieth; and more recently Jennifer Doudna (2003), Bryan Stevenson (2014), M. Temple Grandin (2016), John Legend (2017), Viet Thanh Nguyen (2018), James Fallows (2019), Joan Baez (2020), and Sanjay Gupta (2021).

This year’s list of artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors elected to the Academy include the following of Indian descent:

Physics – Ramamoorthy Ramesh, University of California, Berkeley

Physics – Shamit Kachru, Stanford University

Engineering and Technology- Nilay Shah (IHM), Imperial College London

Computer Science –George Varghese, University of California, Los Angeles

Cellular and Developmental Biology- Arshad B. Desai, University of California, San Diego

Cellular and Developmental Biology- Harmit Singh Malik, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Evolution and Ecology- Maharaj K. Pandit (IHM) , University of Delhi

Medical Sciences – Abraham C. Verghese, Stanford School of Medicine

Economics – Rohini Pande, Yale University

Philosophy and Religious Studies – Jamsheed K. Choksy, Indiana University

Philosophy and Religious Studies – Archana Venkatesan, University of California, Davis

Literature – Salman Rushdie

Visual Arts – Sabyasachi Mukherjee (IHM), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay

Scientific, Cultural and Nonprofit Leadership – Maya Ajmera Society for Science

Petition In Indian Court To Search Taj Mahal For Hindu Idols And Inscriptions

A petition has been filed in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court seeking directives to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to open 20 rooms inside the Taj Mahal in Agra to ascertain whether the Hindu idols and inscriptions are hidden there.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) media in-charge of Ayodhya district, Dr Rajneesh Singh has filed the petition which is yet to come up for hearing.

“There is an old controversy related to the Taj Mahal. Around 20 rooms in Taj Mahal are locked and no one is allowed to enter. It is believed that in these rooms there are idols of Hindu gods and scriptures,” said Dr Rajneesh Singh.

“I have filed a petition in the high court seeking directives to ASI to open these rooms to ascertain facts. There is no harm in opening these rooms and setting to rest all controversies,” said Singh on Sunday.

In the plea, the petitioner has sought directives from the court to the state government to constitute a committee that would examine these rooms and look for any evidence related with the Hindu idols or scriptures there.

Rajneesh Singh said he has been trying to ascertain facts about the 20 locked rooms of Taj Mahal since 2020 through the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Singh had filed an RTI in 2020 with the Union ministry of Culture seeking information about the rooms. “Since 2020, I have been trying to ascertain facts about the locked rooms of Taj Mahal. I had filed an RTI. Replying to the RTI, the Union ministry of Culture informed the Central Information Commission (in Delhi) that these rooms were locked due to security reasons and no detail was provided about these rooms,” he added.

“In the RTI, I had sought details about the locked rooms (what is inside them) and directives to open them,” Singh said. “When all my efforts failed then I have approached the Lucknow high court seeking directives to the government to open these rooms and constitute a fact-finding committee to find out whether Hindu gods and scriptures are inside them,” he added.

It may be pointed out that several right-wing organisations claim Taj Mahal to be Tejo Mahalaya, a Hindu temple. (IANS)

People Of All Faiths Celebrate Eid- Ul-Fitr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Punjabi Association (Mpa) Pays Tribute To He Martyrs Of The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Chicago IL: The celebration of Punjabi Virsa (Punjabi Heritage) organized by the Midwest Punjabi Association (MPA) in collaboration with the Consulate General of India set the precedent for paying the perfect tribute to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. The event was organized on May 1st, 2022 at Ashton Place, Willowbrook, IL as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate Vaisakhi and pay tribute to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, CG Amit Kumar, Mayor Rodney Craig, Mayor Tom Daily, Mayor Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, trustee Syed Hussaini along with other elected officials and community leaders graced the event.  Mr. Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, President, Midwest Punjabi Association gave a brief introduction of the event and briefed the guests about the past activities and upcoming initiatives of Midwest Punjabi Association. He proudly mentioned the guidance given by Mr.Ranjit Singh.

He said keeping in mind the spirit of Ek Bharat Shresth Bhara , Midwest Punjabi Association has decided to pay tribute One author from Punjabi ,one from regional language and one from regional language and one from our national language Hindi. We will continue and take forward the spirit of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in all years to come.We all know Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan is a well-known name in the media industry and the Founder President of Adbhhut Media Newspaper and Channel. Dhalwan is an entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience in wholesale & retail business. He is the Founder President of Midwest Punjabi Association, (MPA) a Non-Profit Organization. He is also a member of cultural inclusion and diversity committee/commission Village of Hanover Park, IL. He is a community leader, social worker, and a Philanthropist.

CG Amit Kumar in his inaugural remarks commended the organizers for their unique initiative to throw light on the tragic event through writings and reflections of noted authors like Sardar Nanak Singh, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Subhadra Kumari Chauhan.  He spoke about the impact of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on the national freedom struggle with the public sentiment across the length and breadth of India turning decisively against the colonial rule.

The master of the ceremony was Prachi Jaitly. The program started with rendition of Gurbani Kirtan by Bhai Jagat Singh Dilliwale and Bhai Bhagat Singh Chicagowale, followed by presentations / recital of Gurudev Tagore’s poems and poems from the Punjabi collection of poems Khooni Vaisakhi, written by Sardar Nanak Singh. A message from Amb (Retd) Navdeep Singh Suri, who is Nanak Singh’s grandson and who translated the poems into English, was played. Navdeep Suri,s video message was followed by the beautiful poetic tribute skillfully crafted by Charandeep Singh along with some of the finests poetic talents like Raj laly Batala, Jasbir kaur Mann, Rakesh Malhotra, Dr. Taufiq Ansari Ahmed, Dr. Afzal-ur-Rehman Afsar, Rakind Kaur, and Suneeta Malhotra. The narration of the performance was done by Prachi Jaitly.

There was also a Kathak dance performance by Shiwali Varshney Tenner based on the poem “Jallianwale Bagh mein Basant” written by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan and a poetry session with local prominent poets of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. Bratasree Roy Biswas is also performed Indian classical dance ‘Rabindra Natya Nritya’ which is a form of dance drama based on poems, song and novels composed by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore from Bengal. The performance depicted how the epic author had returned his knighthood in protest of the Jallianwalan Bagh massacre in the 1919.

Adding more spark to the event Gurmeet and team proudly announced the launch of his sparkling logo ‘GSD’ in the presence of dignitaries and remarkable organizations from Chicagoland. Logo is the actual reflection of though and dreams.The logo was initially acknowledged with greetings from legendary actor Kamal Hasan and was further showered with best wishes & initials of local guests of honor, congratulating the new founder-president as he embarks on his new venture. Participating Indian American associations included the FIA-1980; Artists Association of North America, Bengali Association of Greater Chicago (BAGC), Punjabi Cultural Society,Michigan; Kalman de Ang Sang; Urdu Samaj of Chicago; Dramatech of America; Guru Ladho Re Seva Society, Wisconsin; Swera (Sikh Women Era); and Punjabi Americans Organization (PAO) Saneevani4U; etc.

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April 1919. A large peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the oppressive Rowlatt Act. In response to the public gathering, general Dyer surrounded the protesters. The Jallianwala Bagh could only be exited on one side, as its other three sides were enclosed by buildings. After blocking the exit with his troops, he ordered them to shoot at the crowd, continuing to fire even as the protestors tried to flee. The troops kept on firing until their ammunition was exhausted. Estimates of those killed vary between 379 and 1500+ people and over 1,200 other people were injured of whom 192 were seriously injured.

It was one-of-a-kind programs that was purely dedicated to Jallianwala massacre victims and paying tribute to their sacrifice with pure patriotism. A special tribute was paid to the former MPA Vice President Alok Suri who passed away recently. The event was supported and sponsored by Anil and Chandni Kalra of Northwest Realty, Pinky Dinesh Thakkar, Syed Hussaini, Standard Home Care, Amrik Singh of Amar Carpet, Iftekar Sharif, Jesse Singh, Remax, Anil Loomba, HMSI, Brij Sharma of Powervolt, Ashton Place, Puneet Sawhney, Lucky Sahota, Dr Vikram Gill.

Eid-Ul-Fitr Celebrations Held In Naperville

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Inter-faith Iftar Held In Chicago, Brings Together Leaders of South Asian Origin, Representing Major Religions, Seeking Unity

“At the core of all the faith systems and traditions is the recognition that we are all in this together and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace in an environmentally sustainable world,” said Dr. Suresh Reddy, past President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, and current Town Trustee Member of Oak Brook in Illinois. Quoting the United Nations, the Hyderabad-born physician and community leader said, “Our world continues to be beset by conflict and intolerance with an increasing number of violent spots in a hostile and unwelcoming world around us. The need for spiritual guidance has never been greater.”

Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue and appreciation among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, an Interfaith Iftar was hosted by Dr. Suresh Reddy, Dr. Anuja Gupta, and Shri Ashfaq Hussain Syed, under the auspices of Verandah Community Outreach on April 25th in Hanover Park, near Chicago, in Illinois. Dr. Suresh Reddy, born and grew up in from Hyderabad, India, a city of many religions, shared his own experiences of Iftar celebrations while growing up in Hyderabad.

Dozens of community leaders and friends of South Asian Origin came together with the hope of fostering unity amongst the people of diverse communities and to help foster fellowship and oneness, said Ashfaq Syed, while underlining the importance of unity and one community & humanity. “The purpose was to celebrate Iftar together and reflect on how we can unifying and support our community to heal after this long and difficult pandemic. Our hope is to continue these thoughtful conversations throughout the year to build bridges that are long lasting.”

Dr. Anuja Gupta welcomed the guests and shared her experience of Ramadan back in Mumbai, India. “It is imperative that we double our efforts to spread the message of good neighborliness based on our common humanity, a message shared by all faith traditions,” she said.

Iftar is the fast-breaking meal observed each evening at sundown during the holy month of Ramadan.  The Interfaith Iftar Dinner is an opportunity for the community to join our Muslim friends for an evening meal as they break their Ramadan fast, added Ashfaq Syed.  Ramadan is a time of revelation and a time of disruption, he said, in which Muslims draw near to God by breaking away from the distractions of the world.

The participants had Iftar, prayer and enjoyed the dinner together, a traditional meal, along with presentations by community peacemakers.

Swami Ishatmanada, Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago,  community leaders from Palatine Gurudwara, Pastor Larry Bullock and Azam Nizamuddin spoke about the need for fostering unity, harmony and understanding each other’s culture and faith.

“We fast from all the things that are getting in our way,” they said. “We fast from our own sense of egocentric centrality in the universe. We fast from the habits of mind and habits of being that get in our way — or in other people’s way — in terms of the spiritual life.”

They stressed the importance of interfaith cooperation and compassion and shared about their  work in supporting peoples of all faiths around the world. We need to be grounded in our own faith. To listen to them and be compassionate. “We need to have self-care and keep our spirits high, have a positive attitude and we can overcome violence and hatred in the name of religion,” they underscored.

34th Sikh Day Parade In New York Showcases Sikh Traditions, Culture

Tens of thousands of people joined in at the 34th Sikh Day Parade including some high-profile politicians, as it marched from 37th Street and Madison to 25th Street in New York City, on Saturday, April 23rd, showcasing the rich traditions and cultural history of Sikh religion.

Thousands crowded the sidewalks to watch floats and performers, as well as the Guru Granth Sahib, being carried on Manhattan’s famous street, as navy blue, yellow, orange and white traditional dresses and flags dominated the colorful landscape amidst the sky scrapers.

The Sikh Parade returned to the Big Apple after being on hiatus for the past two-years due to COVID-19. The Parade had added poignancy and significance in light of recent violent incidents in which Sikhs have been attacked in their own residential areas and near Gurudwaras over the last few weeks.

The event comes in the wake of several recent violent attacks against members of the Sikh community in Queens. Singh is hoping the parade can serve as a bridge for New Yorkers that are not quite familiar. Organizers say despite being one of the oldest immigrant communities in this nation, hate crimes and school bullying still single out their members.

The parade, resplendent with floats and performers in traditional dresses, witnessed the holy book Guru Granth Sahib being carried down from Manhattan. Flags in navy blue, yellow, orange, and white were carried by the participants of the procession.

More than 24 Gurdwaras from around the tri-state area and Washington DC took part, and around 30,000 to 35,000 from the community walked the route, Harpreet Singh Toor, chairman of Public Policy and External Affairs of the Sikh Cultural Society which organized the march told the media.

Music and vibrant decorations adorned floats all throughout the parade. Many Sikh members wearing traditional colored garments and turbans. “It’s a symbol so mostly you will see people today especially wearing blue or yellow turbans otherwise you can wear any color — there is no issue with that,” said Hirdepal Singh member of the Sikh Cultural Society in Queens.

