AAPI-QLI Celebrates Silver Jubilee Gala

Nearly 500 people from across the country came together to celebrate the contributions, achievements and growth of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin of QUEENS and LONG ISLAND (AAPI-QLI) during the 25th annual convention here at the Hilton Huntington, Long Island, NY on Saturday, December 4th, 2021.

Entertainment, CME lectures, Exhibition, Business Forums, Networking, Recognition of five distinguished physicians for their achievements and contributions, Gala and Dinner were some of those made the convention historic on this colorful and eventful day.

The United States Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, chief guest at the event, in his address, praised the contributions of Indian Americans to the larger American society. He lauded the great contributions of the largest AAPI Chapter with over 850 Member Physicians, who serve the state of New York in various capacities. “For 25 years, members of AAPI QLI has worked tirelessly to support Indian American physicians excel in patient care , teaching and research,” he said.

Kathy Hochul, the Governor of New York, lauded the great contributions of Indian American physicians, especially during the pandemic, putting your lives at the forefront, making New York stronger and vibrant. She praised the dedication, hard work and their contributions to the state of New York with their strong membership of over 3,000 member physicians of Indian Origin in the Queens Long Island region. “Our entire state of New York befits from the great contributions of Indian American physicians, who work in all areas of healthcare, and we appreciate their commitment to ensuring quality care for our people,” she said.

In his welcome address, Dr. Rajendra Bhayani, who was the President of AAPI-QLI, during the Jubilee year and as the Chair of Jubilee Committee, describing of AAPIQLI as “One of most prestigious organizations in the country today,” gave an overview of how the organization, and its trajectory of growth over the past 25 years and how it has become today to be one of the most powerful ethnic Physician organizations in the country.

“I am grateful  anmd stand here with adeep sense of gratitude and appreciation. You all esteemed members of AAPI QLI have given me tremendous opportunity to be your president during the very special year a silver jubilee year of AAPIQLI and to serve as the Chair of the Jubilee Celebrations. It has been  my pleasure and very special privilege to serve as your president during silver jubilee year of AAPIQLI.”

Dr. Abhay Malhotra, President of AAPI QLI in his address, enumerated some of the major achievements of the Chapter. He said, “AAPI-QLI has been providing a forum for monthly meetings for Continuing Medical Educations on Sunday, monthly sessions with discussions on current trends and changes on a range of topics in healthcare, wealth management, and practice management issues on Wednesday. AAPI-QLI is also engaged in charitable activities for the benefit of our community at large in the form of donations to several charitable organizations every year.

Dr. Jagdish K Gupta, past President of AAPI QLI, called upon the AAPI members to “stand united, in order to be able to fight for our rights,” while pointing to the fact that Indian American Physicians service every 7th patient in the nation and contribute immensely to the healthcare industry in the nation.”

Dr. Rakesh Dua, Chair of AAPI QLI BOT lauded the many achievements of the Indian Americans. “Tonight, as proud members of the AAPI-QLI, the largest and most active Chapter of national AAPI, we are celebrating the achievements of our community and our many contributions to the diverse society in New York and Long Island area.”

AAPIQLI, one of the largest chapters of national AAPI, has been serving 800 member physicians since 1995, providing continuing medical education, charity, and discussing the state of the art topics in healthcare, wealth management and practice management.

AAPI QLI has grown rapidly in membership and has been well accepted and appreciated by all local and national professional organizations. From the very beginning the leadership put heavy emphasis on transparency and the democratic process, which is the main ingredient for its enormous success.

The Mission of AAPI Queens and Long Island has been to represent the interests of all physicians of Indian Origin in the area including providing Continuous Medical Education (CME) and engaging in charitable activities for the benefit of the larger community in the New York region. For information, please visit: http://aapiqli.org/about-aapiqli/

Living The American Dream While Holding On To The Traditional Indian Family Values: Kothari Family

For Most people, the Immigrant American Dreams mean, better opportunities to find work, Better living conditions, to be with their American spouses/families and to get the best education.

Recent census data shows that the Diverse and Growing Asian Population in the United States nearly tripled in the past three decades, and Asians are now the fastest-growing ethnic minority of the United State of America. Incredible success of the Indian American diaspora can be attributed to the fact that we are one of the best educated groups with over 80% having college degrees, in addition to the uptick, the Asian population has become geographically diverse with the wide distinctions in income, citizenship and political preference.

It is extremely difficult to achieve both the American Dream and holding on to the Traditional Indian Family Values. The Kothari family led by Hasmukh Kothari is a living example of how a blend of traditional values with modern and progressive thinking can help create a harmonious family life.

Born in the historical year of India’s Independence, 1947, to Shri Govind Lal Kothari and Smt. Sharda Kothari, in a small town of Gujarat called Kadi, Hasmukh finished his education with a degree in Civil Engineering, after which he procured a job as an assistant lecturer in Mumbai. In 1968, Hasmukh married Usha to start a blissful family life.

In 1980, Hasmukh Kothari, armed with a degree in Civil engineering, landed on the US soil with an empty wallet but a heart full of dreams. He was the first one from his family to make this transition. He worked very hard to reach the goals that he had set for himself and his family.

He started his career here as a Life Insurance sales person, progressively transitioning into real estate income tax, mortgage and insurance industry. In the past, he has played an active part in Gujarati Samaj of Chicago and is a prominent community leader. He truly believes in giving back to the community and uplifting the society as a whole, keeping alive our culture and heritage.

After working with a variety of companies, Hasmukh started his new venture KMS Realty in 2004 which is very well known in the industry now.  Today he has a thriving business and a wonderful family, complete with his two sons, older one, Bobby, his wife Shobhana, younger son, Bunty, his wife Ranna and one daughter Pinki, her husband, Pranav and the grandkids- which he considers, is his real wealth. In addition to the United States of America, he has an Extended family of more than 50 members back home in India as well, who respect him for the accomplished man he is now.

Almost every weekend, members of the Kothari family gather. And recently on December 17th, 2021, the family gathered again to celebrate older son Bobby’s 50th birthday. Bobby is also a successful businessman running his Construction & Remodeling Company, while his wife Shobhana Kothari is a professional licensed cosmetologist. Along with the entire family, Shobhana wishes her husband a very happy, healthy and prosperous life.

Mostly we hear about the two regrets the dying people express the most: 1) I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected out of me. 2) I wish I had spent more time with my family. When asked, Hasmukh Kothari, said, “100% I have no such regrets, because for me, I have always made my family my first priority and always made sure to spend substantial and quality time with my loved ones.”

Hasmukh’s message to the immigrants today is that the United States of America is the land of opportunities, but everyone needs to work hard, work smart with ethics endowed at every step, not to forget the big part education plays in one’s life! He added,” We are all Stars, but we must learn how to Shine!”. Today, living a content and happy life with his family, Hasmukh Kothari is an inspiration to the young immigrants who have same dreams and passions.

“Heart Health Awareness And Community Bystander CPR” Program Organized By Indian Consulate in Chicago

During the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) week, the Chicago Indian Consulate organized a Heart Health Awareness and Community ‘Saving Lives’ Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) program at the Indian Consulate in Chicago on December 15,2021.

The Indian American community-focused program was jointly developed by Dr. Vemuri S Murthy, Chairman of the Board of  Chicago Medical Society and Founder of the Chicago Medical Society Community Bystander CPR project “SMILE” (Saving More Illinois Lives through Education) in association with Dr. Srinivas Ramaka, an eminent Cardiologist from Telangana, India. The program was attended by several members of the Indian diaspora, leaders of Medical Organizations, and Diplomats of the Indian Consulate, staff, and families.

Inaugurating the program, Honorable Consul General Amit Kumar spoke on the importance of Indo-US healthcare partnerships to reduce morbidity and mortality due to heart disease and the major role of the Indian diaspora in strengthening these affiliations through jointly developed innovative projects. As an example, he referred to the Heart Rescue India (HRI) project, recently implemented successfully with Indo-US collaboration, involving the University of Illinois College of Medicine and UI Health, Chicago, and Ramaiah Medical College in Bengaluru with a grant from Medtronic. He congratulated the Indian Physician community for their ongoing contributions to the Indian and US Healthcare sector.

In his address, Hon’ble Member of Congress Danny K. Davis stressed the importance of taking care of one’s health. He commended the significant role of the Indian American doctors in contributing to the general health and well-being of US communities. In a virtual message, Honorable Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi congratulated the Indian Consulate and Dr. Vemuri Murthy for organizing the program and their efforts to enhance outcomes after cardiac arrests among the communities.

Consul General Amit Kumar, Congressman Danny K Davis, PBSA Dr. Bharat Barai and Dr. Vemuri Murthy released the community bystander CPR Informational brochure in three languages – English, Gujarati, and Spanish for the Indian and US communities. Brochures in other Indian languages will be available soon.

Dr.Murthy gave a presentation on Global Heart Disease, Heart Attacks and Sudden Cardiac Arrests with a special focus on Indians and Indian diaspora in the USA. He spoke of the  programs needed to improve the survival and outcomes during cardiac emergencies via. community awareness, prevention, early recognition, and timely intervention. He also brought to the attention of audience the need to seriously address “Women’s Heart Health” issues. A Hands-only CPR demonstration and training of the participants followed.

Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promote “Healthy Heart” lifestyles is essential. 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. 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. Vemuri S. Murthy, an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine @ The University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA and Visiting Professor in India, is an Advocate of Resuscitation education, training and research in USA and India.His current work involves Cardiac Arrest Registries and Cardiac Health-promoting Projects with Indo-US collaborations.

Dr. Akash Patel Assumes Office As IMANE’s New President, Deepa Jhaveri Is The President-Elect

The Indian Medical Association of New England, known as IMANE, installed Dr. Akash Patel, MD as its new president for the year 2022 and selected Dr. Deepa Jhaveri, DPM as its president-elect. Dr. Patel replaces Dhrumil Shah, MD, whose term expired this year.

Dr. Patel earned his medical school degree from Pramukhswami Medical College at Sardar Patel University in Gujarat, India. He completed his Family Medicine Residency at University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey/Hoboken University Medical Center in Hoboken, NJ. Dr. Patel is Board Certified in Family Medicine. His clinical interests include hypertension, cardiovascular health and preventive medicine.

Dr. Jhaveri is a board certified surgical podiatrist. She earned her undergraduate degree at University of Maryland and podiatric medical degree at Temple University. She is credentialed and works at Beth-Israel Lahey Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center.

Dr. Pramod Shah, MD, Chair of the Board of Trustees of IMANE, said that 2020 and part of 2021 were dead years because of the COVID19 pandemic.

“Board of Trustees congratulate Dr. Dhrumil Shah for his leadership during these trying times. He kept the communication going and activities going using zoom meetings, emails and telephone calls. His continued efforts and constant prodding and reminders kept the organization functioning well and achieving a lot,” said Dr. Pramod Shah.

“Life of a healthcare professional in today’s environment is full of challenges and uncertainties we have never faced in the past. While we are not going back to yesterday, we have to embrace our past irrespective of our desires and work together to build a better future for generations to come,” outgoing IMANE President Dr. Dhrumil Shah said. “I am really thankful for members and our community partners who showed us in 2021 despite all uncertainties, how we can all do our part in making the difference.”

He said that IMANE closely collaborated and worked with network of its alliance partners in 2021 to facilitate fundraisers and campaigns geared towards helping underserved communities in India.

“Empowering our community through new partnerships and facilitating activities with common objectives has been at the center of our new normal in 2021,” added Dr. Shah. “Please join me in welcoming the 2022 IMANE Leadership team as we continue our journey together to further IMANE mission and goals.”

Dr. George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, Chief of Medicine at Saint Vincent Hospital, Worcester, Massachusetts, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), served as the Chief Guest during the IMANE annual gala.

Three members of IMANE were also honored by IMANE President’s awards. D.. Sapna Agarwal was recognized for her contributions towards IMANE Leadership & Excellence. Dr Manju Sheth was honored  for her work in making a global impact, and Dr Paul Mathew was honored for leading IMANE’s CME efforts.

The 43rd general body meeting of IMANE also elected new members to its executive committee and it Board of Trustees. Here is the complete list of all IMANE officers:

President: Akash Patel, MD

Past-President: Dhrumil Shah, MD

President-elect: Deepa Jhaveri, DPM

Secretary: Sonali Khond, MD

Treasurer: Shikha Merchia, MD

Members at Large:

Paul Mathew, MD

Monnie Malhotra, MD

Gita Trivedi, MD

Sanjay Aurora, MD

Smita Patel, MD

Board of Trustees:

Pramod Shah, MD

Rajendra Trivedi, MD

Sapna Agarwal, MD

Vikas Desai, MD

Kishore Mehta, MD

Chairman of Nominating Committee: Devila Shah, MD

ByLaws Chair: Pramod Shah, MD

YPS Representative: Tej Shah, DMD.

U.S. Life Expectancy Dropped Nearly 2 Years in 2020

It’s clear that 2020 was a terrible year for health in the U.S., but just how terrible is now coming into focus. New mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics finds that life expectancy dropped by 1.8 years in 2020 compared to 2019, and more than 528,800 more U.S. residents died in 2020 than in 2019. It is the largest single-year increase in annual mortality since 1933, when data for the entire country first became available.

COVID-19 is the primary reason for this shift. The virus was the cause of 10.4% of all deaths last year and became the third-most common cause of death in the country. However, the report also reflects the shock waves the pandemic sent through the U.S. healthcare system. “The report card for the year was an F,” says Samuel Preston, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences (who was not involved with the study). “It’s a very dismal portrait of what happened in the United States. And what happened in the United States is worse than what happened in other developed countries.”

Death rates rose from various causes, including heart disease (up 4.1%), strokes (up 4.9%) and Alzheimer’s disease (up 8.7%) as COVID-19 stretched the entire health care system to its limit. Mark Hayward, a demographer and a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, says that increases in these particular diseases is striking. “They’re the kinds of deaths that are likely to occur because you can’t access hospitals or you can’t access care,” he says. “The overall consequence of COVID is broader than just COVID-related deaths. It’s because we can’t provide care to people with other conditions.”

Access issues during the pandemic were reported across the health care system: ambulances bounced from one overwhelmed emergency room to another; short-staffed nursing homes struggled to contain the deadly infection; and hospitals were forced to postpone non-emergency surgeries to cope with the influx of COVID-19 patients. Check-ups, during which doctors might have prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, were canceled, and those unprescribed drugs did not prevent heart attacks. Many care providers also left the profession because of burnout and exhaustion.

Even these high numbers are likely an underestimate. About 17% to 20% more deaths should have been attributed to COVID-19, says Preston, who is studying COVID-19 and 2020 mortality rates as part of a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University. “We have concluded, as others have, that COVID itself was under-reported as a cause of death,” says Preston. “There are areas of the country where, compared to the changes in death rates overall, there are clearly insufficient numbers of deaths being assigned to COVID.” While undercounting was likely a bigger issue early in the pandemic, problems persisted, Preston says. For instance, areas with coroners (who are typically elected) instead of medical examiners (who are generally appointed medical officials) are more likely to assign COVID-19 deaths to other causes.

The pandemic also contributed to increased deaths caused by another type of illness: drug-use disorders. Recent government data found that between April 2020 and 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses, the highest number ever recorded in a 12-month period. This record high was at least partially the result of the pandemic, as the virus not only disrupted treatment programs and affected patients’ mental health, but likely accelerated the spread of the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl. In the new NCHS report, overdoses are included in the category of unintentional injuries, which rose 16.8% year over year.

What’s also clear from the report is that while no part of American society was untouched by the pandemic, some groups experienced worse effects. Death rates rose among all age groups over the age of 15, and among white, Black and Hispanic people alike. The increase was particularly steep for Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black people: death rates rose by 42.7% for Hispanic men, 32.4% for Hispanic women, 28% for Black men, and 24.9% for Black women in 2020 compared to 2019. The gap between men and women’s life expectancy also widened. Men’s life expectancy fell by 2.1 years, to age 74.2, and dropped 1.5 years to age 79.9 for women.

The racial disparities are likely due to the fact that more people of color are frontline workers who aren’t able to avoid being exposed to the virus, says Hayward, who studies mortality and inequality. As more data become available, he anticipates seeing inequalities across educational lines. “The college educated could work at home and avoid exposure,” says Hayward. “​​You’re going to see a very dramatic widening of educational differences in life expectancies…driven in part because of absolute decline in life expectancy among the most socially disadvantaged groups in this country.”

U.S. Population Growth Has Nearly Flatlined, New Census Data Shows

America’s population size is standing still, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population growth over the 12-month period from July 1, 2020 through July 1, 2021 stood at unprecedented low of just 0.12%. This is the lowest annual growth since the Bureau began collecting such statistics in 1900, and reflects how all components of population change—deaths, births, and immigration levels—were impacted during a period when the COVID-19 pandemic became most prevalent.

The new estimates show that during this period, population growth declined from the previous year in 31 of 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., with 18 states sustaining absolute population losses. In some states, especially California and New York, population losses were exacerbated by inflated out-migration during the pandemic, just as other states such as Florida and Texas benefitted from greater population in-flows.

While COVID-19 clearly played a role in this near-zero population growth, that growth had begun to plummet even before the pandemic. The 2020 census showed that from 2010 to 2020, the U.S. registered the second-lowest decade growth in its history—a consequence, in large part, of the aging of its population, which led to more deaths and fewer births. Nonetheless, the new data shows that pandemic-related demographic forces have left an indelible mark on the nation.

Historic dips and spikes in population growth follow pandemics and economic trends

The unprecedented near cessation of U.S. population growth is depicted in Figure 1, which charts annual growth rates in the 121-year period from 1900 to 2021. Over this time, the nation experienced wide variations in growth, resulting from wars, economic booms and busts, as well as changing fertility and immigration patterns.

Noteworthy are the sharp dips in growth: in 1918-19, due largely to the Spanish Flu pandemic, and in the late 1920s and early 1930s as a result of the Great Depression. Growth rose to levels approaching 2% during the prosperous post-World War II “baby boom” years of the 1950s and 1960s. And after a lull in the 1970s and 1980s, population growth rose again in the 1990s due to rising immigration and millennial generation births.

The 21st century ushered in another population growth downturn, exacerbated by the 2007-09 Great Recession. This spilled into a 2010s decade-wide growth slowdown that provided a backdrop for the nearly flat growth of 0.12% in 2020-21. This most recent statistic reflects more deaths and fewer births associated with an aging population along with greater restrictions in immigration near the end of the decade, even before the pandemic hit.

The factors that led to today’s unprecedented flat growth rate

The demographic components of reduced population growth in 2020-21 are depicted in Figure 2, which contrasts year-by-year changes since 2000 in what demographers call “natural increase”—the excess of births over deaths as well as net international migration.

As indicted above, declines in the nation’s natural increase levels during the 2010s reflected more deaths associated with an aging population as well as the after-effects of the Great Recession in the postponement of childbearing for young adult women. Immigration trends were more uneven due to changing economic circumstances, including the recession and immediate post-recession downturn, as well as immigration policies that became more restrictive during the Trump administration.

Both natural increase and immigration contributions to population growth became markedly reduced in 2020-21, in large part due to the pandemic. (Pandemic impacts were partially evident already in 2019-20 data.) Population gains attributable to natural increase rose as high as 1.1 million in 2016-17, but dropped to 677,000 in 2019-20 and then again to 148,000 in 2020-21. Over the past two years, the number of deaths in the U.S. rose by 363,000 (from 3.07 million to 3.43 million) and the number of births declined by 166,000 (from 3.74 million to 3.58 million)—reflecting, in part, pandemic-related decisions to postpone having children.

Immigration levels plummeted as well, exacerbating the impacts of earlier policy restrictions. The new estimates showed a net international migration of just 256,000 in 2020-21—down from an already low 477,000 in 2019-20 and from over 1 million per year in the middle of the 2010s decade.

Despite this decline in immigration, it was the dip in natural increase—propelled by deaths during the pandemic—that drove much of the nation’s dramatic growth slowdown.  In contrast to earlier years, the contribution of natural increase to the nation’s growth was even less than that of immigration.

Eighteen states lost population in the past year

The national growth slowdown exerted a broad impact across the nation’s states. Among the nation’s 50 states and Washington, D.C., 31 showed lower growth (or greater losses) in 2020-21 than in 2019-20 (see downloadable Table B).

The states that led in growth rates were mostly in the Mountain West, including Idaho, Utah, Montana, and Arizona, which had annual rates exceeding 1.4%. In terms of numeric growth, the biggest gainers in 2020-21 were Texas (310,000 people), Florida (211,000), Arizona (98,000), and North Carolina (93,000). Still, these gains were smaller than what these states saw in 2019-20 or 2018-19.

Table 1. States with population declines, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21

2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
New York -80,967 New York -126,355 New York -319,020
Illinois -57,668 Illinois -79,487 California -261,902
West Virginia -10,690 California -69,532 Illinois -113,776
Pennsylvania -10,224 Michigan -18,240 Massachusetts -37,497
Connecticut -8,539 Pennsylvania -15,629 Louisiana -27,156
Hawaii -7,487 Louisiana -12,967 Pennsylvania -25,569
Louisiana -6,165 Mississippi -11,441 District of Columbia -20,043
Mississippi -4,652 West Virginia -10,476 Michigan -16,853
Alaska -3,021 Connecticut -9,016 New Jersey -12,613
Michigan -2,491 New Jersey -8,887 Ohio -10,570
Rhode Island -1,180 Hawaii -8,609 Hawaii -10,358
Vermont -756 Ohio -3,290 Maryland -7,550
New Jersey -472 Alaska -2,445 Mississippi -6,905
Kansas -113 Massachusetts -1,309 West Virginia -6,839
Rhode Island -1,033 North Dakota -4,014
Vermont -699 New Mexico -1,689
Kansas -1,298
Rhode Island -619

Source: William H. Frey analysis of US Census Bureau estimates, released December 21, 2021

Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that 18 states (including Washington, D.C.) lost population in 2020-21. This is up from 16 population-losing states 2019-20; 14 in 2018-19; and just 10 in the two prior years.

New York and California registered the biggest numeric losses. Both states showed substantially greater losses in 2020-21 than in the prior two years, as was the case for most states that sustained recent population losses.

Twenty-five states registered more deaths than births

The poor growth performance of most states in 2020-21 reflects a combination of lower natural increase and smaller immigration from abroad—components which led to reduced national growth and reduced domestic migration across states (see downloadable Table C).

All 50 states and Washington, D.C. displayed lower natural increase in 2020-21 than in the previous year. Moreover, 25 states showed what demographers call “natural decrease”—an excess of deaths over births. Led by Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia, most of these states are in the nation’s Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast. Just eight of these states registered natural decreases in 2019-20; in 2018-19, this was the case for only four (West Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont).

Similarly, immigration from abroad was lower across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in 2020-21 than in the previous year. This is especially the case for those with greatest immigrant gains: Florida, Texas, New York, and California.

Domestic migration sharpened state gains and losses

Domestic migration (movement within the U.S.) is the one demographic component which can either worsen or improve state population growth in a slow growth environment. This was especially the case during the past year, when pandemic-related economic, social, and safety factors prompted selective movement flows.

The new census estimates show how domestic migration impacted states which both lost and gained population. For example, the three states with the greatest overall population losses—New York, California, and Illinois—were the three leaders in net out-migration.    These states contain major cities and metropolitan areas, which have been associated with out-migration during the pandemic, and registered greater out-migration in 2020-21 than in each of the previous two years. It is also noteworthy that Washington, D.C. lost 23,000 domestic migrants—a huge outlier from earlier years, when the city experienced far smaller migration losses or gains (see downloadable Table C).

Similarly, states with the greatest overall population gains—Texas, Florida, and Arizona—were leaders in 2020-21 domestic in-migration. Just as most migrant-losing states shed greater numbers of migrants during the pandemic than earlier, it is the case that most migrant-gaining states (Arizona and Nevada were among the exceptions) gained more migrants than before.

A historic demographic low point

Among the many consequences the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted on the nation, its impact on the nation’s demographic stagnation is likely to be consequential. The new census estimates make plain that as a result of more deaths, fewer births, and a recent low in immigration, America has achieved something close to zero growth in the 2020-21 period. This trend has affected most states, and will lead to sharp changes in how many Americans make decisions about childbearing as well as where and how they live.

While it is true that the rise in pandemic-period deaths—especially among the older population—contributed much to this slow growth, declines in fertility and immigration also added a great deal. Because the latter demographic components contribute most to any future rise in the nation’s youth and labor-force-age population, it is vital that we examine public policies that can overcome barriers to the bearing and raising of children and, probably most important, stimulate immigration in ways that will reinvigorate the nation’s population growth.

Even before the onset of the pandemic, Census Bureau projections foresaw the onset of slower growth, increased aging, and continued stagnation of our labor force. Among the many ways that are needed to recover from the pandemic, a focus on reactivating the nation’s population growth should be given high priority.

GOPIO-CT Holds Annual Holiday Event Raising Funds For Local Charity

GOPIO-CT organized its General Body Meeting (GBM) and elected a new team on December 5th held at the Hampton Inn suite in Stamford. In its report to the GBM, President Ashok Nichani said, “In spite of the Corona Virus pandemic, GOPIO-CT did several virtual programs in the beginning of the year on Zoom including a New Year Party which served as a fundraiser in support of soup kitchens, a Holi Celebration, interactive meetings with CT lawmakers and raising funds for sending Oxygen Concentrators to India.”

 “As the pandemic was coming down in the year, the chapter organized several programs with physical presence participating with other ethnic communities celebrating Stamford’s founding, and organizing Indian and American flag hoisting at Govt. Center in Stamford to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day which was followed by an India Festival at the Mill River Park, hosting UConn Indian students for a Networking Welcome Dinner, an interactive session with India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, Hosting a Conversation with Indra Nooyi and a Diwali fundraiser for local charities,” added President Nichani.

Secretary Prachi Narayan listed all major activities for the year which included major initiatives for serving the local community and institutions during the pandemic and lockdown. These included donating cash and replenishing food items for the homeless and needy at the New Covenant House in Stamford and Food Bank of Lower Fairfield.

Two other service organizations were supported by GOPIO-CT in 2021, Future 5 which helps and counsel needy students at Stamford High Schools and Building One Community which serves new immigrant communities. The chapter also held a virtual interactive meeting with Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

The GBM also conducted its annual election for 2021. Mr. Ashok Nichani was re-elected as the President for one more term. Other elected officials are Mr. Prasad Chintalapudi as Executive Vice President, Dr. Jaya Daptardar as Vice President, Ms. Prachi Narayan as Secretary, Ms. Mahesh Jhangiai as Joint Secretary and Mr. Srinivas  Akarapu as Treasurer. GBM also reelected two trustees, Mr. Joseph Simon and Mr. Shailesh Naik.

Following the GBM, Annual Holiday Party was held which served as a fundraiser for a service organization.

The fundraiser netted $5,500 to give to the local service organization Grassroots Tennis and Education, a youth development non-profit organization that uses sports of tennis to engage youth in out-of-school time programming in Norwalk and Stamford. The group’s volunteers teach tennis and helps students in education. Grassroots’ representative Ms. Samantha Hayes spoke about the organization and thanked GOPIO-CT for its generosity in raising funds for Grassroots. Another organization IT Serve Alliance also presented a check of $2,000 to Grassroots.

A musical evening followed and was organized by GOPIO-CT Vice President Dr. Jaya Daptardar. Singers at the evening were Srinivas Gunupuru, Kashyap Jani, Shilpa Kulkarni, Trupti Shah, Mike Patel and Dhilan shah. GOPIO-CT Executive Vice President Prasad Chintalapudi concluded the program and thanked everyone for making the program a success.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO International said that GOPIO-CT is the most active chapter among over one hundred GOPIO chapters worldwide.

Over the last 14 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.

Community Initiative Highlighted At Aimtron Foundation Ribbon Cutting

Aimtron Foundation welcomed more than 100 supporters, elected officials and members of the community to celebrate their ribbon cutting and tour the new and expanded location of their shared space with American Pinball, part of Aimtron Group of Companies on Thursday, December 16, 2021.  Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz, Congressman Sean Casten and Congressman Tom Morrison were in attendance as were board members of the Palatine Chamber of Commerce.

At the celebration, guests learned about Aimtron Foundation’s mission to bridge the educational gap for young people and their plan to provide manufacturing and technological training in an ever-changing world. They will do this by partnering with other manufacturing industry leaders who will give tours of their facilities, share knowledge and training and ultimately, offer employment opportunities to develop the workforce of the future. Guests were also able to tour the new 35,000 square foot American Pinball facility and learn more about the technology and building of pinball gaming machines.

During the program, Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz remarked, “Mukesh Vasani has invested in the Palatine community through his business and two manufacturing facilities, and now in turning his passion towards motivating young people. Adding, “I’m really looking forward to seeing what great work the Aimtron Foundation does in the community”.  Established in 2017 in India as part of Aimtron Group of Companies providing technical training to countless people there, they are hopeful to bring this initiative to the U.S. to give hundreds of youth clear paths to viable careers and help to raise their community awareness at the same time.

Mukesh Vasani, CEO of Aimtron has committed to investing $1million towards the Foundation over the next 3 years. Says Mukesh Vasani, “Investing in young people with hands-on experience and technology will better prepare them for their future stability and the U.S. for the next wave of manufacturing.”

Mukesh Vasani, a devout family man with two married children who hold leadership positions at the company, founded Aimtron Corporation (now Aimtron Group) in 2008, at the height of the worst economic downturn since the great depression. His vision of starting Aimtron Foundation to kindle the entrepreneurial spark within the next generation is the realization of a dream born from his family, who were farmers back in India.

While they were never able to complete their schooling, at a young age they instilled in him the importance of education, a keen sense of gratefulness to his culture, and in giving back to the community. It is as a legacy to them, that the Vasani Family uphold these values and make it their purpose to share these goals and aspirations with other young people through the Aimtron Foundation. For additional information on the Aimtron Foundation, please visit www.aimtronfoundation.org.

“Muslims Around The World” Hosted By Naperville’s (ICN) Al-Falah Academy

The Fifth annual “Muslims around the World” event, hosted by Islamic Center of Naperville’s (ICN) weekend school, Al-Falah Academy, was held at the ICN’s Ogden Ave facility on Saturday, December 18, 2021. It was an academy and a community event which was attended by over 350 individuals.

Students from Al-Falah academy represented several countries, showcasing the unique cultures within the religion, Islam. The trifolds at each booth reflected student research and artifacts, ethnic outfits along with culinary samples which were contributions from community families. Guests were encouraged to attend and immerse themselves into an exploration of the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside.  India, Pakistan Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Iraq and the United States were represented at the booths.

Congressman Bill Foster, Congressman Sean Casten, State Senator Laura Ellman, State Representative Janet Yang Rohr, District 204 Board Members Laurie Donahue, Sapna Jain and Natasha Grover, Naperville Council members Ian Holzhauer, Jennifer Taylor, Pat Kelly, Paul Leong and DuPage County Board member Sadia Covert and Dawn DeSart and other officials also attended the event.

Alzena Saleem, Principal of Al-Falah Academy said, “Five years ago, this started off as an event for the students, mainly to showcase for the students the differences between their peers. We are all Muslims, but it was an opportunity for them to see that we have diversity amongst ourselves. Now it is an opportunity, not just for our students and the Al-Falah community but also for the Naperville community as a whole.”

Al-Falah Academy serves Naperville and its surrounding suburbs with a focus on religious education, character building & community service. 375 students currently attend this weekend academy from Pre-k to 9th grade levels.

Many students and staff members were dressed in unique and colorful traditional attire, representing their respective countries. The mood in the venue was that of excitement and joy, as students and families proudly represented a blend of cultures across the globe, and within their local community.

“Diversity, as we know it, provides an advantage and has its benefits. The global Muslim community is blessed to be extremely diverse, and the purpose of the event is to highlight our diversity and celebrate it,” said Naeem Hussaini, the Vice Principal of the Academy.

Attendees enjoyed interactions with the students and learning about interesting and intricate details of each culture. The event was well organized and memorable.  The school hopes to continue this annual tradition next year.

Life Is Better With Friends: Hedge Social Club Organizes Grand Christmas Gala

Nearly 250 people the New York Tri-State region came together to celebrate and share the joys of the Christmas Season at the Cottllion Restaurant & Party Hall on Long Island, New York on Saturday, December 11th, 2021. Organized by the recently formed Hedge Social Club, through an initiative of Jacob (SAJI) Abraham, Founder & Chairman of Hedge Events of New York, the colorful event, symbolizing the joy and fellowship of Christmas was shared by the participants.

“Life is better with friends,” Jacob Abraham told the participants in his welcome address, providing insight into the objectives of creating the Hedge Social Club. “Friends are the ones who know you and are always there when you need them most. During the pandemic times, a sense of community is more important now than ever before. People near you are looking to form connections and find support.”

Prominent among those who attended the event and felicitated Jacob Abraham whose dynamic leadership has given birth to the Hedge Brokerage, Hedge Events and now the Hedge Social Club included: Ginsmom Zachariah, Founding Chairman of Indo-American Press Club; Ajay Ghosh, Chief Editor of The Universal News Network and IAPC BOD Secretary; Paul Karukapallil, FOKANA BOD Chairman; Ajeeth Abraham Nassau University Hospital BOD member; Thomas Ommen Shibu, R &T Production; Jiju and Reenu Kulankara from Houston; Kunju Maliyil, FOMMA Regional Vice President; and Rajan (Mithras Festival).

Senator Kevin Thomas of the New York State greeted the audience. Guest of Honor was Dr. Freemu Varghese, Founder and CEO of Freedia Media.  Minos Abraham served eloquently as the Emcee for the program. Biju Chacko, a BOD member of IAPC introduced Jacob Abraham to the audience.

In addition to a delicious spread of authentic Indian cuisine and drinks, the Gala was packed with music, dance and felicitations by reputed local artists. Funds raised through a raffle with attractive gifts was sent to a young child in Kerala for the much needed surgery.

The Ganamela for the evening was filled with the melodious voices of Jemson Kuriakose, Sujeeth Moolayil, Aparna Shibu and Archana Moolalyil. The beautifully choreographed cinematic dance was by Jithu & Team of the Tri-state Dance Company.  Tozin supported the event with his Digital Skills, while Saji managed Sound, and Sunny George provided IT support. Julia Digital Videos & EVENTS CATZ VIJI coordinated the event.

Stating that Hedge Club is a forum to “Meet new people at the Hedge Club, which is the ultimate group” Jacob Abraham said, “HEDGE CLUB is the one you always wanted to be part of. A group that you feel you belong to, and you believe it to be an integral part of who you are.” The Club members meet every month and celebrate and enhance their fellowship and joy. To join the Group and expand one’s friends circle and spend quality time with people, please call Saji Abraham at: 516. 606.3268.

New Jersey Physicians Donate $300,000 To Food Bank, Indian Cultural Center

The Monmouth Ocean County Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (MOCAAPI) in the state of New Jersey announced that it has donated $300,000 of which $150,000 to the Fulfil Food Bank, and another $150,000 to the Indian Cultural & Community Center in Toms River, making good on its pledge to help the community.

According to a Dec. 11, 2021 press release, MOCAPPI, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2003, and has raised more than $500,000 over the years through annual charitable galas, popular golf outings, and other events, will continue to work for the betterment of society through its impactful donations.

“It was a long-time dream of MOCAAPI members to make an impactful donation which is being fulfilled today by making a $150,000 donation to Fulfill Food Bank of Monmouth Ocean Counties and $150,000 to the Indian Cultural & Community Center to build a much-needed Community Hall in Toms River,” MOCAAPI President Dr. Avinash Gupta is quoted saying in the press release.

“With everyone’s participation, generosity, and thanks to our past presidents’ efforts, we have been able to raise over $500,000 over the years,” Gupta added.

The physicians’ organization has also partnered with OCHD (Ocean County Health Department) to vaccinate thousands of its residents during the peak of COVID-19, distributed hot meals to health care workers in local hospitals and vaccination centers, and distributed blankets to the homeless.

For their volunteer work with OCHD, the physicians of MOCAAPI were presented with a proclamation from the New Jersey state senate and general assembly. It was awarded Healthcare Hero Award by the CMC Board of Trustees.

Fulfill’s new CEO and President Triada Stampas, along with Fulfill’s Director of Development Linda Kellner, attended the event where the donations were made.

Stampas said this donation will provide 450,000 meals. Currently, Fulfill provides meals to 215,000 residents of Monmouth Ocean counties out of which 70,000 are children. They even pack meals in the backpacks of 1,000 children to go, and last the weekend.

Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy and Commissioner Virginia Haines praised the MOCAAPI doctors for their outstanding service to the community during the pandemic.

 Dr. Bankim Shah, co-chairman of Shri Siddhivinayak Temple USA, (SSVT), and Pravin Parekh among several others from ICCC expressed their appreciation and said it will fulfill the need of the growing Indian community in the area. According to information provided by MOCAAPI, Dr. Shah “announced another matching contribution of $150,000 from SSVT.”

The leadership and generosity of Drs. Avinash and Geeta Gupta were praised, for a personal matching donation of $150,000 to the ICCC to build the community hall where children can learn about the culture and heritage, senior citizens can meet, carry out yoga, health care camps, motivational & life-skills classes, fundraising events and celebrate festivals together.

Dr. Avinash Gupta thanked his team of Officers, Executive Members, the Board of Trustees, and especially the past Presidents because of whom this was made possible, a press release from the organization said.

Child hunger is projected to increase by approximately 75% in New Jersey due to the impact of the pandemic, MOCAAPI said. Fulfill, a tax-deductible organization, has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, with 95 cents out of every dollar donated going directly towards feeding hungry individuals.

The Indian Cultural & Community Center was incorporated in 2016 as a non-religious non-profit charitable organization(https://www.indianculturalcommunitycenter.org) in Toms River, N.J.