Deep tradition and customs were also on full display in the street to the amazement of onlookers like Pier Smith. “I was just texting my daughter, this is why I love New York, never boring, never goes to sleep — always exciting,” said Smith.

United States Senator Charles Schumer and New York City Mayor Eric Adams also attended the parade. State Assembly woman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Punjabi person elected to New York State office, was also present.

A New York Police Department band also walked in the parade. The NYPD had also imposed traffic restrictions for Saturday, in view of the parade. Jaspreet Singh, a staff attorney with United Sikhs, estimated there were about 80,000 Sikhs living in New York City, in a 2010 interview with the New York Public Radio.

Vidya Jyoti Inaugurated in Chiacgo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suresh Prabhu, India’s Eminent Parliamentarian Honored In Chicago

Indian American Business Council [IABC] hosted a rousing reception in honor of distinguished visiting Member of Parliament & Former Central Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu at a ceremony held in Downer’s grove, Illinois on April 20, 2022. The reception attracted a great host of community’s prominent organizational leaders who paid glowing tributes to Suresh Prabhu for his exemplary services as the former central minister and as a renowned Indian parliamentarian who leaves behind indelible footprints for his sterling reputation as a man of impeccable integrity.

Ajeet Singh, IABC President & principal host – welcoming the gathering of the distinguished guests – heaped a generous measure of praise on Suresh Prabhu for his illustrious record of accomplishment of remarkable distinction and the honor with which he served the government of India spanning decades with spotless integrity coupled with unwavering devotion to the principles of honesty.  Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, Chair of the Illinois Medical Board – in his remarks – extolled the yeoman leadership of Suresh Prabhu and described him as a highly admired Indian statesman who played a significant role serving as the Indian Emissary and Sherpa at the G20 & G7 Summit. Dr. Sreenivas Reddy added that he leaves behind enduring footprints with his groundbreaking program initiatives that are directed towards the welfare of the citizens and the betterment of the poor.

Dr. Bharat Barai speaking ‘live’ from a remote location hailed Suresh Prabhu for his exceptional leadership and his vision and thanked him for his extraordinary services to the people of India. Dr. Bharat Barai thanked Suresh Prabhu for presiding over some of the most significant portfolios of Railways, Civil Aviation and Commerce & Industry with absolute distinction.

Dr. Suresh Reddy, Trustee Oakbrook Village introduced Suresh Prabhu as a visionary who presided over as central minister with remarkable honor and lauded him for his distinguished credentials that propelled him to the league of top three Indian leaders in Asia.

Shweta Baid, Alderwoman, City of Aurora, Meghna Bansal, Trustee, Wheatland Township and Judge Kavita Athanikar joined with their gracious remarks extolling the leadership of Suresh Prabhu.

Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu in his comprehensive remarks thanked Indian American Business Council [IABC] for hosting such a warm reception and said he is deeply touched by the lavish outpouring of honor and acclamation.  He commended the role of NRI’s in fostering historic Indo-US relations, which he added largely due to your unwavering ambassadorial efforts.

Suresh Prabhu presented a detailed historical overview that shaped India and he delved extensively on education. Suresh Prabhu indicated that he is collaborating with American universities to foster a larger and wider scope of learning in the University he founded.  He said India’s role in a 21st-century world is that of immense responsibility and it is our duty to align the objectives of our institutions to the larger vision of the nation. Suresh Prabhu added that the university he founded is based on the principles of social impact and development. As an institution, my focus is on high-impact areas such as entrepreneurship, healthcare, creativity, education, and leadership. Our great ethos and culture of inquiry have to be explored and applied in a modern sense. Education is the medium to do this, he added.

Earlier, Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, IABC’s Chair in his remarks described Suresh Prabhu a passionate votary of reforms who relentlessly strived to redefine the parameters of growth ushering positive transformation in the Indian society. Gerard Moore, Staff Director for Congressman Danny Davis presented Suresh Prabhu with the congressional proclamation that chronicled his invaluable contributions to the people of India. Vinesh Virani, IABC’s Executive Vice President conducted the question & answer session and while proposing the vote of thanks recognized and acknowledged the presence of many organizational leaders for their presence to honor Suresh Prabhu.

Several other prominent organizational leaders who spoke at the reception including Dr. Vemuri Murthy, Harish Kolasani, Krishna Bansal, Harendra Mangrola, Rakesh Malhotra, Sanjay Shah, Shiveda, Hema Virani, Nirav Patel, Subu Nagasubramaniam, Manoj Singamsetti,, Ganesh Kar, Hema Virani, JD Digsnvker and Rohit Joshi.

India-USA Healthcare Partnership Planned During AAPI’s 40th Convention

Coming from India, a nation that has given much to the world, today physicians of Indian origin have become a powerful influence in healthcare across the world. Nowhere is their authority more keenly felt than in the United States, where Indians make up the largest non-Caucasian segment of the American medical community. The overrepresentation of Indians in the field of medicine is striking – in practical terms, one out of seven patients is seen by doctor of in of Indian Heritage in the United States. They provide medical care to the most diverse population base of over 40 million in the US.

Not satisfied with their professional growth and the service they provide to their patients around the world, they are at the forefront, sharing their knowledge and expertise with others, especially those physicians and leaders in the medical field from India.

Since its inception four decades ago, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has grown and is strong today and is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian Origin in the US and is the powerful voice here in the US and back home in India.

Their contributions to their motherland and the United States have been enormous. Physicians of Indian origin are well known around the world for their compassion, passion for patient care, medical skills, research, and leadership. They have excelled in their fields of medicine and thus have earned a name for themselves through hard work, commitment, and dedication to their profession and the people they are committed to serving.

Through various projects and programs, AAPI has been leading healthcare initiatives and contributing significantly to offering education, training, and healthcare collaboration with Not-for-profit and government agencies across the nation. The flagship Global Healthcare Summit organized in India every year has been lauded for the tangible contributions AAPI continues to provide impacting almost every field of healthcare in India.

There is no instant solution for India’s myriad problems. But by collaborating with the governments both nationally and at state levels, and working with the government and NGOs, physicians of Indian origin can make a huge difference.

“AAPI in its unique way has made immense contributions to helping our motherland during the crisis and played a significant role in saving lives,” says Anupama Gotimukula, President, of AAPI. “Today, this esteemed panel is convened to nurture, and further, this collaboration between two of the world’s most challenging healthcare systems in the world’s two greatest democracies.”

Realizing this great mission, AAPI is for the first time organizing an In-Person Plenary Session on India-USA Healthcare Partnership With the Health Minister Of India, Mansukh Mandaviya (invited but awaiting confirmation from his office) during the 40th Annual Convention of AAPI on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX, said Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair, AAPI Convention & Past President, AAPI.

The Panel Discussion is being moderated by Dr. Sweta Bansal and Dr. Rajeev Suri, Co-Chairs of the AAPI Convention Committees. The invited panelists include Dr. Rahul Gupta, US Drug Czar; Honorable Taranjit Sandhu, Ambassador of India; Hon. Aseem R Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston; Senator John Cornyn;  Rep. Raja Krishnamurthy, US congressman; Rep. Joaquin Castro, US Congressman; Rep. Ami Bera, US Congressman; Dr. Dwarkanath Reddy, GHS 2022 India Chair; Navdeep S. Jaikaria, Ph.D., Founder, Chairman & CEO, SGN Nanopharma Inc., GAPIO President, BAPIO President, and All AAPI Alumni Chapter Presidents.

The role being played by the AAPI Charitable Foundation has been very significant, says, Dr. Surendra Purohit, Chair, AAPI Charitable Foundation. He will provide an update on the “Role of AAPI’s free clinics in India in the last 40 years.”

Recalling the many noble initiatives of AAPI, benefitting India during the Covid Pandemic, Dr. Sujeet Punnam, said, “Diseases do not have borders and collaboration in healthcare globally is necessary for the survival of humanity. It is this reality that the recent pandemic has engraved on our collective conscience.” The panel on “The Covid Crisis – AAPI physicians’ response during the largest global pandemic in over a century” will be led by Drs. Sujit Punnam, Amit Chakraborthy, & Raj Bhayani. Sewa International, which has been collaborating with AAPI in reaching the needed supplies to the neediest in India will be represented by Arun Kankani, President of Sewa International.

Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair, Global Medical Education, who has been very instrumental in medical education, who is well recognized by NMC and medical education boards in India,  will share his persistent efforts in the past three years, and how every Medical School in India will have Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine at Post Graduate Medicine Program in India.

Dr. Thakor Patel will provide an update on AAPI Sevak Project, which has been serving millions of people across the many states in India. A new initiative under the current leadership of AAPI has been “Adopt 75 Villages” in India commemorating the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence and providing much-needed Healthcare Screening for chronic diseases, A Rural Health Project involving 75 Villages in several states. Dr. Satheesh Kathula, who has adopted his Village and believes “Over time, an improved village could lead to an improved region, state and country” will present this new program, whose focus is “prevention is better than cure.”

During the most recent Global Healthcare Summit in Hyderabad in 2022, AAPI had organized camps for Screening for Cervical Cancer and Vaccinations to prevent cervical cancer for 100 young women in Hyderabad. Dr. Meetha Singh, who has been part of the program will brief the audience on this new initiative, benefitting women.

TB Eradication Program by a committed team led by Dr. Manoj Jain in collaboration with USAID and now actively functioning in several states in India will be a topic for discussion during the plenary session.

Dr. Gotimukula, President of AAPI urges “AAPI members to consider joining this movement by participating and leading the India-US Healthcare Partnership. AAPI will work with you in coordinating the efforts and through the support system we have in several states, will help you achieve this goal of giving back to our motherland.” For more details, please do visit: www. aapiusa.org

India Collection Of Books At The Edison Public Library With Govt. of India Help & GOPIO-Edison

The Edison Library in partnership with the Indian Consulate and Global Organization of People of Indian origin Edison NJ Chapter (GOPIO-Edison) hosted the “India Collection Launch” event to donate a large collection of Indian books to be made available thru the Public Libraries in the Middlesex County. There were more than 200 books donated during the initiative to the Library by the organizers and many supporting Organizations like Gujarati Literary Academy of North America, Gandhian Society, Indo American Cultural Society of USA, Assam Sahitya Sabha and Zakir Husain Circle. The grand sponsor of the program was Sabinsa Corporation, a food supplement company located in East Windsor with operations in India.

Photo: Dignitaries, Library and GOPIO officials at the launch before lighting of the lamp, from l. to r. Library Asst. Director Debra Sarr, Library Vice President Lisa Krauze, Library Director Allan Kleiman, Edison Council Vice President Joyce Ship-Freeman, Library President Patricia Massey, Consul General Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Parikh Worldwide Media Chairman Dr. Sudhir Parikh, GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhavi, Piscataway Councilman Kapil Shah, Edison Councilman Ajay Patil, Sabinsa Corporation CEP Asha Ramesh, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham and GOPIO-Edison President Pallavi Belwariar

The Indian Consul General Randhir Kumar Jaiswal was the chief guest along with Consul for Community Affairs A.K. Vijayakrishnan. Many prominent Indian American community leaders, elected council members from Edison and nearby cities, media and a large number of community leaders and Indian American residents from Edison and nearby towns attended the event to show their support to this initiative by GOPIO-Edison.

After a prayer song by GOPIO-Edison President Pallavi Belwariar, a moment of silence was observed for the victims of Russia’s war in Ukraine and for the passing away of GOPIO-Life Member and community leader Yash Paul Soi early this month.

Library Director Allan Kleiman said he was very excited by this collection and told that these books can be issued to anyone in the Middlesex County. He then introduced Library President Patricia Massey who welcomed availability of classic India related books and Indian language books from the library.

GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham who initiated this effort told the audience that Indian Americans have done extremely well professionally, politically and financially, and that community should do more for the larger society. In this regards, GOPIO-CT chapter successfully launched India Collection of books at the Norwalk, CT and Stamford, CT libraries.

“Edison and nearby towns in New Jersey have one of the largest concentration of Indian Americans and to serve our community members as well as to make a better understanding of India to the local population, GOPIO has joined hands with Govt. of India through its Consulate in New York to launch India Collection of Books at Edison Public Library with several hundreds of books including several classics and Indian language books in Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Assamese and other languages,” Said Dr. Abraham.

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General Randhir Jaiswal spoke on the vibrant library system in America that helps spread knowledge and make it a developed country. He said that American Indian partnership is crucial for world peace and security and lauded the efforts of Diaspora in getting this initiative to Edison. He said that the libraries in USA are the best in the world and making the Indian Books available thru this system will help Diaspora with the availability of rare Indian books.

GOPIO Vice President Ram Gadhvi, who is also chairman of the Gujarati Literary Academy, contributed over 60 Gujarati books in this initiative said that the libraries would not be outdated in spite of digitalization and that many new Indian immigrants feel comfortable reading a hard copy of the book.

the Newly reorganized GOPIO-Edison President Pallavi Belwariar spoke on chapter’s plans to organize many community service programs in Edison and nearby areas including supporting and volunteering at soup kitchens, youth programs and welcoming new Indian students to join the nearby Rutgers University.

One of the main Organizer of the event, Pradeep “Peter” Kothari, a veteran community leader who had organized the Oak Tree Indian businesses and serve as the Founder and President of Indo American Cultural society of USA, recognized the work by many Indian American leaders and thanked the town council members for attending. He said someone should write a book on how the community evolved over the period of 35 years and said he was happy to see the community at a comfort zone at present. Kothari then introduced members of Edison Council and nearby towns.

Edison Town Council Vice President Joyce Ship-Freeman complimented the Indian Consulate, GOPIO-Edison and the library for this new initiative. Retired as a literary coach, Councilwoman Ship-Freeman has said that library is her second home and that books are still an important medium of knowledge.

Edison Councilman Ajay Patil said that he had been wanting this for the last 4 years and thanked everyone involved in getting this initiative to its fruition. Piscataway Councilman Kapil Shah said that he had been doing community work for 31 years and said that he was first to take grant from NJ state for video and books for the local library couple of years back. He said that books were still the authentic source for knowledge.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, a recipient of Govt. of India’s Padma Shri award, recognized the legends of the community. He said that education is the best charitable activity that one can give to anyone. He also said that he ensured that his newspaper is distributed across all libraries in NJ.

Federation of Indian Association President Kenny Desai said that there was nothing more pious than knowledge. He lauded the community on the initiative to donate a huge collection of books and make them available to the Public in Edison and East Coast.

The ceremony was followed by a Holi celebration with a musical program by singer Pallavi Belwariar and Yogesh who entertained the audience with Holi themed Hindi songs.

GOPIO-Edison team member Chitranjan Sahai Belwariar gave vote of thanks and thanked Council General, councilman and all dignitaries who attended. He thanked the Edison library staff for helping support this great initiative. He also thanked the media and sponsors for the event. The program was concluded by Library’s Assistant Director Debra Sarr and invited everyone for a networking dinner.

Consulate provided 140 books while the community organizations including GOPIO, Gujarati Literary Academy, TV Asia, Assam Sahitya Sabha and Zakir Husain Circle donated 110 books. It was a full house of about 120 people attending the event. The registrations were closed a day earlier due to limitation of space.

GOPIO is collecting old Indian classic books and contemporary books in all Indian languages from the community to donate to other libraries. Those who want to donate may contact GOPIO at 203-329-8010 or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Time For A Higher Poverty Line In India

The time has come for India to raise its poverty line from the existing extreme poverty line of $1.90 per person per day to the lower-middle income (LMI) poverty line of $3.20, a level some 68 percent higher. This may seem odd to aspire to in what is not even the first post-pandemic year, but that is the main message coming out of our recent IMF working paper “Pandemic, Poverty and Inequality: Evidence from India.”

No one should be surprised at this need for a higher poverty line. Per capita GDP growth in India averaged 3.5 percent per annum for twenty years from 1983 to 2003. In 2004, the official poverty line was raised by 18 percent, when the head count ratio (HCR) was 27.5 percent. Rapid growth (5.3 percent per annum) and an improved method of measurement of consumption (the modified mixed recall period (MMRP) rather than the Uniform Recall Period (URP)), resulted in the HCR reaching the low teens in 2011-12.

The poverty line should have been raised then, as Bhalla (2010) argued. Most countries change from the concept of absolute poverty to relative poverty as they get richer, and India should too. Relative poverty—subject to minor debate—is mostly chosen to mean an HCR level of around a quarter or a third of the population. Hence, the$1.90 poverty line was already too low in 2011-12 and is extremely low today.

The HCR of the $1.90 poverty line (Figure 1) has shown a steep decline since 2004—from approximately a third of the population in 2004 to less than 1.5 percent in 2019. These numbers are lower than those shown in the World Bank’s Povcal database, the most commonly used source, because Povcal does not correct for the misleading uniform recall period used or for the provision of food subsidies.

Figure 1. The poverty rate in India steeply declined starting in 2004

Source: NSS 2011-12 MMRP data; Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE)  growth rates for estimates of monthly per capita consumption; authors’ calculations.

By our estimates, in the pre-pandemic year 2019, extreme poverty was already below 1 percent and despite the significant economic recession in India in 2020, we believe that the impact on poverty was small. This is because we estimate poverty (HCR) after incorporating the benefits of in-kind food (wheat and rice) subsidies for approximately 800 million individuals (75 percent of rural and 50 percent of urban residents). This food subsidy was not small and rose to close to 14 percent of the poverty line for the average subsidy recipient (Figure 2) in 2020. This was enough to contain any rise in poverty even in the pandemic year 2020.

Figure 2. Food subsidies contained any increases in poverty

Source: NSS 2011-12 MMRP data; Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE)  growth rates for estimates of monthly per capita consumption; Indian poverty line very close to PPP $1.9 per capita per month; authors’ calculations.

A notable feature of the pandemic response was the provision of a free extra 5 kilograms of wheat or rice per person per month via the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) program plus 1 kg of pulses. This was in addition to the existing food transfers of 5 kg per capita per month of wheat or rice at subsidized prices. Total subsidized food grain in 2020 therefore amounted to 10 kg, which is the average per capita level of food (wheat and rice) consumption by Indian citizens for the last three decades.

The additional food subsidy was a pandemic-centric response. We would conjecture that a cross-country comparative study could show that this policy response was possibly the most effective in the world. Hence, the Indian experience can provide lessons for individual countries, and multilateral agencies concerned with effective redistribution of income.

Poverty measurement) in India was in 2011-12. The following survey conducted in 2017-18 generated results that have not been officially released, on the grounds that the data were not of acceptable quality. Our paper has an extensive discussion on the validity of the evidence regarding this controversial decision where we conclude that the data is indeed unreliable and of extremely questionable quality and hence should not be released. A very recent World Bank April 2022 study by Edochie et. al. suggests support for our conclusion and inference.

Our paper presents a consistent time series of poverty and (real) inequality in India for each of the years 2004-2020. Our estimate of real inequality (Figure 3) shows that consumption inequality has also declined, and in 2020 is very close to the lowest historical level of 0.28. Poverty and inequality trends can be emotive, controversial, and confusing. Consumption inequality is lower than income inequality, which itself is lower than wealth inequality. And each can show different trends. The levels and trends are different, and intermingled use should carry a warning about this when discussing “inequality.”

Our results are different than most of the commentary and analysis of poverty in India. All the estimates are made in the absence of an official survey post-2011-12. A large part of the explanation for the difference in results is because of differences in definition. Our paper makes a strong case for the acceptance of the official consumption definition (accepted by most countries and also recommended by the World Bank); it should be measured according to the classification of consumption according to the nature of the good or service consumed. This is the MMRP method for obtaining consumption expenditures.

The Indian government has officially adopted this method, and the above mentioned “ill-fated” 2017-18 survey was the first time when the National Statistical Organization exclusively measured consumption (and poverty) according to the MMRP definition.

However, many studies continue to rely on the now obsolete uniform reference period (URP or 30-day recall for all items) method. For example, a very recent World Bank study estimated the HCR to be around 10 percent in 2019; it uses the outdated (URP) definition of consumption and does not adjust for food subsidies. Incidentally, both in 2009-10 and 2011-12, the URP and MMRP poverty estimates diverged by approximately 10 percentage points, as did their respective estimates of mean consumption.

Thus, given the approximate magnitude of definition differences observed both in 2009-10 and 2011-12 and making the necessary adjustment for food subsidies, the World Bank poverty estimate for 2019 is likely to be very close to our estimate.

Inclusive growth is a very relevant policy goal for all economies. With the pandemic ebbing and the IMF’s expected growth for India rebounding very strongly for three successive years from 2021-23, Indian policymakers will soon be confronted with a policy choice—how long should they keep the extra PMGKY subsidy? This query is part of a huge success story of poverty decline. Additionally, another query pertains to whether policies should move toward targeted cash transfers instead of subsidized food grains.

In the past, the key argument in support of a policy shift to cash transfers was to reduce leakages, but our results indicate that leakages have substantially been reduced over the last decade even in the in-kind food transfer scheme. In fact, the recent food transfer program was a very successful intervention, especially during the pandemic when supply chains were breaking down and there was heightened uncertainty. Under normal circumstances, cash transfers are likely to be more efficient, and they retain broadly the same allocative outcomes as food transfers. The debate therefore now should be on the efficiency trade-offs associated with use of either in-kind or cash transfers as the key instrument of poverty alleviation.

These debates are significant given the improvement in targeting of transfers and are consistent with the objective of building a modern social security architecture in developing countries.

Accumulating all the evidence, the strong conclusion from our work is that Indian policy has effectively delivered both growth and inclusion, and in a fundamental sense has faithfully followed the Rawlsian maximin principle—maximizing the welfare of the poorest.

India-USA Healthcare Partnership with Health Minister Of India Planned During AAPI’s 40th Convention

Coming from India, a nation that has given much to the world, today physicians of Indian origin have become a powerful influence in healthcare across the world. Nowhere is their authority more keenly felt than in the United States, where Indians make up the largest non-Caucasian segment of the American medical community. The overrepresentation of Indians in the field of medicine is striking – in practical terms, one out of seven patients is seen by doctor of in of Indian Heritage in the United States. They provide medical care to the most diverse population base of over 40 million in the US.

Not satisfied with their professional growth and the service they provide to their patients around the world, they are at the forefront, sharing their knowledge and expertise with others, especially those physicians and leaders in the medical field from India.

Since its inception four decades ago, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has grown and is strong today and is the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian Origin in the US and is the powerful voice here in the US and back home in India.

Their contributions to their motherland and the United States have been enormous. Physicians of Indian origin are well known around the world for their compassion, passion for patient care, medical skills, research, and leadership. They have excelled in their fields of medicine and thus have earned a name for themselves through hard work, commitment, and dedication to their profession and the people they are committed to serving.

Through various projects and programs, AAPI has been leading healthcare initiatives and contributing significantly to offering education, training, and healthcare collaboration with Not-for-profit and government agencies across the nation. The flagship Global Healthcare Summit organized in India every year has been lauded for the tangible contributions AAPI continues to provide impacting almost every field of healthcare in India.

There is no instant solution for India’s myriad problems. But by collaborating with the governments both nationally and at state levels, and working with the government and NGOs, physicians of Indian origin can make a huge difference.

“AAPI in its unique way has made immense contributions to helping our motherland during the crisis and played a significant role in saving lives,” says Anupama Gotimukula, President, of AAPI. “Today, this esteemed panel is convened to nurture, and further, this collaboration between two of the world’s most challenging healthcare systems in the world’s two greatest democracies.”

Realizing this great mission, AAPI is for the first time organizing an In-Person Plenary Session on India-USA Healthcare Partnership With the Health Minister Of India, Mansukh Mandaviya (invited but awaiting confirmation from his office) during the 40th Annual Convention of AAPI on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX, said Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair, AAPI Convention & Past President, AAPI.

The Panel Discussion is being moderated by Dr. Sweta Bansal and Dr. Rajeev Suri, Co-Chairs of the AAPI Convention Committees. The invited panelists include Dr. Rahul Gupta, US Drug Czar; Honorable Taranjit Sandhu, Ambassador of India; Hon. Aseem R Mahajan, Consul General of India in Houston; Senator John Cornyn;  Rep. Raja Krishnamurthy, US congressman; Rep. Joaquin Castro, US Congressman; Rep. Ami Bera, US Congressman; Dr. Dwarkanath Reddy, GHS 2022 India Chair; Navdeep S. Jaikaria, Ph.D., Founder, Chairman & CEO, SGN Nanopharma Inc., GAPIO President, BAPIO President, and All AAPI Alumni Chapter Presidents.

The role being played by the AAPI Charitable Foundation has been very significant, says, Dr. Surendra Purohit, Chair, AAPI Charitable Foundation. He will provide an update on the “Role of AAPI’s free clinics in India in the last 40 years.”

Recalling the many noble initiatives of AAPI, benefitting India during the Covid Pandemic, Dr. Sujeet Punnam, said, “Diseases do not have borders and collaboration in healthcare globally is necessary for the survival of humanity. It is this reality that the recent pandemic has engraved on our collective conscience.” The panel on “The Covid Crisis – AAPI physicians’ response during the largest global pandemic in over a century” will be led by Drs. Sujit Punnam, Amit Chakraborthy, & Raj Bhayani. Sewa International, which has been collaborating with AAPI in reaching the needed supplies to the neediest in India will be represented by Arun Kankani, President of Sewa International.