Club of Indian Women Hosts Annual Holiday Gala

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

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

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

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

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

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

America Growing More Secular By The Year

Christmas is just 10 days away, and most Americans will celebrate the birth of Jesus. But a new poll from Pew shows the share of U.S. adults who consider themselves Christian is falling. Only 63% of Americans self-identify as Christian this year, a marked drop from 75% 10 years ago.

The declining number of Americans who say they are Christian is offset by a growing number of people who call themselves atheist, agnostic or people of no particular faith. These unaffiliated Americans make up a full 29% of the U.S. population, up from 19% in 2011.

“The secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st century show no signs of slowing,” the Pew researchers concluded. “The religiously unaffiliated share of the public is 6 percentage points higher than it was five years ago and 10 points higher than a decade ago.” “In U.S., roughly three-in-ten adults now religiously unaffiliated” Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

Though Christians are still a healthy majority, their decline is perhaps best reflected in two questions from the poll: how often people pray and how important religion is in their lives. Only 45% of U.S. adults said they pray on a daily basis (down from 58% in a similar 2007 survey). And the number of Americans who say religion is “very important” in their lives is also falling: 41% of Americans consider religion “very important” in their lives, down from 56% in 2007.

Protestants account for most of the decline — down 4 percentage points from five years ago and 10 percentage points since a decade ago, with both evangelical and nonevangelical Protestants declining overall to 40% of U.S. adults. Catholics held relatively steady at 21%.

“This is at least in part a reaction to the political environment,” said David Campbell, professor of American democracy at the University of Notre Dame who has written about American secularization. “Many people turning away from religion do so because they think of religion as an expression of political conservatism, or as a wing of the Republican Party. That’s especially true of white Americans. The more religion is wrapped up in a political view, the more people who don’t share that political view say, ‘That’s not for me.’”

There was no corresponding rise in the number of Americans adhering to other faiths. A total of 6% of Americans identify with non-Christian faiths, including 1% who describe themselves as Jewish, 1% Muslim, 1% Buddhist, 1% who are Hindu and 2% who identify with a wide variety of other faiths.

But notably, the number of atheists and agnostics in the survey roughly doubled in the past decade to 4% and 5% respectively, up from 2% and 3% in 2011.  Some scholars said this doubling may not be as big a shift numerically as it is culturally.

“There’s less stigma attached to being an atheist,” said Ryan Burge, assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University and the author of a book about the “nones,” or the religiously unaffiliated. “It’s revealing of what’s been there for a long time, rather than a big shift. People may not have answered honestly 20, 30 years ago.”

But Burge said the decline of Protestant Christianity from 52% in 2007 to 40% today is very significant.“It’s more evidence that America is going to be much different,” Burge said. “Think of American history. For a plurality of Americans to say religion is not important, that’s a big shift in how we think about ourselves.”

A survey released by PRRI during the summer found that the religiously unaffiliated had lost ground, making up just 23% of the country. But the Pew poll found little to support that conclusion. The number of people with no religion grew steadily from 16% in 2007 to 29% in 2021, Pew indicated.

Despite the growth of secular Americans, shifts in American culture and politics have not caught up, said Hemant Mehta, a popular atheist blogger who has reported on issues important to the atheist community.

“All these numbers are meaningless unless we convert them into political power,” he said, speaking of the 29% of people with no religious affiliation. “Conservative Christians do that really well. They still have all the power. We’re growing in numbers but we have no political power. Unless we can figure out how to get politicians to care about issues that matter to most of us, what’s the point?”

The poll was part of the National Public Opinion Reference Survey conducted by Pew online and by mail between May and August. The survey was conducted among 3,937 respondents, who took the poll on their own . It has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.

Consulate @ Your Doorstep

As part of the “Consulate @ Your Doorstep” initiative, The Consulate General of India, New York conducted its maiden Consular Camp at Vermont on 11 December, 2021. The camp was organized in association with Vermont Mandir & Cultural Centre (VMCC).

Members of the diaspora appreciated the initiative of CGI, New York to come to Vermont. They availed OCI and other Consular Services at the Consular Camp. They also expressed their gratitude to the Camp which gave them an opportunity to interact directly with the Consulate officers and get answers to their queries. They also said that the Consular camp saved 12 hours of road journey they would have to undertake otherwise to avail these services.

Earlier in the week, Consul General undertook a successful visit of State of Vermont from 8-10 December 2021. During the visit, he engaged with senior officials from the Government, start-up ecosystem in the State and the University of Vermont.

Consul General briefed Mr. Anson Tebbets, Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets; Ms. Lindsey Kurrle, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, (ACCD); and Mr. Tim Tierney, Director of International Trade and Business Recruitment for the State of Vermont on the potential for growth in ties between the two countries in field of trade, commerce and economy.

As part of outreach to the start-up sector in Vermont, Consul General visited the Vermont Center for Emerging Technology (VCET) and met Director David Bradbury. Consul General commended VCET for the handholding that VCET is providing to  start-ups in Vermont. He briefed Director Bradbury on the dynamism of Indian start-up sector and invited him to engage with Startup India and other important stakeholders on the Indian side.

Consul General met Dr. Christopher Koliba, Director, Office of Engagement and other senior members of the faculty and management. He explained the opportunities created by India’s New Education Policy 2020 and the ways in which foreign universities can collaborate with their Indian counterparts. Consul General discussed the India-US relationship and how higher education forms a vital core of the engagement between the two countries.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter Of AAPI In Partnership With Red Cross Organizes Blood Drive

The newly formed NORTHEASTERN Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in partnership with the local Red Cross organized a highly successful Blood Donation Drive on December 9, 2001 at The Jewish community center of SCRANTON, PA, with dozens of people coming forward and donated blood in a matter of five hours.

The Blood Drive, which, Dr. Dipti Pancholy Founding President NEPA-AAPI, described as “the first step in fulfilling our mission, which is to improve quality, access and delivery of health care by creating an environment of professionalism, and rewarding service as well as merit in Northeastern PA and globally.”

”This drive was a team effort on the part of Dr. Kishori Veerabhadrappa, Dr. Sanket Dalwadi, Dr. Jumee Barooha and Red Cross representative Heidi Deleo,” Dr. Pancholi added. Excited about the very positive and encouraging support from the community, Dr. Pancholi said, “We plan to conduct future blood drives in the 11 counties that north eastern Pennsylvania.

Dr. Pancholi praised the efforts and contributions of her Team members, including, Dr. Kishori Veerabhadrappa, a Hematologist by profession and the Coordinator of Blood Drive for NEPA-AAPI; Dr.
Sanketkumar Dalwadi, Chairperson of Community Service Committee; Dr. Sandhya Desai, Secretary NEPA AAPI; Ms. Judy McGovern, Red Cross Volunteer; and, Ms. Heidi Deleo Lackawanna, County Red Cross Director for their generous support in helping organize the highly successful event.

“I am grateful to the dozens of local AAPI Chapters, and the newly formed NEPA AAPI Chapter  for initiating and organizing the Blood Donation Drives and Stem Cell Registration across the nation, in honor of the Fallen Heroes of Covid-19, and as India is celebrating 75 years of our Independence, we have taken  this initiative to do National AAPI Blood Donation Drives in 75 cities,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI,) the largest ethnic organization in the United States.

“On the occasion of the 75thIndependence Day of India, we the physicians of Indian origin serving every 7th patient in the United States, are excited to launch this unique and noble initiative and Stem Cell Drive”  in 75 cities across the United States,” Dr. Gotimukula added.

“Well done, Dr.  Dipti Pancholi and NEPA AAPI team. So glad you all are an integral part of our AAPI team. AAPI has launched 75 city blood donation drive. It only takes 15 minutes of one’s time and can save and sustain 3 lives with each pint of blood. So let us all be the heroes and life savers. We all are one humanity and one family, Vasudhaiva Kutubakam,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI.

A single blood donation can save three lives. Each blood component of whole blood transfusion can help up to three different people. Pointing to the fact that Blood cannot be manufactured despite medical and technological advances. The only way we can give blood to those who need it is through donation. It doesn’t cost us anything to donate but your donation saves lives. Blood is needed every two seconds.

NEPA-AAPI is a newly formed, nonprofit association of physicians and dentists in the 11 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania and a chapter of the American Association of Physician of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic physician organization in the United States

“We are grateful to Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (NEPA AAPI) for participating in a national initiative of AAPI that has initiated and organized Blood Donation Drives across the United States, in honor of Fallen Heroes of Covid-19,” said Dr. Pancholy, President of NEPA AAPI.

“I urge others to take the lead in your town and help in AAPI’s blood donation drive. Thank you and truly appreciate your support in helping our blood banks.”  For more details to organize Blood Donation Drive in your city/town/region, please contact: Vijaya Kodali, AAPI Office Manager at: [email protected]. For more details on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa,org

CT Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Organizes Blood Drive

The Connecticut Chapter of The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (CAPI) in partnership with the local Red Cross organized a highly successful Blood Donation Drive on December 11th, 2001 at the Norfield Church in Weston, CT with dozens of people coming forward and donated blood to save lives.

Dr. Jaya Daptardar and Dr. Ram Chirunomula of CAPI coordinated the efforts and organized the successful Blood Drive, which has been dedicated to the Fallen Heroes, who have sacrificed their lives to save the lives of others infected with the ongoing deadly Covid pandemic.

“Thank you all for your generous support and help in making the Blood Drive very successful,” said Dr. Jaya Daptardar. ”This drive was a team effort. I want to express my gratitude to Dr. Sushil Gupta, President of CAAPI, Dr. Subbarao Bollepalli, Viji Kurup and family members of CAPI, who came in attendance and to donate blood and support this noble initiative.” “I am grateful to First Selectwoman of Weston Samantha Nestor and Toni Boucher for gracing the event with their presence and for their support,” said Dr. Ram Chirunomula.

“In line with the motto, we at CAPI are happy to join in several other AAPI Chapters and lead this noble initiative to donate blood with the objective of saving lives around the nation,” said Dr. Sushil Gupta, President of CAPI. “We plan to organize future blood drives in other parts of Connecticut in the near future.”

CAPI was formed with the objective of promoting charitable and philanthropic activities; communicate with other Indian associations in North America to promote cultural and social events; and to foster a relationship with future generations of physicians of Indian Ancestry.

“I am grateful to the dozens of local AAPI Chapters including CAPI for initiating and organizing the Blood Donation Drives and Stem Cell Registration across the nation, in honor of the Fallen Heroes of Covid-19, and as India is celebrating 75 years of our Independence. I am so proud that we have taken this initiative to organize AAPI Blood Donation Drives in 75 cities across the nation,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI,) the largest ethnic organization in the United States.

“On the occasion of the 75thIndependence Day of India, we the physicians of Indian origin serving every 7th patient in the United States, are excited to launch this unique and noble initiative in 75 cities across the United States,” Dr. Gotimukula added.

Each blood component of whole blood transfusion can help up to three different people. Pointing to the fact that Blood cannot be manufactured despite medical and technological advances. The only way we can give blood to those who need it is through donation. It doesn’t cost us anything to donate but your donation saves lives. Blood is needed every two seconds, said Dr. Meher Medavaram, Chair of the national blood donation drive.

“We urge all Local Chapters and AAPI members to take the lead in your town and help in AAPI’s blood donation drive. Thank you and truly appreciate your support in helping our blood banks,” said Dr. Gotimukula. For more details to organize Blood Donation Drive in your city/town/region, please contact: Vijaya Kodali, AAPI Office Manager at: [email protected]. For more details on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa,org

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda Given Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award 2021

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Immediate Past President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), was conferred The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA 2021) in person during a solemn ceremony at the Indian Consulate in Atlanta, GA on December 5th, 2021.

Dr. Jonnalagadda was officially recognized with the prestigious award during the 16th edition of the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention, held virtually on January 9th, 2021. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards were conferred by the Hon’ble President at the PBD Convention in the valedictory session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is the highest honor conferred on Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin or an organization/institution established and run by the Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin in recognition of their outstanding achievements both in India and abroad.

While responding to this great honor, Dr. Jonnalgadda said, “It’s my great honor and privilege that I have been chosen to be a recipient for the prestigious award by the government of India, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award 2021 (PBSA), the highest honor conferred on Persons of Indian Origin in recognition of their outstanding achievements both in India and abroad.”

Dr. Jonnalagadda expressed his “sincere gratitude and appreciation to the government of India for selecting me for this prestigious award. In recognizing me, the government has recognized all the medical professionals who have been in the forefront, fighting Covid -19, including those who have laid their lives at the services of treating patients infected with the deadly virus. “

Stating that “It’s fitting to dedicate this award to all my AAPI family members and the entire medical fraternity,” the past president of AAPI said, “This award will strengthen us all to recommit our skills, talents and efforts for the greater good of humanity, as the Covid pandemic continues to devastate many countries, impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Together we will face the challenges and defeat the virus and make this world a better and safer place for all of us to live and flourish. Congratulations to all of my co-awardees.”

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

Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda assumed office as the 37th President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on Saturday, July 11, 2020, and committed himself to “make AAPI stronger, more vibrant, united, transparent, politically engaged, ensuring active participation of young physicians, increasing membership, and enabling that AAPI’s voice is heard in the corridors of power.”

Dr. Jonnalagadda was born in a family of physicians. His father was a Professor at a medical college in India and his mother was a teacher. He and his siblings aspired to be physicians and dedicate their lives for the greater good of humanity. “I am committed to serving the community and help the needy. That gives me the greatest satisfaction in life,” he said.  Ambitious and wanting to achieve greater things in life, Dr. Jonnalagadda has numerous achievements in life. He currently serves as the President of the Medical Staff at the Hospital.

His vision for AAPI has been to increase the awareness of APPI globally and help its voice heard in the corridors of power.  A Board-Certified Gastroenterologist/Transplant Hepatologist, working in Douglas, GA, Dr. Jonnalagadda is a former Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Georgia. He was the President of Coffee Regional Medical Staff 2018, and had served as the Director of Medical Association of Georgia Board from 2016 onwards. He had served as the President of Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) 2007-2008, and was the past chair of Board of trustees, GAPI. He was the chairman of the Medical Association of Georgia, IMG section, and was a Graduate, Georgia Physicians Leadership Academy (advocacy training).

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

Dr. Jonnalagadda was chosen for the highest civilian award given to any NRI by the Government of India in the field of Medicine and for his great leadership of AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US, especially during the Pandemic. AAPI represents the interests of the over 100,000 physicians and Fellows of Indian origin in the United States, serving the interests of the Indian American physicians in the US and in many ways contributing to the shaping of the healthcare delivery in the US and to some extent in India for the past 39 years.

AAPI Commits To Strengthen ADOPT-A-VILLAGE Project By Adopting 75 Indian Villages

Dr. Satheesh Kathula sets an example by adopting his own village in India, providing free comprehensive health screening to his native villagers

Continuing with its magnificent efforts to help their motherland, members of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the premier medical organization in the United States has initiated Adopt-A-Village, a Rural Health Initiative in India, with plans to adopt 75 villages to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence. Chaired by Dr. Satheesh Kathula, the Secretary of AAPI, the much needed and popular program has Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Dr. Jagan Ailinani and Dr. Ram Singh as members of the committee.

“We are really humbled by the overwhelming response we received thus far,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Chair of AAPI’s Adopt a Village Committee. “We have sponsors for more than 50 villages and are confident that we will find rest of them soon. This project will do comprehensive screening for non communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, anemia, malnutrition, chronic kidney disease, and hypoxemia. We are doing these much needed screenings in 5 states, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. If you want to sponsor a village in any of the above mentioned states, please feel free to contact us. There is a plan to extend this project to other states if there is enough interest. Our heartfelt thanks to the sponsors for taking part in this noble project.” He also said,

 While setting an example and urging others to join him in this noble venture, Dr. Satheesh Kathula himself was present in India in October of this year, and inaugurated the project in Ramaiah Palle village in Mulugu District in the state of Telangana which was sponsored by him.

While referring to the objectives of the Program, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President, AAPI, said: “A lot of efforts are being put into this initiative, ‘Adopt a Village’ Project where AAPI in collaboration with Global TeleClinics, Inc. (GTC), has planned to adopt 75 villages in India spread across 5 states where the rural people of India will be offered ‘Free Health Screenings in 75 Rural Villages’ for Anemia (CBC), DM (HbA1C), High Cholesterol, CKD, Malnutrition, Kidney Disease, Malnutrition, Obesity, and Hypoxemia.  Results analyzed by GTC and further action recommended by their team of experts will also be followed up. This is a small contribution from AAPI to Mother India in celebration of Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav.”  Dr. Anupama thanked the AAPI members for their generous support for this noble work of AAPI and for sponsoring their ancestral villages and going back to their roots.

Dr. Satheesh Kathula pointed out about the need for this noble initiative. He said, India has nearly 700,000 villages. Three out of four Indians and about 77 percent of the poor live in villages. The majority of the population has no access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The needs in these rural areas are unlimited and the scope to work are endless. “By adopting one village at a time and working with the government and NGOs, NRIs can make a difference,” he said. Dr. Kathula referred to some of the programs in place in several rural villages, including supply of cloth mask, clean drinking water and free health care screening that has benefitted thousands of people across India.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI, said, “While India has made substantial progress in health care as evidenced  by the fact that life expectancy in India at birth now is 71 years as opposed to 58 years in 1990 and 41 years in 1960, there are significant gaps and divergence in health metrics in different regions in India. India, thus needs to redouble and continue its efforts and dedicate resources to tackle these perennial challenges,” he said.

Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “Many of these projects and programs need regular funding, and management of resources. We are grateful to dozens of AAPI members who have committed to Adopting a village in India with an ongoing commitment.”

Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI, said, “We as doctors of Indian origin, can make a huge difference in the lives of millions of people in India. Each project will involve a tripartite partnership between the NRI, state government and a local NGO.”

Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI pointed out, “We are happy to get involved in this project and looking forward to seeing more sponsors.”

Recently, a launch event of the program had a very rare show of support for AAPI, by having the esteemed participation of all 5 consulate generals in the US including, honorable Consul Generals of Chicago, New York, Houston, Atlanta and the Deputy CG of San Francisco. Ambassador of India to US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu joined the meeting with his message and lauded the numerous efforts of AAPI for India, especially during the pandemic.

There is no instant solution for rural India’s myriad problems. Over time, with our consistent efforts, an improved village could lead to an improved region, state and the country. NRIs can adopt the village they hail from and make a significant contribution towards its development. There is a real will and desire on the part of governments, both at the state and the central level to work with NRIs and NGOs to bring development to rural India.

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 serve. Not satisfied with their own professional growth and the service they provide to their patients around the world, they are in the forefront, sharing their knowledge and expertise with others, especially those physicians and leaders in the medical field from India.

Dr. Gotimukula, urged “AAPI members to consider joining this movement and adopt a village. 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.” AAPI members/families can sponsor a Village by emailing to: [email protected].  For more details, please do visit:  www.aapiusa.org

IAPC Houston Chapter Seminar On Climate Change Discusses Media Impact

Indo American Press Club Houston Chapter organized a seminar on climate change and the role of the media.  The virtual meeting was held on December 3, 2021, using the Zoom virtual platform.

Dr Mathew Vairamon, Chapter Secretary welcomed the participants. Roy Thomas, Chapter President introduced the topic. The meeting was inaugurated by Dr S. S. Lal, eminent public health and pandemic expert, who is currently the International President of IAPC. He spoke about his experiences in Africa, India, and South East Asia while working as a UN expert. He described the environmental pollution that is causing carbon emissions, greenhouse effect , and global warming. He further described how global warming and the resulting unprecedented hurricanes, floods, and droughts have driven people to poverty and disease.

Dr Mathew Joys, Vice Chairman of IAPC explained the phenomenon of global warming and its social and economic impact. He stressed the need for global political action to contain global warming by reducing the carbon footprint through reduction in use of fossil fuels and in use of renewable energy and in energy conservation in every way. Dr CK  Mittal stressed the need for dissemination of scientific facts on climate change by the online and print media and the need for comprehensive global and countrywide legislation. Joseph Ponnoly indicated the need for environmental protection, reforestation, and the need for ensuring clean air and clean water for the survival of the human race and the planet. He also emphasized the role of the media to create awareness and to provide unbiased reporting.

Varghese Abraham Denver said that we must do something for the next generations since it is an existential crisis and affects the survival of the human race.  Uma Saji from New York indicated how global warming leads to melting of the polar ice and the destruction of the ecosystem and bio diversity.  Sangeeta Dua pointed out that the media has a great role to translate scientific knowledge and convey the information to the public to create awareness of the climate crisis and what needs to be done.

The meeting was attended by IAPC members and several media persons including Kerala Vision, AC George and Biju Chacko. Sangeeta Dua, Treasurer IAPC Houston Chapter proposed a vote of thanks.

Indian American Forum organizes Diwali @ Nassau County

The office of Asian Community Affairs, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran & Executive Director of External Affairs Farrah Mozawalla along with Indian American Forum Founding Member Dr. Bobby K. Kalotee & Chairperson Indu Jaiswal, celebrated Diwali honoring distinguished Indian American Community leaders. Hosted by Beena Kothari & Emceed by Flora Parekh, the event highlighted the accomplishments of several prominent Indian American community leaders like Jasbir (Jay) Singh (Board Member – Asian American Advisory Board of Nassau County), Anil Shah, (Trustee VTNY & Dunkin Donut Franchise Owner), Roopam Maini (BCB Community Bank), Uday Dommaraju (President – TLCA), Harish Thakkar (President – AIA), Dilip Kumar (Regional Representative – TANA), Dr. Ravindra Goyal (Trustee & President – Hindu Center Inc. Flushing), Harshad Patel (President – Gujarati Samaj of New York), Mayur Parekh (JSLI & IDP),  Manik Malhotra (SaReGaMa Desi Beats) & Krish Rudra (Mortgage Consultant).

The tireless efforts of the county and founding members along with a dedicated Hosts committee of Dr. Bobby K. Kalotee, Chairperson Indu Jaiswal, Beena Kothari, Flora Parekh, Jasbir (Jay) Singh, Mukesh Modi, Shashi Malik, Sunita Manjrekar, Deepak Bansal, Indu Gajwani, Anju Sharma and several volunteers and supporters, contributed to the success of the event keeping up the spirit of Diwali.

Starting with the American & Indian National Anthems by Abigail Varghese & Anjani Patel, the event followed a traditional Diya Ceremony. Beautifully choreographed Bollywood performances by young girls Yashswini, Sia and Sana were the highlights of the evening. The venue was traditionally decorated by Anju and Sanju Sharma. Mouthwatering dinner boxes were served by Sheetal Talati from Rajbhog.

Several Indian American Forum Board members and community leaders namely Mohinder Taneja, Rizwan Qureshi, Suhag Mehta, etc. were in attendance. Indian American Forum has been instrumental in showcasing the Indian tradition in NY for several decades. Additional information can be found at www.indianamericanforum.org.

Congressional Briefing Exposes Widespread Christian Persecution In India

After using most of an hour-long congressional briefing Wednesday to expose widespread and growing physical violence and persecution of Christians in India, including desecration of churches and beatings of clergy, presenters called on President Joseph Biden, the U.S. Congress and other nations enact sanctions on India and its political leaders to take steps to stop the violence.

“Without international pressure … it is not going to stop,” declared Sean Nelson, Legal Counsel for Global Religious Freedom, ADF International. “We need members of congress and people who have influence with the Indian national government who can say, ‘hey, we need this to stop, you have to quit it. Put a stop to these acts of violence that are happening all across the country.’”

“A week from now, on December 9 and 10, the Biden Administration will be hosting the Summit for Democracy, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an advisor. The U.S. government must state to him clearly that it will not tolerate continued religious violence in India,” said Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of the Indian American Muslim Council.

A graphic video narrated by Jeff King, President International Christian Concern, was played during the webinar showing Christians being stoned and beaten for offering public prayers for Covid-19 victims.

“This is not just a Christian thing or a Muslim thing. We are seeing widespread persecution and discrimination happening against all minority religions in India at an alarming, increasing rate,” said Jeff King, president of the International Christian Concern. “The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has twice now recommended that India be designated a Country of Particular Concern, and that should show Congress that this is a very serious issue, something that is well-documented, and action should be taken.”

Webinar participants shared details of a recent report by the International Christian Concern naming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the world’s worst persecutors.

The speakers provided a lengthy list of intentional acts of intimidation, violence, home invasions, church desecration and national laws enacted to discriminate against Christians and members of other minority religions, including but not limited to:

  • Anti-conversion laws designed to limit or prohibit people converting to Christianity, which have led to mob violence against Christian clergy wrongfully accused of forced conversions. Potential converts must be able to convince local authorities that they wish to convert to Christianity voluntarily and are often denied the right to do so.
  • Local governments are enacting ordinances outlawing Christianity.
  • Local regulations prohibiting Christians from gathering water at communal wells.
  • Social boycotts in which people stop buying from Christian businesses.
  • The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act that limits and can prohibit financial support for Christian organizations in India.
  • When police are called to stop mob violence at churches, the Christians are often arrested, and their churches padlocked.
  • Christian families are driven from their homes and often must live without shelter in jungles.

Ahmed urged Americans to initiate grass-roots movements at the local government level to begin to educate their elected officials about the escalating violence against all religious minorities in India, and then begin to put pressure on members of congress and the Biden Administration.

“We need to focus on the U.S. government and congressional representatives, yes, but we can start with your mayors and city councils. Talk to your civic leaders about what is happening in India. It won’t change things in a week or months, but it could be a very effective approach,” he said.

“You need to know who your member of Congress is, and you contact your member either at their local office or their D.C. office,” commented Matias Perttula, Advocacy Director for the International Christian Concern.

“Staff people dealing with Indian issues or matters should know the situation so they can act appropriately. When the U.S Congress speaks, everybody listens.”

Speakers strongly urged the Biden Administration to declare India a Country of Practical Concern for its state-sanctioned human rights abuses, a recommendation already made twice by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The briefing is co-hosted by Amnesty International USA, 21 Wilberforce, Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, International Christian Concern, Jubilee Campaign, Dalit Solidarity Forum, New York State Council of Churches, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, India Civil Watch International, Students Against Hindutva Ideology, Center for Pluralism, American Muslim Institution, International Society for Peace and Justice, Association of Indian Muslims of America and the Humanism Project.

Lohana Association Of Greater Chicago Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary

Lohana Association of Greater Chicago organized its annual Diwali celebration gala on December 5th at Manav Seva Mandir, Bensenville, IL.

The master of ceremony Prachi Jaitly started the event with a brief introduction of the organization, its founders and the journey of the organization for the last 50 years. LAGC was founded in 1971 by Jayanti Bhai Thakkar, Prahlad Bhai Thakkar, Arvind Bhai Thakkar and Vinod Bhai Thakkar. The current President Kirit Thakkar with his wife Bhavna Thakkar and Vice President Vasudev Thakkar with his wife Nisha Thakkar welcomed all the guests and thanked all the sponsors and supporters.

The event started with traditional lamp lighting by the LAGC executive board and other special guests and devotional singing by Rita Shah and chanting by Gina and Suhani. National Anthems were sung by Dhir, Dhruvi, Neil and Nysa.  The event was full of musical surprises with beautiful singing by a variety of melodious singers.

Well known vocalists Bhupinder Singh, Pavithra Anand and Rama Raghuraman filled the dance floor with the music enthusiasts. Beautiful surprise singing by Kirit Thakkar with Pinky Thakkar and Rita Thakkar added additional charm to the evening.

All the executive board members along with their spouses presented bouquets to the sponsors and the special guests. The chief guests of the event were Vasudev Bhai and Leela Ben. The sponsors and special guests present at the event were Pinky and Dinesh Thakkar, Jayanti Bhai Thakkar, Sunil and Rita Shah, Hitesh and Dimple Gandhi, Phani Krishna (AANA), Ashok Potdar, Haribhai and Leela Ben, Suresh Bodiwala, Tushar Vyas, Dr Sanjay Thakkar, Jesse Singh, Anil Bhai Thakkar, Mahesh Bhai Thakkar, Mohan Bhai Chaudhry, Altaf Bukhari and many other community members. Media was represented by Asian Media Broadcasting team.

Kirit Thakkar thanked all the guests for attending the events and explained how the association has been working hard to bring the community together. He talked about all the events that LAGC organizes every year.

Pinky Thakkar in her speech congratulated Kirit Bhai Thakkar, President Lohana Samaj, Vasudev Thakkar, Vice President and all the team members who have kept this organization growing, congratulated them all for their hard work.

“Diwali is the festival of lights which brightens everything. May this festive season fill your life with happiness and brightness. Last but not the least, I would like to say thank you to my dear Husband and my three sons for their love and support. Once again huge thanks to Kirit Bhai and Bhawna ben and Sunilbhai and Rita Ben for the support and respect they have given to me”. Said by Pinky Thakkar.

The scintillating music kept the guests dancing through the entire evening and the event concluded with a vote of thanks by the master of ceremony and the LAGC team.

Attacks On Christians Rises In Karnataka: UCF/APCR/UAH Report

Karnataka state in India has seen rise in attacks against Christians after govt’s anti-conversion law proposal, reveals report  In its state-wise classification, UCF found that Uttar Pradesh reported the most such cases (66), followed by Chhattisgarh (47), and Karnataka (32). This also makes Karnataka top the list among south Indian states.

Karnataka has seen a rise in attacks against Christians in October and November after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) proposed an anti-conversion law in the state, a fact-finding report by several civil society organisations revealed. While 27 such attacks took place during the first 272 days of this year, five incidents took place between October and mid-November alone, it highlighted.

The report by United Christian Forum (UCF), Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), and United Against Hate also claimed that Karnataka ranks third among states with the most number of attacks on the community and their places of worship in India.

According to the report that took into account calls made to UCF, as of September 2021, the helpline recorded 305 cases across the country. The calls comprised complaints mentioning mob attacks (288 cases), and damage to places of worship (28 cases). As many as 1,331 women, 588 tribals, and 513 Dalits were injured in these attacks, as per the report. Further, it noted that the police did not allow congregations in at least 85 instances this year (2021).

In its state-wise classification, UCF found that Uttar Pradesh reported the most such cases (66), followed by Chhattisgarh (47), and Karnataka (32). This also makes Karnataka top the list among south Indian states.

Advocate Mohammed Nayaz, State Secretary of APCR Karnataka, told The Indian Express that it was important to note that the frequency of such cases have increased in the state since the government’s proposal for an anti-conversion law began. “While a total of 32 such cases were reported across months since January, at least five of them have taken place in quick succession in the months of October 10 and November 14,” he said.

The report noted incidents of vandalism, false accusations, and forced arrests from the state in separate incidents from Udupi, Belagavi, Uttara Kannada, Chitradurga, and Bengaluru districts.

President of the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council, Reverend Peter Machado, after releasing the report, noted that Karnataka seems to have “lost its humanity despite being known for progressive politics and (Bengaluru) being the IT hub of the country”.

Machado, who is also the Archbishop of Bangalore, added that the report might have missed many such attacks as it was based only on calls made to the UCF helpline. He, however, stressed that the report has never stated that “most of these attacks were led by right-wing groups and the police have failed to act on them.” He alleged that members of the community were instead charged with cases. “In Belagavi, community members have been asked by the police to restrain from holding prayer meetings during the upcoming legislature session,” Machado highlighted.

Earlier, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had announced that a Bill to prohibit “forced conversions” in the state would be passed by the government during the Winter Session of the Assembly that is scheduled to begin on December 13.

At AAPI Fall Governing Body Meeting, AAPI-TN Raises $75,000 To Fight Human Trafficking in India

During the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Fall Governing Body Meeting, a Fundraiser gala was held on November 20th, 2021 at Embassy Suites by Hilton in Franklin TN, Suburbs of “Music City” Nashville, TN.

The host chapter- AAPI-TN presented FFLI with a fundraised $75,000, in order to help strengthen the efforts to end human trafficking and to help continue and expand their impact in India.

While pointing out that Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the country, reported in all 50 states of the United States of America, “we as a community have a duty to end the various forms of slavery,” AAPI Tennessee Chapter President, Dr. Anuradha P. Mann said. “With the goal of supporting Nashville nonprofit FFLI (Free for Life International). FFLI works in prevention along with rescue, restoration, rehabilitation and education of trafficked victims, we are pleased to present this token of our appreciation to help support the efforts of FFLI,” she added.
The opening ceremony was symbolic, especially with the recent celebration of Diwali, and tied back to the soulful mission of FFLI. Gabrielle Thompson, FFLI CEO and Executive Director and Board Member Radha Babu addressed the audience, describing the impact of fighting human trafficking in India.
The underlying theme of Diwali, celebrating Light over Darkness, Victory of Good over Evil and Knowledge over Ignorance, which has caught up the attention of people all over the world, was done as the traditional lamp was lit by AAPI-TN Executive Committee, AAPI USA President Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, Congressman Jim Cooper and Grand Sponsor Dr. Bharat Sangani.
The audience was in awe of FFLI’s work and mission. In his keynote address, Congressman Jim Cooper from Nashville highlighted the numerous injustices that intersect with human trafficking and exploitation, along with the urgent need for action at the state, national, and international levels.
In her address, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of national AAPI highlighted some of the major achievements of AAPI under her leadership in the past five months ever since a new executive committee assumed charge of AAPI in July this year.
Evolving to meet the growing needs of its members and the larger population it is called to serve, AAPI, the largest ethnic physician organization in the United states, representing over 100,000 Indian American Physicians, has grown steadily and is recognized by the authorities, local communities and mainstream media for the many noble initiatives AAPI has led, especially during the Covid pandemic, she said.
She reminded AAPI members that, as part pf the upcoming Global Healthcare Summit, AAPI has initiated preventive healthcare screenings in 75 villages to understand the concept of preventive screenings help to diagnose any silent diseases which are causing premature deaths from Coronary heart disease and cancers like Breast cancer, cervical cancer which are preventable if diagnosed early through these annual screenings as mentioned above.
Dr. Satheesh Kathula, secretary of AAPI and treasurer of gala applauded the efforts of “ free for life” who are committed to curtail human trafficking and said “we are very glad to be part of the cause”. He thanked all the sponsors and the gala committee for their hard work in making this happen.

During the CMEs, several important topics with recent advances were well received by the AAPI fraternity. Themes for the CMEs included: ‘Cancer therapy: Advancement as we head for a cure’ by Dr. Nishitha Reddy, ‘Psychiatric sequelae of human trafficking’ by Dr. Sricharan Moturi, ‘Cardiovascular disease in South Asians- (Masala Study)’ by Dr. Ramya Suryadevara and ‘Stem cell therapy: The future of medicine’ by Dr. Sai Ram Atluri. The CME was well-attended, with active engagement between speakers and moderators (Dr. Amit Keswani, Dr.Varun Dhulipala, Dr. Biliyar, and Dr. Gunuganti. Attendees were eligible for 3 Category 1 CME hours, accredited by the Chicago Medical Society (CMS).

Organized by the AAPI Tennessee Chapter led by its President, Dr. Anuradha P. Mann, the gala, fund raiser and the Fall Governing Body Meeting of national AAPI was chaired by Dr. Sunil Kaza and effectively coordinated by Dr. Dayaker Mallipeddi, Dr. Shashank Ponugoti, and Dr Viren Shah.
The gala began with the Event Chair Dr. Sunil Kaza welcoming community members, family, friends, colleagues and sponsors.  “We, AAPI- TN team, worked hard to stick to the mission of AAPI, for education and charity to serve humanity. We thank each and every member that attended and supported the event. Our special thanks to all our Sponsors,” said Dr. Sunil Kaza, Chair of the Gala Committee. The Grand sponsor for the event, Dr. Bharat Sangani attended the meeting personally.
Attended by over 150 AAPI delegates from around the nation and more than 250 local members, the weekend event was packed with activities including Business Meet, “warm meet and greet” with local AAPI TN members, CMEs, fun-filled impromptu ‘Mehfil’ led by Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Gala and Dinner. After a delicious dinner during gala, the participants were entertained with a live music, provided by ‘Geetanjali’ and the ‘SaReGaMa’ orchestra from Chicago. Several past Presidents of AAPI attended praised this event as ‘one of the best’ they have attended. AAPI’s BOT Chair Dr. Kusum Punjabi and other Board of Trustees attended and graced the event. AAPI-TN Chapter donated $10,000 to the National AAPI’s Endowment Fund.

AAPI Joins Rock & Roll Marathon In San Antonio, Creating Awareness On Healthy Living

The Covid pandemic has impacted all aspects of human life as never been before. The past two years have been challenging to everyone, particularly to those who are assigned with the responsibility of caring for the sick, even as hundreds of Millions are affected by the big pandemic.

Physicians and other health professionals on the front lines of COVID-19 care have experienced so many unknowns during the pandemic. They’ve also put their own health and the well-being of their families on the line to provide care.

At this critical juncture in human history, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic medical organization in the country, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, is focusing 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, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said.

In preparation for the upcoming 40th annual convention from June 23-26, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas with the timely theme that focusses on “Heal The Healers” and to create awareness among the public on the need for Healthy Lifestyle, AAPI Convention Team led by Dr. Jayesh Shah joined an “Rock and Roll Marathon” on Sunday, December 5th, 2021 in san Antonio, TX.

AAPI’s participation at the Marathon was inspired and sponsored by the Botla Foundation, which provided a great kick start to AAPI’s wellness theme, pointed to the Six Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine: 1. Healthy Diet; 2. Being active; 3. Restorative sleep; 4. Managing stress; 5. Have social and supportive connections; and,  6. Avoiding abusive drugs and habits.

Planning for joining the Rock and Roll Marathon started over three months ago, says Dr. Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022. Botla Foundation committed a donation of $25,000, However, in order to encourage Doctors to run, the Foundation initially put a caveat that they would donate $250 for every person who signs up for the half marathon. “This novel way of sponsorship did encourage many Indian doctors and other community members to register and participate in this unique marathon,” added Dr. Jayesh Shah. “We were lucky to have Dr. Akil Tahir to join us as the Chief Ambassador for the run. His presence also inspired all of us to join for this noble cause. His message of running with heart touched all of us.”

Dozens of Doctors and community leaders joined the Rock and Roll Marathon, which had attracted over 18,000 participants from around the nation, and made this an inspiring experience for all. Dr. Ravi Botla, while thanking and congratulating all the participants at the Marathon, said, “Running with you all is an amazing experience. Several friends made their personal bests today. Hope to continue to do some physical activity (running/walking/cycling) to improve our health. On behalf of all our runners yesterday and today, Botla Foundation will donate $25,000 to AAPI, irrespective of the number of participants. We should be proud of this accomplishment. Thank you Anupama and Jayesh to provide this opportunity.”

The Botla Charitable Family Foundation is a non-profit established in 2014 by Dr. Ravi and Vijaya Botla with the intention to give to charitable causes that highlight Indian culture and traditions as well as promote health and wellness in our community.

“After a hiatus of 5 years from long distance running, I am thrilled to announce that I completed running the half marathon in San Antonio on a PLANT BASED DIET!” Dr. Akil Taher said. “I ran to support the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) under the leadership of Dr. Anupama Gotimukula ad Dr. Jayesh Shah. AAPI has done some phenomenal charity work here in the US and India. Also a big thank you to the Botla family for their inspirational support to AAPI,” he added.

“That is why in keeping with AAPI’s 2022 Convention theme of “Heal the Healers,” this idea of having these healers finally put their health first by participating in the San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon came to life,” Vijaya Botla said. “There was great enthusiasm from our local Indian doctors and a wonderful camaraderie was formed. Weekly meetups and training commenced. We were blessed that Dr. Akil Taher, from Atlanta, Georgia joining our group and was able to pass on his words of wisdom to us through his book “Open Heart” and by even coming to do the race with us in San Antonio on December 5, 2021.”

To run my first half-marathon with my Idol, Dr. Taher. He is a living proof of the power of ‘Whole Foods Plant Based’ Diet and Physical Exercise in not just recovering from a major surgery but healing from within for a better and stronger health than before. His presenceat the Marathon inspired us to sign up for the event and support AAPI in promoting ‘health & fitness’ in our community,” stated Dr.  Bhoja R. Katipally.

Several participants at the Marathon had weekly runs at trails to prepare for the run. The team also got the expertise of Pradeep, who had recently finished Chicago marathon as the coach. He taught the participants the dynamic exercises before the run and static exercises after the run. Dr Bhoja Reddy did a book signing event on Saturday, the day before the run. Dr.Taher contributed all the money from the book sale to AAPI.

While congratulating all the participants, organizers and sponsors, Dr. Gotimukula said, “I want to extend a few words of my appreciation to all the wonderful hearts from AAPI who participated in the Marathon.

The donor, Dr. Ravi Botla did his first full Marathon. There are several in the group who did their first half marathon including Dr. Jayesh Shah! We thank the Botla Foundation who inspired us! We ran with a good heart to support AAPI. Nothing is impossible if we have the motivation inside us!!” For more details on AAPI and the 40th convention, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

 

India’s Population Growth Rate Is Slowing Down Women Are More than Men For the First Time Ever In India

India’s population growth is losing steam as the average number of children born crossed below a key threshold, according to newly released data from a government survey, media reports state. India’s total fertility rate (TFR) across India dropping to 2.0 in 2019-2021, compared with 2.2 in 2015-2016. A country with a TFR of 2.1, known as the replacement rate, would maintain a stable population over time; a lower TFR means the population would decline in the absence of other factors, such as immigration.

Other vital indicators found in the report suggests, India now has 1,020 women for every 1000 men. India’s population is not getting any younger, and India is no longer facing the threat of a population explosion. All three radical findings are part of the summary findings of the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS), which were released by the Union health ministry on November 24.

NFHS is a sample survey, and whether these numbers apply to the larger population can only be said with certainty when the next national census is conducted, although it is very likely that they will in the case of many states and Union territories. In cities across India – as in other countries – women are opting for fewer children: the urban fertility rate is 1.6.

The new data has been welcomed, and is hailed as a heartening signal by government officials and researchers in a country that is expected to overtake China to become the world’s most populous sometime this decade. Since the mid-20th century, Indian leaders have tried to curb high birthrates, which are often reversely correlated with women’s welfare metrics and economic progress. A burgeoning population is seen, in the longer term, as a hurdle to development and a driver of environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

These new numbers indicate that India can no longer be called a country of “missing women”, a phrase first used by Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen in a 1990 essay in the New York Review of Books. Back then, there were 927 women per 1,000 men in India. According to NFHS-3, conducted in 2005-06, the ratio was equal, 1000: 1000; it went down to 991:1000 in 2015-16 in NFHS-4. This is the first time, in any NFHS or Census, that the sex ratio is skewed in favour of women.

Indian fertility rates have been trending downward for the last two decades as the country grew richer, underwent rapid urbanization, and rolled out programs that provide contraceptives and family planning education. But the progress shown in just the last two national surveys has been significant, demographers said.

“This is of course good news,” said Nandita Saikia, a professor of public health at the International Institute for Population Studies (IIPS) in Mumbai. “It indicates there has been some kind of transformation in the last four years in socioeconomic conditions.” India’s population has been expected to overtake China’s sometime around the year 2027. That date “could be delayed if this trend continues,” Saikia added, “but not for long.”

The dropping fertility rate does not mean India’s population is already decreasing, but rather its growth rate is slowing. India’s population, which stands at just under 1.4 billion, will continue to rise beyond the year 2050 and peak at over 1.6 billion before stabilizing and returning to about 1.4 billion by 2100, according to United Nations projections.

Several Indian leaders since the country’s independence in 1947 have grappled with the population question. In the 1970s, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi carried out a controversial mass sterilization drive. Population control measures – and the difference in birthrates between India’s religious groups – remain one of the most polarizing issues in domestic politics today.

The declining fertility rate observed in recent years was backed by an uptick in several key indicators, demographers said. The proportion of women who used contraceptives rose from 54 to 67%, according to the national survey, while those who reported an unmet need for contraceptives fell. The proportion of teenage marriages has also decreased, according to the study, while there has been an improvement in the gender balance of newborns in a country with a deeply held preference for sons. For every 1,000 baby boys, there are now 929 baby girls, up from 919 girls five years ago.

The study showed the long-standing gap between India’s north and south widening: the large, poor tracts that line the northern Ganges River continue to show high fertility rates, with women in Bihar state having an average of three children each. Southern states including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had fertility rates below the replacement rate.

To be sure, the gender ratio at birth for children born in the last five years is still 929, which suggests that son-preference, in its various macabre forms, still persists, but the sex ratio is a significant milestone achieved on the back of policies aimed to curb sex selection practices that were once rampant and female infanticide, and on the fact that women in India tend to live longer than men.

The average life expectancy at birth for men and women was 66.4 years and 69.6 years respectively in 2010-14, according to data from the Census of India website. There are other interesting read outs from the survey. The share of population under the age of 15 years, which was 34.9% in 2005-06, has come down to 26.5% in 2019-21. India is still a young country — a median age of 24 years in 2011 according to the Census figures — but it is ageing, and that comes with the associated policy challenges.

“The fact that we are now an aging population suggests that our approach to women’s health needs a more holistic life cycle view rather than one that prioritises reproductive health only,” Yamini Aiyar, president of the Centre for Policy Research, said. “The fact that more women have completed ten years of schooling in 2019-20 than previously coincides with a drop in female labor force participation points to significant structural challenges in India’s labour market. These need to be urgently addressed if India is to make progress,” Aiyar added.

Finally, the total fertility rate (TFR), or the average number of children per women in India, is now just 2, which is below the internationally accepted replacement level fertility rate – the point at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next — of 2.1. This means, India’s population may have peaked — another data-point that can only be established by the Census, but which is almost certainly for at least the southern states, as well some of the richer ones.

“There is usually a gap of 30-40 years between total fertility rate falling below replacement levels and a decline in overall population, because the population which will give birth in the next 10-15 years has already been born in the past when fertility levels were higher,” said Dr KS James, director and senior professor at the International Institute for Population Sciences. “Of course, the population growth in southern states is going to fall at a faster rate than the rest of the country,” he added.

NFHS-5 was conducted in two phases between 2019 and 2021, and covered 650,000 households from 707 districts of the country. The States and UTs that were surveyed in Phase-II are Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

NFHS is the most comprehensive database on a host of socioeconomic and health indicators with a focus on women – NFHS-5 covered 720,000 women and just above 100,000 men – and its basic results can be compared to the previous four rounds which were conducted in 1992-93, 1998-99, 2005-06 and 2015-16.

While the statistics quoted above are a watershed moment in India’s socio-economic and demographic transformation story, other findings of NFHS also convey a similar message. Socio-economic challenges facing India, going forward, will need to be dealt with more nuance and some of the stereotypes and political beliefs (such as the political obsession with population control laws) which dominate the public discourse will need to be shelved.

“This is not saying the country’s problems of unemployment, inequality, education, and everything else are automatically over,” said Sanjay Kumar Mohanty, the head of population policies at IIPS. “But population is no longer a top priority concern.”

“The improved sex ratio and sex ratio at birth is also a significant achievement; even though the real picture will emerge from the census, we can say for now looking at the results that our measures for women empowerment have steered us in the right direction ,” said Vikas Sheel, additional secretary, Union ministry of health and family welfare and mission director, National Health Mission.

At AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit In Hyderabad, India’s Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu To Be Chief Guest

Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Honorable Vice President of India will be the Chief Guest at the next edition of the annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2022, organized by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) to be held at the prestigious Hotel Avasa in Hyderabad, India from January 5th to 7th, 2022, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI, announced here today.

“Harnessing the power of Indian Doctors worldwide, the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit platform has evolved with the support and collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well as several prominent global and Indian medical associations,” says Dr. Anupama Gotimukula. “The theme for the Summit this year is: ‘Prevention Is Better Than Cure Through Technology, Telemedicine & Transformation’ and we want to coordinate and collaborate all our resources towards helping India have established annual healthcare screening guidelines and development of “India Preventive Task Force” who will maintain and update the annual healthcare screening guidelines”

According to her, “Senior leaders from leading healthcare organizations such as pharmaceuticals, device and medical equipment manufacturers and major medical teaching institutions, hospitals and from the Ministries – Health, External/Overseas Affairs and regulatory bodies are collaborating with AAPI with the ultimate goal to provide access to high quality and affordable healthcare to all people of India.”

AAPI is hopeful that several international healthcare industry partners are looking for opportunities to participate at this event for greater collaboration on Research & Development and philanthropic engagements, Dr. Gotimukula added.  Chronic diseases, notably diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, COPD, oncology, maternal and infant mortality, and emerging ones – Management of neurological emergencies ENLS a certification course  are only some of those that are going to be covered during this Summit. An exclusive Healthcare CEO forum coordinated by Dr. Jospeh Chalil will bring the healthcare industry perspective, with senior Government officials, both Union and State providing the legislative wisdom.

Dr. Kusum Punjabi, the Chair of AAPI BOT said, “We flew away from India decades ago. However, our hearts are still in India.” She said, GHS 2022 will focus on several relevant issues to serve the many healthcare needs and delivery of healthcare in India.” She praised the local community and organizers for their enthusiastic support.

While elaborating on the theme and areas that are going to be covered during the Summit, Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI GHS USA says, “In our efforts to realize the core mission of AAPI, which is to share the best from leading experts from around the world, to collaborate on clinical challenges, research and development, philanthropy, policy and standards formulation, the Summit in Hyderabad will have clinical tracks that are of vital to healthcare in India.”

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI pointed out, “Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment.  India is making significant improvements in the healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Indian doctors have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub”

While elaborating the objectives of the Summit, Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI, says, “This innovative Summit is aimed at advancing the accessibility, affordability and the quality of world-class healthcare to the people of India. Among other areas, the Summit will focus on prevention, diagnosis, treatment options and share ways to truly improve healthcare transcending global boundaries.”

There are several AAPI leaders who are working hard to make the GHS a memorable event, said Dr. Gotimukula. “Among them, I want to recognize Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, US Coordinator, Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair Global Medical Education; Dr. Prabhakar Sharma, CME Chair, Dr. Prabhat Sinha, Chair Sponsorships and Exhibits, Dr. Seema Arora, Chair of Women’s Forum; Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, Chair of CEO Forum; Dr. Belani Kumar, Chair of the Mwdical Students Research Poster presentations; Dr. Lakshmi Thirunagari and Dr. Apurva Yeluru, CoordinatorS Medical Jeopardy

“The much awaited Women’s Forum at the GHS will be led by a panel consisting of inspiring women leaders who have been in the forefront, and have shown resiliency, confidence, leadership, determination, and dedication, and have withered all obstacles in life, and have become women leaders, and are recognized to be an inspiration to all,” says Dr. Seema Arora, Chair of Women’s Forum.

“The essence of AAPI is educational,” Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair Global Medical Education, while describing the CMEs by experts that are ebbing organized during GHS said. “That translates into numerous programs that AAPI has planned to motivate med students, physicians, academicians and researchers to excel and master in their areas of work and goal to have one PG seat for every Medical student who graduates and there should be one Doctor per 1000 population.

Dr. Joseph Chalil, Chair of the CEO Forum said, “AAPI has made significant contributions towards addressing several issues affecting the healthcare system in India. During the GHS 2022, AAPI at the popular CEO Forum, physician leaders from the United States and India will have an opportunity to brainstorm and explore ways to focus on the theme, “Prevention is Better Than Cure” and recommend possible ways to plan and implement preventive medicine that will save resources and precious human lives.”

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said, “Through Continuing Medical Education and non-CME seminars by experts in their fields, AAPI will provide 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.”

According to Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI, “With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI would like to make a positive and meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India.”

This international health care summit is a progressive transformation from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 14 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations.

Representing the interests of the over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, leaders of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic organization of physicians, for 39 years.

“Being organized at this critical phase, GHS 2022 is aimed at exploring possibilities for greater collaboration and cooperation between the physicians and health care providers in India with those of Indian origin and major health-care providers abroad,” Dr. Gotimukula said. For more information, please visit www.aapiusa.org/ https://summit.aapiusa.org

Omicron Symptoms Mild So Far, Says South African Doctor Who Spotted It

The first South African doctor to alert the authorities about patients with the omicron variant has told The Telegraph that the symptoms of the new variant are unusual but mild.

Dr Angelique Coetzee said she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients in her busy private practice in the capital Pretoria started to come in earlier this month with Covid-19 symptoms that did not make immediate sense.

They included young people of different backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a very high pulse rate, she said. None suffered from a loss of taste or smell.

“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” said Dr Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who chairs the South African Medical Association alongside running her practice.

On November 18, when four family members all tested positive for Covid-19 with complete exhaustion, she informed the country’s vaccine advisory committee.

She said, in total, about two dozen of her patients have tested positive for Covid-19 with symptoms of the new variant. They were mostly healthy men who turned up “feeling so tired”. About half of them were unvaccinated.

“We had one very interesting case, a kid, about six years old, with a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her. But when I followed up two days later, she was so much better,” Dr Coetzee says.

Dr Coetzee, who was briefing other African medical associations on Saturday, made clear her patients were all healthy and she was worried the new variant could still hit older people – with co-morbidities such as diabetes or heart disease – much harder.

“What we have to worry about now is that when older, unvaccinated people are infected with the new variant, and if they are not vaccinated, we are going to see many people with a severe [form of the] disease,” she said.

South African demographics are very different from those in the UK. Only about six per cent of the population are over the age of 65. This means that older individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus may take some time to present.

The B.1.1.529 variant, now called omicron, was first identified in Botswana on November 11. It has now been detected in the UK as well as South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Belgium.

It is the most mutated form of Covid-19 discovered thus far, with 32 mutations to the spike protein. Scientists are concerned that the mutations may allow it to evade existing vaccines and spread quickly.

Two cases of omicron have now been found in the UK, with two people in Essex and Nottinghamshire testing positive for the new variant.

UK officials are busy scouring testing databases for any further sign of the omicron variant, not least because there were many South Africans in the Twickenham area of south-west London for the England and South Africa match last Saturday.

South African scientists say omicron is behind an explosion of cases in the country’s Gauteng province, which is home to the country’s commercial capital Johannesburg and Pretoria. Cases have rocketed up from about 550 a day last week to almost 4,000 a day currently.

The UK, US, the EU and Israel have all suspended travel to and from South Africa and the five surrounding countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The UK Government added Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to the travel red list on Sunday.

The Western travel ban has provoked anger among South Africans, with many claiming that they are being punished for having outstanding research institutions and being transparent about their findings.

FIA Unveils Roadmap To Undertake Community-Centric Initiatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man In India Builds Taj Mahal Replica Home For Wife

A 52-year-old Indian businessman has built a scaled-down replica of the iconic Taj Mahal as a home for his wife of 27 years.

Anand Prakash Chouksey built his “monument of love” in Burhanpur city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

“It was a gift for my wife but also for the town and its people,” Mr Chouksey told the BBC.

The house cost about 20 million rupees (£199,000; $260,000) to build, he said.

The Taj Mahal is a 17th Century mausoleum in Agra city. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen Mumtaz who died while giving birth to their 14th child.

The stunning marble monument, famed for its intricate lattice work, is one of India’s biggest tourist attractions. Before the pandemic, it drew as many as 70,000 people every day – a list that has included celebrities and dignitaries.

Mr Chouksey’s replica – nestled deep inside his sprawling 50-acre property, which includes a hospital, has also been attracting a steady stream of visitors.

People walk in the lawns and click pictures, he said. “A lot of people have also started to do their pre-wedding shoots here,” Mr Chouksey added.

“I don’t stop them because in our town, we are a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone. So, my house is open for all.”

Mr Chouksey said that not all visitors are allowed inside the house because “after all, it is our home and we live there”.

But sometimes, the family indulges its guests who come and marvel at the house’s lush interiors – the intricate flower motifs that decorate the marble walls and floors, and its overarching lattice windows.

The house consists of two main bedrooms that are located on two separate floors. It also has a library and a meditation room. The drawing room flaunts marble columns, a curving staircase and a gilded ceiling. Image source, Anand Prakash Chouksey

Although the Taj Mahal was the ultimate inspiration, Mr Chouksey said the interiors are not strictly Islamic in design but are infused with contemporary influences, which is evident from the choice of sofas and the curtains.

Building the replica of the famous monument took three years and a flurry of visits to the city of Agra, where the Taj s located, so Mr Chouksey and his wife could study various aspects of the mausoleum.

“We also used a lot of 3D images of the Taj Mahal on the internet to build our own,” Mr Chouksey added. The idea was to build something similar, so the engineers reduced the size to one third of the actual monument.

The four bedroom house is located in a small city in central India In 2013, a retired government official in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh had also built a replica of the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife.  But Mr Chouksey says his house is not dedicated to his wife alone.  “Today, there is a lot of hate in our country. People are being divided in the name of religion and caste,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP government has been widely accused of polarising India along religious lines, and fostering intolerance. Even the Taj Mahal has been caught in the crosshairs – in 2017, a BJP lawmaker called the monument a “blot on Indian culture” built by “traitors”. Mr Chouksey said he wanted to “spread love” in such distressing times.  “And this house for me is a symbol of that love – one which goes beyond our social differences and the political noise.”

Father Stan Samy’s Name Need To Be Cleared Of False Allegations, Jesuits Urge

Indian Jesuits plan to appeal to a court to clear the stigma attached to their activist colleague Father Stan Swamy, who died under detention after being arrested under a draconian anti-terror law.

“We are soon filing a petition in the Mumbai High Court seeking a direction to clear his name from alleged charges under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),” said Father A. Santhanam, a Jesuit lawyer based in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The top court in Maharashtra state had on Nov. 24 disposed of two appeals the late priest had filed for his bail, noting them as withdrawn.

Earlier, Father Frazer Mascarenhas, former principal of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, through an interim application, had sought directions from the high court for a mandatory judicial inquiry into the circumstances that led to Father Swamy’s death while being lodged in Taloja prison on the outskirts of Mumbai.

The Jamshedpur Jesuit Province to which Father Swamy belonged has appointed Father Mascarenhas and the parish priest of St. Peter’s Church, Mumbai, as delegates and the next of kin of Father Swamy.

The 84-year-old Jesuit was arrested on Oct. 8, 2020, by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a federal anti-terror combat unit, from his residence on the outskirts of Jharkhand’s state capital Ranchi in eastern India.

He was a hardcore activist who always stood for protecting the rights of indigenous and other ordinary humans. He was suspected of having a role along with 16 other arrested academics, lawyers and activists in instigating mob violence at Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra state on Jan. 1, 2018, that left one person dead and several injured.

He was accused of serious offenses such as sedition, having links with an outlawed Maoist group and being part of a conspiracy to kill Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among others.

Father Swamy was remanded to judicial custody the following day by a special NIA court in Mumbai. He died following a heart attack on July 5 this year while undergoing treatment at a Catholic-run hospital where he was taken after his health deteriorated.

The priest suffered from Parkinson’s disease, hearing impairment and other age-related ailments and was also infected with the Covid-19 virus, but he was repeatedly denied bail due to the stringent provisions of the UAPA.

Father Swamy was an indigenous people’s rights activist who became an irritant to the political establishment, both in Jharkhand and Delhi, due to his consistent opposition to attempts to dilute the land rights laws that prevented the purchase of tribal land in the state by outsiders.

His protest along with other political parties and civil rights groups forced the state government to withdraw the proposed amendment. The elderly priest also filed a case against the then ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for jailing close to 3,000 indigenous youths after accusing them of being supporters of Maoist rebels.

Father Swamy’s associates felt this action led to his false implication in the Bhima Koregaon case. “He was a hardcore activist who always stood for protecting the rights of indigenous and other ordinary humans,” said Father Santhanam, who is determined to clear Father Swamy’s name as a tribute to his departed soul.

India Collection Of Books Launched At Stamford Library

Ferguson Library in Stamford, CT celebrated India’s Festival of Lights, Diwali, with the launch of India Collection of Books on Sunday, Nov. 14th. The Connecticut Chapter of the Global organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) coordinated the program with the library. The India related books were donated by Govt. of India through the Indian Consulate in New York. The chief guest was Indian Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, who inaugurated the new book collection of Indian art, on political leaders and social reformers, travel books and books in Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu and Gujarati.

The launch event began with an invocation to Lord Ganesha by Prachi, which was followed by the lighting of the traditional lamp and diyas by dignitaries and GOPIO leaders, signifying the Diwali celebration. In her welcome address, Library President Alice Knapp lauded the new initiative from the GOPIO-CT and thanked the Indian Consulate for donating the books.

Consul General Randhir Jaiswal inaugurated the book collection and complimented Stamford Library for this new initiative and said that USA and India have now a very close relationship.  In his address, Ambassador Jaiswal said, “We are in the middle of festival season in India. Want to wish you all prosperity and happiness.” He thanked the Library for taking the initiative to launching the collection of books on and from India, “which will be a source of knowledge to many.”

Pointing to the fact that 55,000 students have come to the United States from India this year, which opens up immense opportunities for us in this “tech-driven world,” he said. Consul General Randhir Jaiswal referred to the recently concluded Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, where India has committed to a cleaner world by making newer assurances to make the world a better place for generations to come.

Stating that the sharing of knowledge and discovery have shaped the destiny of the humanity since beginning of the world, Consul General Randhir Jaiswal pointed out as to how in 1960s, India has gained sufficiency in food production by sharing of knowledge by the United States that led to Green revolution in India.  “And we are ever grateful to the United States for sharing of knowledge and for the friendship and collaboration between the two nations, which is the defining moment of the 21st century.”

Other dignitaries who spoke at the event were current Stamford Mayor David Martin, newly elected Mayor Caroline Simmons, CT Representative Matt Blumenthal, all of them lauded the new initiative by GOPIO-CT. Mayor of Stamford, David Martin, in his opening remarks said, “As the Mayor of the City, I welcome you all to the celebration of Diwali, which is a celebration of victory of goodness over evil, celebration of light over darkness, and celebration of knowledge over ignorance.”  My whole life has been an expectation of increase of knowledge and library is a place for us to obtain and sharing of knowledge,” he added.

Mayor-Elect Caroline Simmons, in her address said: “Thank you for reminding us of the importance of the true symbolism and virtues of Diwali, which is light over darkness, hope over despair, and love over hate. I look forward to continuing the many great efforts initiated by Mayor Martin, where you as the community has contributed significantly to the city of Stamford.”

CT State Representative, Matt Blumenthal in his felicitation address, “This has ben tryting times for the whole world. GOPIO has played a critical role in our state to help face and overcome the challenges. I am grateful to the Indian American community for your great contributions and making our state stronger and dynamic.”

GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said that the underlying theme of Diwali celebration is, Light over Darkness, Victory of Good over Evil and Knowledge over Ignorance, which has caught up the attention of people all over the world including heads of many countries including President Joe Biden at the White House. “As the pandemic is still not ever and there is resistance to vaccination by some groups of people and the celebration of knowledge over ignorance has greater meaning to people all over the world,” Dr. Thomas Abraham, Emcee for the event and a main organizer, who had initiated the book launch, added.

The book launch and Diwali event had several Indian American leaders, GOPIO-CT officials including Indian Consul Vipul Dev, Meera Banta, Anita Mathur, Prachi Narayan, Mahesh Jhangiani, Srinivas Akarapu, Jayashri Chintalapudi, and Prasad Chintalapudi. Following the ceremony, Indian American dancers including children performed Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dances.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure The Significance of Your Annual Physical Exam

Advika was in her late forties. Despite feeling tired and noting some abnormal pains during her monthly cycle, she declined to go to the doctor. The cost of traveling to the doctor was expensive and she didn’t have the extra funds or time to take a day off work for the trip. Eventually, she started feeling so bad that working was almost impossible. Finally, she went to the doctor, only to find out that she had an advanced stage of cervical cancer.

While we would all wish that her story was rare, the truth is that undiagnosed cancer happens frequently in India. Advanced stages of cancer are less likely to be cured and have a greater chance of relapse. In stage one, for instance, the cure rate is around 85% but that number falls dramatically for those in stage 3. Cancer patients who are diagnosed with stage 4 cancer are not likely to survive for more than five years.

The World Health Organization says that cancer is diagnosed in more than 14 million people worldwide annually and ends up killing approximately 8.8 million. What is most shocking is that two-thirds of these deaths are in low-middle income countries where diagnosis is found to be inadequate.

Indian system of modern medicine does not promote an annual preventive physical exam for patients even though several private hospitals promote comprehensive executive check ups for the wealthy.  Its time to change that. Identifying chronic diseases like Diabetes, Hypertension, and heart diseases early and managing them is a lot more effective than managing and treating its complications.

In the United States, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of people nationwide by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services. “The Prevention TaskForce” application assists primary care clinicians to identify the screening, counseling, and preventive medication services that are appropriate for their patients. Government of India could implement a similar project and use the lessons learned in the United States and other countries.

If all patients in India have access to complimentary annual preventive physical exam, including routine lab tests and cancer screenings, this will increase the chances of finding cancer and deadly diseases earlier and will enhance the likelihood of a cure. The cost to the taxpayers of India will eventually be far less as we prevent long term complications of Cancer and Chronic diseases.

For the individual patient who is covering the costs of seeing a doctor, the idea of annual physical examination when they feel fine seems like a waste of financial resources. As has become the case in countries around the world, primary care and annual physical examinations are beginning to disappear. As telehealth and digital medicine options have continued to increase in use, particularly during the pandemic, the idea of a traditional physical exam has come under greater scrutiny. A combination physical exam and telehealth might be the way of the future in keeping our nation healthy.

The annual physical exam is part of the larger discussion about primary care and whether it is necessary. In the U.S., India, and other countries around the world, medicine has become the way you manage disease, not prevent it. Primary care, on the other hand, is a way to prevent disease by talking with patients about their potential health risks and giving them practical advice on how to care for their health, while considering their unique lifestyle challenges.

Unfortunately, there is little discussion about how focusing on primary care, including the annual physical exam, could positively impact the costs of healthcare. Far too often, individuals throughout the world find themselves waiting to seek medical attention until they are much sicker, simply because they do not have the funds to afford basic preventive primary care or may struggle to stick with prescribed preventive health measures and lifestyle changes due to costs or social status.

While telemedicine does offer a way for physicians to connect with their patients in a cost-effective manner, there is something to be said for having a patient in front of you, where you can physically examine them. When a patient disagrees with their doctor, for instance, having a physical exam can give you data that informs the discussion and could be helpful in getting the patient on board with the treatment options available.

A patient who might be looking for antibiotics to treat a respiratory infection might feel better about not needing medication when they know that their lungs are clear, and their oxygen saturation levels are within normal range.

Telehealth does offer a means for doctors to understand the home environment of their patients and give them the opportunity to connect more frequently with their patients throughout the year. Virtual visits can also respect the patient’s time, as well as the doctor’s. Plus, technology is continuing to improve the ways available for doctors to collect physical data from their patients without physically having them in the office.

End stage renal diseases can be prevented by preventing or managing health conditions that cause kidney damage, such as diabetes and high blood pressure The costs for cancer treatments increase dramatically at later stages, as your medical team deals with the cancer and its side effects. Families often see any cancer diagnosis as a huge financial blow, meaning that they are also willing to make choices between treatment and caring for family needs. Annual physical exams, which include routine tests and screenings, could be a way to save individuals and their loved ones the financial and emotional costs of cancers and many other preventable diseases.

How can we make this happen in an affordable way using digital technology platforms like Telehealth? India being a leader in digital technology- this can be implemented more efficiently and make healthcare more accessible to common man especially in rural areas across the nation.

American Association of Physicians  of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic physician organization in the United states, representing over 100,000 Indain American Physicians, has initiated preventive healthcare screenings in 75 villages to understand the concept of preventive screenings help to diagnose any silent diseases which are causing premature deaths from Coronary heart disease and cancers like Breast cancer, cervical cancer which are preventable if diagnosed early through these annual screenings as mentioned above.

During the annual Global Healthcare Summit AAPI has planned to organize in India at Hotel AVASA in Hyderabad from January 5th to 7th, 2022, physician leaders from the United States and India will have an opportunity to brainstorm and explore ways to focus on the theme, “Transformation of Healthcare through Telehealth and Technology usage during this post Covid Era” recommend possible ways to plan and implement preventive medicine that will save resources and precious human lives.

It’s our hope that Government of India will appoint an expert panel of nationally recognized experts in the disciplines of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, preventive medicine, behavioral medicine, public health, obstetrics and gynecology, and nursing to create an Indian Preventive Task Force (IPTF) recommendations should be promoted and Implemented as part of the Free annual physical exam or telemedicine visit at Government Hospitals and Primary care centers. Private hospitals and Insurance companies should be encouraged to provide Annual Physical exam or Telehealth visit, following IPTF recommendations for free or at affordable cost. Many of the routine lab tests, vaccinations, blood pressure checks and some cancer screenings like self-breast examination can be done remotely and event at patient’s home with the help of Asha workers. The annual physical exam is a critical part of quality primary care and one that needs to be automatically covered as part of Indian healthcare system.

To shift our healthcare from being disease and treatment centered, we need to elevate the value of primary care, particularly the annual physical exam and recognize how critical this is to having a healthy nation and a healthier world.

With one of the largest populations in the World, India could lead the World in providing quality health care to all its citizens and the recent COVID-19 vaccination drive is a great example. The biggest democracy in the World needs urgent Investment in the health of all its citizens and reform the public healthcare system.

*Dr. Anupama Gotimukula is the President of American Association of Physicians  of Indian Origin (AAPI), resides in San Antonio, TX. A board certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist, practicing since 2007, Dr. Gotimukula is affiliated with Christus Santa Rosa, Baptist and Methodist Healthcare systems in San Antonio.

*Prof. (Dr.) Joseph M. Chalil is an Adjunct Professor & Chair of the Complex Health Systems advisory board at Nova Southeastern University’s School of Business; Chairman of the Indo-American Press Club and The Universal News Network publisher.

*He recently published a Best Seller Book – “Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Envisioning a Better World by Transforming the Future of Healthcare.”

Outstanding Indian Americans Honored At Kerala Center’s Annual Awards Banquet

Six outstanding achievers in different categories and two doctors were bestowed special awards for their services during the pandemic at the Kerala Center’s 29th Annual Awards Banquet held at the Center’s auditorium in Elmont, NY on Saturday, November 13th, 2021

The honorees were: Dr. George M. Abraham, the President of the American College of Physicians was honored for outstanding achievements in Medicine and Professional Services; Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, who is a practicing physician, media personality and was the Republican nominee for NYC Public Advocate was honored for notable contributions in Public Service; Mayor Robin J. Elackatt, Mayor of City of Missouri City, Texas was honored for notable achievements in political leadership; Chandrika Kurup, the director of Noopura Indian Classical Dance School was honored for contributions and achievements in Performing Arts.

Others who were honored included: Mary Philip, who was a Lieutenant in the Indian Defense Force and a past President of the Indian Nurses Association of New York was honored for notable contributions in Nursing and Community Service; and Nandini P. Nair, Esq, who is a partner and co-chair of the Immigration and Naturalization practice group and serves on the Management Committee at Greenspoon Marder LLP was honored for notable services and achievements in Legal Services. Dr. Sabu Varghese and Dr. Blessy Mary Joseph, practicing physicians in New York were honored with Special Award for notable services during the Pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

The program commenced with the American and Indian National anthems sung by Bailey Stephen and Lauren Joseph.  President Alex K. Esthappan welcomed everybody after a brief introduction of the activities and goals of the Kerala Center. Indian Consul for Community Affairs, A. K. Vijayakrishnan, was the chief guest of the function. In his speech, Mr. Vijayakrishnan said that when the individuals of the community achieve excellence in their fields and do well for the community and society, it makes him happy. Their activities make relations between America and India stronger. The chief guest was introduced by Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, the chairman of the Award Committee and Board of Directors.

Dr. George Abraham, who was also an awardee, was the keynote speaker.  In his keynote speech, Dr. Abraham implored that we should strive to move forward by including everyone and treating everybody equally, and it is the duty of the leaders to make sure that this is happening. An organization gets much more strength when it becomes a melting pot of people and ideas, he concluded. Dr. George Abraham was introduced by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Trustee Board and Award Committee member and Consul A.K. Vijayakrishnan presented the award. Dr. Thomas Abraham also explained the process of selecting the awardees.

The award for Public Service went to Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil. She reflected in her speech the difficulties she and her family went through during the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in her determination to get involved in public service. She thanked the Malayali community for their tremendous support during her campaign for Public Advocate. Dr. Devi was introduced by Raju Thomas, Kerala Center Board Member and Attorney Appen Menon presented the award.

The award for political leadership went to Robin Elackatt, Mayor of City of Missouri City in Texas. He opinioned in his speech that when he came from the red state of Texas to the blue state of New York, he realized that many things he heard was just a story created by CNN. He added that Kerala Center’s award was the first recognition he got after becoming the mayor, whereas, prior to this event, he was receiving only blames. The Mayor was introduced by James Thomas, one of the youth representatives of the Kerala Center and Senator Kevin Thomas, the first Malayalee senator of New York, presented the award.

The award for legal services went to Nandini Nair, Esq.  In her speech, she said that her parents, especially her mother who came alone to the United States with only $7 in her pocket to provide a better life for her family, is her guide and role model. She feels grateful that she is able to help so many new comers as an immigration attorney today. Nandini Nair was introduced by Dr. Theresa Antony, Kerala Center board member and Dr. Asha Ramesh of Sabinsa Corp. presented the award.

The award for Nursing and Community leadership went to Mary Philip. In her speech she stated that Kerala Center’s activities are unique in nature and separates it from other organizations. She specifically mentioned the recognition of Nurses and other front-line workers and organizing flag hoisting by retired Indian Defense Force members on Indian Independence Day celebration as examples. Mary Philip was introduced by Christy John, NP and Dr. Unni Moopan, Kerala Center Trustee, presented the award.

The award for performing Arts went to Chandrika Kurup. In her speech, Mrs. Kurup expressed a lot of satisfaction that her students are now running their own successful dance schools and other related artist works here in America and in Kerala. Chandrika was introduced by Annie Esthappan, one of the youth representatives of the Kerala Center and former student of Mrs. Kurup, and Abraham Philip, CPA, presented the award.

The Kerala Center also honored two doctors. Dr. Sabu Varghese and Dr. Blessy Mary Joseph, with special awards for their services during the pandemic. They were introduced by Benzy Thomas, DNP, whose description of her experience treating Covid-19 patients were so touching to the audience. When Dr. Sabu explained his experience with a covid patient who was a doctor and his colleague who had to be on ventilator for more than six months, it was heart breaking.

When Dr. Blessy spoke about her experience treating Covid patients, she could not control her emotions. Jose Kadapuram, Director of Kairali TV, USA, presented the award to Dr. Sabu and G. Mathai, trustee of Kerala Center, presented the award to Dr. Blessy Joseph. Their service to New Yorkers including Malayalees during the height of the pandemic is unforgettable.  Each of the awardees was also presented a citation from New York State Senate and was presented by New York State Senator Kevin Thomas.

As part of the Award Ceremony, a Souvenir was released by the committee chairman P.T. Paulose along with other committee members, John Paul and Abraham Thomas. by giving a copy of the Souvenir to Dr. Susan George, spouse of the keynote speaker Dr. George Abraham.

In the absence of Founder President Mr. E. M. Stephen, who was in charge of the Center for the last thirty years, Executive Director Thambi Thalappillil and Director Abraham Thomas took charge of the event.

James Thottam was the chairman of the Award Dinner. The MC of the program, Daisy Palliparambil, impressed everybody with her outstanding performance. The songs sung by famous singer Shalini Rajendran and Lauren Joseph and dance by artists of the Noopura School of Dance made the awards night a more colorful one.

Secretary Jimmy John concluded the ceremony with a vote of thanks to the guests, awardees, audience and everyone worked so hard to make it a successful event. With dinner, the Award Night came to an end.