Dr. Thakor Patel will provide an update on AAPI Sevak Project, which has been serving millions of people across the many states in India. A new initiative under the current leadership of AAPI has been “Adopt 75 Villages” in India commemorating the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence and providing much-needed Healthcare Screening for chronic diseases, A Rural Health Project involving 75 Villages in several states. Dr. Satheesh Kathula, who has adopted his Village and believes “Over time, an improved village could lead to an improved region, state and country” will present this new program, whose focus is “prevention is better than cure.”

During the most recent Global Healthcare Summit in Hyderabad in 2022, AAPI had organized camps for Screening for Cervical Cancer and Vaccinations to prevent cervical cancer for 100 young women in Hyderabad. Dr. Meetha Singh, who has been part of the program will brief the audience on this new initiative, benefitting women.

TB Eradication Program by a committed team led by Dr. Manoj Jain in collaboration with USAID and now actively functioning in several states in India will be a topic for discussion during the plenary session.

Dr. Gotimukula, President of AAPI urges “AAPI members to consider joining this movement by participating and leading the India-US Healthcare Partnership. AAPI will work with you in coordinating the efforts and through the support system we have in several states, will help you achieve this goal of giving back to our motherland.” For more details, please do visit: www. aapiusa.org

AAHOA Announces 2022 Award Winners

On the third day of the 2022 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show, the association recognized achievement and excellence in the hospitality industry with its annual awards.

Each year, AAHOA honors hoteliers who go above and beyond in service to the hospitality industry.

The annual AAHOA Awards Program recognizes the best of the best, and AAHOA is honored to highlight this year’s award winners’ service and commitment to excellence.

Their hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed, and it is through their leadership, grit, and determination that our industry – and association – continues to thrive.

Winners received their awards on the main stage during the general session on Thursday. The 2022 award winners are:

AAHOA Award of Excellence

This award recognizes a hotelier who has demonstrated strong leadership, has high standards of excellence, and is making a significant contribution to the lodging Industry.

Vimal Patel, President and CEO, QHotels Management, AAHOA Ambassador, Gulf Region Cecil B. Day Community Service Award

Named in honor of Cecil B. Day, the founder of Days Inn known for his commitment to community service, this award recognizes someone who has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving his or her community.

Manhar (MP) Rama, CEO, Sima Hospitality; AAHOA Past Chair (2005-2006)  Outreach Award for Philanthropy . This award is given to an individual deeply involved with helping humanity through philanthropic and charitable activities, domestically or overseas.

Babu Patel, Trustmark Park Hospitality Outstanding Woman Hotelier of the Year Award. This award recognizes a woman hotelier for strong leadership and a commitment to lodging excellence, and for her significant contributions to the industry and to her community.

Pinky P. Bhaidaswala, SSN Hotel Management, LLC Outstanding Young Professional Hoteliers of the Year Award.  This award is for young hoteliers under the age of 30 who have exemplified the spirit, dedication, and achievement of a professional hotelier.

Armaan Patel, AGA Hotels Taran Patel, Managing Principal, A1 Hospitality Group; AAHOA Ambassador, Northwest Region

“This year’s AAHOA award recipients are movers and shakers in their communities and have gone above and beyond to enhance the hotel guest experience,” said AAHOA Chair Vinay Patel. “The hospitality industry has changed over the years, especially throughout the pandemic. Despite that, these individuals have been forward-thinking and proactive in their contributions to hospitality. Congratulations to every award recipient; your commitment to excellence is what sets you apart from the rest.”

“Congratulations to the six award recipients who demonstrated exceptional work, and strived for excellence, through two unprecedented years to ensure our industry thrives and creates generational success for years to come,” said incoming AAHOA Chairman Nishant (Neal) Patel, “We are proud to honor and recognize these individuals for their tremendous impact at AAHOA and in the hospitality industry.”

Indian Nurses Association Of New York Conducts Health Fair In Long Island

Indian Nurses Association of New York (INANY) is conducting a Health Fair in Kennedy Memorial Park, Long Island on April 30th from 10 am to 2 pm in collaboration with Hon. Kevin Thomas, New York State Senator.

The event is supported by Northwell Health System – Stop the Bleed program and Drug addiction prevention team, Molloy College, the non-profit organ procurement organization Live On New York, Stony Brook Mammography, and Marathon Physical Therapy Group.  The address is 335 Greenwich Street, Hempstead, NY 11550.

The goal of this event, which is open to the public “is to promote health and wellness of the society. The main focus is on the underserved and uninsured individuals and families of that area.” said Dr. Anna George, the president of INANY.

The event will facilitate health and wellness education, drug addiction prevention awareness, blood pressure monitoring, diabetes screening, mammography, and training on emergency interventions of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to stop bleeding. Marathon physical therapy group will teach body mechanics and simple remedies to alleviate aches and pains.

Masks, hand sanitizers, and at-home-covid test kits provided by the Senator’s office will be distributed free of charge.  There will also many giveaways and refreshments, all free of charge.

For more information:  President – Dr. Anna George (646 732 6143), Secretary – Jessy James (516 603 2024), Treasurer – Lyssy Alex (845 300 6339).

300 Languages Spoken Along This New York City Street

Queens Borough in New York City is known as “The World’s Borough” for a reason: what happens on Roosevelt Avenue has ripple effects near and far.

In this vibrant borough there is a street called Roosevelt Avenue that cuts a cross-section through some of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods on Earth. Spanish, Bengali, Punjabi, Mixtec, Seke, and Kuranko are among the hundreds of languages spoken here. Nepalese dumplings and Korean noodles, Mexican tortas and Colombian empanadas, Thai curries and spicy South Indian vindaloos are just some of the many food choices.

Passing from one block to the next—through neighborhoods including Elmhurst, Corona, and Jackson Heights—can feel like crossing continents. Plazas and parks are crowded with vendors selling tamales, atole, and large-kernel corn. Tibetan Buddhists, fluent in the Indigenous languages of the Himalayas, walk to worship in their red-and-orange robes. Bangladeshi curbside markets teem with overflowing crates of ginger, garlic and humongous jackfruits, picked out by people wearing saris and shalwar kameez.

Growing up in New York, my own family would come to Queens to watch World Cup matches in South American cafés, just as our abuelos would visit their trusted Argentine butcher for fresh cuts of meat, and our Bukharan Jewish neighbors would come to pray, and our Indian family friends would come shopping for amulets and syrup-drizzled sweets for celebrations, all within this same 10-square-mile stretch of city.

Roosevelt Avenue is a pulsing artery of commerce and life. The road itself is chaotic, dark, and loud. You know you’re on Roosevelt because the elevated 7 train runs overhead, the tracks draping it in slitted shadows, and when the 7 train thunders past, for a moment, the frenzied thoroughfare is consumed: older women look up from their pushcarts; chatting friends fall silent mid-speak; and children cover their ears.

Above the storefronts, at the level of the train, are smaller brick offices with signs that reveal the more pressing needs of such a migrant-rich community: “Sherpa Employment Agency,” “Construction Safety Training,” “Irma Travel: Send Money and Shipments to Lima and Provinces.” Taped to the metal pilings and lampposts are hand-written listings with tear-off phone numbers, mainly in Spanish, advertising “rooms for rent,” “employment needed,” and “help wanted.”

Road signs welcome drivers entering Queens to “The World’s Borough.” But there is another phrase that might be more apt: “Queens, Center of the World.” That’s because what happens on these streets has ripple effects near and far, sometimes as far as on the other side of the globe—and what happens on the other side of the globe also certainly influences who ends up here. Perhaps at no other point has this been more urgently felt than during the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the spring of 2020, the virus ravaged this part of the city. Most people who live here are essential workers who cannot work from home—restaurant cooks, delivery workers, cab drivers, construction builders—and many live in overcrowded quarters, so the disease spread precipitously. Elmhurst Hospital, which serves this community, was declared the “epicenter of the epicenter” for the initial outbreak in the U.S.

In New York, such a rapid and large-scale loss of life meant that the city’s engine sputtered to an even more devastating halt; in other places, like Mexico and Ecuador, Bangladesh and Nepal, it meant that many families could no longer rely on support from relatives in Queens who were suddenly out of work, or worse. Joblessness and hunger skyrocketed, residents just barely getting by. And yet only for a very short while did walking Roosevelt and its surrounding streets have the same eerie, empty feel as in the rest of the city. Its communities and micro-economies, heavily reliant on in-person interactions, cannot afford to stay still.

“The people who come over, they come to help their family,” says Sanwar Shamal, of Bengali Money Transfer in Jackson Heights.

Snippets of South Asia

Around the 74th Street subway station, the neighborhood is heavily South Asian—mostly people of Bangladeshi, Indian, and Nepalese origin. Bengali-speaking men wearing skullcaps sell plush prayer rugs, headscarves, and gold-plated Islamic iconography from milk crates on the sidewalks, cigarette smoke pouring out of their mouths as they talk. Mannequins showcase bright-colored salwars and chaniya cholis through tall glass windows, and restaurants serve curries with rice and water in silver bowls and cold metal cups.

Seemingly everywhere in Roosevelt’s path, there is a heightened sense of the “old country”—of memories that haven’t faded over long stretches of distance and time. You feel it in the money-transfer and international courier stores along Diversity Plaza, where people line up patiently to send remittances and packages to relatives back home, relatives they haven’t seen in years and might not ever see again. You feel it on the weekends, when families drive in from all over to shop for groceries at Patel Brothers, or to eat at Samudra or Dera or the famous Jackson Diner. You feel it at the sweet shops, where grandfathers wearing tweed suits and large wristwatches take their smiling grandchildren for treats.

And you certainly feel it when you step into the United Sherpa Association, a former Lutheran Church that in 1996 was converted into a Tibetan Buddhist temple and community center now serving more than 12,000 Himalayan Sherpas, the largest population living outside Nepal. People come here to pray and to drink salty yak-butter tea poured from tall thermoses into bowls of blue-and-white china. In pre-pandemic times—according to Tshering Sherpa, the president of the association—nearly 100 people would fill two floors in this temple to worship. “You could hear the chanting from Broadway,” she says, beaming.

“Our seniors established this United Sherpa Association,” says Temba Sherpa, the group’s vice president, “to protect and maintain our identity.” The Sherpa are a Tibetan ethnic group who for hundreds of years have made their livelihoods in the Himalayas, raising yaks and high-altitude crops in the remote mountains. Practically no one knows the Himalayas better than the Sherpa, and in recent years they’ve also become synonymous with their work as climbing guides and porters on Mount Everest.

“We got our identity and economic benefit from mountaineering,” says Ang Tshering Sherpa, himself a former trekking guide. “But there’s not much of an alternative if you aren’t educated.”

Climbing is often a perilous endeavor for the Sherpa, especially with little in the way of formalized protections from the turbulent Nepalese government. “Going to the mountains, it’s like going to war,” Ang Tshering says. “You don’t know if you’ll come back.” Many hundreds of Sherpa people have died or been seriously disabled on climbs over the years. “Once a Sherpa gets in a kind of accident, the family gets very little, they don’t have a safety net,” Ang Tshering adds.

Since the 1990s, and especially after major climbing disasters on Everest, Sherpa have left Nepal in large numbers. Many have come to the area around Roosevelt Avenue, where they often work as taxi drivers, or restaurant cooks and supermarket employees. The United Sherpa Association is a central meeting point of worship and community—where people chant and pray, gather for meals of dhal and root-vegetable stews, and share opportunities for work or study.

There are also classes to teach the Sherpa language and traditions to new generations born in the U.S. Shortly after the pandemic began, the association opened a food pantry—available not only to Sherpas but to anyone—and every Tuesday since then, people have lined up in need. And the Sherpas haven’t stopped advocating for their family members back in Nepal, either: for better educational and economic opportunities, and for improved safety infrastructure for climbing guides and porters, especially as recent tourism downturns and pandemic outbreaks have further devastated the country.

“Most of the Sherpa over here, their families are still in Nepal,” says Pasang Sherpa, president of the US-Nepal Climbers Association, a Queens-based nonprofit. “We know exactly who needs help.”

‘La Roosevelt’

Down the road, the sound of spoken Spanish envelops either side of what’s known as ‘La Roosevelt.’  In Jackson Heights there is a block nicknamed ‘Calle Colombia’ (Colombia Street)—where vendors slice cold coconuts with machetes, and tall stalks of sugarcane disappear into juicers for the sweet drink called guarapo. Further east are standing-room-only taquerias, stores bursting with knock-off soccer jerseys, and electronics dealers and barber shops with hawkers outside telling passersby to come in, just for a minute, just to take a look.

On 80th Street, just south of Roosevelt in Elmhurst, Barco de Papel (Paper Boat) stands as the sole Spanish-language bookstore left in New York City. One of the owners is an older Cuban man named Ramón Caraballo who can usually be found there smoking a cigar. He speaks softly and sparingly. “I am just a man who opens up a bookstore in the morning and closes it at night,” Caraballo said when he first introduced himself. “That is all.”

The building is small, just one room, but it is filled from floor to ceiling with a large selection of some of Latin America’s finest writers—Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende—as well as lesser-known staff favorites. It is so stuffed with books only its keepers know where anything is to be found.

Caraballo is one of those keepers. Before he co-founded Barco de Papel in 2003, he sold books from a street cart around the corner. “All my life I’ve dedicated myself to literature,” he says. When he opened the nonprofit store—around the same time that Amazon and rising rents began to spell the demise of independent bookstores, especially Spanish-language ones, across the U.S.—it quickly became a community treasure.

Many customers come to Barco de Papel hoping to rebuild the libraries they left behind when they migrated. “They bring their kids, too,” says Paula Ortiz, a high school teacher from Colombia who co-founded the store. “They can’t take them to their countries, so they bring them here.” Others will gather for tertulias—discussions about literature and current events—and live readings.

But Barco de Papel has also become a hub for information. Since the pandemic, many customers leave with information on vaccines, testing, or treatment. New migrants seek out guidance on how to start a small business or learn English. Children whose parents can’t afford to buy another book benefit from book exchanges.

“We have to constantly change with the community, without losing our essence,” Ortiz says. “We owe ourselves to them.”

Corona Plaza

One afternoon in Barco de Papel, I found Caraballo and two helpers unwrapping a large painting that they were planning to put up in a nearby underpass, part of a public art installation in homage to the neighborhood. This one was a bright-colored portrait of a Latina street vendor flanked by a food truck and some ears of large-kernel corn.

Street vending has long been woven into the fabric of Queens, where on the sidewalks you can buy just about anything. In largely Chinese and Korean neighborhoods like Flushing, vendors pull steaming dumplings and salted duck eggs out of steel tubs; plastic bins offer spiced watermelon seeds, eyebrow beans, and goji berry soup. Along Roosevelt, Bangladeshis and Afghans peddling religious items cross paths with Spanish-speaking vendors who sell food and drink, small metal lockets and neon construction vests, disposable masks, rat poison, smartphone cases, and flowered hanging plants.

Some have been selling for years. Many others have only recently begun, after losing their jobs because of the pandemic-induced economic crisis. Pop-up stands of folding tables and tents have appeared (and expanded) on much-transited corners. People walk past with strollers, pulling back the top to reveal not children but candies, popsicles, and sandwiches. Women weave their way through traffic carrying months-old babies in slings on their backs, selling sliced fruit to drivers at red lights.

“Vending has always been big along Roosevelt, especially in Jackson Heights and Corona, but even more so now, because so many people have lost their income, are facing eviction, and have no safety net,” says Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, deputy director of The Street Vendor Project, a nonprofit that works with street-sellers across New York City. “Every type of relief that came out during the pandemic excluded undocumented folks. And that hit the area so especially hard.”

The Street Vendor Project estimates that during the pandemic, the number of vendors in Corona Plaza, along Roosevelt Avenue at 103rd Street, rose nearly fourfold, from 20-30 people to more than 100. They come prepared for the elements—with tents, tarps, umbrellas and plastic garbage bags—and work through the rain, snow, sun, and cold.

“We used to live in the mountains, my family,” says María Lucrecia Armira, 44, who migrated to Queens in 2019 from a small village in the department of Suchitepéquez, Guatemala. She has had to adjust to spending nearly every waking hour in the smoky heat of a grill stand, selling meat skewers on the loudest corner of the Plaza. Armira arrived two years ago with her 14-year-old son, who enrolled in the local public school; when the pandemic began a short time later, he dropped out and started working full-time selling raspados (shaved ice) and slushies.

“On the one hand I was nervous about the virus,” Armira says. “On the other hand, we were locked down and couldn’t work.” Sharing a single bedroom with her son in an apartment filled with other families, she tries to send $500 per month—or whatever she can—to her two other children, whom she had to leave behind in Guatemala. “Many people count on what we send from here.”

Street vendors now face opposition from brick-and-mortar business owners frustrated with the sudden boom in new and seemingly unlimited competition. In recent months, the city has stepped up its enforcement of street-vending laws, ticketing and removing those without a permit. There are more than 20,000 vendors estimated to be working in the city, and just a small fraction of permits, leading to price-gauging, according to labor activists.

One afternoon on Corona Plaza, the presence of two New York City inspectors sent many vendors scurrying. There were fewer produce-sellers on the sidewalk, food trucks were shuttered, and shopping carts stood empty, piled atop each other beneath the train tracks.

Ana Maldonado stood nervously in the shadows—across the street from her usual spot on the plaza, where for more than 15 years she’s sold tamales and rice pudding and syrupy Mexican-style hot chocolate from a cart of metal vats and orange Gatorade thermoses.

“My customers know me, they know where to find me,” she says, looking out for inspectors from the stairs to the train. The inspectors had warned her to leave, or risk an expensive fine and all of her merchandise being tossed to the trash. “They’re in the middle of the plaza. If they catch me, I’m finished.”

Originally from a small mountain town in Guerrero, Mexico—where, in the green hills, steam rises from rivers swelled with rain—now she wakes up each morning at 4 a.m. and prepares the day’s food for sale on Roosevelt, not returning home until she’s sold everything. Her husband spent 28 days in the hospital with COVID-19 at the start of 2020 and nearly died; he has been unemployed since. “All that my family has, everything comes from this,” Maldonado says. “I work hard to feed them, whatever it takes.”

Queens Globe

As Roosevelt Avenue nears the end of its eastward course, it’s fitting that it passes by the famous Unisphere, the Queens Globe built for the 1964 World’s Fair, that has since become a symbol of this area’s epic cultural diversity. Here in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the hustling chaos of Roosevelt Avenue abates, if only for a moment, and the world’s borough comes outside to decompress.

In springtime, families take pictures at golden hour in their best sunshine saris, their favorite skirts and collared shirts in front of an explosion of color: the cornelian cherries, the flowering pears, the forsythia and the redbuds in full bloom. Two years after the onset of the pandemic, despite all the challenges the coronavirus has left behind, there are signs of renewal, too—of soccer games returning to dusty fields with goals carried on backs and bicycles; of misting fountains, and the smell of new grass; of the sound of Mister Softee trucks offering ice cream to children with outstretched arms.

I have often thought about what it means to be American on my walks along Roosevelt—what it means to be the product of so many different stories and struggles and heritages that have led us to one singular, raucous mix of a place. In this country that so deeply strives for assimilation, there is often pressure to distill identities, to make them more palatable for others looking on.

But what is both so special and so hard about Queens is that assimilation does not come easy.

I think about this with every scene that crosses my gaze, with every encounter and conversation—whether in a bookstore or a temple, on the 7 train or on a soccer field in the park. I think about the many definitions of “American” when my own family, a blend of cultures shaped by migrations forced and voluntary, ventures out to this neighborhood for tastes of a past that continues to mark our future here. As parents look for fair and just opportunities to raise their children in the U.S., to learn English, to find work, and to support their families abroad, that sense of the ‘old country’ is unlikely to fade from Roosevelt Avenue, so long as people keep migrating to neighborhoods like this one.

I thought about that when I first met Maldonado, the undocumented street vendor who left Mexico two decades ago and cannot return without risk of not being able to get back into the U.S. I told her that I’d recently been there and asked her what part of the country she was from. Instead of answering right away she touched my wrist with her hands and looked into my eyes. “Cómo está?” she asked about her homeland. “How is it?”

Cheti Chand /Sindhi Language Day Celebrations At Indian Consulate In New York

Sindhi Community of USA and Consulate General of India celebrated Cheti Chand Sindhi

New Year at Indian Consulate in New York.

In his opening remarks Jagdish Sewhani Organiser of the event thanked Consul General Randhir Jaiswal for celebrating Cheti Chand and Sindhi Culture,at Indian  Consulate , first time ever in India’s 75 years of Independence.

Sewhani said that Sindhi  Civilization is more than Ten thousands years old , one of the oldest Civilizations in the world. Though Sindhi constitutes less than one percent of India’s population but there contributions in India’s development is unmatched in every field from business, Industry, education, hospitals , Realestate, Film industry, Sports etc. In every field Sindhis have contributed a lot .

After partition in 1947 Sindhis came to India Empty handed, but with Shear Hard work today they have achieved a lot in various fields .Sindhis believe in Charity, they run many educational institutions and hospitals in India.

Sewhani said that Sindhi language is in decline. Today youngsters don’t speak Sindhi language. In a passionate appeal to Sindhis he urged them to speak with their children in Sindhi . Sindhi is our Ancestral language. It’s very important that if you want Sindhi community to be alive , Sindhi language has to be spoken at home with children.

COVID-19, Overdoses Made 2021 The Deadliest Year In U.S. History

2021 was the deadliest year in U.S. history, and new data and research are offering more insights into how it got that bad.

The main reason for the increase in deaths? COVID-19, said Robert Anderson, who oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work on death statistics.

The agency this month quietly updated its provisional death tally. It showed there were 3.465 million deaths last year, or about 80,000 more than 2020’s record-setting total.

Early last year, some experts were optimistic that 2021 would not be as bad as the first year of the pandemic — partly because effective COVID-19 vaccines had finally become available. “We were wrong, unfortunately,” said Noreen Goldman, a Princeton University researcher.

COVID-19 deaths rose in 2021 — to more than 415,000, up from 351,000 the year before — as new coronavirus variants emerged and an unexpectedly large numbers of Americans refused to get vaccinated or were hesitant to wear masks, experts said.

The coronavirus is not solely to blame. Preliminary CDC data also shows the crude death rate for cancer rose slightly, and rates continued to increase for diabetes, chronic liver disease, and stroke.

Drug overdose deaths also continued to rise. The CDC does not yet have a tally for 2021 overdose deaths, because it can take weeks of lab work and investigation to identify them. But provisional data through October suggests the nation is on track to see at least 105,000 overdose deaths in 2021 — up from 93,000 the year before.

New research released Tuesday showed a particularly large jump in overdose deaths among 14- to 18-year-olds.

Adolescent overdose death counts were fairly constant for most of the last decade, at around 500 a year, according to the paper published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. They almost doubled in 2020, to 954, and the researchers estimated that the total hit nearly 1,150 last year.

Joseph Friedman, a UCLA researcher who was the paper’s lead author, called the spike “unprecedented.”

Those teen overdose deaths were only around 1% of the U.S. total. But adolescents experienced a greater relative increase than the overall population, even though surveys suggest drug use among teens is down.

‘Experts attributed the spike to fentanyl, a highly lethal drug that has been cut into heroin for several years. More recently it’s also been pressed into counterfeit pills resembling prescription drugs that teens sometimes abuse.

The total number of U.S. deaths often increases year to year as the U.S. population grows. But 2020 and 2021 saw extraordinary jumps in death numbers and rates, due largely to the pandemic.

Those national death trends affect life expectancy — an estimate of the average number of years a baby born in a given year might expect to live.

With rare exceptions, U.S. life expectancy has reliably inched up year after year. But the CDC’s life expectancy estimate for 2020 was about 77 years — more than a year and a half lower than what it was in 2019.

The CDC has not yet reported its calculation for 2021. But Goldman and some other researchers have been making their own estimates, presented in papers that have not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Those researchers think U.S. life expectancy dropped another five or six months in 2021 — putting it back to where it was 20 years ago.

A loss of more than two years of life expectancy over the last two years “is mammoth,” Goldman said.

One study looked at death data in the U.S. and 19 other high-income countries. The U.S. fared the worst.

“What happened in the U.S. is less about the variants than the levels of resistance to vaccination and the public’s rejection of practices, such as masking and mandates, to reduce viral transmission,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a statement.

Some experts are skeptical that life expectancy will quickly bounce back. They worry about long-term complications of COVID-19 that may hasten the deaths of people with chronic health problems.

Preliminary — and incomplete — CDC data suggest there were at least 805,000 U.S. deaths in about the first three months of this year. That’s well below the same period last year, but higher than the comparable period in 2020.

“We may end up with a ‘new normal’ that’s a little higher than it was before,” Anderson said.

AAPI, IMA, And Tanvir Foundation Hold HPV Vaccination Camp In Hyderabad To Prevent Cervical Cancer

Hyderabad: April 11th, 2022: American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Telangana and Tanvir Foundation in mutual collaboration administered free HPV vaccines to the poor and deserving girls and women at the local Tanvir Hospital in Srinagar Colony, Hyderabad in India on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022 with the objective of preventing cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India. This is the second stage of the two part vaccine campaign administered as part of AAPI’s efforts to create awareness and provide tangible support on this preventable illness for young women in India.