The Kerala Center, located at Elmont (Long Island, New York), is an IRS Tax-Exempt 501 (c) (3) organization serving the Keralites and the Indian American community in the tri-state New York area. It was inaugurated in 1993. Kerala Center’s awards are the most prestigious among Indian American Malayalees.

“Ekal Foundation” Raises $4 Million In Star-Studded ‘Future Of India’ Gala

“Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (EVF)” raised over $4 million in a star-studded virtual Gala, called “Future of India” that highlighted pre-eminent speakers, Ekal’s eclectic accomplishments and youth’s contributions to its mission on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

As per Indian demography, two third of its population resides in villages. Ekal, as it is popularly known, currently has presence in over 102,000 rural-tribal areas all across India with a reach to over 300,000 such clusters of habitants. Although rooted in education, Ekal has blossomed into providing healthcare, integrated village development, empowering functionality and new-age technology to these rural folks.

This two-hour event, co-chaired by Mohan Wanchoo and Kamlesh Shah, both successful entrepreneurs and philanthropist, saw consistent overwhelming response from the donors, from the moment it opened up till it was capped by youthful entertainment by “Penn-Masala’, a youthful group of famous singers from “University of Pennsylvania”.

The funds raised at the Gala were for specific projects, such as tailoring training centers, E-shiksha, Ekal-on-Wheels, Telemedicine, Gramotthan Research Centers, and Integrated Village Development. Mohan Wanchoo, who pioneered Gala events at Ekal, regaled viewers with a personal story of how hospitable tribal villagers were in the midst of a horrific tragedy that they had endured earlier.

As a professional singer he mesmerized the viewers with an inspiring song in his melodious voice. Kamlesh Shah elaborated on Ekal’s aggressive fight with Covid-19 pandemic and the steps, that were taken to fight misinformation about the virus and the treatment. From the interspersed interviews of rural children, it was quite evident that Ekal has fired up their imagination to aspire for becoming Doctors, Soldiers, Teachers etc.

Ekal’s women-centric empowerment activities and education as a tool for progress touched a nerve with all three chief guest speakers who whole heartedly supported Ekal’s selfless mission for the future of India. Kiran Mozumdar-Shaw, founder of Biocon and recipient of ‘Padma Bhushan’ honor, emphasized the need for digital tracking of patients by the tech-savvy nursing caretakers, as the core point for managing the pandemic.

Coming from a humble family, Renu Khator, President of University of Houston system chancellor, stressed on the important role the education has played throughout her Steller career. She lauded EVF’s efforts for women empowerment. Naren Chaudhary, CEO of highly successful ‘Panera Bread’ brand, explained how his daughter – ‘Aisha’ – was the central motivating factor in whatever he did in his life. He expressed unequivocal passion for his country – India – where he had witnessed ‘spirit of humanity’ in his own time of acute need to save Aisha.

Ranjani Saigal, the Executive Director of Ekal-USA assured him that his daughter’s legacy lives through what Ekal does best. For every $1 a donor invests in Ekal activities, Ekal volunteers provides $8 worth of selfless volunteer efforts. Ekal’s youth-wing had raised substantial amount of funding to arrest the spread of Covid pandemic. During the Gala, they freely talked about what attracted them most to this largest social endeavor, supported by the Indians and NRIs, in dozen countries. Ekal supports all its activities without any regards to a particular region, religion or gender.

A galaxy of Bollywood stars – from Hema Malini, Boney Kapoor, Subhash Ghai to Varun Dhavan, Udit Narayan, Alia Bhatt – provided glitz with their enthusiastic support for Ekal. A ZEE-TV ‘2019 Cine Awards’ clip, showed three Ekal alumni students honored, for exceptional achievements. This public honor was bestowed on ‘Pinky Karmakar’ of Assam who was the torch-bearer at 2012 London Olympics, ‘Divya Malgave’ of Maharashtra who won a Gold Medal at ‘International Intermediate Karat Championship’ and ‘Ramchandra Verma’ of U.P. who has made his birthplace – ‘Aligunj’ – an ideal ‘Gaav’ (village). While unveiling the roadmap for the future, Suresh Iyer, the President of Ekal-USA, confirmed that the essential objectives of all the projects are two-fold – first, to prevent migration of rural folks to urban areas for lack of opportunities and second, to increase the economic and social impact on their lives. He appealed viewers to join hands with Ekal for the better ‘Future of India’.

Biden Nominates Geeta Rao Gupta As Ambassador-At-Large For Global Women’s Issues

President Joe Biden nominated Indian-American  Geeta Rao Gupta, of Virginia, to be Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, Nov. 15, 2021. Rao Gupta will have to be cleared by the U.S. Senate before taking up the position.

She is currently Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and Founder and Senior Advisor to the 3D Program for Girls and Women. Rao Gupta is also Senior Advisor to Co-Impact, a global philanthropic collaborative for systems change, with a core focus on gender equality and women’s leadership.

Additionally, she is a member of the WHO Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for health emergencies, Chairs the Advisory Board of WomenLift Health, an initiative to promote women’s leadership in global health, and in 2019 was a lead author for the Lancet Series on Gender Equality, Norms and Health.

From 2011 to 2016, Rao Gupta served as Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF and for a year before that was a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Prior to that, for over a decade, she was the president of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) based in Washington, D.C. Rao Gupta earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from Bangalore University and an M.Phil. and M.A. from the University of Delhi.

Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Celebrates Diwali

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About BAPS

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

About Mahant Swami Maharaj

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

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

What Makes Life Meaningful? Views From 17 Advanced Economies

What do people value in life? How much of what gives people satisfaction in their lives is fundamental and shared across cultures, and how much is unique to a given society? To understand these and other issues, Pew Research Center posed an open-ended question about the meaning of life to nearly 19,000 adults across 17 advanced economies.

How we did this

From analyzing people’s answers, it is clear that one source of meaning is predominant: family. In 14 of the 17 advanced economies surveyed, more mention their family as a source of meaning in their lives than any other factor. Highlighting their relationships with parents, siblings, children and grandchildren, people frequently mention quality time spent with their kinfolk, the pride they get from the accomplishments of their relatives and even the desire to live a life that leaves an improved world for their offspring. In Australia, New Zealand, Greece and the United States, around half or more say their family is something that makes their lives fulfilling.

“The most important thing for me is work. I think it is very important to build my career, to build my life, so that I’m doing better and better. And the way to do that is to take a lot of personal responsibility and work hard.” –Man, 25, Netherlands.

Publics are also largely united in the relative emphasis placed on careers and occupations. Jobs are one of the top three sources of meaning for people in most places surveyed. Still, the emphasis placed on them can vary widely, from a high of 43% in Italy to a low of 6% in South Korea.

And although in Italy as many cite their occupation as cite their family as a source of meaning, in places like the U.S., only around a third as many cite their careers. While some specifically describe their careers and what is meaningful about them – e.g., a cybersecurity worker who enjoys seeing his contributions in practice or a teacher who enjoys helping to inform children about history – others more generically mention enjoying their work or their colleagues or feeling intellectually challenged.

Many also highlight the importance of having one’s basic financial needs met – or even having some level of luxury – in order to lead a meaningful life. In nine of the 17 publics surveyed, material well-being is one of the top three factors people cited and, in most places, around one-in-five or more mention it. In South Korea, it even emerges as the top source of meaning. Still, the lifestyle elements respondents cite run the gamut from “food on the table” and “a roof over my head” to “a decent income to support my family” and “no debt” to “enough money” to enjoy riding motorcycles or other activities like travel.

“Being comfortable and stable with basic needs (food, shelter, health care and public education for my child) and a little extra (maybe going out to dinner or a vacation).” –Woman, 51, U.S.

Health, too, is relatively top of mind, coming up as one of the top three sources of meaning for people in around a third of the places surveyed.

Still, the relative emphasis on health can vary widely, from 48% who mention it in Spain – making it the top source of meaning for Spaniards – to only 6% who say the same in Taiwan. For some, specific health problems cause them to value their health – such as one American woman who noted, “God gave me life, He pulled me through cancer. Life is precious and we only have one chance at it.”

Others more generally note health as a prerequisite for other sources of meaning, emphasizing “being healthy” or “still breathing” as part of a list of things they value. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are also touted as sources of meaning.

Notably, for most, this emphasis on health is not tied directly to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there is a widespread sense in most publics surveyed that the global pandemic has changed people’s lives, in most places, people who mention health as something that gives them meaning are no more likely to mention COVID-19 than those who do not prioritize health. Some people who mention both do so because they have health problems that have been compounded by the disease, causing additional difficulty.

One American described her situation in the following way: “Currently, being self-quarantined due to health issues and to keep away from COVID, God is what keeps me going,” while another described their predicament as “years of personal work to overcome anxiety and depression [that] took a hit with social distancing.”

Still, others who mention both health and COVID-19 in their responses are largely appreciative of their health because of the global pandemic. One American woman summarized her experience as: “I had COVID and it was the scariest thing and it really changed my outlook on life.” A Dutch man also emphasized the importance of healthy living even in a pandemic context: “What I find important for a fulfilling life are things like: to do sports, meaning active exercise 2 to 3 times a week; to eat a varied diet … now in this pandemic, you still have to make sure that you get enough exercise and try to bring structure into your life by making day or week schedules.”

In fact, how a topic like COVID-19 comes up – or doesn’t – highlights where the commonalities end and the differences between these 17 advanced economies emerge. Take Taiwan as an example. In Taiwan, society – or the institutions and attributes of where people live – is the top source of meaning, above family, occupation and material well-being.

Two women in Taiwan emphasize ease of living on the island: “Food, clothing, housing, and transportation are all convenient. Life is safe and tranquil,” and “There are many convenient stores in Taiwan … The public health insurance system is good; medical service is convenient.” Others note their satisfaction with Taiwan’s political system. One woman claimed she is “fortunate to live in Taiwan, especially in the aspect of public health, democracy, and the rule of law and human rights, because it is very free.”

A young man simply noted, “Living in Taiwan is very free, freer than China and Hong Kong.” Some specifically mentioned their government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, like a woman who listed the island’s “stable economy, well-controlled new COVID-19 pandemic, [and] easy access to medical care” as meaningful. Taiwan is one of the few societies – the others are also largely in the Asia-Pacific region – where references to COVID-19 do not tend to coincide with negativity; instead, most praise how well their government has handled things.

The topic of faith, religion and spirituality is also one where some societies notably differ. Outside of the U.S., religion is never one of the top 10 sources of meaning cited – and no more than 5% of any non-American public mention it. In the U.S., however, 15% mention religion or God as a source of meaning, making it the fifth most mentioned topic. For some, the emphasis on religion is about their personal relationship with Jesus: “I follow Jesus so my faith and hope is based on how he plays a role in my life.

I don’t rely on any human to benefit my life.” Others note the benefits that come from being part of organized religion, such as camaraderie in a tough time: “My husband just died, so life is not very fulfilling right now. The support of family and friends, church, and his coworkers have helped me find meaning, as well as thinking about the good things we shared.” Evangelical Protestants in the U.S. are much more likely than mainline Protestants to mention faith as a source of meaning – 34% vs. 13%, respectively. Across all U.S. religious groups, those who attend religious services more often are much more likely to cite their religion in their answer than those who are less frequent attendees.

“I find [living] within [New Zealand] satisfying. We live in a country which has natural beauty and has a great deal of respect for nature which in turn helps us get a better connection to the country. I like going outside, going for a run every day, and seeing blue skies, forests and the wonderful people and it has a positive impact on my mental health, and especially compared to other countries I’ve been to.” –Man, 18, New Zealand

The United Kingdom, Australia, France, New Zealand and Sweden also stand apart for the relative emphasis they place on nature compared to many other places surveyed. In each of these countries, nature is one of the top eight sources of meaning. In the UK, too, hobbies and activities are revered by many: Around one-in-five mention their hobbies as something that gives them satisfaction in life, ranking only behind family and friends. (To explore more about how each society is similar – or different – and to read about where people get meaning in their own words, please see “What people around the world say about the meaning of life.”)

When discussing what makes life meaningful and fulfilling, a median of 10% across the 17 publics surveyed also mention challenges or difficulties that have interfered with their search for happiness. Once again, this varies substantially across the publics surveyed, with around one-in-five mentioning hardships in Italy, but only 5% or fewer saying the same in New Zealand and the UK.

In some places surveyed – including Italy, the U.S. and Spain – those who mention their society, places and institutions are also more likely to mention challenges or difficulties. In South Korea and Taiwan, the opposite is true: In both of these publics, those who mention their society are less likely to mention negative things. People who find meaning in their family or their friends also tend to be less likely to mention difficulties or challenges, and the same is true of those who mention education and learning or their hobbies.

Why this report focuses on topic rankings in addition to percentages

There is some variation in whether and how people respond to the open-ended question. In each public surveyed, some respondents said that they did not understand the question, did not know how to answer or did not want to answer. The share of adults that did so ranged from 23% in the U.S. to 1% in Spain.

In some publics, people also tended to mention fewer things that make life meaningful in their response than did people surveyed elsewhere. For example, across the 17 publics surveyed, a median of 34% responded to the question about what gives them meaning in life by mentioning only one of the topics researchers coded (e.g., family). The shares in South Korea and Japan are much higher, with at least half only bringing up one source of meaning when providing a response.

These differences help explain why the share giving a particular answer in certain publics may appear much lower than others, even if the topic is the top mentioned source of meaning for that given public. To give a specific example, 19% of South Koreans mention material well-being while 42% say the same in Spain, but the topic is ranked first in South Korea and second in Spain. Given this, researchers have chosen to highlight not only the share of the public who mention a given topic but also its relative ranking among the topics coded, both in the text and in graphics.

These are among the findings of a new analysis of an open-ended question about meaning in life, which was part of a Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 1 to May 26, 2021, among 18,850 adults in 17 advanced economies.

In addition to similarities and differences between the publics surveyed, the analysis also reveals broader patterns in where people find meaning based on their age, gender, income and political ideology, among other factors. Some of these additional key findings include:

Younger people tend to emphasize their friends, education and hobbies as sources of meaning more so than older people. For their part, older people are more likely to discuss retirement and health than younger ones. Older people are also somewhat more likely to discuss challenges and negative things when discussing what gives them meaning than younger ones.

In most respects, men and women are quite similar with regard to what gives them meaning. But women are somewhat more likely to mention family as a source of satisfaction in their lives than are men in most places surveyed. Women are also somewhat more likely to emphasize their health than are men. People with higher levels of education and higher  incomes  tend to be more likely to mention their family and career as things that give them meaning than are people with lower levels of education or lower incomes, respectively.1,2 Mentions of service and civic engagement tend to be higher among those with more education. Those with lower incomes are also somewhat more likely to cite challenges in their lives when discussing what gives them meaning than those with higher incomes.

Those who place themselves on the left of the ideological spectrum are more likely to cite nature as a source of meaning than those who place themselves on the right. They are also more likely to mention their friends and hobbies, whereas those on the ideological right mention religion more often.

In the U.S., partisanship also sometimes plays a role. For example, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are about twice as likely than their Democratic counterparts to bring up freedom and independence. Americans today – and especially Republicans – have also become more likely to mention freedom and independence as a source of meaning in life since 2017. For more on this and other changes over time, see “Where Americans find meaning in life has changed over the past four years.”

New York City Leaders Lead Diwali Celebrations

New York City Council Member James F. Gennaro and District Leader Neeta Jain were joined by a number of elected officials and local leaders for the annual New York City Council’s Diwali Festival – a celebration of the festival of lights on Saturday, November 13. This year marked the return of the annual tradition, which was cancelled last year due to COVID-19. This year, the festival, traditionally held at City Hall, was hosted in Queens – at Queens College’s LeFrak Concert Hall. The event, which was free and open to the public upon registration, was a major success, with tickets completely sold out just four days after it was announced.

 Diwali – known as the festival of lights – is one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and even some Buddhists. Each religion has its own historical narrative behind the holiday. Diwali is widely observed among more than a billion people from a variety of faiths across India and its diaspora. The five days of Diwali are marked by prayer, feasts, fireworks, family gatherings, and charitable giving.

The event, organized by Council Member Gennaro and District Leader Jain, incorporated a number of traditional Diwali elements and performances, including a Peace Prayer by Dr. Krishna Pratap Dixit, a lamp lighting ceremony, a Ganesh Vandana Prayer by the members of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, a Bollywood Medley performed by Anadita Guha, Sarva Devatha Anjali performed by the Mukthambar Fine Arts Team, Nagade Sang Dhol Baje performed by Dr. Sumita Guha, and Masala Bhangra performed by Sarina Jain and her team.

On this occasion we honored accomplished philanthropics of our communities: Mr Kanak Golia, a businessman and a philanthropic, Dr Ravindra Goyal, Pulmonologist and Hindu Center President, Mr. Simarjeet Singh Gizlian, a Sikh community leader and Sarina Jain, a fitness Diva and and founder of Masala Bhangra.

“I was thrilled to host this weekend’s Diwali event at Queens College. Diwali is a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. It is a beautiful tradition, and I am honored to have played a role in bringing the festival to Queens this year,” said Council Member Gennaro. “I would like to thank Queens College for providing us with the venue, District Leader Neeta Jain, who helped my office organize this event, and all the elected officials who came out to celebrate with us.”

“May the lamps (Diya) of Diwali (Deepavali) illuminate everyone’s life with happiness, peace and good health. Wish you and your family a very prosperous Diwali and a happy new year! On this Diwali, let’s make a promise to bring lights in people lives who suffered during this pandemic, and also pray to God for a good health and fortune for everyone! Looking forward to celebrate Diwali back again at City Hall next year with more joy of having it as NYC public school’s holiday!,” said Dr. Neeta Jain District Leader and co-organizer.

“It was my honor to once again co-sponsor the City Council’s Diwali event and to join my friends and neighbors for a beautiful celebration right here in Queens,” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik. “I cannot think of a better start to the holiday season.”

“Diwali is a festival of new beginnings and of light and hope. I was happy to co-sponsor this year’s festivities with my Council colleagues and celebrate this day with our friends and families,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “Wishing everyone a blessed, healthy, and prosperous holiday. May hope and light guide us all this Diwali and this holiday season!”

“It was a pleasure to celebrate Diwali at Queens College on Saturday evening. The festivities honored community advocates who have devoted their time, energy, and resources to improve the lives of countless NYC residents,” said Assembly Member David Weprin. “Diwali is a holiday celebrating the victory of light over darkness. After another difficult year in the pandemic, it was comforting to gather in-person and take part in a ceremony acclaiming the ultimate triumph of good over evil.”

“New York is no stranger to Diwali and its symbolic relevance. It is very heartening to see the festival of lights being celebrated here with great joy and fervor – not only by the South-Asian community, but also by members of diverse ethnicities and nationalities just like the Indian-American community celebrates Christmas and other festivals passionately and with great merriments,” said Deputy Consul General of India, Dr. Varun Jeph, who was in attendance at Saturday’s festival. “It truly reflects the American and Indian values of celebrating diversity and of embracing different cultures. May the festival of lights bring joy, love, peace, prosperity and good health to everyone.”

Deputy Consul General of Israel, Israel Nitzan was in attendance as well and he said ‘ his is the first time I am celebrating Diwali with Indian American community.”  Event was also attended by Desi Society of NYPD officers and a representative from New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

Dr. Suresh Reddy Assumes Charge As President of Indian American Medical Association, Illinois

(Chicago, IL: November 15, 2022) “I would like to stand on the top of shoulders of 39 Past Presidents so I can see farther,” Dr. Suresh Reddy, a Neuro Interventional Radiologist practicing in the Chicago area and a past President of national AAPI, said immediately after assuming office as the President of Indian American Medical Association, Illinois during a colorful ceremony held in Oakbrook, IL on Saturday, November 13th.

“As the President, one of my main goal is to revitalize local Chapters that are the backbone for the national organization; help make the local Chapters financially viable as funds have dwindled due to pharma support; and to bring in younger physicians into the fold,” the young and dynamic President told a select group of audience who had come to cheer him and the new executive committee.

Dr. Reddy then went on to introduce his Executive Committee Team: Dr. Piyush Vyas, whom Dr. Reddy described as “my older brother and professional mentor” will serve as the President. Dr. Radhika Chimata will serve as the Secretary,. While the Secretary-Elect is Dr. Dilip Shah.

The new Treasurer is Dr. Meher Medavaram and the Treasurer-Elect is Dr. Rajeev Kumar. The new chairs of the committee include Drs. Aparna Natarajan, Srilatha Gundala, Tapan Parikh, and Neetha Dhananjaya.

Dr. Reddy expressed his deep gratitude to the past presidents with whom he had worked: Drs. Samir Shah, Tapas Das Gupta, Sreenivas Reddy, Niranjana Shah, Geetha Wadhwani and Suneela Harsoor.

“I would also like to thank all the leaders of IAMA, especially Drs, Vemuri Murthy, Hanumadass, Rohit Vasa, Satya Ahuja, Shastri Swaminathan, Khandelwal, Arvind Goyal, Annita John, Utpal Parikh,  Sukanya Reddy and several others.” He had a special note for Dr. Lalmalani. “I would like to thank my spiritual guru and political mentor, our Mayor of Oak Brook Dr. Lalmalani.”

Dignitaries, who attended the ceremony include Consul General of India in Chicago, Mr. Amit Kumar, US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois State representative Deanne Mazzochi, famed Infectious Diseases/COVID Specialist Dr. Vishnu Chundi and several others, including

Dr. Ranga Reddy, Past President of AAPI and Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI. Dr. Reddy thanked the sponsors of the event, Hanmi Bank and ATG tours.

Educated, trained, and board certified in Neuro-Radiology, Interventional Radiology and Interventional Neuro-Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Dr. Reddy had served as the Chief of Interventional Neuroradiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and on Faculty at Harvard Medical School for almost a decade. Dr. Reddy has been involved in the highly specialized techniques and art of treating aneurysms and strokes in the complex part of our body, the Brain. He is also extensively trained to perform complex procedures in the most inaccessible regions of the spine.

Author of many international medical journal articles, Dr. Reddy has traveled extensively, giving specialty lectures on the complex procedures that he does. Active in teaching and mentoring many medical students and residents, Dr. Reddy has received numerous teaching and mentoring awards. To his credit, he is a four-time recipient of “Faculty award for excellence in teaching” awarded by the Harvard Medical Students and Residents.

Dr. Suresh Reddy MD, MHM (Health Management and Policy), who completed his medical education in India at Kakatiya / Osmania Medical Colleges, before immigrating to the United States, currently serving as the Chief of Radiology at Hines Medical Center, Associate Professor of Radiology at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago, has had many years of service to the medical community and to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and IAMA IL chapter. As an exceptional leader of AAPI, he has taken up several worthy causes, including clearing the “Green Card” backlog for Indian physicians in Rural America.

His strongest attribute is building bridges with the local chapters, which he claims to the backbone of the National organization.  To his credit, he added 8 new regional chapters to the national organization. In addition, Dr Reddy has worked closely with AAPI members over the years to successfully organize CME cruises to Alaska, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, Hawaii, and Antarctica; along with CME trips to Israel and Jordan. Proceeds from all of these trips were donated back to AAPI. Dr Reddy firmly believes that such trips build a closer bond between AAPI members and their families.

In the summer of 2019, Dr. Reddy organized The Global Health Summit in Hyderabad, an educational event with numerous workshops. Vice President of India, Sri Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minster of Health, Dr. Harshvardhan, both addressed the highly successful Global Health Summit. In October of 2019, he played a key role along with the Indian Resuscitation Council to train almost 500,000 lay people in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation in India.

Assuming charge as the President of AAPI, nation’s largest physician organization, when the COVID Pandemic hit the world, impacting every aspect of life on a global level, he and his team faced a number of challenges in carrying out their plans during his term. Dr. Reddy and his team were right on task, and Dr Reddy devoted a significant part of the year to creating stability and leading AAPI to the next level. Never in the history of AAPI had so many educational programs been organized. Never had so many specialists shared knowledge so actively, with the participation of thousands of doctors from across the world.

It was the first time ever that a sitting Prime Minister of India addressed an AAPI event, when Shri Narendra Modi spoke at the Summer Summit organized by AAPI. Others who addressed the AAPI Summer Summit included Dr. Susan Bailey, Dr. Patricia Harris, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Soumya Swaminathan from the WHO.

His leadership and foresight were deeply appreciated as AAPI became the first major organization to call for universal masking. In this regard, AAPI provided free masks to thousands of health care workers. AAPI members have honored more than 10,000 nurses in over 100 hospitals across more than 40 states by sponsoring lunches for them during the Nurses Week. He was instrumental in organizing the Obesity prevention programs in all continenets, sharing medical knowledge globally, team-building activities such as the Share-A-Blanket program, medical education programs such as CPR training, morale building programs like mentoring a future medical students, and India heritage programs like Independence Day celebrations.

Collaborating with the Indian Embassy in DC, under his leadership, more than 1000 prescriptions were written for Indian visitors who were stranded in the USA due to COVID Pandemic. He, along with his team created the “AAPI Endowment Fund,” raising and donating $300,000 with a goal of enabling his successors to be less burdened with fundraising and more focused on AAPI’s mission of Education, Mentoring, Research, Charity, and Service.

Dr. Reddy currently resides in the Chicago area with his wife Leela and son Rohun. He is currently a Trustee of the Village of Oak Brook, Lead of Chiefs of Radiology for the states of Illinois and Wisconsin Veterans Administration, and has participated in innumerable community events.  He has organized Independence Day celebrations and has worked with the IAMA team over the years to support numerous activities. He also organized numerous walkathons to honor our Veterans.

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. IAMA-IL offers many opportunities for your organization to begin and grow a connection with our members and the communities we serve. We like to partner with organizations and people that strive for similar goals including a commitment to excellence, education, research and serving the community.

Dr. Suresh Reddy has made the Indian community proud with his innumerable contributions and he is ready to serve IAMA as its 40th President. He credits his track record of almost 6 years as a foot soldier in IAMA, as it has laid the foundation for this upcoming year. Dr. Suresh Reddy’s theme for IAMA under his leadership is, “Ask what you can do for IAMA, and not IAMA can do for you.”

Rajeshwar Prasad Presented Life Time Achievement Award At NIAASC Annual Meeting In New York

Rajeshwar Prasad, founder and chairman of  The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, During the 32nd annual Conference and 23rd Annual meeting of NIAASC on Sunday, November 7th, 2021 at the India Home in Jamaica, New York. He was recognized for his 23 years of admirable and outstanding community outlook and service, creating and nurturing NIAASC and dedicated to all seniors across the USA.

Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi, who is the founder of India Home nonprofit organization and a current board member of NIAASC hosted the conference, which  was informative and entertaining with vegan breakfast and lunch served.  Dr. Bhavani Srinivasan, Vice president – NIAASC was the coordinator of the conference and coordinated the event effectively and flawlessly.

The conference started with opening remarks and greetings by NIAASC Chairman and founder Rajeshwar Prasad. in his speech, Prasad reflected on the growth of the organization since its inception in 1998. He stated “NIAASC helps Senior Citizens and Senior Associations through information, referral and advocacy services “. Following the Chairman’s speech, Mrs. Gunjan Rastogi, the current president of NIAASC welcomed ­­the attendees and echoed the chairman’s message and reaffirmed and reminded everyone that NIAASC is a unique nonprofit organization that provides resources for all the seniors while collaborating with other nonprofit organizations and this was well received and acknowledged.

The main speaker was Dr. Vikas Malik, a board-certified medical professional in both Child-Adolescent Psychiatry and Adult Psychiatry and his PowerPoint presentation on Mental Health in light of COVID-19 captivated the audience of roughly 70 physical attendees and 30 virtual attendees, who appreciated the information and knowledge that was succinctly explained.  His presentation was followed by Dr. Swaminathan Giridharan, a Geriatric specialist, who spoke about COVID-19 Vaccination.  The conference also focused on physical health and a presentation by   Mrs. Suman Munjal, president of World Vegan Vision, who discussed the health benefits pertaining to a vegan diet.

The occasion marked NIAASC honoring Mr. Mukund Mehta, President of Indo-American Senior citizen center, a nonprofit organization and the President of India Home. In introducing Mr. Mukund Mehta, Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi informed the audience about his active involvement as a director with the Federation of Indian American Seniors Associations of North America (FISANA).

NIAASC’s goal of collaboration with other organizations was evident as the conference was well attended by members of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA). Members included current executive board members and past presidents who made the effort to connect via zoom. NFIA attendees belonged to different states/different time zones and remained present throughout the duration of the program. Also in attendance were members from several other organizations such as World Vegan Vision (WVV) and India Association of Long Island (IALI). Many IALI members attended In-person and on Zoom, including nine past presidents. Other NIAASC Board members that joined via zoom were: Satpal and Satya Malhotra(New York), Baldev Seekri ( Florida), Chandrakant Shah (Florida), Santosh Kumar (Chicago), Asha Samant (New Jersey ) and Jyotsna Kalavar (Indiana).

Lunch was followed by Diwali cultural program that was presented by Ms. Jyoti Gupta and her team consisted of several singers, Dr.Jag Kalra, Kul Bhooshan Sharma, Gautam Chopra and Raj Dhingra. The group entertained and regaled the audience with lively Bollywood songs. Music program was followed by Diwali Felicitation by Nilima Madan.

In her closing remarks, Gunjan Rastogi thanked the sponsors that supported the entire event financially and also thanked the India Home volunteers who had helped set up the venue while precluding any hiccups.

The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Harbachan Singh, NIAASC Secretary who appreciated the presence of large number of audiences, sponsors, and well-wishers.

Upon adjournment of the conference, the 23rd general body meeting was conducted by NIAASC president, Gunjan Rastogi, who requested Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad to present the report of nominating committee, since the chairman of the nominating committee Chandrakant Shah, was not able to the report due to some technical issue. Rajeshwar Prasad informed the members that as per NIAASC constitution and bylaws; 1/3rd members retire every year, but based on eligibility criteria, members are eligible to be re-elected for another term of three years that resulted in all the retiring members Gunjan Rastogi, Bhavani Srinivasan, E.M. Stephen, Santosh Kumar, and Rajeshwar Prasad to be elected for three additional years and was approved by the General Body.        For additional information about NIAASC, please email the president at [email protected]

Shekar Krishnan, Shahana Hanif Are First South Asian Americans Elected To New York City Council

In New York City, a global beacon that draws a diverse population from all over the world, the City Council has never had a person of South Asian descent — or a Muslim woman — among its membership. That changed this year, when Shahana Hanif, a former City Council employee, won her election in a Brooklyn district that covers Park Slope, Kensington and parts of central Brooklyn.

Hanif, who is Bangladeshi American, was the first Muslim woman elected to the Council in its history, despite the fact that the city is home to an estimated 769,000 Muslims. She was one of two history-making South Asian candidates to win as well; the other, Shekar Krishnan, won a seat representing Jackson Heights and Elmhurst in Queens.

Shekar Krishnan and Shahana Hanif made history election night this year, becoming the first ever South Asian Americans ever been elected to New York City Council. Krishnan and Harif are both community activists who participated in a two-week hunger strike to protest the huge cost of taxi medallions for New York City cab drivers, 40 percent of whom are South Asian Americans. A third South Asian candidate, Democrat Felicia Singh, lost to her Republican opponent Joann Ariola in in Queens District 32.

Born to Indian immigrants from Kerala in the United States, Democrat Krishnan was elected to represent Jackson Heights and Elmhurst in Queens in District 25 in Tuesday’s elections. “Thank you #JacksonHeights and #Elmhurst! Thank you for believing in me! Together, we will fight for a city for everyone. We will fight for our home,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.

Ahead of the elections, Krishnan, who wants to help alleviate the problems of immigrants, spoke to Scroll.in about life as an immigrant, and his plans for the communities of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst neighborhoods.

“My parents came to the US around 30 years ago, and they struggled with discrimination and the inaccessibility of resources all through their careers as research scientists in the pharmaceutical industry,” he said. “When they first arrived, they qualified for every single public benefit available at the time but did not receive them because they didn’t know what they were or how they could have applied for them,” Krishnan said noting, “Our immigrant community faces similar struggles even today.”

“I saw my parents struggle with a feeling of not belonging here, and I can relate to similar experiences of immigrants in my community. My parents came here with official documents and education, but I saw their struggle despite these privileges. “

“They were discriminated against because of their skin colour, accents, etc, and all that left an indelible impression on me, which is why I chose to become a civil rights lawyer, and eventually venture into politics,” Krishnan added.

Democrat Hanif, who become the first Muslim woman elected to the New York City Council from Brooklyn District 39, polled an overwhelming 89.3% votes. Her only opponent of the Conservative Party received 8 percent of the vote. The city has an estimated 769,000 Muslims.

Hanif said she was “humbled and proud” to be the first Muslim woman on the Council — and the first woman of any faith to represent District 39 — in a statement released Tuesday night.

She acknowledged community and progressive group volunteers and endorsements, notably the left-leaning Working Families Party. “Together we are building an anti-racist, feminist city,” she said. “We deserve a city that protects its most vulnerable residents, a city that provides fair education, a city that invests in local and community-driven climate solutions, and a city where our immigrant neighbors feel welcome, heard, and protected. Even if the election is done, this task demands all of us to keep turning up.”

Shahana’s ancestral home is in Chattogram’s Fatikchhari upazila. Eldest daughter of Mohammad Hanif — one of the United States Awami League’s advisers, Shahana has long been involved in politics in Brooklyn. She is known as a representative of the progressive youths in politics.

The 2021 elections saw a series of firsts for candidates of color in local and state races across the country. Michelle Wu became the first woman and person of color elected to be Boston’s mayor. Pittsburgh and Kansas City elected their first Black mayors, Ed Gainey and Tyrone Garner. Dearborn elected its first Muslim and Arab American mayor, Abdullah Hammoud. And Tania Fernandes Anderson became the first Muslim elected to Boston’s city council.

US Announces Big Hike In Medicare Premiums

The federal government announced a large hike in Medicare premiums Friday night, blaming the pandemic but also what it called uncertainty over how much it may have to be forced to pay for a pricey and controversial new Alzheimer’s drug.

The 14.5% increase in Part B premiums will take monthly payments for those in the lowest income bracket from $148.50 a month this year to $170.10 in 2022. Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, medical equipment, and certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A, including medications given in doctors’ offices.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services played down the spike, pointing out that most beneficiaries also collect Social Security benefits and will see a cost-of-living adjustment of 5.9% in their 2022 monthly payments, the agency said in a statement. That’s the largest bump in 30 years.

“This significant COLA increase will more than cover the increase in the Medicare Part B monthly premium,” CMS said. “Most people with Medicare will see a significant net increase in Social Security benefits. For example, a retired worker who currently receives $1,565 per month from Social Security can expect to receive a net increase of $70.40 more per month after the Medicare Part B premium is deducted.”

The increase, however, is far more than the Medicare trustees estimated in their annual report, which was released in late August. They predicted the monthly premium for 2022 would be $158.50. The actual spike — the largest since 2016 — could hurt some seniors financially.

It “will consume the entire annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) of Social Security recipients with the very lowest benefits, of about $365 per month,” said Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group. “Social Security recipients with higher benefits should be able to cover the $21.60 per month increase, but they may not wind up with as much left over as they were counting on.”

Medicare premiums have typically increased at a far faster rate than Social Security’s annual adjustments, the league said. And much of the 2022 increase in Social Security benefits will be eaten up by inflation, which is also rising at a rapid clip.

CMS said part of the increase for 2022 was because of uncertainty over how much the agency will end up paying to treat beneficiaries to be treated with Aduhelm, an Alzheimer’s drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in June over the objections of its advisers. Some experts estimate it will cost $56,000 a year. Medicare is deciding whether to pay for it now on a case-by-case basis.

Because Aduhelm is administered in physicians’ offices, it should be covered under Medicare Part B, not Part D plans, which pay for medications bought at pharmacies. Traditional Medicare enrollees have to pick up 20% of the cost of most Part B medications, which would translate into about $11,500 in out-of-pocket costs for those prescribed Aduhelm.

“The increase in the Part B premium for 2022 is continued evidence that rising drug costs threaten the affordability and sustainability of the Medicare program,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement. “The Biden-Harris Administration is working to make drug prices more affordable and equitable for all Americans, and to advance drug pricing reform through competition, innovation, and transparency.”

Also, Congress last year limited the 2021 premium increase even as emergency Medicare spending surged during the coronavirus pandemic. The monthly charge rose less than $4.

Along with the premium spike, the annual deductible for Medicare Part B beneficiaries is rising to $233 in 2022, up from $203 in 2021.

Medicare is the federal health insurance plan covering more than 62 million people, mostly 65 and older.  Part B premiums are based on income. Individuals earning $500,000 or more a year and joint filers making $750,000 or more annually will pay $578.30 a month for coverage in 2022.

Diwali Celebrated At Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’s Office By Chicago Indo-Us Lion Club

Chicago Indo-US Lions Club in association with the Office of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, hosted Diwali celebration on November 5th, 2021 in Chicago IL. The guest of Honor for the event was Consul General Amit Kumar who congratulated Indo US Lions Club and Maria Pappas for hosting the historic event and spoke about the significance of Diwali and the celebration as big step in creating awareness about cultural heritage of India.

 

The second-generation INDO-US lions team headed by Hina Trivedi and Lion Maria Pappas also recognized some members and volunteers for their services for the community and for their contribution to Indo US communities during Covid-19. Hina Trivedi presented plaques to the special guests Amit Kumar, Maria Pappas, Laxman Gupta as a token of appreciation for their exceptional leadership.

 

Lion Hina Trivedi spoke about the selfless efforts by Chicago Indo Us lions club in helping families and kids by donating school supplies, backpacks, coat drive and food drive. The club recently helped many patients in India with ventilators as well.

 

The celebration was well attended by many community leaders that included the team members of AMEC Anica Dubey along with Dr. Vijay Prabhakar who supported the event. Media was represented by Prachi Jaitly of Asian Media Broadcasting (AMB). 