“We at AAPI, in keeping with our efforts and initiatives to educate, create awareness and provide support on disease prevention, AAPI is happy to be part of the Cervical Cancer Vaccine Awareness Program,”  Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President said. “The initial camp was organized on January 9th at Tanvir Hospital in Hyderabad as part of APPI’s 15th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2022 held Avasa in Hyderabad, India,” and was inaugurated in person by Dr. Gotimukula and several other AAPPI leaders. Nearly 100 women were given the first dose. However, Dr. Gotimukula inaugurated the Free Vaccination Camp virtually from the United States on March 3rd.

The 2nd phase of the free vaccination camp was inaugurated with the lighting of the traditional lamp by IMA’s Telangana President Sampath Rao, IMA North President Raghunandan, Secretary Surendranath, Dr. Meeta Singh, and Dr. Naunihal Singh. AAPI Advisor Dr. Dwarakanatha Reddy inaugurated the vaccination camp. ““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,” Dr. Dwarakanatha Reddy said.

“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 Telangana,” said Dr. Meher Medavaram, an organizer of the program, and the newly elected Secretary of AAPI. “AAPI’s this new initiative through education and awareness programs is aimed at helping save millions of lives in India,” she added.

Usually, 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. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI, said, “Cervical Cancer is preventable through Vaccination and Early Pap smears and cervical examinations. Justifiably so, one of our preventive campaign goals this year has been to provide education and prevention of Cervical Cancer in India.”

Dr. Anjana Samaddar, current Vice President 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.

While elaborating the objectives of the Summit, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, the newly elected Vice President of AAPI, said, “In addition to Cervical cancer, GHS 2022 has provided education  on: Chronic diseases which can be prevented- notably diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, COPD, oncology, maternal and infant mortality, lifestyle changes,  geriatrics, management of neurological emergencies, ENLS, a certification course”.

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.”

Once a leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Today, screening and prevention have greatly reduced the impact of this form of cancer. Increasing screening and prevention are key components of the effort to eradicate cervical cancer. Since almost all cases of the disease are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, vaccines that protect against the virus could prevent the vast majority of cases. Moreover, regular Pap tests can catch – and lead to treatment of – the disease at the precancerous stage.

Describing some of the other ongoing initiatives by AAPI for prevention of illness in India, Dr. Sujeeth R. Punnam, Chair of AAPI’s Covid Relief Committee, pointed to the second in a series of Chemoluminescence Immunoanalyzer (CLIA) donated by AAPI, that has been commissioned last month in Stanley Medical College Hospital in Chennai, India.

“Chemoluminescence Immunoanalyzer (CLIA) and Beckman Coulter UniCel Dxl 800 access Immunoassay system has a throughput of 200 tests/hour and will make point of care testing like covid antibody tests, Ferritin, D Dimer, troponin, IL6, procalcitonin, CRP etc. easy. Each of these costs around $80,000. We are grateful to several AAPI members who have generously contributed to AAPI’s Covid Relief efforts, helping us raise over $5 Million.” A CME meeting was organized by the Biochemistry department to the staff as part of the event.

Expressing confidence, Dr. Gotimukula, the 4th ever Woman President in the four decades long history of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, said, “Together we can all bring the awareness in the community to prevent Cervical Cancer in India which is 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in women!” For more information, please visit www.aapiusa.org/ https://summit.aapiusa.org

AIA Illinois Chapter Elects Chapter Executive Committee

Chicago IL: The members of the Illinois Chapter of the Association of Indians in America in a recently held election elected the Executive Committee of the chapter for the year 2022-2023 consisting of the following members: President – Hina Trivedi; Vice President – Lucy Pandey & Shaheen Sayeed; Treasurer: Sujata Sharma; Secretary: Nilabh Dubey; Joint Secretary: Shabana Rahman; Members at Large: Ram Bhaskaran, Chandani Duvvuri, Praveen Konduru, Akshay Patel, Malla Reddy, Pandey Sahai, and Nipa Shah.

 

The inaugural function of the chapter was held in Shikara Restaurant in Downers Grove, Illinois on March 20, 2022. The Chair of the Election Committee, Dr. Ghanshyam Pandey introduced the newly elected members of the Executive Committee, as a new committee is elected every other year. He congratulated the members for their commitment to AIA and work for the progress of the association and the chapter.

 

The Association of Indians in America is the oldest Indian organization in the United States. It was established in 1967 with the anticipation that as a change of the immigration law, there will be greater immigration of Indian people to the United States. One of the objectives was to help and facilitate the participation and the assimilation of the incoming Indian immigrants to the United States society in the country of their choice. Ever since, the Association has worked on several important issues, such as granting of minority status for the Indians in the United States, counting of Asian Indians as a separate entity, staring in 1980 US Census, participation in the reform of immigration laws. The Association has several chapters across the United States with individual membership to the Association, and the chapters are involved not only in community activities but also in social, educational and cultural activities of the diaspora. In keeping with these objectives, the Illinois Chapter has been organizing many community and cultural and educational programs in Illinois.

 

The incoming president, Miss Hina Trivedi then took over the proceedings of the chapter and discussed the programs and activities of the Illinois Chapter for the coming year. She said that AIA has been conducting at least three major programs every year which include Youth Talent Show, a youth dance competition program, the Independence Day Celebration at the Daley Plaza, and the Gandhi Jayanti Celebration sometimes with the Annual Banquet. She said that the chapter team will continue with these activities, as these are the signature programs of the AIA, Illinois Chapter.

 

Members of the committee then discussed details of each program and it was decided that the Youth Dance Competition Program, Youth Festival will be held sometimes in July of this year. The Independence Day will be celebrated on August 12, 2022, at the Daley Plaza in Chicago and some dignitaries, including the Consul General of India will be invited. In addition, the Independence Day program, as in the previous years, will also include a cultural program depicting the culture and heritage of India, exposing our heritage to the American people.

 

Gandhi Jayanti is one of the most important programs of the AIA, Illinois chapter, which started in 1985 and the AIA, Illinois Chapter has been conducting this Gandhi program ever since, and many high-level dignitaries have participated in Gandhi Jayanti program as speakers and as guest, including Mrs. Ila Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. Mr. Kamla, the Director of Gandhi Foundation in Washington among other distinguished speakers. The Illinois Chapter celebrated the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti a couple of years back in which the then Consul General of India, Mr. Dalala, as the Chief Guest.

 

Miss Hina Trivedi then also said that in addition to the three signature programs of the chapter this year, the chapter will also conduct a business seminar and festival. Some of the members of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees volunteered to help in organizing this business program.

India’s Apex Court Upholds BJP Govt’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act

The Supreme Court on Friday, April 8th affirmed the validity of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment (FCRA) Act, 2020, which imposes new conditions on the receipt and use of funds by NGOs.

A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar upheld the 2020 amendments made to the FCRA Act, 2010. The detailed judgment in the case will be uploaded on the top court website later in the day.

The Centre had told the Supreme Court that there exists no fundamental right to receive unbridled foreign contributions without any regulation, while defending the amendments made in 2020 to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

The MHA emphasized that FCRA aim was to ensure foreign contribution does not adversely impinge upon the functioning of parliamentary institutions, political associations, and academic, and other voluntary organisations as well as individuals in India.

The petitioners had challenged the amendments, which included newly added sections 12 and 17, which state that the foreign contributions must be deposited in the FCRA account created in the specified branch of the scheduled bank, which was later notified as State Bank of India, New Delhi branch.

The petitioners claimed the amendments were arbitrary and stringent, which made the functioning of NGOs extremely difficult.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a 355-page affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, said Parliament has enacted the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, laying down a clear legislative policy of strict controls over foreign contributions for certain activities in the country.

The MHA said the “legislation has also prohibited acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”. The affidavit was settled by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who was assisted by advocate Kanu Agrawal.

Petitioners in the matter were — Noel Harper and Nigel Mills of Share and Care Foundation in Andhra Pradesh and Joseph Lizy and Annamma Joachim of National Workers Welfare Trust in Telangana.

Bharti Desai Midwest Garba Queen Rocks Chicagoland Indian Community

Chicago IL: First time in Chicago Aarush Entertainment and Manav Seva Mandir present Chaitra Navratri Garba by Midwest Garba Queen Bharti Desai on Saturday – April 09, 2022 at Manav Seva Mandir, 101 S Church Rd, Bensenville, IL. This auspicious event was celebrated by family, friends, and well-wishers.

 

For Garba, the members were adorned with beautiful and traditional attire, Chaniya-Choli and Kurta-pajama. The whirling dancers, clapping hands, distinct sound of wooden ‘Dandia’ striking together, toe tapping music and people wearing vibrant colorful clothes marked the Navratri celebrations at the Garba & Dandiya Raas,

 

Chaitra Navratri is a nine days festivity which starts on the first day of Hindu Luni-Solar calendar and falls in the month of March or April. Chaitra is the first month of Hindu lunar calendar and because of it this Navratri is known as Chaitra Navratri. Chaitra Navratri is also known as Vasanta Navratri.

 

This year, the Navratri celebration was organized by President of Aarush Entertainment Manoj Rathod. 

 

The Aarti table was beautifully decorated in the center of the hall with flowers, fruits and candle lamps around the pictures of Amba Mata and Modheshwari Mata by Manoj Rathod and his wife Rajkumari Rathod. To begin the Garba celebrations, everyone prayed together.  The atmosphere was filled with warmth and devotion. When asked, Manoj stated, “Our goal was to create a special spiritual bonding experience for all the friends and family celebrating Chaitra Navratri this year.”

 

The lead singer at the event, Garba Queen of Midwest, Bharti Desai is a renowned & award-winning singer in Chicago who enthralled the audience with her charming personality. She started with the Three claps Garba, “Kum Kum Kera Pagale Madi”. She sang the Classical “Raksha Karo Ambe Maa Bhavani”.  She continued amazing Garbas in Two Taali. In Raas everybody enjoyed “Disco Dandia”, “Sanedo”, “Amu Kaka Bapa Na”, “Bhai-Bhai”, “Hitch”. She sang all what the Khelaiys wanted to hear for their dance and continued with Mataji’s Arti, Thaal & Stuti. On stage, Bharti Desai was accompanied by Amit Desai (Side Rhythm), Shivam Thakker (Dhol & Tabla), Mahavrat (Octopad), Vedant (Key Board), Harish Shukla (Sound Engineer).

 

The reason people love Bharati Desai could be “because she sings from her heart and soul”, said Altaf Bukhari, Vice President Federation of Indian Associations (FIA)-Chicago IL.  “The songs that she selects are well known and original folk songs” said Nisha Deshpande who was accompanied by her 3 yrs. an old son dressed up in traditional Gujarati dress, one of the many energetic participants present there. “She gives little variation in notes, but keeps the soul, the ‘atma’ of the song intact,” said Roma Bhagat. This was echoed by another very happy attendee Mrs. Priya Ghayal who described the events as an excellent, enjoyable, exceptional event presented by Bharti Desai.

 

“Many thanks to Mayur Max Ganger Bhai of Sajni Entertainment & Altaf Bukhari of A.B Entertainment for their sponsorship, because without their valuable support it would not be possible to have such a magnificent event. Also, thanks to the wonderful audience of Chicago and well-wishers who attended the event to make it a huge success” said President of Aarush Entertainment, Manoj Rathod. 

“It was a colorful, cherished event as kids, youth and adults of all ages participated and brought the liveliness around us.” said Anita Patel. The Garba program ended with an Arti around 10:30 p.m. followed by Prasad distribution. 

 

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

FIA – Chicago Celebrates Indian Heritage Night

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

US Govt. Website Helps Locate COVID-19 Tests, Treatments, Vaccines, and Masks

Two years into the pandemic, the Biden Administration has launched a virtual hub to help Americans find COVID-19 prevention and treatment resources—including masks, tests, and vaccines—in their communities.

The website, COVID.gov, consolidates several existing initiatives into what President Joe Biden described during a press briefing on March 30 as a “one-stop shop.” The site includes links for ordering free at-home rapid tests; locating free, high-quality N95 masks; finding vaccines and treatments; and assessing current COVID-19 risk levels in specific counties, based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metrics.

“The bottom line: no longer will Americans need to scour the internet to find vaccines, treatments, tests, or masks,” Biden said during the briefing. “It’s all there.”

One of the website’s central features is its promotion of Biden’s “test-to-treat” program, which is designed to improve access to antiviral drugs that can reduce the severity of disease for high-risk people. In theory—though not always in practice—the program enables someone who tests positive at a pharmacy or health center to receive treatment on the spot, for free. COVID.gov includes a site locator for facilities taking part in the test-to-treat program, including retail pharmacies, community health centers, and clinics affiliated with Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

COVID.gov is available in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. The same resources are also available in additional languages through the Administration’s telephone hotline at 1-800-232-0233.

While announcing the website’s launch, Biden again implored Congress to authorize extra pandemic funding. A Congressional spending bill passed in March did not include additional money for COVID-19 relief, and the shortfall has forced the Biden Administration to cut back on treatment and vaccine purchases, Biden said. The government has also had to curtail a program that reimburses providers who test or treat people without insurance, meaning some uninsured people now have to pay out-of-pocket for COVID-19 tests. Barring extra funding, the same will soon be true of some fees associated with getting COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden warned during the press briefing that supplies of COVID-19 drugs, vaccines, and tests may run out in the coming months without more money. “We’re already seeing the consequences of Congressional inaction,” he said. “This isn’t partisan; it’s medicine.”

After his remarks, Biden received a fourth COVID-19 vaccine, just a day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized second mRNA boosters for adults ages 50 and older and certain immunocompromised individuals. “It didn’t hurt a bit,” he said.

11th Outstanding Women’s Achievements Awards Gala Held On Long Island, NY

Honorable Jennifer Desena, Supervisor Town of North Hempstead, Town Clerk Ragini Srivastava, Senior Council woman Dorothy Goosby, Town of Hempstead, Nassau County Legislator Rose Walker, Glen cove Mayor Pam Panzenback  and  several elected officials, Bobby Kumar Kalotee, Founding Member of IAF, and Community Leaders, joined in the Metropolitan in Glen cove  for Eleventh Outstanding Womens Achievements Awards Gala on a cool Sunday  Evening, March 27, 2022.

Everyone present at the auditorium felt the pride and achievements regarding the theme of the program. The attendance of Honorees and members of Indian American Community filled up the Ballroom, with extremely accomplished and elite members, who is who of the society gathered for one singular purpose, to be the part of and to celebrate 11th Outstanding Women’s Achievements Gala, part of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day Celebrations

IAF (Indian American Forum) led by Indu Jaiswal, known for her strong commitment and dedication to the community cause was the organizing force behind the gala.  This year well known Community Leader Shammi Singh was the Chairperson of the Gala. Shammi Singh was represented by Rohini Singh in her remarks welcomed all the guests congratulated all the honorees and praised their efforts in achieving such success. American National Anthem and Indian National Anthems started the program. Mistress of Ceremonies Aashmeeta Yogiraj Sandhu from JUS PUNJABI. Made the evening enjoyable.

Program started with Ganesh Vandana sung by Vandana Jauhar, Dance performances presented by students of Nartan Rang Dance Academy, well-known Choreographers Swati Vaishnav and Mukthambar Fine Arts Inc., Tribute paid to Late Lata Mangeshkar Jee by Sunita Sadhnani. Chanbir Kaur Sethi, Roopam Maini, Inesha Singh, Rohini Singh and Dr Prachi Dua, Dr Pallavi Manvar Singh and Mrs Ratna Bhalla, coordinated a brief Q&A session with the honorees discussing and emphasizing their accomplishments.

Several Elected officials present congratulated the honorees on their achievements and success, also presented them with citations. congratulated all honorees and acknowledged the efforts of IAF Team. Seven distinguished women who had excelled in their profession and community services were presented with Outstanding Women’s achievements Awards

NISHA KUMAR BEHRINGER is strategic, and shareholder focused Chief Financial Officer, independent Director, and merger acquisitions executive with over two decades track record. She is formerly a Managing Director and the Chief Financial and Chief Compliance Officer of Greenbriar Equity Group L.P. a private equity firm for investments.

KALPANA BHANDARKAR currently residing in Nassau County has nearly twenty years of experience in Health Care and civic engagement.  Kalpana has dedicated her professional career in improving access to Quality health care for people living in low resource setting. Over past several years Kalpana has focused her work with Long Island based organizations, serving as co-chair of the Board of ERASE Racism, an advocacy organization focused on fair housing and equitable education for all residents statewide

NEETA BHASIN is the President of ASB Communications, the power of multicultural marketing company. ASB Communications is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this Year. Neeta Bhasin has served the Community through her TV shows, NEETA BHASIN SHOW on social media since last two Years. She started Event Guru Worldwide, the company that created history in 2013 by conceptualizing and producing the 2nd biggest event after New Tear’s eyeball drop-in Times square> DIWALI at Times Square

BEENA KOTHARI having lived in Long Island for over 30 years. Her association, interactions contributions with Indian and American communities has been very extensive, valuable, and memorable and inclusive of all. She has several accomplishments within various social and cultural nonprofit leadership capacities. She firmly believes sin VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM meaning the world in ONE Family.

DR PREETI MEHTA is the founder of Digestive Disease Care, one of the Largest Gastroenterology [ practices expanding from Queens to Nassau and Suffolk, she is well renowned in the field of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Charitable work and giving back to the communities’ top priorities of Dr Mehta., She supports Charities dedicated for children and women education

RAGINI SRIVASTAV Town Clerk. Town of North Hempstead. Is serving her first term as Town Clerk of Town of North Hempstead, a time honored and historic function for the township since its founding in 1784.Town Clerk Srivastava is proud of The Town of North Hempstead and the unique characteristics of our villages and services

MALINI RUDRA is a junior at Williams College. She is 21 Years old, graduated from Syosset High School, she is Co-Captain of the Williams College Golf Team, which is ranked no 1 in NCAA Div. 111 Athletics. Malini has tremendous success in Golf. She won or placed top 5 in numerous tournaments locally as well a nationally Since 7th grade Malini was selected as part of the Syosset Girls Varsity Team, she is winner of Several Golf Championships. Malini also serves as a Board member of the Children’s Hope Teen Chapter and helped raise funds for under privileged in Long Island. Malini acknowledged the award with a video message. She was playing in a Golf Tournament in California.

Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby from Town of Hempstead was all in praises for the efforts of Indian American Forum and Indian American Community. She congratulated all honorees and stressed the importance of role women are playing in this world.  Citations of behalf of Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County Legislator Ms. Rose Walker, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Suffolk County Executive Steve Vallone. Were presented to all Honorees

Among those present during the event were Bobby Kumar Kalotee Founder of IAF and Chair of Nassau County Human right Commissioner, Board of Trustees, Dr Azad Anand,  Dr Urmilesh Arya, Dr Bhupendra Patel, Mr Mohinder Singh Taneja, Board members Beena Kothari, Bina Sabapathy, Jyoti Gupta ,Indu Gajwani  Anu Gulati,, Roopam Maini, Chanbir Kaur Sethi, Rohini Singh, Anuj Rihal, Inesha Singh, Dr Prachi Dua, Dr Pallavi Manvar Singh, Ratna Bhalla, Anju Sharma, Sanju Sharma Mr Sunny Thakkar , Jasbir Jay Singh, Indu Gajwani, Bina Sabapathy and  Gala Chairperson Shammi Singh, Volunteers, sponsors , Media Partners  and Many others helped in making the event a grand success.

It was indeed a highly successful evening, showcasing and honoring outstanding women achievers, who are successful in business, cultural, professional, education, medical. Community and social services.

Honoring Victims of 1971 Bangladesh Genocide, HinduPact Demands Recognition and Punishment for Pakistani Perpetrators

HinduPACT has launched a campaign to officially recognize the planned massacre of millions of people in Bangladesh, mostly Hindus, in 1971 as a genocide and to prosecute the Pakistani perpetrators who were involved with the planning and execution of “Operation Searchlight.”

“There are more than 195 officially recognized Pakistani military officers who were never prosecuted for their crimes against humanity,” said HinduPACT Executive Director Utsav Chakrabarti. “Many of these officials now hold positions of power and influence in Pakistan today including in the Armed Forces of Pakistan. It is time to hold them responsible and apply Magnitsky sanctions and prosecute them to the highest degree.”

“HinduPACT has been reaching out to the lawmakers over the course of many months to inform them of this atrocity and push for a formal recognition of this genocide,” said Ajay Shah, President of World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) and the Convenor of HinduPACT.  He added, “this is the largest genocide to take place in recent times. It is incomprehensible why the perpetrators of this  monstrosity have not been held accountable. Are political considerations more important than justice for the victims?”

“History repeats itself because people forget it,” said Adelle Nazarian, Director of Communications and Legislative Outreach for HinduPACT. “It is critical that the 1971 genocide be formally recognized for what it is so that future generations can look back in the coffers of history and never repeat the same mistakes again.” She added, “I encourage the White House and the State Department to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole, and the rights of all people living in the region, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or religion so they may all equally enjoy the benefits of democracy and economic opportunity.”

HinduPACT has been advocating global human rights and civil liberties issues under the initiative HAHRI – Hindus Advancing Human Rights Internationally – and has met with several lawmakers to discuss the issue and has many more meetings planned and urges everyone interested in seeing the 1971 genocide formally recognized to sign the following petitionhttps://hindupact.org/2022/03/23/condemn1971genocide_2022/

India’s Supreme Court Rejects Plea Monitor Christian Missionaries

A Jesuit rights champion in India has hailed the Supreme Court for dismissing a petition filed by a Hindu group seeking to monitor the activities of Christian missionaries.

While declining to entertain the plea by Hindu Dharma Parishad on March 25, the apex court warned the organization it would face a fine if it came up with such a petition again, as reported by legal news portal Live Law.

The petition was earlier dismissed by Madras High Court in 2021, following which the Hindu group moved the Supreme Court, said media reports.

“It is a step in the right direction. The legitimate constitutional rights and freedoms of all citizens — particularly minorities — must be upheld and protected by the government and the judiciary,” Father Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit priest from Gujarat, told UCA News.

Father Prakash said the petition was frivolous on two major counts.

“Firstly, it is a direct violation of Article 25 of the Constitution, which guarantees every single citizen of India the fundamental right of freedom of conscience, the freedom to profess, practice and propagate one’s religion,” he said.

“Secondly, there are enough provisions in official legislation and in the Code Of Criminal Procedure, to ensure checks and balances and to address any misuse or abuse by any individual or group — irrelevant of one’s faith.”

He said that minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims, are demonized and denigrated as never before and this must stop immediately.

Father Prakash said that groups “like the Hindu Dharma Parishad indulge in divisiveness and vilification campaigns against minorities with the sole intention of destroying the country’s secular fabric and must be reined in without further delay.”

Madras High Court in its order had held that laws prohibiting forceful religious conversion were already in place. The Hindu group challenged it in the Supreme Court alleging that “anti-social and anti-national elements were forcibly converting people from Hinduism to other religions, notably Christianity.”

Its petition further appealed the apex court “to strengthen India’s unity and sovereignty and stability” for which it sought that the incomes and activities of the Christian missionaries be “checked” and “monitored.”

The group alleged that due to non-surveillance of the income earned by Christian religious properties, hundreds of new minority trusts disguised as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were being created.

“And these NGOs are getting large sums of money through foreign aid, which is being utilized for financing anti-social activities and provoking innocent people to indulge [in] disturbing the peace in the country,” it was alleged in the dismissed petition.

Sikhs Urge April To Be Declared As Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month

With April around the corner, now is the time to request Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month (SAAM) resolutions or proclamations from school boards, city councils, and state governments.

Sangats across the country have been able to use SAAM to raise awareness about the Sikh community at the local level. Since many state, county, and local governments have embraced virtual meetings, requesting and obtaining a Sikh awareness resolution or proclamation is easier than ever before. The following step-by-step guide can help sangat members to reach their local governments to help proclaim April as SAAM:

Step 1: Decide which government official you want to request a resolution from and look up their contact information at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. You can request a proclamation from your governor, state legislature, city or county council, and/or school board. Please note that some government websites have a proclamation or resolution request form where you can ask for a SAAM proclamation or resolution using the draft language in this toolkit. If you are unsure of how to submit a request, it is best to contact that office directly via phone or email.

Step 2: Introduce yourself and share a little more information about the local Sikh community with the government official’s office (e.g. when the first gurdwara was established in the area, notable news or seva in the sangat, etc.). Ask them to introduce a SAAM resolution or proclamation to ensure that the broader community is aware of who Sikhs are and our positive contributions to the United States. Click here for an additional easy-to-use messaging resource on how to talk to an elected official about SAAM, and share the included draft language with them.

Step 3: Regularly follow-up with the office and keep the Sikh Coalition updated about the status of your resolution request. You can email Sikh Coalition staff at [email protected] with questions or concerns.

Even if your city, state or school district has recognized SAAM before, it does not necessarily mean that it will automatically happen again. In most cases, proclamations and resolutions must be renewed every year, which means that government offices have to hear from the sangat. Many offices require that requests be submitted well in advance, so we recommend submitting as soon as possible.

Navy Pier, Delhi committee of Chicago Sister Cities Jointly Celebrate Holi

First time a large metropolitan city in the United States, Chicago, celebrated the Indian festival of Holi, with over 2000 people in attendance which included live cultural programming, music and dancing, food and drink, and color throwing.