 

Maria Pappas declared Diwali as an annual event to celebrate every year on a large scale together with Chicago Indo US club. Hina Trivedi, founder President Chicago INDO-US Lions along with the efforts and vision of Dr. Ram Gajjela founder chair and 2021 President Jay Trivedi helped making historic celebration happen further strengthening the Indo US relationship.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Chicago’s City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin Holds Colorful Diwali Celebrations at City Hall

Chicago IL: Chicago’s City Treasurer Hon. Melissa Conyears-Ervin hosted a grand Diwali Reception brimming with festive colors, lights, dance, music and ceremonial lamp lighting with her deep appreciation for sharing the spirit of Diwali with fellow Chicagoans at the iconic City Hall in Chicago amidst the gathering of prominent Indian American community, organizational and business leaders. This Diwali celebration was initiated by National Council of Asian Indian Associations [NCAIA]

 

Following the invocation by Anu Malhotra and lamp-lighting ceremony, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Oakbrook Trustee presiding over the Diwali celebration event invited Dr. Bharat Barai, an eminent community leader who presented a brief overview of the story of Diwali and how it has contemporary relevance in terms of its central message of spreading light, goodness and knowledge over darkness, evil and ignorance.

 

The celebrations encompassed the ceremonious crowning of Chicago’s City Treasurer Hon. Melissa Conyears-Ervin with a silk colorful headgear symbolizing the crowning appreciation from NCAIA for hosting a grand Diwali in the magnificent iconic City Hall building that was led by Event Convener & Vice President Ajeet Singh joined by NCAIA officers: Harish Kolasani, Dr. Suresh Reddy, Vinesh Virani, Neelam Dwivedi Singh, Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, Shekhar Misra, Iftekhar Shareef & Nag Jaiswal. NCAIA National President Harish Kolasani welcomed the guests and outlined the mission of National Council of Asian Indian Associations and how it impacted lives especially in recent times contributing towards the goal of eradication of the pandemic.

 

Hon. Melissa Conyears-Ervin, City Treasurer in her remarks reiterated the central premise of Diwali that symbolizes victory of good over evil and triumph of light over darkness. Hon. Melissa Conyears-Ervin said Diwali represents the beautiful colors of life and thanked NCAIA for facilitating the celebrations with her office. Hon. Melissa Conyears-Ervin articulated the message from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot who sent her greetings of Diwali to the Indian American community.

 

Chicago’s 17th ward Alderman David Moore joined the celebrations, expressed his warm greetings to the Indian Americans and said Diwali is truly a wholesome festival to rejoice and celebrate with fellow Chicagoans. Consul Laxman Prasad Gupta from the Indian Consulate in his brief remarks said Indian American community is well integrated into the cultural fabric of this country and have excelled in several fields and conveyed Diwali best wishes.

 

Dr. Suresh Reddy, Oakbrook Trustee & NCAIA’s Executive Vice President who served as emcee described it as a historic celebration at City Hall and said Diwali is now a widely recognized and celebrated festival in the United States across all spectrum of South Asians.

 

Event Convener Ajeet Singh, NCAIA Vice President earlier introducing the City Treasurer Melissa Ervin described her as an exceptional custodian of the City Treasury who effectively and efficiently presides over the $ 9.5 billion to ensure taxpayers get the optimum leverage to help Chicago communities grow at the same economic rate regardless of the neighborhoods.

 

Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, NCAIA Secretary led the event with brief opening remarks and graciously thanked the City Treasurer for hosting a grand festive celebration that commemorates the triumph of goodness, light and knowledge. 

 

Following, Ms. Madhura Sane presented a spellbinding dance performance symbolizing the enduring spirit of Diwali that elicited sustained applause. Neelam Dwivedi Singh, NCAIA Chairwoman extended Diwali greetings and added that the lights of diyas illuminate life with knowledge, compassion, care and love for each other. Iftekhar Shareef of NCAIA’s Advisory Council said this Diwali represents an outstanding example of interfaith unity and harmony. Nafees Rehman, Deputy Director for IL Secretary of State also conveyed Diwali wishes. Other prominent guests who participated in the event include Mitesh Kamdar, Dr. Shekar Misra, Dr. Harjinder Khaira, Harendra Mangrola, Dr. Vidyani S, Vinita Gulabani, Jigar Shah, Nick Verma, Satish Dadepogu, Ravi Harsoor, Chandini Duvuri, Subu Iyer, Nag Jaiswal, Alli Dhanraj & Tanuja Misra. Mr. Craig Slack – Chief Investment Officer & Deputy Treasurer James Ramos also joined the festivities and extended warm Diwali greetings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community Groups Organize Discussion on The Book, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans”

A discussion and celebration of the Indian Diaspora and their achievements was held virtually on Saturday, November 7th, 2021, and was attended by People of Indian Origin from around the globe. Jointly organized by Global Organization People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI), Association of Indians in America (AIA), and National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the event offered a glimpse of the growth and the successes of the Indian American community in various domains.

Edited by the Delhi-based veteran journalist and foreign policy analyst, Tarun Basu, the evocative collection titled, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans,” captures the rise of the Indians in the US across domains by exceptional achievers. Sixteen eminent journalists, business leaders and scholars have contributed essays to the timely and priceless volume, which charts the community’s growing and influential political engagement.

The book was released by New Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree and is available in the U.S. via Amazon. Describing the book as an “eclectic amalgam of perspectives on the emerging Indian-American story,” Tarun Basu said, “This evocative collection—of the kind perhaps not attempted before—captures the rise of Indian-Americans across domains, by exceptional achievers themselves, like Shashi Tharoor, the ones who have been and continue to be a part of the “rise,” like MR Rangaswami and Deepak Raj, top Indian diplomats like TP Sreenivasan and Arun K Singh, scholars like Pradeep K Khosla and Maina Chawla Singh, and others who were part of, associated with, or keenly followed their stories.”

In his remarks, Shobit Arya, publisher of the book, shared with the audience about the objectives of publishing such an important book that portrays the life story and achievements of the influential Indian American community.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International, who is the main organizer moderated of the session, who has been instrumental in establishing and leading several Indian American organizations and has seen the rise of the community in the past half a decade, shared with the audience the major highlights, depicting the progress and achievements of the community.

 “My own involvement in the community for the last 47 years as the Founder President of FIA New York, National Federation of Indian American Associations and GOPIO, I want to give some milestones of our community since the late 1970s,” Dr. Abraham said and enumerated the major milestones of the Indian Americans, starting with the formation of the first national organization post-India independence in 1967, Associations of Indian America (AIA), and succeeding in its efforts to have the Asian Indians categorized in the 1980 Census, First Convention of Asian Indians in America in 1980 and formation of the NFIA, first India Day Parade in New York City in 1981, first White House Briefing in 1983, keeping the family reunification in the Simson-Mazzoli Immigration Bill in 1985, Meeting of the community with President Ronald Reagan in 1986 at the White House, first time sub-cabinet level appointment of Dr. Joy cherian as EEOC Commissioner, Election of Bobby Jindal as Congressman and then as Louisiana Governor, Indo-US Nuclear Treaty; Rise of Indian Americans in the MNCs, Silicon Valley, Hospitality and HealthCare; first cabinet level appointment of Nikki Haley, and now culminating in dozens of Indian Americans holding important positions in the US administration and several dozens elected to local, state and national offices across the nation including VP Kamala Harris.

History of Indian community organizations and the role played by these organizations in community development, mobilization and promoting the diverse interests such as education, political involvement, entrepreneurship, business and service industry are covered in this new book,” Dr. Abraham said.

While acknowledging the success story of Indian American physicians, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said, “The success story of Indian American Doctors has been arduous. As Ajay Ghosh, who has been working for AAPI for nearly a decade has aptly summarized this long and difficult journey: “While Indian American physicians play a critical role, serving millions of patients in the United States, leading the policies and programs that impact the lives of millions today, it has been a long and arduous journey of struggles and hard work to be on the top of the pyramid.”

Dr. Gotimukula pointed out, “Indian American Doctors, who have been recognized for their compassion, skills, expertise and skills in caring for their patients, leading research that brings solutions to health issues and at the table making policies that benefit the world, are at the  at the forefront around the world as shining examples of meeting the needs of the hour.” She congratulated Tarun Basu, Shobit Arya and the 16 veteran journalists who have contributed to the book.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI spoke about how the Covid pandemic has impacted all and how the physician community who has borne the brunt of this epidemic is coping with the stress and the negative effects, while providing critical care to people diagnosed with Covid virus. Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI and Dr. Sampat Shivangi, President of Indo-American Political Forum and NFIA past presidents Subash Razdan and Sudip Goraksharkar were others who had joined in the discussions.

Former Ambassador TK Srinivasan, who had served as the Deputy Indian Ambassador to the US and as Governor of India t the International Atomic Agency in Vienna, shared with the audience, his own experiences with the Indian Diaspora and how they have contributed to the larger goals of cementing stronger relationship between India and the United States.

In his remarks, NFIA President Ajoy Dube said, “National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the largest non-profit umbrella organization of Indian association, established in 1980, aims to unify the diverse Indian American community by coordinating and promoting the activities of its member associations. NFIA has been in the forefront of activities in US-India relations for over four decades.”

Describing the many contributions and objectives of ASEI, Piyush Malik, the current president said, “Since its inception in 1983, ASEI has strived to strengthen the Indo-American relationship, institute a channel of communication between technical organizations within the United States and abroad, lend a helping hand to charitable organizations, provide assistance to engineering students at the Local and National levels, and organize networking events.”

Dr. Urmilesh Arya, President of Association of Indians in America (AIA) spoke about the objectives and activities by AIA for the past several decades. “AIA is a grass root national organization of Indian immigrants in the United States, fostered on the democratic principles of “one member one vote”, with chapters and membership spread across the USA.”

 Journalist Arun Kumar who wrote a Chapter in the Book on “All the President’s People: Trust in the Corridors of Power” spoke about the increasing number of Indian Americans how have come to occupy critical roles in the US administration, starting with President Ronald Regan and currently having as many as 50 Desis, who occupy important positions in the Biden administration.

Mayank Chaya, another author who wrote on: “At the Center of Excellence: Seminal Contributions in the World of Science” presented how Indian Americans have come to lead research and scientific innovations across the United States.

The importance and high esteem with which physicians of Indian heritage are held by their patients is self-evident, as they occupy critical positions in the healthcare, research and administrative policy positions across America, including the nomination of the US Surgeon-General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

In his presentation, Ajay Ghosh who has portrayed the rise of the Indian American physicians as a strong and influential force in the United States, chronicling their long journey to the United States and their success story, in a Chapter titled, “Physicians of Indian Heritage: America’s Healers” spoke about the four distinct areas, he has covered in the book: Indian American Physicians Being recognized as Covid Warriors who work as frontline healthcare workers treating millions of patients: Initial struggles of Indian American Physicians; Their Achievements; and, Contributions to Healthcare in India and the United States.

After the presentation by the authors, a question/answer session followed and was moderated by the co-host and Chair of the GOPIO Academic Council Dr. Neerja Arun Gupta who is currently the Vice Chancellor, Sanchi University for Buddhist and Indic Studies. A few quest5iiobn related to Indian community groups’ relations with India with government of India. The organizers said that the community groups work closely with Indian missions for India’s and community interest, however, groups have also been critical, when things were not moving in India.

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.

The book is now available at: https://bit.ly/HarrisIA – Amazon India book link, and at https://bit.ly/HarrisIndAm – Amazon USA link. The discussion is available at the Facebook page at https://fb.watch/96qk1eJ-xA/

100 Most Expensive U.S. Zip Codes In 2021: Include Boston’s Back Bay And Weston

BOSTON–PropertyShark released its annual most expensive zip codes of 2021. New England is home to 11 of the priciest U.S. zip codes, including #2 with Boston’s Back Bay. The full list is included towards the end in this article.

Key Takeaways:

  • At nearly $7.5 million, Atherton, Calif.’s 94027 remains #1 most expensive zip code for fifth consecutive year
  • Record $5.5 million median sale price gives Boston’s 02199 #2 spot
  • Top 10 most expensive zip codes in 2021 all surpass $4 million mark — a historic first
  • 33109 in Miami jumps 66% Y-o-Y, becomes #5 priciest in U.S.
  • Nationally, 30 zips feature median sale prices higher than $3 million, more than double the number of areas in 2020
  • Country’s 100 most expensive zip codes located in 10 states, with 70% from California
  • Bay Area claims 47 of nation’s most exclusive zip codes
  • Los Angeles County remains priciest county with 21 entries
  • Once again, San Francisco boasts highest concentration of pricey zip codes, while NYC drops out of top 20
  • Gibson Island’s 97% Y-o-Y price surge claims Maryland’s highest position yet at #23
  • Exclusive Lake Tahoe enclaves rule Nevada real estate, Paradise Valley returns Arizona for 3rdconsecutive year

Ranking the Priciest U.S. Zip Codes by Closed Home Sales

Even as another uniquely challenging year — marked by the efforts of tackling the pandemic and boosting the economy — is coming to an end, the U.S. residential market continues to experience vertical price trends. And, that picture is clearly visible in our 2021 edition of the 100 most expensive zip codes in the U.S. — which, for the first time ever, includes 127 zip codes due to multiple ties.

Compiled by calculating median home sale prices as opposed to listing prices to ensure an accurate picture of market conditions as opposed to selling prices that reflect sellers’ wishes, this year’s edition highlights the ever-increasingly competitive residential markets of economically vital urban centers.

The Bay Area, Los Angeles County, and New York City yet again have a heavy presence, joined by exclusive pockets of affluence scattered across the country, like Arizona’s Paradise Valley, Washington state’s Medina and Connecticut’s Fairfield County. What’s more, 2021’s competitive residential landscape is further evidenced by the country’s 10 most expensive zip codes — all of which surpassed the $4 million threshold, marking a new record.

For the full ranking of 2021’s 100 most expensive zip codes, scroll to the bottom of the page. For an even more detailed picture, explore last year’s rankings.

California Claims Overwhelming Majority of Expensive Zips Yet Again, Alongside New York & 8 Other States

Unsurprisingly, California continued to provide the bulk of the country’s most expensive zip codes: The Golden State originated 70% of all of the zip codes on this list, including six of the top 10 priciest. And, as usual, New York came in second, providing 17 zip codes in our ranking.

Notably, New York logged three fewer than last year — demonstrating California’s more vertical price trends, as well as the pricing slowdown in NYC’s top markets. In fact, while 2020 marked the first time that no NYC zips ranked among the country’s 10 most expensive, 2021 brought another historic first for the East Coast giant: No NYC zip codes ranked among the 20 priciest in the U.S. this year, with the state represented only by the Hamptons at the top of our ranking.

The East Coast made its presence further known with Massachusetts, home to seven of the top 100 zips in the U.S., up from last year’s four. Not only that, but as sales activity improved in Boston’s Back Bay area, Massachusetts claimed the #2 most expensive zip code in the country with 02199’s $5.5 million median sale price, which was only surpassed by California’s Atherton at more than $7 million.

To the south, Connecticut’s presence also improved compared to previous years: For the first time since 2018, it contributed four zips to the country’s priciest, most of which ranked in the bottom half of our list — similar to the three zips provided by New Jersey. Out west, Nevada and Washington added two zips each, with Washington state claiming #10 with Medina’s ever pricey 98039.

Additionally, Arizona, Florida and Maryland each contributed one zip code. Florida claimed the #5 most expensive zip code with Miami Beach’s 33109 — the highest-ranking for the Sunshine State since 2017. Meanwhile, New Hampshire missed the top 100 this year, having secured a presence during the last two years with Rye Beach.

Maryland Claims Sharpest Price Gain at 97%, While NYC’s Upper West Side Contracts 39%

The U.S. residential market’s vertical price trends were evident among the country’s top zip codes as well, with 92 zips registering price gains — including 23 where the median surged by more than 25%. Conversely, only 12 locations among the priciest registered drops in their medians this year – by comparison, 2020 brought median increases to 78 zips and drops to 23 locations.

At the same time, a record 30 zip codes posted median sale prices of $3 million and above — more than double those in 2020 — with the top 10 most expensive zips coming in at $4 million and higher. Moreover, the last zip code to enter our ranking — San Francisco’s 94122 — did so with a 12% year-over-year (Y-o-Y) increase in its median sale price, managing to hold onto its #100 position from last year.

The sharpest price gain was claimed by 21056 in Maryland’s Gibson Island, which nearly doubled its median sale price, surging 97% Y-o-Y to hit $3,195,000. Gibson Island was followed by 89402 in Nevada’s Crystal Bay, which swelled 68% to reach #39 with a $2.5 million median. The third-sharpest gain was claimed by 33109 in Miami Beach, which rose 66% to a $4,475,00 median sale price to become the #5 most expensive zip code in 2021.

The sharpest price contraction was registered in NYC’s Upper West Side, where zip 10069 contracted 39% Y-o-Y to stabilize at $1,663,000. As a result, the Upper West Side zip dropped from last year’s #22 to #93 this year. Notably, this zip code was actually the leader of price growth in 2020, when its median shot up 42% Y-o-Y.

Across the country, the second-sharpest price drop was registered by 94904 in Greenbrae, Calif., which contracted 12% Y-o-Y. It was followed by Bridgehampton, N.Y.’s 11932, down 11% Y-o-Y. Located in the famously pricey Hamptons, 11932’s price contraction meant that this zip — which was the #7 most expensive in 2020 — came in at #31 this year, its lowest position in three years.

Unshakeable Atherton Maintains #1 Spot for 5th Consecutive Year, Boston Grabs #2 with Record $5.5M Median

A record-setting year for the most expensive zip codes in the U.S., the 10 priciest zip codes in the country now sport median sale prices of $4 million and above. All in all, the 10 most expensive zip codes in the U.S. were provided by five states (as opposed to last year’s three): California claimed six of the top 10 and was joined by Massachusetts, Florida and Washington, as well as New York, which was solely represented by the Hamptons.

Reaching a new record median sale price at $7,475,000, Atherton’s 94027 remains the #1 most expensive zip code in the U.S. for the fifth consecutive year — nearly $2 million ahead of the runner-up. Not only that, but the billionaire favorite also saw its median rise 7% Y-o-Y, suggesting that this exclusive enclave may continue to retain its leading position in the future.

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, Boston’s 02199 was conspicuously absent last year due to depressed sales activity during the onset of the pandemic — despite that it historically features one of the highest median sale prices in the U.S. However, the Prudential Center area of Back Bay returned in 2021 with a $5.5 million median sale price — its highest figure yet. Consequently, Boston’s 02199 became the #2 most expensive zip code nationwide, outpacing even ultra-exclusive Hamptons enclaves.

Similarly, another well-established presence among the priciest zip codes in the country, Sagaponack’s 11962 was this year’s #3 most expensive zip code, dropping from the runner-up slot it held for three consecutive years, despite a 29% Y-o-Y price uptick that raised its median sale price from $3,875,000 to $5 million. It was also the only zip from New York state to rank in the top 10, as NYC lost further pricing ground, failing to rank a single zip among even the top 20.

In Ross, Calif., 94957 retained its previous year’s position at #4 with a $4,583,000 median sale price, the result of a 27% Y-o-Y increase. A favorite of Silicon Valley executives and celebrities, this marked the first time that Ross surpassed the $4 million pricing mark.

Conversely, Miami Beach’s 33109 may have ventured into the $4 million and over category back in 2017, but this exclusive Florida enclave reached new pricing heights in 2021: 33109 on exclusive Fisher Island stabilized at $4,475,000 to become the #5 most expensive zip code after a staggering 66% Y-o-Y price jump.

Bay Area Still the Priciest Metro with 47 of the Top U.S. Zip Codes

As has increasingly been the case in recent years, greater Los Angeles, the vast New York metropolitan area and the Bay Area remained the leading metros for pricey zip codes. In particular, the Bay Area was yet again the uncontested leader, contributing 47 zip codes to our list — including three of the top 10 zips — while the greater Los Angeles was represented by 30 Orange and L.A. County zips.

The New York metro was represented by 22 zip codes, with only six of those from NYC proper and the rest located in the Hamptons, Nassau County and Westchester, as well as Connecticut’s Fairfield County and New Jersey’s Bergen and Monmouth counties.

L.A. County Remains Most Expensive, Santa Clara & San Mateo Form Pricey Zip Supercluster

Clearly, not even the tech dollars of Silicon Valley could unseat Los Angeles County, which again was the hottest county in the country for expensive real estate with 21 of the priciest zips in the U.S. Its most expensive zip was Beverly Hills’ famed 90210, a veteran of our yearly rankings and the #6 nationally with a $4,125,000 median sale price.

Not to be outdone, the Bay Area’s Santa Clara and San Mateo counties contributed 15 and 10 zips, respectively, to our ranking as the second- and third-most expensive counties in the U.S. As a result, they form a nearly contiguous supercluster of ultra-expensive zip codes that cover high-profile tech centers such as Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose and Sunnyvale. And, while San Mateo’s top zip was overall leader 94027 in Atherton, Santa Clara’s highest-ranking zip was 94022 in Los Altos, which landed at #9 with a $4,052,000 median sale price.

A special note goes to Santa Barbara County, which increased its presence from just one zip code in 2020 to five in 2021. Its top zip code was 93108 in Santa Barbara’s exclusive enclave of Montecito — home to the likes of Oprah and former royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — which claimed #7 overall with a $4,103,000 median, following a 40% Y-o-Y pricing jump.

San Francisco, Los Angeles & New York City Hold Highest Concentrations of Exclusive Zips

For the fifth year in a row, San Francisco had the highest concentration of expensive zip codes of any city, ranking seven among the top 10. It was followed by Los Angeles and NYC, with six zips each. However, while San Francisco led the way, most of its zip codes were actually in the bottom half of our ranking: Its priciest zip (94123) placed at #46 — down 10 positions compared to 2020, despite a 7% uptick in its median. Covering the iconic Marina District, 94123 featured a $2,307,000 median sale price.

Of L.A.’s six zips that ranked nationally, its top three — 90272, 90077 and 90049 — form an uninterrupted cluster of pricey real estate with medians greater than $2 million. The trio was led by Pacific Palisades’ 90272 at #21 with a $3.25 million median sale price after an 18% Y-o-Y increase. Covering Bel Air, Holmby Hills and areas of Beverly Glenn, 90077 was #42 nationally with a $2.46 million median, while Brentwood’s 90049 grabbed #52 at $2,165,000.

Back in the Empire State, NYC’s presence weakened yet again: While 2020 marked the first time ever that no NYC zip codes were among the country’s 10 most expensive, in 2021, NYC came in below the top 20, too. More precisely, its most expensive zip — 10013 — just missed out, landing at #22 with a $3,212,000 median sale price, followed by 10007 at #25 with a median of $3,125,000.

Next up, Newport Beach had the the third-highest concentration of pricey zips in a city, with five entries, followed by Santa Barbara with four. Specifically, the most expensive Newport Beach zip — Balboa’s 92662 — grabbed #15 with a $3,577,000, while Santa Barbara’s top zip — 93108 in the exclusive community of Montecito — was #7 nationally.

Sagaponack Finishes as #3 Priciest Nationally, NYC Drops Out of Top 20

Usually one of the strongest presences in the 100 most expensive zip codes in the U.S. (second only to California), New York state retained its position in 2021 — although with a weakened presence. Specifically, the state recorded just 17 zip codes, only six of which were in NYC. Historically speaking, the East Coast powerhouse has had a strong presence in the uppermost levels of our ranking, but only two New York state zips were among the 20 most expensive in 2021 — none of which were in New York City proper.

Rather, the Hamptons’ 11962 in Sagaponack was the #3 most expensive zip code in the U.S. And, although its median sale price of $5 million was up 29% Y-o-Y, Boston’s Back Bay pushed it down one position, ending Sagaponack’s three-year reign as runner-up to the priciest zip code in the country.

The next-highest New York zip code was fellow Hamptons zip 11976 in Water Mill, which came in at #13 with a $3,745,000 median sale price, up an impressive 51% Y-o-Y. At the same time, last year’s #7 nationally — 11932 in Bridgehampton— dropped to #31 after an 11% Y-o-Y price contraction suppressed its median to $2,963,000.

Other zip codes outside of NYC included four more Hamptons locations: The pricey North Shore’s 11568 in Old Westbury which climbed to #62 with a $1.95 million median, as well as two Westchester zip codes. The latter included top 100 veteran 10580 in Rye at #72, plus newcomer 10577 in Purchase, which placed 88th with a $1.7 million median sale price.

Of NYC’s famously expensive real estate, only six zip codes ranked nationally in 2021. And, as a historic first, not one of them placed among the country’s 20 most expensive. Overall, NYC’s top two zips were Manhattan’s 10013 and 10007, claiming #22 and #25, respectively.

To be precise, 10013 — which covers parts of TriBeCa, SoHo, Little Italy and Hudson Square — posted a $3,212,000 median sale price, up 7% Y-o-Y, but still reeling from the 19% price crunch it experienced in 2020. Likewise, Downtown Manhattan, TriBeCa and SoHo’s 10007 posted a $3,125,000 median sale price, dropping 14 spots Y-o-Y. They were followed by Battery Park City’s 10282 with its $2,725,000 median at #35.

And, while Brooklyn made waves in 2019 with zip 11231’s break into the top 100, the Red Hook and Carroll Gardens zip code departed the top 100 in 2021 after a two-year stint, outpaced by sharper price gains in dozens of other zip codes nationwide.

At $2M Median, Alpine’s 07620 Leads New Jersey Real Estate for 5th Consecutive Year

While the Mid-Atlantic region was, as expected, dominated by exclusive New York locations, three New Jersey zip codes also represented the region — the highest number New Jersey has ever contributed to our list. Just 15 miles from Midtown Manhattan and with a $2 million median sale price, 07620 in Bergen County’s Alpine was the most expensive New Jersey zip code. Landing at #58 nationally, Alpine’s median was up 38% Y-o-Y, but, nonetheless, fell short of its 2018 pricing high of $2.2 million.

Alpine was joined by two beach communities, with 08750 in Monmouth County’s Sea Girt placing #70 nationally with a $1,892,000 median sale price, and 08202 in Cape May County’s Avalon landing at #92 with a $1.67 million median. Notably, both zip codes ranked among the 100 most expensive zip codes in the country for the first time.

New England Home to 11 of the Priciest U.S. Zip Codes, Including #2 with Boston’s Back Bay

Further north, New England originated 11 of the most expensive zip codes in the country — the highest figure yet for the region — with Massachusetts contributing seven zips and Connecticut adding four. What’s more, New England also provided the #2 most expensive zip code in the U.S. with Boston’s ultra-pricey 02199.

Zip 02199, which covers the Prudential Center area of Back Bay, usually ranks among the country’s most expensive areas, but was conspicuously absent in 2020 due to depressed sales activity. However, in 2021, zip 02199 returned not only to its highest position yet at #2 nationally, but also reached a new pricing record with a $5.5 million median sale price.

Meanwhile, Nantucket’s 02554 was Massachusetts’ next most expensive zip code, with its $2 million median sale price placing it #58 nationally and marking a new median peak for the exclusive island. It was followed by Weston’s 02493 at $1.85 million,as well as Wellesley Hills’ 02481, Waban’s 02468 and Chilmark’s 02535. Boston also ranked a second time with Beacon Hill and Downtown Boston’s zip 02108, which was the 91st most expensive in the U.S. at $1,673,000.

Connecticut was represented by four Fairfield County zip codes that regularly post some of the highest median sale prices in the country: Greenwich’s perennial representative, 06830, reached its highest median sale price yet at $2.05 million — up 36% Y-o-Y. It was joined by another Greenwich zip code, newcomer 06831, which claimed the #94 spot with a $1,653,000 median.

Notably, last year’s most expensive New England zip — Riverside, Conn.’s 06878 — was only the 4th priciest in the region this year, despite reaching a new median sale price high at $1.98 million. Finally, Connecticut’s contributions were rounded out by 06870 in Old Greenwich, which returned to national rankings after last year’s absence with a $1,807,000 median in 2021 — its highest pricing point yet.

Miami Beach Returns to Top 10 Nationally, Maryland’s Gibson Island Hits Historic $3M Mark

Down south, Florida’s perennially pricey 33109 zip in Miami Beach’s Fisher Island was on the upswing compared to last year, climbing all the way from #23 to #5 nationally. And, although it wasn’t the highest position yet for the popular celebrity location (having been the #3 most expensive in the U.S. in 2017), the exclusive 33109 zip nevertheless reached a new pricing peak in 2021 with its $4,475,000 median. That came as the result of a 66% Y-o-Y price surge — the third-sharpest increase among the country’s 100 leading zip codes.

In Maryland, Gibson Island’s 21056 was among the most expensive zip codes in the U.S. yet again and marked the sixth consecutive year that it has led the state in terms of pricing. However, while 21056 usually ranked in the bottom half of our list (even ranking at #100 in 2019), the Chesapeake Bay community reached its highest position yet this year, placing #23 nationally. That was the result of a whopping 97% Y-o-Y surge — by far the sharpest gain among the country’s top zips. Not only that, but by nearly doubling its median year-over-year, Gibson Island also reached a $3,195,000 median sale price — nearly double its previous record from 2016.

Arizona & Nevada’s Most Expensive Communities Enter Top 50 for 1st Time

Across the country, the Mountain States were again led by three high-income enclaves — Nevada’s Glenbrook and Crystal Bay on the shores of Lake Tahoe, as well as Arizona’s Paradise Valley — marking the first time that all three landed in the upper half of our ranking.

Specifically, 85253 in Arizona’s Paradise Valley claimed #50 after a 41% Y-o-Y price jump raised its median to $2,175,000. A favorite of some of the highest-profile rock stars in the world, the Maricopa County zip finally broke into the country’s most expensive zip codes in 2019, although it had already been the leader of pricey Arizona real estate for years.

Nevada was represented by two zip codes — 89413 and 89402 — for the third consecutive year, with both Lake Tahoe enclaves reaching their highest positions and pricing points to date. In particular, Glenbrook’s 89413 placed in the upper third of our ranking, landing at #29 with a record $3 million median sale price, the result of a 38% Y-o-Y price jump.

The Douglas County zip was joined by 89402 in Washoe County’s Crystal Bay at #39 with a record $2.5 million median sale price. Up 56 positions compared to last year, 89402 logged a staggering 68% median sale price surge, the second-sharpest price increase among the country’s top 100 zips.

Exclusive King County Enclaves Lead Pacific Northwest’s Priciest Real Estate

About 1,000 miles further north, the Pacific Northwest was, once again, represented not by Seattle or Portland, but by the high-income enclaves of Medina and Mercer Island in Washington state.

Specifically, Medina’s 98039 reached its highest pricing point with a $4 million median. This was the result of a 24% Y-o-Y increase that helped the tech-billionaire favorite remain among the most exclusive zip codes in the U.S., ranking as the #10 priciest. It’s also worth noting that 2021 marked the sixth consecutive year that Medina’s 98039 was the undisputed leader of expensive real estate in the Pacific Northwest.

And, returning to our list after its 2019 debut, fellow King County zip 98040 landed at #82. Also a favorite of tech executives, high-profile sports figures and media personalities, the Mercer Island zip code posted a $1,795,000 median sale price.

# Zip Code Location County State Median Sale Price 2021
1 94027 Atherton San Mateo County CA $7,475,000
2 2199 Boston Suffolk County MA $5,500,000
3 11962 Sagaponack Suffolk County NY $5,000,000
4 94957 Ross Marin County CA $4,583,000
5 33109 Miami Beach Miami-Dade County FL $4,475,000
6 90210 Beverly Hills Los Angeles County CA $4,125,000
7 93108 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara County CA $4,103,000
8 90402 Santa Monica Los Angeles County CA $4,058,000
9 94022 Los Altos Santa Clara County CA $4,052,000
10 98039 Medina King County WA $4,000,000
11 94024 Los Altos Santa Clara County CA $3,856,000
12 94301 Palo Alto Santa Clara County CA $3,800,000
13 11976 Water Mill Suffolk County NY $3,745,000
14 90742 Huntington Beach Orange County CA $3,625,000
15 92662 Newport Beach Orange County CA $3,577,000
16 94970 Stinson Beach Marin County CA $3,500,000
17 94028 Portola Valley San Mateo County CA $3,400,000
18 92067 Rancho Santa Fe San Diego County CA $3,399,000
19 92657 Newport Beach Orange County CA $3,365,000
20 92661 Newport Beach Orange County CA $3,293,000
21 90265 Malibu Los Angeles County CA $3,250,000
21 90272 Los Angeles Los Angeles County CA $3,250,000
22 10013 New York New York County NY $3,212,000
23 21056 Gibson Island Anne Arundel County MD $3,195,000
24 95070 Saratoga Santa Clara County CA $3,150,000
25 10007 New York New York County NY $3,125,000
26 94528 Diablo Contra Costa County CA $3,100,000
27 94010 Hillsborough/Burlingame San Mateo County CA $3,075,000
28 94920 Belvedere Tiburon Marin County CA $3,050,000
29 89413 Glenbrook Douglas County NV $3,000,000
30 95030 Los Gatos Santa Clara County CA $2,995,000
31 11932 Bridgehampton Suffolk County NY $2,963,000
32 90266 Manhattan Beach Los Angeles County CA $2,910,000
33 94306 Palo Alto Santa Clara County CA $2,810,000
34 93953 Pebble Beach Monterey County CA $2,750,000
34 11975 Wainscott Suffolk County NY $2,750,000
35 10282 New York New York County NY $2,725,000
36 92625 Corona Del Mar Orange County CA $2,695,000
37 11930 Amagansett Suffolk County NY $2,645,000
38 11959 Quogue Suffolk County NY $2,593,000
39 94025 Menlo Park San Mateo County CA $2,500,000
39 94062 Redwood City San Mateo County CA $2,500,000
39 89402 Crystal Bay Washoe County NV $2,500,000
40 91108 San Marino Los Angeles County CA $2,490,000
41 92651 Laguna Beach Orange County CA $2,475,000
42 90077 Los Angeles Los Angeles County CA $2,460,000
43 90212 Beverly Hills Los Angeles County CA $2,429,000
44 94507 Alamo Contra Costa County CA $2,400,000
45 95014 Cupertino Santa Clara County CA $2,310,000
46 94123 San Francisco San Francisco County CA $2,307,000
47 93921 Carmel By The Sea Monterey County CA $2,300,000
48 93067 Summerland Santa Barbara County CA $2,190,000
49 94087 Sunnyvale Santa Clara County CA $2,180,000
50 85253 Paradise Valley Maricopa County AZ $2,175,000
51 10001 New York New York County NY $2,171,000
52 90049 Los Angeles Los Angeles County CA $2,165,000
53 90274 Rolling Hills Los Angeles County CA $2,118,000
54 92660 Newport Beach Orange County CA $2,111,000
55 94040 Mountain View Santa Clara County CA $2,100,000
55 93920 Big Sur Monterey County CA $2,100,000
56 94070 San Carlos San Mateo County CA $2,055,000
57 6830 Greenwich Fairfield County CT $2,050,000
58 2554 Nantucket Nantucket County MA $2,000,000
58 94127 San Francisco San Francisco County CA $2,000,000
58 7620 Alpine Bergen County NJ $2,000,000
58 91008 Bradbury Los Angeles County CA $2,000,000
59 90048 Los Angeles Los Angeles County CA $1,985,000
59 94041 Mountain View Santa Clara County CA $1,985,000
59 91436 Encino Los Angeles County CA $1,985,000
60 90254 Hermosa Beach Los Angeles County CA $1,980,000
60 6878 Riverside Fairfield County CT $1,980,000
61 94402 San Mateo San Mateo County CA $1,968,000
62 11568 Old Westbury Nassau County NY $1,950,000
62 94002 Belmont San Mateo County CA $1,950,000
63 92118 Coronado San Diego County CA $1,940,000
64 10012 New York New York County NY $1,935,000
65 91302 Calabasas Los Angeles County CA $1,925,000
66 94705 Berkeley Alameda County CA $1,913,000
67 95032 Los Gatos Santa Clara County CA $1,911,000
68 90291 Venice Los Angeles County CA $1,907,000
69 95129 San Jose Santa Clara County CA $1,900,000
69 94563 Orinda Contra Costa County CA $1,900,000
69 91011 La Canada Flintridge Los Angeles County CA $1,900,000
69 90036 Los Angeles Los Angeles County CA $1,900,000
69 11963 Sag Harbor Suffolk County NY $1,900,000
70 8750 Sea Girt Monmouth County NJ $1,892,000
71 94118 San Francisco San Francisco County CA $1,868,000
72 10580 Rye Westchester County NY $1,861,000
73 94506 Danville Contra Costa County CA $1,860,000
73 94939 Larkspur Marin County CA $1,860,000
74 90211 Beverly Hills Los Angeles County CA $1,850,000
74 95120 San Jose Santa Clara County CA $1,850,000
74 2493 Weston Middlesex County MA $1,850,000
74 92014 Del Mar San Diego County CA $1,850,000
75 94904 Greenbrae Marin County CA $1,849,000
76 92663 Newport Beach Orange County CA $1,845,000
77 94030 Millbrae San Mateo County CA $1,840,000
78 94114 San Francisco San Francisco County CA $1,830,000
79 90232 Culver City Los Angeles County CA $1,819,000
80 6870 Old Greenwich Fairfield County CT $1,807,000

 

81 93109 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara County CA $1,805,000
82 98040 Mercer Island King County WA $1,795,000
83 94549 Lafayette Contra Costa County CA $1,775,000
84 94061 Redwood City San Mateo County CA $1,773,000
85 94941 Mill Valley Marin County CA $1,758,000
86 2481 Wellesley Hills Norfolk County MA $1,756,000
87 94121 San Francisco San Francisco County CA $1,701,000
88 95130 San Jose Santa Clara County CA $1,700,000
88 10577 Purchase Westchester County NY $1,700,000
89 2468 Waban Middlesex County MA $1,695,000
90 93103 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara County CA $1,682,000
91 93923 Carmel Monterey County CA $1,665,000
91 2108 Boston Suffolk County MA $1,673,000
92 8202 Avalon Cape May County NJ $1,670,000
93 2535 Chilmark Dukes County MA $1,663,000
93 10069 New York New York County NY $1,663,000
94 6831 Greenwich Fairfield County CT $1,653,000
95 93110 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara County CA $1,650,000
95 94131 San Francisco San Francisco County CA $1,650,000
95 94574 Saint Helena Napa County CA $1,650,000
95 92861 Villa Park Orange County CA $1,650,000
95 94707 Berkeley Alameda County CA $1,650,000
96 11030 Manhasset Nassau County NY $1,647,000
97 94960 San Anselmo Marin County CA $1,645,000
98 90027 Los Angeles Los Angeles County CA $1,640,000
99 94303 Palo Alto Santa Clara County CA $1,633,000
100 94122 San Francisco San Francisco County CA $1,627,000

Make sure to explore 2020’s rankings as well.

Methodology

To determine the most expensive zip codes in the U.S., we looked at residential transactions closed between January 1, 2021, and October 22, 2021, taking into account condos, co-ops, and single- and two-family homes. All package deals were excluded.

For an accurate representation, we considered only zip codes that registered a minimum of three residential transactions. Due to a number of ties, 127 zips made it onto our list of the 100 most expensive zip codes in 2021.

2020 and 2021 median sale prices were rounded to the nearest $1,000.

The Bay Area was defined as Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sonoma and Solano counties; the Los Angeles metropolitan area was defined as Los Angeles County and Orange County; and the 23-county New York metropolitan area was defined as New York City, Long Island, the Mid- and Lower Hudson Valley, Central and Northern New Jersey, Western Connecticut and Pike County, Penn

AAPI, GOPIO, AIA, NFIA & ASEI Jointly Host Discussion On The Book, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans”

A discussion and celebration of the Indian Diaspora and their achievements was held virtually  on Saturday, November 7th, 2021 and was attended by People of Indian Origin from around the globe. Jointly organized by Global Organization People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI), Association of Indians in America (AIA), and National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the event offered a glimpse of the growth and the successes of the Indian American community in various domains.

Edited by the Delhi-based veteran journalist and foreign policy analyst, Tarun Basu, the evocative collection titled, “Kamala Harris and the Rise of Indian Americans,” captures the rise of the Indians in the US across domains by exceptional achievers. Sixteen eminent journalists, business leaders and scholars have contributed essays to the timely and priceless volume, which charts the community’s growing and influential political engagement.

The book was released by New Delhi-based publisher Wisdom Tree and is available in the U.S. via Amazon. Describing the book as an “eclectic amalgam of perspectives on the emerging Indian-American story,” Tarun Basu said, “This evocative collection—of the kind perhaps not attempted before—captures the rise of Indian-Americans across domains, by exceptional achievers themselves, like Shashi Tharoor, the ones who have been and continue to be a part of the “rise,” like MR Rangaswami and Deepak Raj, top Indian diplomats like TP Sreenivasan and Arun K Singh, scholars like Pradeep K Khosla and Maina Chawla Singh, and others who were part of, associated with, or keenly followed their stories.”

In his remarks, Shobit Arya, publisher of the book, shared with the audience about the objectives of publishing such an important book that portrays the lifestory and achievements of the influential Indian American community.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO International, who is the main organizer and moderated of the session, who has been instrumental in establishing and leading several Indian  American organizations and has seen the rise of the community in the past half a decade, shared with the audience the major highlights, depicting the progress and achievements of the community.

My own involvement in the community for the last 47 years as the Founder President of FIA New York, National Federation of Indian American Associations and GOPIO, I want to give some Milestones of our community since the late 1970s,” Dr. Abraham said and enumerated the major milestones of the Indian Americans, starting with the formation of the first national organization in 1967, Associations of Indian America (AIA), and succeeding in its efforts to have the Asian Indians categorized in the 1980 Census, and now culminating in dozens of Indian Americans holding important positions in the US administration and several dozens elected to local, state and national offices across the nation.

History of Indian community organizations and the role played by these organizations in community development, mobilization and promoting the diverse interests such as education, political involvement, entrepreneurship, business and service industry are covered in this new book,” Dr. Abraham said.

While acknowledging the success story of Indian American physicians, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said, “The success story of Indian American Doctors has been arduous. As Ajay Ghosh, who has been working for AAPI for nearly a decade has aptly summarized this long and difficult journey: “While Indian American physicians play a critical role, serving millions of patients in the United States, leading the policies and programs that impact the lives of millions today, it has been a long and arduous journey of struggles and hard work to be on the top of the pyramid.”

Dr. Gotimukula pointed out, “Indian American Doctors, who have been recognized for their compassion, skills, expertise and skills in caring for their patients, leading research that brings solutions to health issues and at the table making policies that benefit the world, are at the  at the forefront around the world as shining examples of meeting the needs of the hour.” She congratulated Tarun Basu, Shobit Arya and the 16 veteran journalists who have contributed to the book.

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI spoke about how the Covid pandemic has impacted all and how the physician community who has borne the brunt of this epidemic is coping with the stress and the negative effects, while providing critical care to people diagnosed with Covid virus. Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI and Dr. Sampat Shivangi, President of Indo-American Political Forum were others how had joined in the discussions.

Ambassador TK Srinivasan, who had served as the Indian Ambassador to the US and as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, shared with the audience, his own experiences with the Indian Diaspora and how they have contributed to the larger goals of cementing stronger relationship between India and the United States.

In her remarks, Dr. Lavanya Reddy, president of NFIA said, “National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), the largest non-profit umbrella organization of Indian association, established in 1980, aims to unify the diverse Indian American community by coordinating and promoting the activities of its member associations. NFIA has been in the forefront of activities in US-India relations for over two decades.”

Describing the many contributions and objectives of ASEI, Piyush Malik, the current president said, “Since its inception in 1983, ASEI has strived to strengthen the Indo-American relationship, institute a channel of communication between technical organizations within the United States and abroad, lend a helping hand to charitable organizations, provide assistance to engineering students at the Local and National levels, and organize networking events.”

Dr. Urmilesh Arya, President of Association of Indians in America (AIA) spoke about the objectives and activities by AIA for the past several decades. “AIA is a grass root national organization of Asian immigrants in the United States, fostered on the democratic principles of “one member one vote”, with chapters and membership spread across the United States of America. AIA represents the hopes and aspirations of those immigrants who are united by their common bond of Indian Heritage and American Commitment.”

Journalist Arun Kumar who wrote a Chapter in the Book on “All the President’s People: Trust in the Corridors of Power” spoke about the increasing number of Indian Americans how have come to occupy critical roles in the US administration, starting with President Ronald Regan and currently having as many as 50 Desis, who occupy important positions in the Biden administration.

Mayank Chaya, another author who wrote on: “At the Center of Excellence: Seminal Contributions in the World of Science” presented how Indian Americans have come to lead research and scientific innovations across the United States.

The importance and high esteem with which physicians of Indian heritage are held by their patients is self-evident, as they occupy critical positions in the healthcare, research and administrative policy positions across America, including the nomination of the  US Surgeon-General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

In his presentation, Ajay Ghosh who has portrayed the rise of the Indian American physicians as a strong and influential force in the United States, chronicling their long journey to the United States and their success story, in a Chapter titled, “Physicians of Indian Heritage: America’s Healers” spoke about the four distinct areas, he has tried cover in the book: “Indian American Physicians Being recognized as Covid Warriors who work as frontline healthcare workers treating millions of patients.

With anecdotes, Ajay presented the “Initial struggles of Indian American Physicians” in securing equality with the local American Doctors in Board certification and licensing and the lobbying and legal efforts imitated by the pioneers.  He referred to Dr. AnandibaiJoshi, the first documented physician of Indian origin who had landed on the shores of the United States in 1883 and detailing the decimation suffered by Dr. Yellapragada Subbarow in the early 20th century, who has been credited with some of the biggest contributions in more than one basic field of science—biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, oncology, and nutritional science, portrays the discrimination and injustices inflicted by the mainstream Medical professionals in the US.

Portraying the achievements of the Indian American physicians, Ajay spoke of the many, who lead the cutting-edge research and pioneer modern medical technology to save the lives of critically ill patients around the world, showing to the world, how through hard work, dedication and vision, they have earned a name for themselves as “healers of the world.”

Through the lens of AAPI and its remarkable growth in the past 40 years, Ajay tried to portray how the Indian-American physicians have gone beyond their call of duty to meet the diverse needs of the larger American community, by dedicating their time, resources and skills during national disasters and family crises.

Describing the many contributions of Indian American physicians to India and the United States, Ajay said, “Indian Americans currently are less than 2% but the make up nearly 10% of total physicians in the US and they treat and provide healthcare to every 7th patient in the United States.” He also shared about the numerous initiatives in India, through the annual Global Health Care Summit, Tele-health, sending medical equipment to India, education to their counter parts in India and close collaborations with the state and federal government, Indian Medical Association and several Indian Non Profits, providing healthcare to rural areas across India. Their contributions to the US, to India and to the entire world is priceless, he said, as “they have made their mark in institutions from Harvard Medical School to Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center to the Mayo Medical Center.”

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.

The book is now available at: https://bit.ly/HarrisIA – Amazon India book link, and at https://bit.ly/HarrisIndAm – Amazon USA link.

Sam Joshi Elected Mayor of Edison, NJ; Aftab Pureval Wins As Mayor of Cincinnati, OH

Aftab Pureval of Indian origin has been elected as the first ever person of Asian heritage to be elcted as the Mayor of Cincinnati, OH, while Sam Joshi becomes the first Indian-American to be Mayor of Edison, the 5th largest municipality in New Jersey, during the elections held on Nov. 2nd, 2021.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Joshi was well in front of Republican Keith Hahn and independent candidate Christo Makropoulos.

Joshi had 10,930 votes, while Hahn had 9,459 and Makropoulos, 301. The race was to replace Democratic Mayor Thomas Lankey whose term ends Dec. 31. Lankey did not seek reelection.

When sworn in on Jan. 1, Joshi, 32, will become the township’s youngest mayor and the first South Asian to hold the position. Previously Jun Choi, the township’s first Asian American mayor, was the youngest to serve in the post.

“I am honored and humbled to be elected as the next mayor of Edison Township,” Joshi said in a Facebook post.

Joshi has been serving as the Vice President of the Town Council, and during his campaign he promised to stabilize taxes, invest in infrastructure, and stop ‘overdevelopment’, launch municipal broadband, and celebrate Edison’s diversity fighting discrimination and hate crime.

Joshi’s popularity was evident n June this year, when during the primaries, he defeated another Indian-American aspirant Mahesh Bhagia by 63 percent of the votes to 34 percent, despite Bhagia being the municipal chair of the Democrats.

A ‘son of the soil’, Joshi was born and raised in Edison. Joshi was elected as an at-large Councilmember at 27 years old, making him the youngest elected official in Edison’s history.

Since joining the Edison Township Council in 2017, Joshi’s biography on his website says, he has worked to keep taxes low, helped women and minority owned businesses get on their feet, and promoted green energy throughout the township.

Among the many voluntary services he has been involved in, is as an Edison Police 9-1-1 Tele-communicator from 2010-2011, at the Central Command Office for all public safety calls, including police, fire, and EMS, providing first responders with additional information on each call.

He also served on the Fair Rental Housing Authority Board from 2010-2015 and the Edison Zoning Board from 2016 until he was elected to the Edison Township Council.

At 39, Pureval will replace longtime mayor John Cranley, who is term-limited from running again this year.  Pureval defeated David Mann, who has an array of political experience — serving as Cincinnati’s mayor from 1980 to 1982, and again in 1991. He’s also served on Cincinnati City Council from 1974 until 1992, then elected in 2013 and reelected in 2017.

In his acceptance speech Tuesday, Pureval thanked Mann for his career in public service. “We also want to thank the voters of Cincinnati who tonight voted a mandate for a new day in our city,” Pureval said. “We spent the last year talking about our bold progressive vision for moving Cincinnati forward. Our comprehensive plans for public safety, affordable housing, the environment and economic recovery with racial equity at the center of the frame, and the voters of Cincinnati resoundingly supported that vision.”

The son of Indian and Tibetan immigrants, Pureval becomes the first Indian-American and Tibetan, in fact, the first Asian to be elected Mayor of the city. Currently, he is Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, a position not held by a Democrat for more than 100 years. “Words can’t express how honored and excited I am to be the next Mayor of Cincinnati. Tonight, we made history! Let’s get to work!” Pureval tweeted as the results became public.

Congratulations poured in including from the likes of former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Sherrod, D-Ohio, who had supported Pureval. “Win or lose, fighting for what’s right is always worth it. Congratulations to @ericadamsfornyc, @wutrain,  @shontelmbrown, and @aftabpureval for historic wins …” Clinton tweeted.

Sen. Brown tweeted, “Congratulations to #canarycandidate @AftabPureval on your victory. He represents the future of Cincinnati and will fight for all workers and families in the Queen City.”

Born and raised in Ohio, Pureval is an attorney and former prosecutor. He has been awarded the NAACP Theodore Berry Award for Service and has been recognized by the Business Courier as one of their 40 under 40.

Pureval is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. In May 2018, he won the Democratic primary unopposed in his party’s bid to turn a Red seat Blue when he ran and lost in his race against incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Chabot. President Obama was among those who endorsed his candidacy then.

“We have a very clear vision for pushing Cincinnati forward as annunciated with our three comprehensive plans,” he said in an interview at the Board of Elections where he greeted early voters. “And we’re talking about substantive, innovative, creative ideas in order to accomplish that.” Pureval described his campaign as one that offers voters a fresh approach to what ails city government. “Our future is bold, it’s diverse, it’s dynamic.”

Sterley Stanley, Suhas Subramanyam, Usha Reddi, Aditi Bussells Win In Sate Elections

Indian American incumbents Usha Reddi in Manhattan, Kansas, and Sterley Stanley in New Jersey were victorious in their bids for another term in office, Aditi Srivastav Bussells won a council seat in South Carolina, while Nalini Joseph fell short in her race during the Nov. 2 election.

Suhas Subramanyam was reelected to the House of Delegates, in the state of Virginia beating challenger Greg Moulthrop On November 2nd, 2021. Subramanyam won 21,374 votes — almost 60 percent — while Moulthrop received 13,939 votes, almost 40 percent. Subramanyam, 35, represents District 87 in Virginia’s House of Delegates. He is the first Indian American to win a seat in the state’s General Assembly.

Republicans won 50 seats Nov. 2 in Virginia’s House of Delegates, while Democrats won 40, for a 55-45 Republican majority overall at the statehouse. In one of the most-watched races of the evening, Youngkin beat former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat. Virginia has traditionally been considered a solidly blue state.

“I am so humbled and grateful that the 87th District has put their faith in me again as their Delegate. I promised two years ago that I would put people over special interests and do everything I could to empower my constituents. I am proud to have kept those promises, in the process fully funding our schools, curbing gun violence, addressing rising tolls and utility costs, and helping small businesses and families through one of the worst pandemics in our Commonwealth’s history,” said Subramanyam. “I am so thankful to all the staff and volunteers who knocked doors, wrote postcards, and made phone calls. This night would not have been possible without them.”

Reddi was the top vote-getter for the Manhattan City Commission, according to results late Nov. 2, tallying 3,571 votes followed by incumbent Mayor Wynn Butler (3,499 votes) and former commissioner John Matta (3,265 votes). Reddi and Butler earned four-year terms as the top finishers, while Matta received a two-year term for taking third.

Reddi, who was first elected to the commission in 2013, said this was her most stressful city commission campaign, according to The Mercury. “I wasn’t even sure where I was going to place in this race,” Reddi said in the report. “Even though I have served two terms, I think there were very good challengers. There was a lot of good campaigning going on from everyone, and everyone was vying for all the votes.” Reddi expressed her appreciation to the voters. “I value their support and I hope I have worked for them and with them to continue to move Manhattan forward,” she said, the report added.

Stanley – along with fellow incumbents state Sen. Patrick Diegnan and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak – won reelection to his Assembly seat in the 18th Legislative District in New Jersey, representing East Brunswick.

Stanley beat realtor Angela Fam and South Plainfield Councilwoman Melanie Mott to win the seat. He is the delegation’s newest member, and one of the newest members of the entire legislature; he was selected in January of this year to replace now-Middlesex County Clerk Nancy Pinkin (D-East Brunswick).  Stanley earned 27,249 votes with Karabinchak taking 28,065 to claim the two seats. Fam took 20,822 votes and Mott had 21,449. Diegnan beat Republican counterpart Vihal Patel of Edison to claim his seat. Patel earned 20,596 votes to Diegnan’s 28,829.

In Columbia, South Carolina, Aditi Bussells was among a crowded field seeking the city’s councilmember at-large seat. In the seven-person field, Bussells led with 5,643 votes for 31 percent with all precincts reporting, though the results were still unofficial. Bussells was 5 points ahead of Tyler Bailey who had 26 percent of the vote with 4,695 tallies. Heather Bauer was third with 3,562 votes for 20 percent. Deitra Matthews (11 percent), John Tyler (4 percent), John Crangle (4 percent) and Aaron Smalls (3 percent) rounded out the field.

In Salisbury, North Carolina, Nalini Joseph was vying for a council seat, but came up just short. Incumbents Tamara Sheffield and David Post, along with newcomers Harry McLaughlin Jr. and the Rev. Anthony Smith won the seats. Guardian ad Litem District Administrator Joseph finished fifth with 13.90 percent. Sheffield led the field with 18.01 percent of the vote, followed by McLaughlin at 16.15 percent, Post at 15.69 percent and Smith with 14.29 percent.

Though Joseph received just 64 fewer votes than Smith, Rowan County Board of Elections executive director Brenda McCubbins said the numbers don’t fall within the acceptable range to request a recount, the Salisbury Post reported. For recounts, the difference in votes between candidates must not exceed 1 percent of the total votes cast for that particular race. A total of 16,127 votes were cast for council candidates, including 100 write-in votes, the report said.

Indian American attorney Nisha Arora, who would have been the first non-white judge in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, lost her bid for the Common Pleas Court Judge seat Nov. 2 evening to Democrat Mary Dempsey. Arora began her career as a law clerk in the Court of Common Pleas of  Lackawanna County. “Working in the court system truly influenced the person I am today. Dealing closely with judges who handled both criminal and civil cases, as well as working with the various treatment courts, gave me an insight into the position I am now seeking,” she said.

“My varied career experience has taught me about high points and low points. A courtroom can be a place where an individual experiences his or her worst time, perhaps losing a child in a custody case, facing imprisonment, or a significant monetary judgment.” The 41-year-old daughter of Dr. Subhash and Sunita Arora decided she wanted to pursue the law at the age of eight.

900,000 Earthen Lamps Light Up Ayodhya, Celebrating Lord Ram’s Triumphant Return

Millions of people across Asia are celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, which symbolizes new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

The festival is celebrated mainly in India, but Hindus across the world, particularly in other parts of Asia, also gather with family members and friends to socialize, visit temples and decorate houses with small oil lamps made from clay. The festival is also marked by raucous parties and fireworks displays, often throughout the night.

Indians across the country began celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, the triumphant return of Lord ram to Ayodhya after rescuing Sita from Sri Lanka. Diwali is typically celebrated by socializing and exchanging gifts with family and friends. Many light oil lamps or candles to symbolize a victory of light over darkness, and fireworks are set off as part of the celebrations.

As dusk fell on Nov. 3, over 900,000 earthen lamps were lit and kept burning for 45 minutes in the northern city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state, retaining the Guinness World Record it set last year. As part of the Diwali celebrations, the city last year lit 606,569 oil lamps.

The lamps were lit at Ram ki Pauri, at the banks of Saryu River, a stunning spectacle for thousands of visitors who thronged its shores while ignoring coronavirus social distancing norms. A laser and fireworks show followed, illuminating the city’s lanes and river banks. Thousands of city residents also lit lamps at their houses and temples.

The festival is being celebrated at a time when India’s pandemic crisis has largely subsided.  On Diwali night, people also lit up the sky with firecrackers — their smoke causing pollution that takes days to clear.

While there is no nationwide ban on bursting firecrackers, a number of states have imposed restrictions to stem the pollution, with some allowing their residents to light green crackers for a certain number of hours. Green crackers produce lesser emissions than normal firecrackers. In the past, similar bans have often been flouted.

Diwali marks Hindu god Ram’s return to his kingdom after 14 years in exile. Hindus believe that during Diwali the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, will visit their homes if they are illuminated and decorated.

The Diwali festival is also observed among Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. While each religion marks the festival with different historical events and legends, they all represent the victory of good over evil. (Associated Press writer Biswajeet Banerjee in Lucknow, India, contributed to this report

Diwali Celebration At the Heart of New York City

This year Diwali at Times Square was celebrated with a raging come-back after 2 years COVID-19 Lockdown. Thousands of people participated as the brightest celebration unfolded in the brightest city on earth – New York! The event was extremely successful and was attended by some of the highest-ranking Government officials and dignitaries in the business world. This Event was Conceptualized by Event Guru and managed by ASB Communications.

The President of EventGuru Inc. Neeta Bhasin said ‘We are sharing the message of Deepavali – Knowledge over Ignorance, Light over Darkness, Peace, Love, Unity and Togetherness and inclusion in diversity to the World from the biggest crossroads of the world, Times Square. Even the universe responded in appreciation by keeping the weather conducive to the event despite forecasts of rain throughout the day.’

The event was hosted by Aryan Vaid, Mister International Award winner, Vidhi Dave, Mrs. India USA, Esha Kode, Miss Teen India Worldwide. The celebrations began with a traditional Diya (lamp) Lighting ceremony at Times Square. Usually this was done by Mrs. Brijbala Suri, mother of the producer, Neeta Bhasin. But due to her passing, this responsibility was undertaken by her son Gajendra Suri and family. The Diya Lighting Event was followed by dazzling performances by Darshana Menon, the Sa Re Ga Ma 2009 winner, Arya Dance Academy, Sadhanalya Dance Academy and Masala Bhangra.

The Light up Times Square Concert started at 5 PM and was made more luminous by the fact that the Diwali Countdown on Ball Drop Screen created History at Times Square. The sparkle was even greater due to the elite guests who graced the stage with their presence. This whole segment was broadcast live on TV Asia across the USA and worldwide through the Neeta Bhasin Show on YouTube.

This was followed by the dignitaries speaking on the Times Square stage which included some of the most affluent people of New York. List of speakers included Consulate General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal, New York State Governor Kathleen Courtney Hochul U.S. Senator Charles Ellis “Chuck” Schumer, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), NY State Senator John Liu, Gajendra Suri and Beena Kothari from Samman for All , ShopRite’s Ranjana Choudhry, Thomas Rajan from American Airlines, Harry Singh Bolla of Bolla Oil Corp, Padma Shri Mr. H R Shah – Chairman of TV Asia and other sponsors of the festival.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi sent his Diwali message ‘Heartiest greetings and best wishes for the celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights organized at Times Square in New York. The celebration will help spread our rich traditions and culture in different parts of the world. Carrying the eternal message of victory of light over darkness and truth over untruth may this auspicious occasion further spread peace, happiness, and prosperity in the lives of every member of the Indian diaspora in the USA.’

Consul General of India, NY, Randhir Jaiswal addressed the attendees by saying that ‘It is a time when we must respect the foundational values of our society, kindness, compassion, sharing and being together and may you bring all these values today and tomorrow and forever. Let the light of Diwali shine in your lives and all those around you.’

New York State Governor – Kathleen Hochul Congratulated the founder of Diwali at Times Square, Neeta Bhasin, for having a vision to celebrate the diversity and the wonderful tradition in Times Square and said ‘Diwali at Times is a fabulous event to celebrate the New Year and to celebrate the comeback of New York. This is Phenomenally special; we are once again gathered in person to remind ourselves the real true meaning behind Diwali.

Think about the fact that we can conquer the darkness with light and we did that with Pandemic. Congresswoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney said that ‘I have been coming to this festival ever since we got the Diwali stamp approved which I worked on with many of you for many years to make it happen. The Diwali stamp has been so successful that I think we should have a Diwali Holiday. So, I am introducing a bill for that. Let me get back to work so I can make all these wonderful things happen’.

Senator Chuck Schumer ‘I believe in immigration in general. My middle name is actually Ellis, it is Charles ‘Ellis’ Schumer from Ellis Island. Immigrants have great American values while still remembering the traditions and bringing them to America from their home countries. One of the best and the greatest immigrant communities is our Indian American community, our South Asian Community. We must welcome more Indians to come to America and New York. Because there are more Indians in New York, the greater NY will be’.

NY State Senator, John Liu was very excited to see the huge crowd at Times Square ‘It is great to see everybody in person. No better place to celebrate Diwali than the crossroads of the world right here in Times Square, NY City. With Neeta’s advocacy and esteem journalism and many others, in NYC a long time ago we were able to make a parking holiday, you do not change the car from one side of the street to another’.

Diwali at Times Square was celebrated in association with Samman for All, it’s mission is to facilitate people from the lower-economic strata to achieve their dreams by providing them with tools for sustainable living and empowerment, said the Director of the organization. ShopRite’s Ranjana Choudhry VP Advertising and Social Media ‘We are very proud and very honored to be the Title Sponsor of this event. Let’s turn this festival of lights into the festival of delights. Let’s eat and celebrate Diwali.’

Thomas Rajan- VP, Global Talent American Airlines ‘ In the coming few days, we will be launching our non-stop service from this great city of NY to Delhi and onwards later this year Seattle to Bangalore. Harry Singh Bolla Chairman of Bolla Corporation- ‘We created history in 2013 by representing the 2nd largest festival outside of India. It makes me proud, today we are sitting in Times Square celebrating our culture, our feelings and telling the world what we are all about’.

Some of the front-line fighters in the covid battle like Officer Manish Sharma – President of Indian Police Society (NYPD), Dr. Samin K. Sharma of Mount Sinai Heart, Dr. Jagmohan Kalra and Dr. Sunjit Jaspal from Northwell Health. were honored on stage. The festival did not end there. Yet another set of superb performances by famous artists like Sparsh Shah, Sway Bhatia, Chosen Crew Entertainment Group, Swarali Dance, Jikaria Sisters (Omi, Rish, & Aash), DJ Ash and finally ended with a blast with an amazing performance by International Artist Jay Sean.

More than 250 mainstream media houses are already talking about Diwali at Times Square and the entire event reached out to millions of viewers across both digital and traditional channels in both writing and video publishing formats. Event Guru WorldWide, the organizer of Diwali at Times Square, is a premier full-service event company specializing in festivals, concerts, trade shows, gala dinners and press conferences. We conceptualize and implement events of all sizes and statues.

Diwali Lights Up World Trade Center

Diwali is the celebration of light over darkness, good over evil, and more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide are observing it Thursday by lighting candles, setting off fireworks and exchanging gifts with friends and family.

While most people may refer to the holiday as Diwali, it’s traditionally called Deepavali and that is how it’s known in most parts of India.

This year for the first time, the World Trade Center has been lit with a digital mural in celebration of the holiday, organized by the South Asian Engagement Foundation, along with a livestreamed fireworks show on the Hudson River on Nov 2, 2021, at 6 pm and continued until Nov. 4, 2 am.

Dubbed the All-American Diwali experience, it also included a spectacular fireworks display that was viewed by audiences on both sides of the Hudson!, a press release from South Asian Engagement Foundation said.

“We are excited to create and curate the colorful imagery of Diwali on the WTC podium to bring the messages of peace, harmony, and unity,” said Mark Domino of the Durst Organization.

For the first time ever, Diwali-themed animation adorned One World Trade Center where the animation went live on Nov 2, 2021, at 6pm and continued until Nov. 4, 2 am. Photo: South Asian Engagement Foundation.

“There is no better symbol of the triumph of resiliency than the World Trade Center and we are very fortunate to work with The Durst Organization to bring this message to all,” said Rahul Walia, founding trustee of SAEF.

Organized by SAEF, a New Jersey-based non-profit, the All-American Diwali experience was dedicated to the Country’s first responders. The NYPD conducted a ceremonial Color Guard with One World Trade Center as the backdrop. American Singer/Actress Mary Millben performed the US national anthem and a verse from the popular Diwali hymn-Om Jai Jagdish Hare.

“We’re so honored that the first annual All-American Diwali is dedicated to the police officers of New York City. As a police officer of Indian origin, I’m particularly excited to see the One World Trade Center light up for this festival, a symbol of our city’s enduring spirit,” said Det. Annand Narayan, president of NYPD Desi.

Key benefactors of the ‘All American Diwali’ celebration include crypto exchange, CrossTower and Atlanta based 27th Investments, a national investment firm.

Indiaspora served as community patron and supporters include EQ Factor, Touchdown Media and Kawan Foods. Indian-American artist Varun Patel of Vichaar & Prem provided inspiration for the animation.

“Diwali is a time that celebrates family and universal compassion, and we are grateful to be sharing the values of solidarity and peace with the greater New York Community,” Kapil Rathi, CEO and Co-Founder of CrossTower, is quoted saying in the press release.

“All American Diwali embodies the spirit of not only the sentiment behind the festival but also integrates itself into the fabric of Americana. 27th Investments is proud to support this experience,” says Anil Damani, CEO 27th Investments.

The SAEF says it is dedicated to building a strong brand for the Indian-American community “by empowering them and catalyzing the conversation around Indian Americans.”

In the future, it plans to hold a digital mural depicting 75 years of India’s democracy, a National STEM competition, an Indian Edition Smorgasbord and an All-American Holi at Governors Island, NY.

The non-profit SAEF counts among its initiatives, the South Asian Spelling Bee and the Cricket Bee. Its “vision is to continue supporting and organizing educational initiatives and cultural outreach to expand national awareness of the Indian American community.”

Empire State Building Lit Up With Diwali Lights

Federation  of Indian Associations (FIA) of eight states commemorated Diwali, a major and 75 years of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav by lighting the World famous Empire State Building in the colors of the diya on November 4th.

The  lighting ceremony was graced by Honorable Consul General  Mr. Randhir Jaiswal, Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph,  popular R&B singer, songwriter and music producer Jay Sean and R&B singer, model and yoga instructor Thara Natalie.

FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya, President Elect Kenny Desai, Past President Alok Kumar and Executive members Parveen Bansal and Saurin Parikh participated in the event as well. In follow up to a spectacular dance performance by the students of Aum Dance Creations the Empire State Building ceremonial lighting was turned on together by Jay Sean, Thara Natalie and Hon. Consul General Jaiswal.  H.E. Randhir Jaiswal conveyed Diwali wishes and thanked the American community for accepting and embracing diversity.

 Vice President Sales of Empire State Building Patricia Niscior wished the community the world over a Happy Diwali and invited them to participate and visit the World famous Empire State Building. FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya and President Elect Kenny Desai also conveyed the Diwali wishes to all the community addressing the media, Jay Sean and Thara conveyed their warm Diwali wishes to the community.

The annual event, which began in 2018, is organized in cooperation with the Empire State Realty Trust. Each year for the past two decades, ESRT and FIA have been lighting up the Empire State Building in August in the colors of the Indian tricolor – orange, white and green – to mark India’s Independence Day.

The FIA believes that such gestures by ESRT help in spreading the ancient Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family) and also demonstrates a great harmony in spirit and deeds between people of the world’s largest and oldest democracies, the organization stated in a press release. Despite the challenges and changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, FIA has not deterred from its goal of serving the community, it said.

Joe Biden, Jill Biden, & Kamala Harris Greet Indian Americans During Diwali

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden joined Indian Americans in celebrating Diwali, festival of lights, on November 4. A photo shared by the White House on Twitter showed the Bidens lighting diyas with candles.

In a message, President Biden stated: “Like many cherished holidays during the pandemic, we know this year’s Diwali carries an even deeper meaning. To those who have lost loved ones, we hope this sacred time provides comfort and purpose in their memory.

“To those who celebrate here in America, we are grateful to you for making the traditions of Diwali part of America’s story. For generations, you have opened your homes and hearts during Diwali to exchange gifts and sweets, host feasts with family and friends, and organize cultural programs in our communities – with prayers and dances, vibrant and colorful art, and sparklers and fireworks – that bring us all together.

“May the spirit of Diwali remind us that out of darkness there is light in knowledge, wisdom, and truth. From division, there is unity in common bonds of empathy and compassion. From isolation, there is community in the connections we share as we look out for one another and hope, dream, and believe in possibilities.

“That spirit is what we reflected upon in the simple act of lighting a diya, a small candle that carries such profound meaning. From the People’s House to yours, may the light shine within us all as a powerful source of healing, repair, and renewal – a light that shines on who we are and what we can be at our best as a people and a nation. On behalf of our family, we wish you a happy Diwali,” Biden said in his Diwali greetings.

Vice President Kamala Harris, an Indian American, also issued a statement greeting Diwali. She said, “This year Diwali arrives with even deeper meaning in the midst of a devastating pandemic. The holiday reminds us of our nation’s most sacred values, our gratitude for the love of family and friends, our responsibility to lend a hand to those in need and our strength to choose light over darkness, to seek knowledge and wisdom and to be a source of goodness and grace. Let’s remember to honor the light within one another. From our family to yours I wish you a joyous Diwali.”

Diwali Across the US

More than a hundred guests, including several Indian-American community leaders from Illinois, attended the Nov. 3, 2021 Diwali celebrations hosted by Democratic Congressman Danny K Davis of Chicago, at the National Democratic Club in Washington D.C. The event was headlined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third highest elected official in the country.

Speaker Pelosi lit the traditional Indian lamp, a press release from Rep. Davis’s office said. Several prominent elected officials including Congressman Richard Neal, (D- Massachusetts), Chair, U. S. House Ways & Means Committee among others joined the celebration. Well known Bharat Natyam exponent, Indrani Davaluri, extended a traditional welcome Pelosi and Neal at the event.

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-NY, chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, joined on Nov. 3, 2021, with Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL, and Gregory Meeks, D-NY, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and New York, as well as national advocates to announce the introduction of the Deepavali Day Act. This legislation would make Diwali a nationally recognized federal holiday.

The announcement was carried live on Rep. Maloney’s twitter account. The new Mayor-elect of New York City, Eric Adams, has declared he was committed to “sign (Diwali) into a holiday” when he takes office Jan. 1, reported the news outlet thecity.nyc.

Maloney supported by several lawmakers, is going national with that idea. “I want to start by wishing a Happy Diwali to all those celebrating around the world this week as the time of reflection and renewal that marks the Hindu New Year comes to a close,” Rep. Maloney said in the live Tweet.  “This beautiful festival celebrates lightness over dark, goodness over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. My bill today recognizes the importance of this beautiful holiday and gives it the respect and acknowledgement it deserves.”

“I’m proud to join Chairwoman Maloney and our colleagues in introducing this legislation to establish Diwali as a federal holiday in recognition of its importance to our nation’s more than three million Americans of Indian descent, including Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “The meaning of this legislation extends beyond honoring the significance of Diwali to the Indian-American community to acknowledging the contributions of Indian-Americans to our nation.”

Rep. Meeks also expressed his support, saying, “The United States of America is about celebrating the different cultures that make us one. I understand the importance of the festival of lights and hope we can soon make this a reality for members of the Indian diaspora in my district and Indian Americans all over the country.”

Sikh Religious Society Celebrates Diwali

Sikh Religious Society, Palatine Gurdwara organized a four-day celebration to mark the auspicious occasion of Diwali from November 4th to November 7th in Palatine IL. Bhai Inderjit Singh Khalsa came all the way from India to join the celebrations and to be part of the occasion.

The events included deepmala as well as katha and kirtan by Bhai Rajinder Singh and Jatha, Bhai Parminderjit Singh and bhai Inderjit Singh Khalsa.

The daily kirtans were followed by langar seva where hundreds of volunteers of all age groups offered their services by serving hot meals to all the attendees. This year’s Diwali Seva at the Gurdwara was hosted by Savi Singh Attal & Pritpal Dandona family from Chicago.

Over 1,500 people attended the beautiful Diwali celebration at Gurdwara. With Beautiful Diyas & some fireworks for display. The sangat came from all over the Midwest/Interstate of Chicago.

Savi Singh son of Mr. Satwant Singh Attal SRS Palatine Gurdwara (Past President) family have been hosting Langar and doing Seva for Palatine Gurdwara for over thirty-five years and have been a prominent Sikh Family of Chicago migrated from India in the late 1970’s. The entire family has committed to the Sangat for over four decades and plans of continuing the Seva and passing it on to the next generations to come. The family loves and enjoys doing Langars in Gurdwaras. Diwali Celebrations has brought religion & culture together throughout the globe.

Sikh Religious Society, a non-profit organization, in Palatine, Illinois was formed in 1974 and its first formal Prakash Divas (the ceremonial acceptance of Guru GRANTH Sahib {Sikh’s holy scripture/book} at this new place of worship was celebrated in 1975.  The organization focuses on Sikh religious services, Punjabi language/ Kirtan classes. Another focus of this society is on the community service, charity and other Non Profit endeavors to promote the Punjabi culture and heritage.

Sindhi Association Celebrates Diwali

Sindhi Association of Metropolitan Chicago, one of the oldest organizations in Chicagoland, celebrated its Annual Diwali celebration on October 30th at Ashton Place, Willowbrook, IL.

The celebration started with Lamp Lighting and the Mahalaxmi Aarti followed by a cultural program by kids of all ages. The event also featured a media briefing by the current President Subhash Balani and other board members. Balani explained how the association was formed over 6 decades ago with the aim of creating a platform for the upcoming generations. He talked about the annual activities that the association organizes to celebrate Sindhi Culture.

Another board member Nand Balani elaborated on the initiative called, Alliance of Global Sindhi Association that connects Sindhis all over to the world. The three aims of the alliance focus on matrimonial services, romanized script for sindhi language, and a global sindhi directory.