“The Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities is thrilled to partner with Navy Pier for this event so that Chicagoans and visitors can participate in the celebration of Holi, a holiday that marks new life and energy,” said Smita N. Shah, Chairman of the Delhi Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, Director on the Navy Pier Board of Directors, and CEO of SPAAN Tech, Inc.

“How fitting that we can celebrate this one-of-a-kind event on our beautiful lakefront, with Mayor Lightfoot, in the city blessed by Swami Vivekananda.”  Also in attendance were Consul General Amit Kumar, Indian Community Leader Niranjan S. Shah, Pratima Shah, and ABC 7 News Reporter, Ravi Baichwal.

Ravi Baichwal of ABC7 News, provided a welcome for attendees and served as the master of ceremonies. The celebration was the last of three events in the Global Connections series at Navy Pier presented by ComEd, which previously hosted events celebrating the Chinese New Year and International Carnivale.

“Chicago is a global city, and this partnership is a perfect example of that,” noted Mayor Lightfoot.  She also thanked Smita N. Shah for her commitment to the citizens of Chicago, leadership of the Delhi Committee, and for her appointment by President Biden to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

Delhi’s position as a sister city to Chicago demonstrates the strong relationship between India and the city as well as the cultural importance of the established Indian American community to the Chicagoland community. Under Smita Shah’s leadership, the Delhi Committee of Chicago founded the Annual Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi Luncheon in 2014, honoring the long-standing exchange of ideas between Mahatma Gandhi and the U.S., and the ever-important principles of truth and non-violence. Shah also helped secure the designation of October 2nd as Mahatma Gandhi Day in Chicago.

New York & SIAEA With the Consulate General of India In New York Celebrate Culture of India at Virtual Holi Festival GOPIO

Holi is the national festival of colors, celebrated across India in different forms and traditions. The celebration of this colorful festival brings people of different faiths with diverse socio-political ideologies closer.

This message of unity in diversity was shared by the Chief Guest, India’s Consul General in New York, Randhirkumar Jaiswal during the annual Holi celebrations organized by GOPIO New York Chapter in collaboration with the Society of Indo-American Engineers Architects (SIAEA) in collaboration with the Consulate General of India In New York on Sunday, March 20th, 2022.

Chief guest and honored distinguished guests speakers of the event:

In his eloquent address to the Diaspora community, Ambassador Jaiswal greeted the participants from around the world on the occasion of Holi Festival, who had joined from all major continents on Earth, as hundreds of Indian Diaspora members came together virtually to celebrate the Festival of Holi. While describing the historical and symbolic traditions of the festival of Holi, the veteran diplomat said, “Holi is a very beautiful festival of color. A festival that helps us welcome spring. Holi has several connotations, social, religious, political, and rhythmic with nature. Holi is about togetherness, unity and oneness, and holding hands together, celebrating the goodness and kindness of humanity,” he said. He urged the participants to take a moment out to pray for peace.

Congressman Tom Suozzi of Long Island, NY greeted the community with “Holi Mubarak” to all. Describing Holi as an exciting time for all, a great friend of India and the Indian American community, Rep. Suozzi said, “It’s great to be with you all to celebrate the festival of Holi, which reminds us of all that Spring is in the air as the flowers start blooming and we await new life and happiness. Thank you for your continued support, and I will do everything in my power to represent the Indian American community in Long Island at the US Congress and the interests of India.” Recalling his childhood as a first generation Irish American, he was taught to remember the 3 Is, Ireland, Italy, and Israel, and now, “There are for Is: Ireland, Italy, Israel and India.”

In her message, NY Senator Ana Kaplan, greeted the Indian community in New York a very Happy Holi. She praised the contributions and achievements of the Indian American community. She recalled how in her own tradition; her community celebrates the arrival of the Spring. “New York is a melting pot that brings people of all faiths and of all backgrounds,” she said, and wished, May all of us experience peace, overcoming all hurdles on the way.”

New York Senator Kevin Thomas shared with the audience how he has made it a point to bring Holi and other Indian festivals to the New York State Chambers, distributing Samosas and sweets to the members of the elected officials in Albany. He invited GOPIO to join him and other elected officials in Albany to celebrate Holi in person, after having to celebrate Holi virtually in the past 2 years due to Covid. “We hope, this is the last of all virtual celebrations,” he said, and hoped that “From now on, we can celebrate the festivities in person, meeting one another, joining our hands together,” he said.

The colorful Holi celebrations depicting the rich cultural heritage of India, organized by the GOPIO New York, the first Chapter of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, showcased the rich, colorful, and vibrant traditions of India, bringing them at the doorsteps of every household, as the audience from around the world were entertained with mesmerizing music, scintillating dance performances, and inspiring speeches.

Lal Motwani, Chairman of GOPIO New York and Executive Trustee of GOPIO International, and former president of the SIAEA, in his address, greeted Honorable India’s Consul General of New York, RandhirKumar Jaiswal and officials, members and the leaders of GOPIO from around the world who have joined virtually to celebrate the colorful festival of Holi.

“The vibrancy of colors is something that brings in a lot of positivity in our lives and Holi being the festival of colors is actually a day worth rejoicing,” Motwani said. “Holi is considered as one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India and it is celebrated in almost every part of India, transcending every region, and people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees, Buddhists, and Jains. It represents the uniqueness of Indian culture as we, from all backgrounds stand united to welcome Spring, as Mother Nature breathes freshness into our lives and that of every living creature on Earth. Welcome to each and every one of you and wishing you and your families A VERY HAPPY HOLI!”

Ketan Shah, President of SIAEA served as co-emcee and introduced the speakers, executive team of GOPIO and SIAEA boards at the event and thanked the several sponsors who made the event successful by their financial support. Major sponsors among all are ICC (Grand Sponsor), Monpat Construction and Nadiad Construction (GOLD Sponsors), Amil Patel, SIAEA president-elect, Gary Wowk Founder of K Construction, Bina Sabapathy, Navneet Kothari, Dhiraj Ahuja were among the SILVER sponsors. Swathi and Aaishwariya Gulani, Miss India USA 2020 were master emcees who gracefully presented the cultural part of the program. Dharmatma Saran of the Miss India Worldwide Pageants coordinated the cultural extravaganza. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International in his greetings to the community on the occasion of Holi, complemented GOPIO New York and SIAEA for hosting the Holi celebrations.

Second-generation Indian Americans, including a 16-yr old Aditi shared with the audience their perspectives, experiences of celebrating Holi and what it meant for them.  A beautiful Hindi poem on Holi composed and narrated by Anju and Sneha Singhi, a young artist was appreciated by one and all. Members of the dance troupe led by Staya Narayn Charka of the Ananda Ashram performed Kathakali, reliving the stories from the Indian Epic, Mahabharat. Navya Paingoal, Renu Kundem, and Michelle Sadat a fine vocalist also delighted the event with their beautiful singing.

A live Bollywood medley by Anwar Hussain and friends from Jaipur, India representing a family of 12 generations serving the royals, was much appreciated, and loved by all. Begum of Bollywood Maharaja from Jaipur, a famous singer who is the 1st woman from her community to perform publicly, mesmerized the audience with her beautiful voice. She was recently honored by the President of India for her contributions to art and culture.

Miss Teen India Sidhya Ganesh from the state of Washington delighted the audience with a live Holi Dance. The Chander family consisting of Anil, Harish, Gopi Arti Raj presented a Bollywood Medley, mesmerizing the audience with their beautiful voice singing some of the very popular numbers from the evergreen Hindi movies.  Dinesh Mirchandani, a founder, and CEO of Sargam Music Academy delighted the occasion with his classical vocal singing.

Anindita Nanda, a classical dancer and choreographer, who has presented and produced over 500 shows in the past two decades and a scientist in Pharma from Danbury CT presented Ganapathi Stothram and a Bharatnatyam Pallavi. A much sought-after touring artist, Anindita is regularly presented by Embassies, Museums, Universities, Libraries, Schools and Cultural Institutions across the United States, Europe, South America, and India. She is the founder and director of Sur-Taal, and She teaches in CT, NYC, Boston, West Coast, Germany, and Rome.

Beena Kothari, a prominent community leader and GOPIO – NY President poetically described the importance of Holi and served as an emcee of the event. Holi has become known as India’s most vivid, joyous festival.  Holi is being celebrated in the Indian subcontinent for centuries, with poems documenting celebrations dating back to the 4th century CE. It marks the beginning of spring after a long winter, symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated in March, corresponding to the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna. On the eve of the festival, large pyres are lit in many parts of India to signify the burning of evil spirits.

Talented Performers of the event:

In the end, Ketan Shah, Co-host and president of SIAEA thanked all Honorable guests, dignitaries, Performers, Participants, Viewers, Sponsors, and executive committees of both GOPIO-NY and SIAEA.

After Two Long Years, COVID-19 Is No Longer #1 Concern For Americans

For what is likely the first time in two years, COVID-19 is no longer the primary concern among Americans, as the economy, inflation, and jobs (90%) and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (87%) are a higher concern than the virus (68%). Here what they are thinking:

Today, Americans find many daily activities not too, or not at all, risky anymore, such as eating or drinking inside a restaurant/bar (48%), working in-person without a mask (43%), shopping indoors with a mask (41%), and exercising maskless in a gym or a sports team (38%).

Replacing COVID in the news: (87%) of Americans consider Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the biggest news story in America right now, surpassing the COVID-19 news coverage of the past two years (v. COVID-19 being the biggest story: 13%).Replacing COVID in the news: (87%) of Americans consider Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the biggest news story in America right now, surpassing the COVID-19 news coverage of the past two years (v. COVID-19 being the biggest story: 13%).

Taking a mental break from COVID because, well, there could be another pandemic before we die: (69%) of Americans think it is likely that they will live through another pandemic in their lifetime (Gen Z: 56%, Millennial: 73%, Gen X: 78%, Boomer: 62%) and (27%) believe that COVID-19 news will dominate the news cycle again and (58%) could see it occur if something major happens such as a new, deadly variant arises.

Takeaway: After a roller-coaster of emotion, Americans have reached similar levels of pre-Delta optimism that the worst of COVID-19 is behind us (64%), however, diminishing news coverage and COVID-19 fatigue may prove concerning as European COVID-19 cases have begun rising again–such as in the UK two weeks after dropping mitigation measures.

In The Harris Poll Tracker (Week 107) fielded March 11th to 13th, 2022 among 2,000 U.S. adults, look at how Americans’ concerns have shifted away from COVID-19 and from Week 106 how younger consumers are engaging with international brands regularly. In addition, we cover other Harris Poll data detailing how Americans are packing their bags for summer vacations, how men are more interested in the future of the metaverse, and an industry snapshot of the health and personal care sector.

BJP Victories In India Polls Celebrated By NRIs

The umbrella organization Indian-American Community, along with numerous supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, celebrated the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in four out of the five states where elections were held. The event was held Sunday March 13, 2022, at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, N.J.

Addressing a large gathering chanting Bharat Mata ji Jai and Jai Shri Ram in New York Jagdish Sewhani President of The American India Public Affairs Committee and the Organizer of the BJP Victory Celebrations in New York thanked the voters of UP and other states for bringing back BJP in power in four states .This shows that today’s voter is smart , intelligent. They have totally rejected the politics of Dynasty and policy of appeasement corruption and voted for development, better Law and order.

It is a historical win for BJP in UP, where after 37 years voters have re-elected the same party back to Power, this shows peoples trust in Yogi ji and Modiji. This is an endorsement of Prime Minister Modiji’s pro poor, Pro Farmer and pro Development policy, the organizers said.

“We have won the Semifinals with Landslide because people have faith in Modi and I’m confident that Voters in Bharat will re-elect Narendra Modi in 2024 with much bigger margin,”  asserted Mr Sewhani.

The Prime Minister Modi since 2014 has been working relentlessly for making Bharat as Vishwaguru , because of Modiji today Bharat is moving in direction of Atmanirbhar Bharat in defense, High tech and other fields.

More than 100 million Farmers have benefited from PM Kisan yojana , , 89 million housewives benefited from PM Ujwala yojana and received free gas cylinders, millions of families got free Rashan  under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana  and more than 1.8 billion Vaccines shots were given said Sewhani. He thanked Prime Minister Modi for safely bringing back thousand of students from Ukraine. Narendra Modi is the world’s most popular leader. Today world is looking at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for solution and end war between Russia and Ukraine, said Mr Sewhani .

Dr Bhupi Patel  , Harry Brar , Animesh Goenka and others also spoke at Victory celebrations Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of PWWM and ITV Gold, and several other speakers including Pramod Bhagat, Albert Jasani, as well as Dhiren Amin, Raj Pandya and Chandrakant Patel, to name just a few, expressed their joy about the election results calling it an endorsement of Prime Minister Modi’s policies and governance.