Geeta Rupani, past president and current executive board member who has been involved with the association for over four decades mentioned how the organization has been working hard to promote Sindhi culture, music, language and history.

Sunder Tekchandani stressed on the importance of involving more and more members, especially the younger generation to take these initiatives forward and to continue spreading awareness about the organization.

Vinita Gulabani, the current executive board member and media coordinator and Vikas Kalwani, past president explained how the outreach is done via emails and social media to involve the young generation. They talked about activities that are organized especially for youth participation like bowling, summer picnics, antakshari.

The event was attended by hundreds of members from Sindhi community that also included President, Village of Oakbrook Dr. Gopal Lalmalani who joined the Diwali celebration along with his family

GOPIO-CT Celebrates Diwali By Supporting Local Charities

The Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Light, by supporting local charities in Stamford CT. Diwali is celebrated in India and the Indian Diaspora as a celebration of light over darkness and good over evil. In the spirit of the celebration, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) invited the community and friends for Diwali Dinner with music and dance at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford, CT, where it donated funds for the local charities.

The charities receiving funds were Future 5 of Stamford (https://futurefive.org/) and the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County Inc. (https://www.foodbanklfc.org/). Together, both organizations received $20,000 from GOPIO-CT. The checks were accepted by Future 5 Founder Clif McFeely and Food Bank’s Executive Director Kathleen Lombardo.

Future 5 helps underprivileged students in the Stamford High School system. Future 5 envisions a world where all students can be part of a vibrant and supportive community and access the people and resources they need for college, career and life success.

Future 5 believes in human potential. In particular, the potential for each and every young person who climbs the stairs to find success in life.

The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County was originated in 1984 as a program of the Council of Churches and Synagogues. Today the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc., is a 501 (c) (3) charity organization serving in the lower Fairfield County’s primary hunger-relief organizations. It provides food to about 90 non-profit agencies and programs that serve low-income people in six town service area through bags of groceries and congregate meals. These include soup kitchens, food pantries, childcare programs, homeless shelters, senior centers, domestic violence safe houses, and rehabilitation programs.

A special guest at the event was Ms. Yelena Klompus, Program Manager for English Language Learning (ELL), Citizenship & Cultural Programs at Stamford’s Public Library known as The Ferguson Library. The library is planning a Diwali program in cooperation with GOPIO-CT on Sunday, November 14th at 1.30 p.m. Klompus invited everyone to join the program

A music program organized by GOPIO Vice President Dr. Jaya Daptardar followed with singers from Connecticut and included Srini Gunupuru, Devangi Dharani, Div Pithadia, Dipti Haria and Sonali Joshi. GOPIO-CT also announced that it will support one more local charity at a fundraiser at its Holiday Party in December.

“One of the objectives GOPIO is to support local community groups which do service to the larger society and GOPIO chapters have been doing a great job in that direction and GOPIO-CT in particular has been supporting several charities in Connecticut,” Said GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham who is the Founder and currently a Trustee of GOPIO-CT.

Over the last 15 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.

Diwali Celebrations Showcases Indian Culture At Times Square

New Yorkers got to experience Diwali at the Crossroads of the World, Times Square on Saturday, October 30th, 2021. Even Covid-19 couldn’t put a damper on one of the biggest celebrations in New York City’s iconic Times Square where Diwali was celebrated with pomp and festivity.

Music and dance with colorful and traditional Indian attire  marked Diwali at Times Square which had a special meaning this year coming as it did after the devastating Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted every aspect of our lives.

The event was attended in-person by several dignitaries, including United States Sen. Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, New York State Sen. John Liu, Padma Shri Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, H.R. Shah of TV Asia, representatives of the Indian Police Officers Society from the New York Police Department, and several other special guests who spoke on stage about the meaning of Diwali and the joy of celebrating it after Covid.

Dr. Parikh thanked Shoprite and for the ‘great function’ of Diwali that it was supporting, and praised the company for the work it did for the community, and encouraged it to continue the good work. “It is an honor to be here at this historic occasion, when the ball will drop for Diwali jus as it does for New Year, which shows how wonderful and important the Indian-American community is here in New ork and all over America,” said  Sen. Schumer.

Sen. Schumer said he believed in immigration and “immigrants make America great” because they believe in the American Dream and embody American values even as they bring their traditions to this country. He bemoaned a rise in hate crimes and emphasized, “We must shout it down. We must fight it. We must prosecute it, and we must welcome more Indians to come to America and New York, because the more Indians there are in New York, the greater New York will be.”

Consul General Jaiswal wished everyone a Happy Diwali for their loved ones and peace and prosperity for all. “More importantly, it is a time when we must introspect on some of the foundational values of our society – on kindness, compassion, sharing, being unified, being together…”

Congresswoman Maloney wished everyone present and dwelt on the need to recognize Mahatma Gandhi with a Congressional Gold Medal, something for which she has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives. “Look at this amazing crowd!” exclaimed State Sen. Liu. “We are finally getting out of this long dark tunnel of Covid-19.”

This year in contrast to last year, Liu said, the number of Diwali celebrations has risen, “in our schools, in our mandirs, and City Hall,” he said, a tradition he started when he was a New York City Councilor. “There’s no better place to celebrate Diwali than at the ‘Crossroads of the World’, right here in Times Square, New York City. Because this is such an important holiday for billions of people around the world symbolizing the victory of good over evil, light over darkness …”

A unique digital presentation with a massive lighted billboard changing images symbolic of the Festival of Lights, in an attempt to capture the pomp and festivity of this joyous celebration, captured the hearts and minds of thousands who watched and joined in the celebrationbs from around the world. The event was organized by EventGuru Inc., an event management company in the Tristate area.

Diwali at Times Square has been increasing its audience since its inception in 2013. This New York City Diwali celebration usually draws a big crowd and features a diya (lamp) lighting ceremony accompanied by a New Year’s Eve style countdown featured on the tallest Times Square digital screen, followed by a host of rousing concerts.

Presented by Shoprite and organized by Bhasin, the Times Square Diwali was started by event organizer Neeta Bhasin, president of ASB Communications, a New York-based multicultural marketing and event management company. “After the pandemic, we are here to uplift the spirit of the people. And we want to showcase this vibrant India, and India’s culture, art and diversity to the world,” Bhasin said.

Telugu Association Of Greater Chicago Celebrates Golden Jubilee

Telugu Association of Greater Chicago, the first ever Telugu association in North America, organized its 50th year anniversary celebrations on a grand scale over 2 days during last weekend. First day was a spectacular Banquet at the Seville Banquets Streamwood followed by Dussehra and Deepavali celebrations at Naperville Community Church, Yellow Box, Naperville.

The event was described as a grand success with an overwhelming response from the Telugu community with 2000+ guests in attendance over 2 days. Multiple guests from Community, National and Local Telugu organizations, long time Sponsors PMSI Ashok Lakshmanan, NYLife Krishna Rangaraju joined along with Chief Guest U.S Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthy, Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, a member of the National council on White House History and Indian Consulate General’s office represented by Consul Gopal Bhagath.

On Banquet day, 2021 President Venkat Gunuganti and 2020 President Praveen Vemulapalli recognized Sponsors and Donors for the past 2 years. Banquet was served with delicious food from Cool Mirchi which included multiple savory and sweet items. Few Past Presidents, long time Sponsors and Members spoke on the occasion and remembered their memories, connections in the last 50 years.

Live Music Concert with well-known singers Manisha Earabathini, Prasad Simhadri, Sarada Akunuri, Srikanth Sandugu, Sruthi Nanduri entertained the audience. Musical band was led by Meher Chanti with his 6 person MLiveBand team.  The musical night rocked and energized guests with continuous nonstop entertainment.

Anchors Kavita Thotakura and Sahitya Vinjamuri kept the whole program lively with their special engagement skills on both days. Event decorations added color to both events and the audience enjoyed the Photo Booths at each location. TAGC Youth volunteers and membership committee welcomed all guests with a smile.

As part of the 50th year celebrations second day “Joruga Husharuga – Dasara and Diwali celebrations”, 250+ participants including kids, youth, couples and senior members of TAGC entertained guests with their performances. Event brought a true festive atmosphere where all the seniors, youth and kids came together under one roof to celebrate the 50-year history of the Telugu community in America and the importance of perseverance.

Food committee Chair, Vijay Beeram with his team & volunteers, did a wonderful job in serving delicious dinner for such a massive crowd in the allocated time. Attendees were appreciative of tasty food. Local Indian restaurant Cool Mirchi management supported TAGC with their best qualitative and quantitative food.

After-dinner program started with past-presidents recognition. 23 presidents with their families joined on the stage. Current President Venkat Gunuganti and President-elect Uma Avadutha with help of BoD’s felicitated all past-presidents on the stage. It was a special moment in TAGC history with so many presidents on the stage.  As part of the program, TAGC President-elect Uma Avadutha introduced new 2022-25 BoD’s along with the 2022 EC team. Venkat Gunuganti accompanied with his wife Haritha recognized past President Praveen Vemulapalli and his wife Kranthi for their services and dedication towards the organization with a flower bouquet, shawl, and a plaque.

TAGC 2020 President Praveen Vemulapalli and Kranthi recognized 2019 President Ram Billakanti and his wife Malathi for their services and dedication towards the organization with a flower bouquet, shawl, and a plaque, as there were restrictions on physical events in 2020. Live Music Concert continued on the 2nd day with well-known singers Manisha Earabathini, Prasad Simhadri, Sarada Akunuri, Srikanth Sandugu and Swaravedika team Sruthi Nanduri, Akhila Mamandur coordinated by Krisha Anumolu. Musical band was led by energetic Meher Chanti with his 6 person MLiveBand team.  The musical night rocked and energized guests in the auditorium with nonstop entertainment for almost 3hours. Anchor Kavita and her daughter Radhika entertained with their special dance.

TAGC president, Venkat Gunuganti, past-president Praveen Vemulapalli along with his whole BoD team presented all singers, Anchors, Music Band team members with flower bouquet, Colorful Shawl and 50th year Plaque. Cultural chair Neelima Cheikycharla also thanked all the participants, their parents, coordinators, teachers and the guests for their enthusiastic show of support throughout the evening.

TAGC President, Venkat Gunuganti, thanked the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Chairs, Co-Chairs, Technical team, Hospitality team, Food team, Membership team and volunteers who have worked for weeks in planning and preparations to make this event memorable. He also conveyed his gratitude and thanks to sponsors for giving back to the community and requested TAGC members to make use of services provided by sponsors. TAGC is planning to release a special 50th anniversary souvenir with content and inputs from past and current members. It is planned to be released by Ugadi 2022.

TAGC cordially invites everyone who wishes to support and bless TAGC’s efforts to spread and preserve Telugu culture & tradition, and to be part of the upcoming exciting events.

Diwali Celebrations Light Up Capitol Hill

United States’ lawmakers and top officials of the White House celebrated Diwali with Indian diaspora on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, October 27th, 2021, honoring some of the top Indian Americans in the US President Joe Biden’s administration. The top Indian Americans who were honored included Vice Admiral Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor and Staff Secretary to President Biden. 

During the celebration, the traditional ‘Diya’ was lit and several high ranking officials made their remarks. “There has been a lot of darkness in the last 1.5 years. To be able to celebrate and talk about the meaning of Diwali, it’s incredibly important,” said Vice Admiral Surgeon Gen Vivek Murthy. “Diwali is about light overcoming darkness, and there has been a lot of darkness in the last year and a half. To be able to celebrate Diwali, to talk about the meaning, to talk about the light in oneself and the light in others in these tough times, means a lot and I’m grateful to be here,” the Surgeon General added.

“But one of the things that concern me most about the last few years is another type of pandemic, the invisible pandemic that we are in the midst of. That’s a pandemic of polarization where it feels increasingly people have turned against each other, where they have demonized one another, called each other evil and treated each other as so. That’s a particular kind of darkness,” he said.

Congressman Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Congressman Ro Khanna and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi addressed the community members. Ami Bera highlighted that the Diwali celebration is not only about Indian Americans but also the members of the Congress, which includes both Republicans and Democrats. The event also witnessed an interfaith prayer service that was attended by members of Congress.

Congressman James Clyburn, Steve Chabot, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney praised the contribution of Indian Americans in the development of the US and stressed the significance of Diwali in a post-Covid-19 world.

“The Congressmen at the gathering are not just Indian Americans, we have African American, Chinese American, mainstream American Congressman. It’s historic that such a diverse group of congressmen are supporting us,” Rangaswami, founder, Indiaspora told ANI.

“We are honored to celebrate Diwali at Capitol Hill and share our traditions with the leaders who have dedicated themselves to serving the public. The Indian diaspora has had a profound impact on American society, and their diverse contributions continue to strengthen our nation,” said Sanjeev Joshipura, executive director of Indiaspora.

American actress and singer Mary Millben was also present to celebrate Diwali at Capitol Hill. The singer performed the ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare‘ rendition for the expats and community members too crooned the hymn with the singer. “To see folks come all over the country to celebrate Diwali is so beautiful and meaningful to me. I have a strong relationship with the people of India. It’s a very full-circle moment for me to be with people whom I love and a culture that I love, I am delighted to be here,” Mary Millben said.

Kerala Center To Honor 8 Prominent NRIs

The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center (http://keralacenterny.com) will honor eight Indian Americans for their outstanding achievements in their field of specialization or for their service to the society at its 29th Annual Awards Banquet to be held on November 13, 2021. The chief guest at the award ceremony will be Dr. Arun Jeph, India’s Deputy Consul General in New York.  The award event will also have New York Senators Kevin Thomas and Todd Kaminsky, Hempstead Town Supervisor, Don Clavin and India Consul for Community Affairs, A. K. Vijayakrishnan, as special guests.

According to Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairperson of the Trustee Board, the Kerala Center has been honoring outstanding achievers since 1991.  “Every year we invite nominations and the committee has to make a unanimous choice for a candidate in a category to receive the award,” said Dr. Abraham who is one of the members of the Award Committee.  “This year our nominees are no different in terms of their achievements,” said Dr. Abraham.

Award Committee Chair Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran said that Kerala Center has been honoring Indian American  Malayalees who have reached high levels in their professions and who work for social progress.  “Their examples should be an inspiration for others,” he said.

This year, six regular and one special award will be given out to nominees for their special achievements, for their career graph and for their services to the community in the U.S., to people who do the center proud.

Outstanding Achievements in Medicine and Professional Services: This award will be given to Dr. George M. Abraham, President of the American College of Physicians.  Dr. George M. Abraham is the President of the American College of Physicians (the largest internal medicine organization in the world with 161,000 members in 145 countries). He is a Professor of Medicine at the Univ. Mass Medical School, Chief of Medicine at St. Vincent Hospital, Worcester, MA and Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  A graduate of the famous Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu in India, he has authored over 100 publications, abstracts and book chapters.

Notable Achievements in Political Process: This award will go to Mayor Robin J. Elackatt, mayor of City of Missouri City, Texas.  Mayor Elackatt’s public services started with  the city’s Parks & Recreation Board and as (District C) Council member from 2009-2015.  Holding an MBA and a MHA degrees, he served as the Healthcare Administrator of one of the largest Healthcare systems in Houston for over 24 years.

Notable Contributions in Public Service: This award will be given to Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, the Republican nominee for NYC Public Advocate. Dr. Devi is a practicing physician in pain medicine, a scientist and a small business owner. She is a SAG-AFTRA member who played a doctor on General Hospital before becoming a doctor in real life. Dr. Devi did her residency and fellowship training at Harvard Medical School and is currently an Associate Professor at NYU School of Medicine.

Notable Contributions and Achievements in Performing Arts: The recipient for this award will be Mrs. Chandrika Kurup, the director of Noopura Indian Classical Dance School, New York.  Training under the late Kalamandalam Kalyanikutti Amma, a pioneer in Mohiniyattam, Kurup has been teaching Bharatanattyam, Kuchipuddi and Odissi and enhancing art and culture.

Notable Contributions in Nursing and Community Service: The recipient of this award is Mrs. Mary Philip, RN, MSA, a past Lieutenant in the Indian Defense Force and a past President of the Indian Nurses Association of NY. As a past President of the Indian Nurses Association of NY, she helped nurses with various educational and professional opportunities, including scholarships and academic financial support.  She has also worked as an executive member of several local and national associations.

Notable Services and Achievements in Legal Services: This award will be given to Mrs. Nandini Nair, partner and co-chair of the Immigration and Naturalization practice group at Greenspoon Marder LLP. Ms. Nair focuses her practice on U.S. visas, employment-based and family-based applications, naturalization applications and other immigration benefits.  She is ranked among the “Top Lawyers in New Jersey Immigration” by Chambers & Partners.

Special Award for Notable Services during the Pandemic: This award will be given jointly to Dr. Sabu Varghese and Dr. Blessy Mary Joseph, practicing physicians in New York. Dr. Sabu Varghese, is teaching and attending at Brookdale University Hospital and is doing his private practice at Wholesome Medical PC, holding affiliations with Northwell Systems and Catholic Hospital Systems. During the Pandemic, Dr. Varghese went out of his way to treat his patients.                                                                                                                        Dr. Blessy

Mary Joseph, MD, is a graduate of Manipal University Medical School, is currently holding private practice at Wholesome Medical PC and has affiliations with Northwell Systems and Catholic Hospital Systems. During the Pandemic, Dr. Blessy Joseph went out of her way to treat her patients.

Shrimad Rajchandra Love And Care Celebrates Diwali On Capitol Hill

Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care (SRLC) hosted a special Diwali event in the presence of Honorable Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu and several other dignitaries on October 27th. The event acknowledged the extraordinary partnership between the governments and private sector organizations of the United States and India to support SRLC’s humanitarian initiatives.

The event was attended by Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthy, Illinois; Tim Ryan, Ohio; Greg Stanton, Arizona; Danny Davis, Illinois; Mike Quigley, Illinois; and, Audrey Kitawaga, Ambassador of Religions for Peace. Ambassador Sandhu emphasized critical points regarding the element of solidarity, the unity and partnership between the two nations, the importance of science and spiritual and extending happiness and kindness to all in these unprecedented times.

The highlight of the event was the launch of the book, ‘Atmasiddhi Shastra – Six Spiritual Truths of the Soul’, a concise and complete commentary by Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshji. This book lays a clear and cogent path to self-discovery. The book commemorates the 125 th anniversary of the creation of Shrimad Rajchandraji’s magnum opus, ‘Atmasiddhi Shastra’ – a 142-verse epic spiritual masterpiece.

According to the organizers, it was an iconic moment to be at the Capitol Hill and celebrate Diwali by launching a book which “represents the true spirit of Diwali as it removes the darkness of ignorance by the light of knowledge.”

“The endeavor of Shri Rakeshji to present the essence of Atmasiddhi Shastra in a lucid manner through its commentary in English is a thoughtful gesture, aimed at the spiritual welfare of the youth” – Shri Narendra Modi, Hon. Prime Minister of India stated in a statement.  “Atmasiddhi Shastra is a practical guide to Liberation and freedom from suffering” – Deepak Chopra, Founder – The Chopra Foundation said.

SRLC is a global initiative to offer service and bring joy to the lives of the underserved sections of society. SRLC is inspired by Shrimad Rajchandraji, philosopher, and the spiritual guide of Mahatma Gandhiji. SRLC is founded by Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshji, a world-renowned spiritual leader. SRLC enjoys Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic & Social Council since 2020. SRLC’s holistic, multi-pronged community support and development programs are powered by genuine empathy, love, and care of highly motivated volunteers. Learn more about SRLC’s humanitarian work: https://srlc-usa.org/

Curtain Raiser to Diwali at Times Square Held At Indian Consulate

Samman for All and advisory board members of ‘ShopRite Diwali at Times Square in association with Samman for all’ held a curtain raiser and press conference at the Consulate of India NY to commemorate the beginning of the Diwali at Times Square on October 30th at Times Square.

The event was attended by Media Houses, Performers and the Sponsors of Diwali at Times Square. The program started with Ganesh Pooja followed by Diya Lighting Ceremony and Presentation by Neeta Bhasin, Founder of Diwali at Times Square where she shared the details of the upcoming festival. Sponsors like Shoprite and American Airlines spoke of the significance and importance of cultural event as big as Diwali at Times Square and its impact on the community.

“Our objective this year is to bring the light of positivity in the lives of people especially since the dark gloom of the pandemic has engulfed us. Through this event, we want to uplift the spirit of the community and share the message of love, togetherness, inclusion, and diversity,” Bhasin said.

“ShopRite Diwali at Times Square” in association with the non-profit “Samman for All” is showcasing the rich ‘Colors of India’ via its art and culture right in the heart of Times Square on October 30, 2021, starting at 1:00pm EST.

According to the founder of Diwali at Times Square, Neeta Bhasin, “Understanding different cultures makes us realize that the basic tenets of all cultures are the same. However, the difference in expression is what enriches the tapestry of our lives.” The celebration continues throughout the day into the evening with the traditional Diwali custom of ‘Diya (Lamp) Lighting’ ceremony on stage which will also be projected on the tallest billboard in Times Square followed by a rousing musical extravaganza – ‘The Light Up Times Square’ concert with international singer Jay Sean and other performers will be entertaining people with their superhit songs.

Due to its resounding success in the past years, the festival has also garnered praise and recognition by various media outlets as well as the US Government as being one of the largest Indian festivals outside of India.

This year, Diwali at Times Square has an association with ‘Samman for all’ not-for-profit organization. Director of ‘Samman for All’ said’ Our goal is to help people achieve a dignified living – a life that they can call their own. We wish this Diwali brighten the lives of people”.

”Diwali is an integral part of our cultural heritage. It represents our values, traditions, diversity and thought. Diwali at Times Square brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate the festival of Diwali. We would like to congratulate the Producer, Mrs. Neeta Bhasin, for meaningfully promoting Indian culture and our universal ideas in the US.” Said Mr. Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India NY,

The ShopRite stated ‘South Asian community is a very important part of our community, and we want everyone to taste the Diwali Celebration with Shoprite. We look forward to celebrating the festival of Delight at Times Square this year!!

Harry Singh Bolla, President & C.E.O, Bolla Oil Corp “I know how Diwali is a cheerful and nostalgic festival! It reminds me of happy times from my childhood. “Let’s come together and celebrate Diwali At Times Square on a October 30 and cherish all the good times”

Bhasin thanked the “Title Sponsor ShopRite, Airline Partner American Airline, Diya (Lamp) Lighting with the countdown partner Bolla Market and our sponsors Northwell Health, Northlandz, State bank of India and Nazranaa.”

Samman for All. mission is to facilitate people from the lower-economic strata to achieve their dreams by providing them with tools for sustainable living.  Event Guru WorldWide is a premier full-service event company specializing in festivals, concerts, tradeshows, gala dinners and press conferences. We conceptualize and implement events of all sizes and statures.

Narendra Modi Invites Pope Francis To Visit India During Meeting With Pope At The Vatican

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pope Francis at the Vatican Saturday in his first meeting with the head of the sovereign of the Vatican City State on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The meeting between the Hindu nationalist party leader and Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, assumes significance as it comes at a time when Christians in many parts of India have been complaining of harassment and attacks on the community and its institutions.

The two leaders discussed with Pope Francis issues covering a range of areas of interest, including COVID-19, general global perspectives and maintaining peace and tranquility. After the meeting, Modi tweeted, with pictures of him embracing the Pope, “Had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and also invited him to visit India.”

A Vatican source has told the media that Vatican officials were “happily surprised” by the invitation, as they had no advance notice from either the government or from the Catholic Church in India that Mr. Modi would invite the pope to visit the country. Because Pope Francis and the Catholic Church and Christians in India consider the visit very important, it is likely to be given priority in Vatican scheduling; it could even take place in the second half of next year, according to reports.

The meeting took place in the pope’s private library on the second floor of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. Pope Francis, the leader of more than 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, and Mr. Modi, who governs the world’s largest democracy of almost 1.4 billion people, sat at a table and talked together with the aid of interpreters for 55 minutes.

The meeting was long by Vatican standards. The Vatican issued a very brief statement that revealed almost nothing of the content of their conversation except to say that they acknowledged the good relations that exist between India and the Holy See. The Holy See and India established diplomatic relations in 1948, soon after the country gained its independence.

After their private conversation, Mr. Modi presented his five-person delegation, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs, S. J. Jaishanakar, the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, and India’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Jaideep Mazumdar.

Pope Francis and the Prime Minister then exchanged gifts. Modi gave the Pope a silver candlestick and a copy of The Climate Climb. Pope Francis gave Modi a bronze plaque with the inscription “the desert will become a garden,” and copies of the pope’s writings, including his encyclicals “Laudato Si’” and “Fratelli Tutti,” as well as the “Document on Human Fraternity” and his message for the 2021 World Day of Peace.

Pope Francis would be the third pope to visit India. Paul IV traveled to Mumbai in 1964 to attend the International Eucharistic Congress, while John Paul II visited India in February 1986 and again in November 1999, the latter time for the presentation of his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Asia.”

Modi is the fifth Indian Prime Minister to have visited the head of Roman Catholics, the largest religious denomination in the world. Before Modi, Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, I K Gujral, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had met the then Popes in the Vatican. It is not just Prime Ministers who have paid a visit to the Holy See. Communist veteran and former Chief Minister of Kerala E K Nayanar presented a Bhagavad Gita to Pope John Paul II in 1997 and he kept a rosary presented by the Pope throughout his life. Nayanar was accompanied by current Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who was then a minister in his government. When he visited Pope Francis in October 2019, Union Minister V Muraleedharan also gifted a Bhagavad Gita to him.

The Prime Minister’s meeting with the Pope has been welcomed by the Church. Major Archbishop Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, who was the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and who had requested Modi to invite the Pope to India in 2014, saw it as a fresh opportunity for dialogue between the government and the community. “This has a historical importance,” Cardinal Cleemis said.

“The meeting should not be seen merely as the one between two country heads, rather it was the head of the largest democracy and an ancient culture of the world meeting the head of the largest religious community in the world. This brings in hope for enhancing human fraternity and caring for the poor, because that’s what Christianity stands for. It would bring in positive efforts in India for a mutual trust and collaboration between people of different religious groups. It would also contribute to the very need for dialogues. We are very delighted that the Prime Minister has opened ways for a Papal visit to India,” the Cardinal Cleemis told the media.

Modi’s visit has been excitedly welcomed by the Catholic Church. Even before the government officially announced the visit, the president of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference, Cardinal George Alenchery, issued a statement that it would “add more energy and warmth to the relations between our country and the Vatican and the Catholic Church”. According to media reports, the welcome note by Cardinal Cleemis and earlier by Cardinal George Alencherry, President of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC), have rekindled the BJP’s hopes on building confidence in the community towards the party, leaders said.

Christians account for some 2.3 percent of India’s population, behind Hindus who make up 79.8%, and Muslims are 14.2%. of the total Indian population. With over 28 million Christians living across India, including 20 million Catholics, the Catholic Church plays a significant social role in India—especially in the fields of education and health care.

One contentious issue between Christians and Modi’s political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is Christian proselytization in India, which Hindu fundamentalists and some politicians in the BJP have accused Christians and the Catholic Church of in the past. Pope Francis has stated clearly that the church has no intention of proselytizing in India.

A joint fact-finding team of non-governmental organisations, including the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights, United Against Hate and United Christian Forum, recently presented a report – after visiting Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – which pointed out a series of attacks against Christians and churches in these states. Sources in the Catholic Church in the national capital said the influential Kerala Church has been ignoring the attacks against the community in northern parts of the country.

With Christians being a community that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to establish as its support base to retain power in poll-bound Goa and Manipur and to emerge as a formidable electoral force in Kerala,  Modi’s meeting with Pope Francis, and his invitation to the Pontiff to visit India assumes much significance, sources in the BJP said.

While Christians in Kerala comprise 18.38 per cent of its population, in Goa it is 25.1 per cent while the figure is 41.2 per cent in Manipur. Both Manipur and Goa are headed for polls early next year. Despite its desperate attempts, the BJP’s vote share has gone down from 15.53 per cent (2019) to 12.47 per cent in the Assembly elections held on April 6 this year. Political observers pointed out that the fall in vote share indicated that there was no overwhelming support for the party’s candidates from the Christian community.

Pointing out that minorities, both Christians and Muslims, have been the “subject of consistent attacks” by right-wing forces since the BJP came into power in 2014, Father Suresh Mathew, editor of church publication Indian Currents said, “BJP has spared no efforts and even supported every attack and hate speech against Christians. Several states have enacted anti-conversion laws which are in violation of the Constitution. Time has come for the Church leadership in India to shed diplomacy and express their concern for religious freedom and human rights protection,” Fr Mathew said.

The Prime Minister, who is in Italy to attend the G20 Summit, briefed the Pope about the ambitious initiatives taken by India in combating climate change as well as India’s success in administering one billion Covid-19 vaccination doses. Prime Minister Modi will also attend the Climate Summit to be held in Glasgow from Sunday. His Holiness appreciated India’s assistance to countries in need during the pandemic, the release said. At the end of the audience, Pope Francis escorted Modi to the door and said, “I am happy, very happy. Pray for me!” Mr. Modi responded, “I hope to see you in India.”

The 40th AAPI Convention In San Antonio, TX To Focus On “Heal The Healers” With Its Much Needed “Wellness Package” For Physicians And Families

(Chicago, IL: October 27, 2021) “Physician, heal thyself,” especially when there are growing signs of burn out among physicians, by offering positive remedial resources as part of a first ever Wellness Program being offered to participants at the 40th Annual Convention of AAPI to be held in san Antonio from June 23rd to 26th, 2022.

The Covid pandemic has impacted all aspects of human life as never been before. The past two years have been challenging to everyone, particularly those are assigned with the responsibility of caring for the sick, especially as hundreds of Millions were affected by the big pandemic. Over 115,000 health care workers died from Covid-19 from January 2020 to May of this year, according to a new World Health Organization estimate.

“The backbone of every health system is its workforce — the people who deliver the services on which we rely at some point in our lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “The pandemic is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on health workers and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected.”

Some have argued that governments have forsaken their duty to protect health care workers and warned that pandemic would have long tail effects, with many healthcare professionals considering leaving the workforce. At this critical juncture in human history, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic medical organization in the country, representing the interests of over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin, is focusing 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, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI said.   “This year AAPI Convention team from San Antonio is very much motivated on focusing on addressing physician burnout and we have planned these wellness packages. As we are seeing  in our daily lives the physician burnout has increased significantly. “We do acknowledge that these are challenging times, more than ever for us, physicians, who are on the frontline to assess, diagnose and treat people are affected by this deadly pandemic, COVID-19. Many of our colleagues have sacrificed their lives in order to save those impacted by this pandemic around the world,” Dr. Gotimukula added.

Accordingly, 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, as well as an unique opportunity to visit first of its kind in San Antonio, Aum Ashram as part of the Wellness session.

Esteemed yoga gurus and experts, who are planned to share their wisdom and 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.

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the Covid 19 pandemic as the 2022 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr. Dr Jayesh Shah, Chair of AAPI Convention 2022.

In her welcome note, Dr. Hetal Nayak, Coordinator of the Wellness Program said, “With great enthusiasm we invite you to participate in our AAPI convention wellness package themed ‘Heal the Healers.’ 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 selfcare routine. As we all aware, a calm mind and a refined intellect are essential for making right choices. We promise to leave you empowered with the tools required.”

Dr. Kusum Punjaabi, Chair of AAPI BOT said, “At AAPI, the largest ethnic medical association in the nation, we are proud, we have been able to serve every 7th patient in the country. We serve in large cities, smaller towns and rural areas, sharing our skills, knowledge, compassion and expertise and caring millions of people.”

Acknowledging the need for this much needed program as part of the convention,  Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-elect  of AAPI elaborated, “Healthcare today is more complex than ever. With more advancements, tools and information at our fingertips physicians have an overwhelming job to diagnose and treat our patients every day, 24/ 7/ 365 days a year. In every city and hospital, in our military and in our rural communities, we, the doctors pave the way to provide better healthcare to our patients.”

“A huge thank you to all of the doctors, physicians, and other healthcare professionals for your dedication and commitment to service during this uncertain time,” Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI said. “This is a unique opportunity for All of us, the front-line physicians who are putting our lives at risk to the save the lives of others,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI said. “Thank you for fighting selflessly against this virus and helping keep everyone healthy and safe,” Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI added.

During the annual convention, physicians and healthcare professionals from across the country and internationally will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

Planned to have a limited number of attendance due to the ongoing Coivd pandemic and the taking into account the safety of the participants, including Physicians, Healthcare Leaders, Academicians, Researchers and Medical Students, “the annual convention offers extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” Dr. Gotimukula added.   For more information, please visit: www.aapiconvention.org  and www.aapiusa.org

Dandiya Night By Aarush Entertainment Brings Community Together

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

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

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

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

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

Hindu Women’s Network Launched In Chicago

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, VHPA, also referred to as the World Hindu Council of America, announced the launch of the Chicagoland chapter of Hindu Women’s Network Oct. 23, 2021, at Gaylord India Restaurant, Chicago, IL.

According to a press release from VHPA, a group of 40 Hindu women met at the Gaylord India Restaurant in Chicago and announced the formation of the Chicagoland Chapter of “Hindu Women’s Network. The meeting was addressed by an invited panel of three women who have achieved success in the fields of medicine, media and politics.

There was invited panel of three women from the Hindu Community who have achieved success in fields of Medicine, Media and Politics.

Dr. Panna Barai MD from Munster Indiana was the Keynote speaker as she has been associated with VHPA since past 40-plus years, and gave her blessing and message of Nari Shakti to take charge as Hindus in America are now in 3rd and 4th Generation, and there are many areas where women need support at home and in professional lives and keeping it balanced.

Mrs. Vandana Jhingan TV Asia correspondent/Journalist and US Media bureau chief for “Hindi Khabar” gave a very passionate speech on topic of Hindu Women and Media portrayal.

Jhingan talked about influence of media on young Hindu females and what we should be aware of. She talked about journalistic ethics and importance of reporting events not creating news and sharing opinions. She also shared a video of an independent movie made by US Producer which is held by Indian Censor board, freedom of sharing a point of view is blocked and why the topic of the movie most related to the young Hindu girls.

Meghna Bansal, Trustee of the Wheatland Township and a owner manager of a Technology company, talked about importance of involvement in the local politics. Her point was simple “you might not be interested in politics, but politics is making decisions which impact all of you”. Her journey from India and moving to USA over 25 years back and how she got involved with local homeowners association and progression from there to Local Township Trustee position.

The event was organized Vishwa Hindu Parishad Chicago chapter’s women’s group. Mrs. Anisha S. Shah, Ms. Neela Patel, Mrs. Hetal N. Pate, Mrs. Nimisha K. Patel, Mrs. Yashswaini Desai, and Mrs. Preet Mittal. Hindu Women’s Network invites women from all walks of life to join this movement and help with community building projects.

IAMC Urges FB To Help End India’s “Genocidal Rhetoric” Against Minorities

The Indian American Muslim Council, an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, called on Facebook to take immediate action against India’s hate speech epidemic, which has directly led to violence in the past and will continue to have deadly consequences if left unchecked.

Whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, has exposed the company’s failure to curb hate speech, which has led to societal division and violence against vulnerable populations in multiple countries, including India. Within Facebook groups and WhatsApp chats, most instances of fake news, fear-mongering propaganda, lynching videos, gory images, and hateful content are freely circulated with no pushback.

India is Facebook’s largest market, with 340 million active users, and yet the company allocates only scant time and resources towards monitoring India-specific hate speech and fake news. As a result, such content has resulted in real-life consequences for minorities in India, especially Muslims. The Wall Street Journal reports that “inflammatory content on Facebook spiked 300% above previous levels at times during the months following December 2019, a period in which religious protests swept India.”

The sheer volume of anti-Muslim hate speech culminated in the 2020 Delhi pogroms, according to a report reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. “Rumors and calls to violence” were spread widely in the lead up to the clashes, which left 53 dead. The majority of the victims were Muslims, beaten and lynched at the hands of Hindu supremacist mobs.

According to Haugen, Indian Facebook is awash with “dehumanizing posts comparing Muslims to ‘pigs’ and ‘dogs’ and misinformation claiming the Quran calls for men to rape their female family members.” Rumors that “Hindus are in danger” are common, padded by unfounded claims that Muslims were responsible for the spread of Covid-19, that Muslim men have an agenda to seduce and convert Hindu women to Islam, and that Muslims are generally anti-nationals who hate all Hindus.

“Facebook’s continued dereliction of duty in the face of mounting evidence of how its platform is enabling violence and genocide, is an alarm bell for all who care about human rights and democracy,” said Mr. Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Editor of IAMC. “As Facebook has failed to clean house despite multiple exposes, it is time for regulators to step in.”

This report is consistent with criticisms human rights organizations have made of India since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, writes: “This divisive political discourse has served to normalize violence against minorities, especially Muslims, in India. Prejudices embedded in the government have infiltrated independent institutions, such as the police, empowering nationalist groups to threaten, harass, and attack religious minorities with impunity.”

This rhetoric trickles down from some of the most powerful figureheads of the Indian government, which in turn normalizes extremism among the general population. A leaked document shows that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ideological offspring of the RSS and the party of Narendra Modi, encourages the use of multiple accounts under a single user, which aids in the spread of propaganda. The Bajrang Dal, a Hindu extremist group with links to the BJP, frequently posts anti-Muslim hate speech on the platform. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the umbrella organization of the Hindu supremacist movement, was specifically called out by Hagen for promoting “fear mongering” and “anti-Muslim narratives,” and targeting propaganda towards “pro-Hindu populations with V&I (violent and incendiary) intent.”

Facebook’s failures in India mirror its deadly role in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. If left unchecked, India’s hate speech problem could likely culminate in a similar genocide.

The Indian American Muslim Council is committed to working with human rights advocates in the US and in India to safeguard India’s pluralism and religious freedom for people of all faiths.

The Congress Party in India demanded a probe by a joint parliamentary committee into Facebook’s content moderation policies following revelations that the company was less stringent in curbing inflammatory posts, particularly Islamophobic content, on its platform.

“What right does Facebook have to push a particular ideology through fake posts, pictures and a narrative,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said. “The role of Facebook can no longer be dismissed as an error of omission as they are knowingly furthering the agenda of the ruling party and its ideology which is hate-filled, bigotry and dividing society.”

According to leaked internal documents, Facebook stopped short of flagging RSS-affiliated pages despite they promoting anti-Muslim narratives with violent intent; did not consider as “coordinated inauthentic behavior” when a BJP worker posted inflammatory posts from multiple accounts in the run-up to the West Bengal election; and failed to remove posts calling for violence against Muslim during last year’s Delhi riots.

65,000 More Men Than Women Died Of COVID-19 In The US

Men are much more likely to die from COVID-19 than women. This is true globally – where the death rate has been about 50% higher for men. Notably, this gap does not appear to be explained either by differences in the number of confirmed cases or in pre-existing conditions. With the pandemic cutting life expectancy of American men by more than two years, it is important to understand and mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 mortality among men.

Building on earlier work with Tiffany Ford from May 2020, “COVID-19 much more fatal for men, especially taking age into account,” we draw here on updated CDC data to examine the gender mortality gap by age, and over time in the U.S. Our main findings are:

The overall death rate for men is 1.6 times higher than the death rate for women; The gap is widest in the middle of the age distribution, with 184 male deaths for every 100 female deaths.

As death rates have fallen, the gender gap has narrowed slightly

  • The gap is not explained by a higher number of cases among men, or differences in pre-existing conditions
  • In Georgia and Michigan, Black men have the highest death rates, followed by Black women
  • Improving access to care and addressing vaccine hesitancy, especially for Black men, should be a high priority

The gender gap in death rates

Men have had a higher crude death rate than women, as the chart using CDC data from February 2020 to August 2021 shows. By the end of August, over 65,000 more men than women had died from COVID-19 (362,187 male deaths and 296,567 female deaths).

The gender gap is even wider when differences in the male and female age distributions are taken into account, since there are many more older women than men in the population, and age is the biggest risk factor in COVID deaths. In 2021, mortality rates for men and women have dropped sharply, but somewhat faster for men than women, leading to a slight narrowing of the gap over time. More recently, though, death rates for men and women have risen again due to the spread of the Delta variant, with greater increases among men than women.

Middle-aged men are especially vulnerable

The picture varies across the age distribution, however. The gap is largest for those towards the middle of the age distribution. Among those aged 45 to 64, for example, the number of male deaths as of September 15, 2021, was 79,711, almost twice the number of female deaths, at 45,587.

We also calculate the ratio in death rates (male death rate: female death rate) in COVID-19 mortality for specific age groups. For all age groups, we calculate a similar ratio, but age-standardize the death rates. As of September 15, 2021, the overall adjusted male death rate was 1.63 times higher than the overall adjusted female death rate. This means that men make up 62% of all (age-standardized) COVID deaths. Again, the male-female gap is most prominent in those at or just past middle age: among those aged 45-64, there are 184 male deaths for every 100 female deaths.

COVID cases similar for men and women…

One possible explanation for the mortality gap could be that men are more likely to contract COVID-19. But while it is difficult to assess case counts due to access and demand for testing, raw data on the number of cases by age and sex from the CDC suggest very similar levels for men and women (note that the age brackets are not exactly the same as shown above, because of the way CDC data is presented).

In fact, women have slightly higher case numbers, possibly because they may make up a greater share of riskier jobs that are high-contact and inflexible, such as healthcare support, personal care and services, and food preparation (although it is important to acknowledge that men make up a greater share of those in high-risk jobs like meatpacking). Likewise, these industries might require more routine testing, leading to an over-reporting in mild/asymptomatic cases. On the other hand, men might be less likely to test for asymptomatic cases, leading to less reported cases overall. Correcting for these measurement issues would give a more accurate cmparison of COVID-19 cases by sex.

…and pre-existing conditions do not explain the gap

Another possible explanation for the mortality gap is a higher rate of pre-existing conditions among men that make them more vulnerable to the virus. Again, some evidence suggests that this is not a major factor. One study of an Illinois hospital system by Joanne Michelle Gomez and co-authors, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, concluded that “male sex was independently associated with death, hospitalization, ICU admissions, and need for vasopressors or endotracheal intubation, after correction for important covariates.”

Another review of risk factors for hospitalization finds that men and women have similar rates of conditions associated with greater vulnerability, although there are some differences in specific conditions. For instance, “obesity, chronic kidney disease and hypertension were associated with higher rates of ICU admission among men, whereas obesity and heart failure were associated with higher rates of ICU admission among women.” These sex-specific differences make it important to better understand the relationship between sex, risk factors, and COVID-19 mortality, especially for different age cohorts and racial groups. As we discuss below, biological differences by sex are not the same across race, and there are additional factors at play that drive differences in death rates among women.

The gender gap has changed over the pandemic

The mortality gap has somewhat narrowed for some age groups since the start of 2021. Figure 5 shows that the death rate ratio for middle-aged adults was around 1.8 prior to February 2021. More recently, this ratio has leveled around 1.5, representing a decline of around 17 percent.

Black men fare worst of all

There are of course other gaps in vulnerability to COVID-19, especially by race. Our previous study from the earlier stages of the pandemic “Race gaps in COVID-19 deaths are even bigger than they appear” showed for example that among middle-aged adults, Black and Hispanic or Latino death rates are six times higher than those for white people.

This means that while there is a gap between men and women within racial groups, race is often a bigger factor. Tamara Rushovich and her colleagues, drawing on data from Georgia and Michigan, find that while Black men have the highest COVID mortality rates – six times higher than for white men – the next most vulnerable group is Black women. They also find that the sex gap varies by race, especially in Michigan, where, as they report, “the mortality rate for Black men is 170% times the rate for Black women, which is significantly higher than the equivalent ratio among white individuals: the rate is only 130% higher for white men compared to white women.”

Interestingly, the authors also point out that the COVID mortality gap between Black women and white women is significantly greater than the gap between white men and white women. This suggests that the biological sex differences in mortality cannot be treated as constant across all racial groups.

Rushovich and her co-authors also do not put much weight on “individual behaviors and beliefs” to explain the race or sex gaps in mortality (or indeed sex gaps within race), pointing instead to “structural factors including occupation and access to healthcare.” This seems right, but it is nonetheless important to understand potential behavioral reasons behind the disparate death rates, especially as it relates to the decision to get vaccinated.

Get men (especially Black men) vaccinated

The gender gap in COVID-19 mortality is the result of a combination of factors, which may differ by race, class, geography and other variables. This is a stark reminder of the need for disaggregated health data to inform an intersectional approach to analysis. Gaining a better understanding of biological differences, case counts, and risk factors will be an ongoing task for scientific researchers.

More immediately, an urgent public health priority is to encourage and incentivize those most vulnerable to the virus to get vaccinated. Both race and gender matter here. As of September 21, 2021, Black Americans were six percentage points less likely than white Americans to have had at least one vaccine dose (41% compared to 35%). The racial disparity in vaccination rates is likely due to a combination of persistent barriers to access and structural inequities, which not only includes geographical access, but also logistics, methods of communication, timing, and registration.

Many cities such as Philadelphia have facilitated better access to their underserved Black communities by partnering with community churches, opening alternative vaccination facilities such as local pharmacies, and using more direct methods of communication rather than with emails and Web portals. But while this has worked to some extent, there remain considerable gaps in vaccination take-up by race. Even among health care workers who had early and constant access to vaccines, Black workers were almost five times more likely than white workers to be hesitant about getting vaccinated. Our colleagues Sarah Reber and Cyrus Kosar also find that Black nursing home residents are likely to be in high-risk facilities with low vaccination rates, despite being one of the first few groups offered the vaccine.

What this means is that, in addition to improving access for underserved communities, we need additional research on the interventions that can effectively address hesitancy and increase demand for vaccine uptake. The Washington Post reports that “tapping into the communities where people live, drawing on information, outreach and vaccine administrators from those communities” is one good way to overcome hesitancy.

In addition to the racial gaps in vaccine rates, there is a gender gap too: 66% of women have had at least one vaccine dose, compared to 62% of men. Many states are also offering various vaccine incentive schemes – it may be worth seeing which have proven most effective with men. Especially with the spread of the new Delta variant, improving access and addressing vaccine hesitancy among the most vulnerable groups – including men, and especially Black men – must be a high priority for policymakers.

Metropolitan Asian Family Services Holds Fundraiser Gala

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bengali Association of Greater Chicago Celebrates Durga Puja Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panel Discusses Film By Tirlok Malik, ‘To New India With Love’

A panel discussion on Zoom was held on the short film ‘To New India with Love,’ made by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tirlok Malik, and presented by Padma Shri Dr Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, and was sponsored by The Indian Panorama and Indian American Forum according to a press release from Apple Productions. The Indian American Forum hosted the thought-provoking panel discussion.

‘To New India with Love’ is a non-commercial venture, and examines the subject of youth aspirations. The screenplay and dialogues are written by Murtaza Ali Khan and Rakesh Zharotia is the film’s editor and assistant director. While starting the proceedings for the day, Indu Jaiswal, Chairperson, Indian American Forum introduced the moderators and the panelists while welcoming the guests and underlining the agenda of the event. She congratulated Trilok Malik on the success of ‘To New India with Love’ which has been praised worldwide by audience and critics alike for his inspiring and empowering message to the youth of India.

The panel discussion was moderated by Chief Editor of The Indian Panorama Prof. Indrajit S. Saluja, and Dr. Renee Mehrra. Other panelists at the meeting included Dr. Azad Anand, Dr. Bhupi Patel, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Shashi Malik, Animesh Goenka, Sudhir Vaishnav, Neeta Bhasin, Anju Sharma, Lal Motwani. Also present were Pam Kwatra, Jyoti Gupta, Chitranjan Sahay Belwariar, and Anurag Sharma.

While congratulating Tirlok Malik on his latest film, Prof. Saluja reflected upon the overwhelming love for India that each and every film of Malik oozes with. Dr. Mehrra praised the film’s message and its relevance. Mrs Beena Kothari also praised the message and thanked Mr Malik for such a thought provoking Film

The panelists included Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Tirlok Malik, Dr. Azad Anand, Dr. Bhupi Patel, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Shashi Malik, and Animesh Goenka. Each of them praised the film’s subject and its timely message. Sudhir Vaishnav, Neeta Bhasin, Anju Sharma, Lal Motwani, and Andy Bhatia who were also present on the occasion appreciated the film while sharing their views about Malik’s remarkable contribution as a filmmaker over the last three decades. Pam Kwatra, Jyoti Gupta, Chitranjan Sahay Belwariar, and Anurag Sharma were also present.

Talking about his association with the film, Dr. Sudhir Parikh praised the film’s inspiring message. While highlighting the positive changes that have taken place in India over the last five decades, he reminded that the India of today is very different from when he first came to the US. He asserted that the Indian youth today has so many opportunities while touching upon the new initiatives of the present Indian government which have been instrumental in empowering the youth.

Sharing the vision behind the film, Tirlok Malik said that the film aims to inspire the youth of India to not give up on their dreams. Even if someone doesn’t have the means to realize his/her dreams, he/she can achieve success through their hard work and determination. My film ‘To New India with Love’ is an inspiring and motivational film that gives a message of hope to the youth to pursue their dreams.

Tirlok Malik is best known for making films about Indian immigrants in the US, starting with his pioneering work, ‘Lonely in America,’ which was shown in 74 countries and as well as on HBO and participated in 37 film festivals, winning several awards. He subsequently made films such as ‘Love Lust and Marriage,’ ‘Khushiyaan,’ and ‘On Golden Years’. He has also acted in films like ‘Dr. Babasaheb Ambedka,’ ‘Lajja,’ ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu,’ ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum,’ ‘Sivaji: The Boss,’ and ‘Mehbooba,’ among others.

Dr. Parikh praised the film’s inspiring message noting that Indian youth had far more opportunities today than five decades ago, and that positive changes have taken place in India. He also touched upon the new initiatives of the present Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he said have been instrumental in empowering the youth.

Malik said the film aims to inspire the youth of India to not give up on their dreams and to power through even if they do not have all the means. “My film ‘To New India with Love’ is an inspiring and motivational film that gives a message of hope to the youth to pursue their dreams,” Malik said.

Malik’s earlier film ‘Lonely in America,’ was shown in 74 countries and as well as on HBO and participated in 37 film festivals, winning several awards, the press release said. Other films he made include ‘Love Lust and Marriage,’ ‘Khushiyaan,’ and ‘On Golden Years’. He has also acted in films including ‘Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar,’ ‘Lajja,’ ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu,’ ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum,’ ‘Sivaji: The Boss,’ and ‘Mehbooba.’

Historic New Dawn At “Ekal Abhiyan”

There is historic new dawn at “Ekal Abhiyan” (‘Ekal Mission’), an umbrella organization for all the ancillary ‘Ekal branchlets’, as ‘Diwali’ festivities approach. After the departure of former CEO of “Ekal Abhiyan”, Bajrang Bagra, to tackle another assignment of national importance, Ramesh Shah, the former President and Chairman of ‘Ekal-USA’ has been unanimously appointed as the new CEO of “Ekal Abhiyan”.

What makes this a historic moment is the fact that, he is the first Indian American who rose from a foot-soldier level to this distinctive honor, whose sole focus and establishment is not United States (U.S.) but rural India. Rameshbhai, as he is popularly known, has been a founder member of ‘Ekal-USA’ and credited with building a modest ‘one-teacher-school’ project, 32 years back into a national brand in U.S. for ‘selfless social work’, with over 60 widespread chapters in U.S., Canada and beyond. While endorsing his successor, Bagraji – a highly admired visionary possessing leadership acumen – expressed nothing but confidence and admiration for the new CEO. In a statement he said,” Rameshbhai will improve upon working of Ekal in fields of operational efficiency and organizational growth. He was my guide and supporter for all matters related to foreign chapters. Moreover, his we unmatched passion and long experience in serving the community in multiple sectors, including VHP & Ekal, has always been a great asset”. Dr Mahesh Mehta, former Chairman of ‘VHP of America’ commenting on Ekal’s trailblazing success across the continent, communicated that,” I am excited and proud that Rameshbhai fulfilled the task he was entrusted with in such a monumental way.”

Coming from a very humble rural background, Rameshbhai with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a brief stint as an engineer in an Indian industrial corporation, arrived in U.S. in 1970, with a dream to excel like all immigrants. He subsequently obtained degrees in MBA-Finance and MA in Economics. When the national emergency was declared in India 1975, he actively participated in ‘Indians for Democracy’ and ‘Friends of India Society International’ that demanded the restoration of the Indian constitution. He has been a lifelong ‘Swayamsevak’ (volunteer) of H.S.S. While at ‘V.H.P. of America’, he took the responsibility of floating ‘Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation’ in 1988 and worked tirelessly and diligently to make it a great success.

In the initial days of ‘Ekal’ he used to carry box-load of self-prepared information-publicity material to various community events in the hope of getting an opportunity to talk about rural illiteracy. With amicable nature and deep convictions assisting his hard-work, he soon found access wherever he went. Over the years, Rameshbhai, with his dedication and tenacity has brought in numerous donors, volunteers and thinkers to Ekal fold and motivated diverse groups to join hands with Ekal. Besides Ekal, he is responsible for establishing ‘Gujarati Samaj of Houston’ and spearheading countless projects related to ‘eyecare’ in India. During this entire community-centric journey, he was assisted by his soulmate, wife-Kokilaben. They both have been felicitated number of times by the Indian diaspora in U.S.

The high points of Rameshbhai’s community involvement came in 2014 and 2019 when he successfully planned and coordinated public reception for the newly elected Indian PM Modi at huge arena-filled gatherings in New York City and Houston. This was unprecedented in U.S. for any foreign dignitary. For this herculean task, to everyone’s amazement, he ensured that every thread of Indian community was part of it. In January 2017, Rameshbhai was bestowed with the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA)’ by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee – the highest honor conferred on overseas Indians by the Government of India in recognition of achievements, both in India and abroad. Therefore, it is no wonder that Bagraji called him ‘the most suited candidate to be the CEO of Ekal Abhiyan’. Basically, as CEO, he is going to be the bridge between Ekal-India and Ekal-Global; a point-man for all Ekal activities; an accountability administrator; a success assessor of various rural projects; and the strategic planner for Ekal’s future.

Asked about his immediate goal, Rameshbhai, taking inspiration from ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyayji, said,”it is twofold – First, I would like to bring in a lot more dedicated, committed young people to Ekal because they are the future of this organization. Secondly, I believe that we have not yet explored the full potentials of all our chapter members. So, collectively, we need to find ways and means to bring their dormant skills to the surface and utilize them for everyone’s benefit”. The first mega event happening under his watch is going to be “Future of India’ gala of November 13 which will be virtual and co-chaired by Kamlesh Shah and Mohan Wanchoo. The distinguished speakers who are lending their eagerly awaited presence to this magnificent event are Renu Khator, Chancellor of University of Houston; Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson & Founder of Biocon. Rameshbhai is confident that the funds raised would set a new record for the special-projects.

Floods In Kerala Devastate Life, Properties

After heavy rains triggered a series of landslides in Kerala, residents of the particularly hard-hit areas of Kottayam and Idukki districts are reeling under the devastation. A large number of people residing in some of the affected villages have been displaced from their homes and forced to relocate to rehabilitation camps. So far, the death toll has reached 27, PTI reported.

Torrential rain has battered the coastal state of Kerala last week, causing rivers to swell and flooding roads that left vehicles submerged in muddy waters, with some houses reduced to rubble.

State Revenue Minister K Rajan said the rescue workers have recovered 15 bodies from the debris of the landslides on Saturday. “The rescue workers have recovered 15 bodies till now. This includes 12 bodies from Koottickal in Kottayam, one body from Peerumedu and two which were recovered yesterday from Kanjar in Idukki district,” PTI quoted Rajan as saying.

Rescue efforts have continued since Saturday, with the Indian army, navy and air force assisting. The National Disaster Response Force has deployed 11 teams across south and central parts of Kerala.

At least 27 people have been killed after heavy rain triggered floods and landslides in southern India. Thirteen people were killed in a landslide in the Kottayam district, according to state officials. Nine bodies have also been recovered from the site of another landslide in the district of Idduki, officials said, adding that two people are still unaccounted for. Three fishermen in the Malappuram district also remain missing.

Five children are among the dead. There are fears the death toll could rise further as many people are missing. Several houses were washed away and people became trapped in the district of Kottayam in Kerala state.

Military helicopters are being used to fly in supplies and personnel to areas where people are trapped, officials said. Thousands of people have been evacuated and 184 relief camps have been set up across the state, where over 8,000 people are being provided food, bedding and clothing.

The government has also announced financial aid for those who have lost houses and crops. It has decided to leave the decision of whether various dams in the state should be opened to an expert committee.

In 2018, some 400 people died when heavy rains flooded the state. There was controversy over the fact that dams were opened without any warning to people living in low-lying areas. Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the committee will decide which dams need to be opened.

“District collectors will be notified hours before opening the dams so that local people have enough time to evacuate,” his office said in a statement.

Meanwhile, India’s meteorological department has predicted heavy, isolated rainfall in the state for up to four more days.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Sunday that he had spoken to Mr Vijayan about the situation. “It is sad that many people have died due to the heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. My condolences to the bereaved families,” Mr Modi wrote.

Officials from Alleppey city told BBC Hindi that the situation in the city was worrying. Alleppey has a network of canals and lagoons and it is vulnerable to flooding.

Meanwhile, several tragic stories are coming out from the affected districts.

A family of six – including a 75-year-old grandmother and three children – were confirmed dead after their home in Kottayam was swept away, news agency PTI reported.

Fishing boats are being used to evacuate survivors trapped in Kollam and other coastal towns, as sections of road have been swept away and trees uprooted. It is not uncommon for heavy rainfall to cause flooding and landslides in Kerala, where wetlands and lakes that once acted as natural safeguards against floods have disappeared because of increasing urbanisation and construction.

The 2018 floods were the worst in Kerala in a century, and displaced more than one million people. An assessment carried out by the federal government that same year found that the state, which has 44 rivers flowing through it, was among the 10 most vulnerable in India to flooding

Heart Disease Among South Asians Is Focus of AAPI Webinar

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and the nation spends over $500 billion on cardiovascular disease each year. Studies have shown that immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal are experiencing a dramatic rise in heart disease. South Asians make up 25 per cent of the world’s population but they contribute 50 per cent to global cardiovascular deaths.

In this context, as part of an ongoing awareness and education campaign about high risk heart disease in South Asians, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States presented two eminent speakers and experts, Dr. Enas Enas and Dr. Amit Kera, discussing ways to create awareness on Heart Disease Among South Asians during a webinar on Saturday, October 16th, 2021.

In her welcome address, Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI, said, ” Today is World Restart a Heart Day. Today’s conference is being organized to educate and create awareness about the major health issue faced by South Asians and offer ways to mitigate Heart Disease.” Referring to the American Heart Association, Dr. Gotimukula pointed out that approximately 70 percent of Cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital. “Sudden Cardiac Arrest could be due to multiple reasons. Today’s CME is focused on Recent Advances in South Asian Heart Disease by 2 eminent Indian Americans who are in the forefront of research on this deadly disease.

In his lengthy and detailed presentation with anecdotes from his personal experiences in studying and treating patients with cardio issues, Dr. Enas Enas, provided a broader perspective on the “History and Magnitude of Heart Disease Among South Asians.” Sharing with the audience, how, during his early practice of Medicine, his personal experiences inspired him to get engaged in the research, treatment and prevention, dedicating his life for the cause of heart disease.

Dr. Enas referred to several research/studies around the world, showing high prevalence of CAD among Indians. “Indians have a big problem with premature heart disease,” Dr. Enas said and pointed out that 185,000 people of South Asian origin die of heart disease per year as against 15,000 Whites die of the same health issue. While referring to Mitigating Risk Factors, Dr. Enas recommended Indians to follow the American Heart Association developed Life Simple 7 with additional requirement for exercise and maintaining sugar level below 140.

Dr. Enas Enas, a cardiologist from Chicago and also Director of CADI  Coronary artery disease in Indians ) presented a historical perspective as to why the south Asians and especially, Indians have such high risk for heart disease, starting at very young age. Dr. Enas emphasized that traditional factors do not capture the entire risk and suggested that genetics especially LPA plays equally important role and advised all south Asians to get measurement of LP (a) at least once  in their life starting at young age.

A true pioneer, Dr. Enas is the first cardiologist to sound the alarm on the strikingly high rates and malignant nature of heart disease among Indians in the US and around the globe Dr. Enas is the first cardiologist to sound the alarm on the epidemic of coronary artery disease among Indians worldwide. As the principal investigator of the landmark CADI Study, he scientifically proved a 3-4 fold high rate of coronary artery disease among immigrants from India to the United States. He is also the first physician to identify and report a genetic predisposition to CAD in Asian Indians, mediated through lipoprotein(a) – a genetic variant of LDL cholesterol.

Dr. Amit Kera, a new rising star in Preventive Cardiology, built on that argument and presented genomic data to fill the gap and also pointed out that usual risk scoring has been done on Caucasians and cannot be extrapolated to south Asians. He advocated for the need for our own data  base and especially genomic data to go beyond coronary calcium score and use “ Polygenic score,” which can predict even  more accurately the risk of heart disease individually what he calls “Precision Medicine,” a futuristic concept, which he is working on as Associate Director at prestigious Broad institute affiliated with MIT and Harvard. Pointing to international studies that point to prevalence of Cardiovascular diseases high among South Asians, he said, Diabetes is diagnosed four times more among the Asians in comparison with Europeans.

Dr. Khera is a physician-scientist with expertise in epidemiology, clinical medicine, and human genetics. Among his scientific contributions, he developed a new approach to quantify genetic risk for common diseases, as well as the biomarkers that provide new biologic insights, and analyzed large-scale gene sequencing data to highlight key pathways underlying risk for coronary artery disease. His research program uses genetic variation as a tool to uncover new biology and enable enhanced clinical care informed by inherited susceptibility. He serves as the Associate Director, Precision Medicine Unit, Center for Genomic Medicine, MGH; Associate Director, Cardiovascular Disease Initiative, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Instructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and, Cardiologist, Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, MGH.

Dr. Brahma Sharma, Senior Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh affiliated Medical Center,  a co-host and moderator of the event, said, “While we are still trying to figure out different mechanisms for this enigma, that should not prevent but rather motivate to follow more aggressively life style modifications and pre-empt and prevent this silent epidemic that is taking a toll on young Indians and South Asians globally.” Dr. Sharma who is serving as the Chair of AAPI South Asian Heart Disease Committee and as the Chair AHA/ AAPI Liaison.

Dr. Amit Chakrbarty, who was a co-host and moderated the discussions, said, “In addition to educational webinars, we also plan to take this knowledge to grass root level via conducting mini- health screening camps across different cities with help of local AAPI chapters throughout USA and invite Global South Asian diaspora to join hands in this mission to prevent heart attacks and save lives.”

In her concluding remarks, urging the need for “Prevention is better than cure,” Dr. Gotimukula said, “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. 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. Efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and promote “Healthy Heart” lifestyles is essential.”  For more information on AAPI and its programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI’s Panel Discussion Explores Ways To “End Domestic Violence”

An international web-conference on Ways to Prevent Domestic Violence, with renowned speakers from across the United States and India was organized by the Women’s Committee of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on Sunday, October 17th, 2021.

Describing Domestic Violence as “a serious public health concern” Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI, in her welcome address said, “October is Domestic Awareness Month. Nearly one in four women and one in seven men in the U.S. have experienced physical violence at the hands of their domestic partners, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The very important discussion today with an experts panel is aimed at helping AAPI members and the larger society to learn on ways to help promote healthy, respectful and nonviolent relationships.”

Dr. Seema Arora, past AAPI BOT Chair and currently serving as AAPI Women’s Committee Chair, introduced the panelists, and explained the significance of the Color Purple, which is a symbol of courage. Setting the stage and the context for this very important area of concern, Dr. Arora said, “October is ‘Domestic Violence Awareness’ month.  AAPI women’s physicians committee is trying to increase awareness towards this very prevalent but subdued age old problem that can affect any gender, race, region & socio-economic strata in a panel discussion with renowned panelists from around the world.”

Lata Rao, a Domestic Violence Survivor and Domestic Violence Advocate, referring briefly to her life in the past, focused more on her efforts to prevent domestic violence.  Describing her past and the “most dreadful events” she had experienced in her life, impacting her physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, she said, “I wanted to do something for myself” starting her own business which was resented by her ex- spouse.  “I encourage women not to be what I went through” but to be more independent. She told the audience how meeting with mentors and having a support system gradually changed her life, while forgiving and staying positive helped me start a new phase in her life. “Today, I use my experiences as a tool to support and educate other women,” Ms. Rao said.

Dr. Preeti Saran, Domestic Violence Survivor and currently practicing Family Medicine & Obesity Specialist at RNJ Barnabas Hospital, New Jersey, pointed out that Domestic Violence is prevalent in all parts of the world. Sharing her own life’s challenges and abuses, Dr. Saran said, “Coming from very traditional society back in India, initially I thought it was happening to me because of my background.” Married to a dominant person, who was demanding, but suspicious and with trust issues, she had suffered immensely with insecurity and complexities of married life with intimidation and fearful for her own life. But she was able to turn her life around and has made a positive impact in the society. “Now, I am to reach out to other women who need support,” she said.

Dr. Meher Medavaram, a member of AAPI’s Women’s Committee introduced Deanne Mazzochi, Illinois State Representative, Attorney Life Science Law.  Rep. Mazzochi shared with the audience about her work as a state legislator and as an attorney who works with women and families, ensuring the safety of those in DV situations. She described the many laws and legal systems that are available to victims of DV in the state of Illinois. She advocated that one should “ensure that you have a safe place to live,” if and when you want to leave an unhealthy relationship.

Dr. Manju Sheth, an Internist, practicing Medicine at Beth Israel Lahey, MA, Chair and Advisory Board Member at SAHELI, Member of Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, President of “Women Who Win,” urged fellow physicians “to stay vigilant and collaborate” and look for signs/red flags to identify violence “as the patients can present with a multitude of unrelated symptoms that only compassionate questions can reveal clearly.”

“Women are very reluctant to speak to you and we often notice PTSD, trauma, depression and anxiety.” She told the Fellow physicians to be prepared to collaborate with: Medical, Psychological professionals and refer for services. Dr. Sheth pointed to SAHELI, a very well known organization for its work, providing psychiatric and other services to victims of DV in the Boston region.

Dr. Saraswati Muppana while introducing Dr. Eshita Chakrabarti wanted to know the role of media in supporting survivors of DV. Dr. Eshita Chakrabarti, drawing from her own personal experiences told about the powerful medium of the Media, which has been instrumental and can be used an effective tool to educate the society about the impact of and to prevent Domestic Violence.

Dr. Malti Mehta, who has worked with “Battered Women” introduced Dr. Nandita Palshetkar Chair of GAPIO Women’s Forum and Medical Director, IVF & Infertility Centers, India and serving as the President of Federation of OB/GYN Society of India. Dr. Palshetkar shared her insights and offered a global perspective and how the pandemic has contributed to increase in incidents of Domestic Violence. “Nearly one third of women across the world face Shadow Pandemic Domestic Violence.”

Dr. Udhaya Shivangi, AAPI Mississippi Chapter president, in her remarks said, “The best way to fight this issue is to talk about it, create awareness and share resources to recognize the signs and take steps for prevention and protection. ASHIANA is one such organization that helps empower domestic violence survivors to achieve self sufficiency with a culturally sensitive approach for the past 25 years helping South Asians in USA.

“The best way is to create awareness and provide resources and help lead the victims of Domestic Violence to be strong and independent and safe,” said Jaya Nelliot, a Board Member and Outreach Director of ASHIANA has been passionate about serving the community, and been actively involved with ASHIANA since 2009. Describing DV as a “pandemic,” she provided an introduction to the mission of and the broad spectrum of work ASHIANA does among South Asians in the North America.

Dr. Hetal Gor, a member of AAPI Women’s Committee  introduced Navneet Bhalla, International Human Rights Law, UK and the Executive Director of Manavi Women’s Organization, NJ. Bhalla spoke about the legal support with an in-house staff attorney being provided by MANAVI to victims of Domestic Violence in its 35 year long history in the United Kingdom. Drawing from personal experiences, how often abusers frame and falsely charge victims as criminals and threaten deportation. “MANAVI supports such victims and help them gain justice and needed services. We take a survivor-center approach to understand and to provide support them holistically,” she said. For more information on AAPI and its programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

FDA Recommends Moderna Covid-19 Booster Shot

A 19-member committee has voted unanimously in favor of advising the FDA to recommend booster shots for people who have previously been vaccinated with Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. It’s now up to the FDA to make a final decision, which the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will then consider shortly in coming up with the final recommendation for who should get the Moderna booster.

The COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna is the second to get the greenlight from a panel of experts assigned to advise the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moderna follows Pfizer-BioNTech, which, in September, received FDA authorization for its booster. The CDC followed up with a booster recommendation for anyone over 65 years old who received their last Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine dose at least six months earlier; and anyone aged 18 to 64 who is more vulnerable to complications of COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions or because they work in a higher risk setting including a hospital, grocery store or school.

The advisory committee unanimously voted in support of a booster of the Moderna vaccine; however, in a discussion following the vote members raised concerns about whether the data the committee and FDA have been reviewing so far are adequate to justify boosters for the wider population. Several committee members voiced their support of a booster dose for vulnerable populations, including those over age 65 and people with compromised immune systems, who are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 and its complications, but noted the dearth of data supporting the benefit among younger people, even those in jobs that might put them at risk of exposure. 

Still, the members voted to recommend the Moderna shot for a population that mirrors that currently eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster. (The same FDA committee had voted against recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech booster for these groups, but CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky decided to include them so those who find themselves in high-risk settings have the option of getting an additional dose.)

Moderna booster dose would give younger people who mount adequate immune responses after the initial shots any extra protection. Indeed, FDA scientists presenting to the committee emphasized that the immunity from the original two doses remains strong enough to protect most people from getting sick enough to need hospitalization, or from dying of COVID-19. 

Dr. Patrick Moore, another committee member and a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said he voted in favor of the booster “more from a gut feeling rather than based on really, truly serious data. The data itself is not strong, but [is] certainly going in the direction that is supportive of this vote.”

A Mobile App Could Save Lives In India

Newswise — A mobile app could help turn the tide of a rise in breast cancer in women as young as 30 in India, according to new research.

The disease is the most prevalent form of cancer globally and has become a major problem in India, where breast cancer accounts for 25% to 31% of all cancers.

There has also been a significant shift away from older women to those aged 30-50 developing the disease.

Dr Judith Fletcher Brown, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, says a mobile app used by on-the-ground healthcare workers might be the answer to reaching more women and teaching breast examination techniques.

She said: “India has emerged as a hub central to the development of new technology. It really is time the Indian government made a concentrated effort on raising awareness about the early warning signs of this disease as a preventative method.

“The rate of technological innovation and demand in India for mobile devices offer fresh possibilities for the health and wellbeing of the world’s largest democracy.

“It’s time to invest in innovative mobile technology to combat the rise in breast cancer statistics.”

Dr Fletcher Brown suggests a breast healthcare app could be used by Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs). These on-the-ground healthcare workers are already accepted by the community, they overcome socio-cultural barriers as part of their normal day-to-day work, and they could encourage vulnerable target groups to engage with the breast cancer education mhealth technology.

Using a bespoke app (operated on a digital tablet with culturally-specific images) ASHAs could educate and demonstrate breast self-examination techniques to help identify the early warning signs of cancer. Similar technology is fast and simple to use.

In her previous research, Dr Fletcher Brown carried out fieldwork in New Delhi, India, and found the reason for such appalling statistics was a lack of awareness about the early warning signs of breast cancer by women. Macro environmental forces including weak political will to fund women’s health, combine with a society in which societal protocols which render discussion about cancer as culturally sensitive.

She said: “Tragically, the intense focus of the health service resources on Covid-19 patients, means late diagnosis at an advanced stage still remains the main challenge in the war against breast cancer.”

Dr Fletcher Brown’s latest research, with Diane Carter, Professor Rajesh Chandwani and Professor Vijay Pereira, reveals mobile health technology (mhealth) as an opportunity to improve cancer healthcare knowledge for women in India.

She said: “Smart technology such as mobile phones are a promising tool for disease control interventions in emerging economies and in India the dominant focus has so far concentrated on HIV/AIDS and diabetes education. We suggest broadening the scope of mheath technology to raise breast cancer awareness among Indian women.”

Design Thinking And User Experience Design For Innovation Highlighted At ASEI’s Design Summit

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) convened a Design Summit with several academics, authors, speakers and practitioners covering innovation in Design from multiple perspectives on October 9th, 2021.

After a brief introduction to the organization by ASEI executive council member Vatsala Upadhyay, and a tribute to design maestro Steve Jobs marking the 10th anniversary of his passing, ASEI President Piyush Malik shared his forward-thinking views on Design based on his field experiences and learnings working with nimble Silicon Valley startups as well as fortune 500 corporations around the globe. These opening remarks centered around the importance of Design as a discipline and Design Thinking methodologies adapted from IDEO, Stanford’s d.school and IBM’s enterprise design thinking approach a.k.a  IBM Garage, which is an end-to-end model for accelerating digital transformation.

The keynote speaker Prof Sanjay Gupta who is the founder and Vice Chancellor of World University of Design (WUD) shared his vision illustrating the difference between User Interface (UI) and User Experience Design (UXD). He also spoke about applications of emerging concepts such as AR/VR (augmented reality /virtual reality) and innovation in design in his talk titled “Importance of design for engineers” based on his many decades of multidisciplinary design experience across Engineering, Architecture, Fashion and Academics.

Engaging Dr Gupta in a fireside chat following this address, Piyush shared some industry trends based on analyst reports and they discussed the impact of design on creator economy with NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), Blockchain, AR/VR, etc. Dr Gupta acknowledged the ASEI community and shared the impact WUD has had in its nascent life since inception and cited the importance of partnerships with industry bodies including Assocham, CII and now ASEI to expand its sphere of influence.

Dolly Parikh, Founder and CEO of Aloki Labs, a boutique design studio in California traced her inspiration to the 1977 film “Power Of 10” and shared learnings from her UX Strategy and Design career across companies such as Apple, Verisign, Expedia, Intuit, Medallia, Aviso, Automation Anywhere, InfoStretch, ARM and MindTickle.

UX Architect Noah Iliinsky, a popular speaker and author of 2 O’Reilly books on visualization enthralled the audience with his data storytelling approach and emphasized the 4 pillars of effective design viz. purpose, content, structure and formatting. His versatile technique can be applied to not only data visualization but all forms of communications. The illustrations of data in tables versus charts and graphs and when to choose pie versus line versus bar graphs were eye opening.

In the next section of the Design Summit focusing on career guidance, Sabira Gupta who is a Software engineer turned Principal UX Designer at Informatica shared her tips for those transitioning into Design careers. She showcased formatting as well as language do‘s and don’ts to inspire the budding designers aspiring for new opportunities  amongst the audience.

Veteran designer Ches Wadja spoke on “Intuition, humility and collaboration in service of design innovation”. Sharing personal stories from his time at Expedia as the design head to being the first designer when LinkedIn was a year old startup, Ches mesmerised the attendees with the captivating story of power of being open to ideas and how being agile  and scrapy enabled his seemingly small effort to show marked improvement in Linkedin’s adoption by the masses.The legendary designer also happened to be the first designer at Youtube (which was later acquired by Google) and his designed logo is still used by the company after all these years. It was indeed a pleasure to watch his serene and calm persona field questions from the audience after the newly minted designer Shrinal Patel showcased her portfolio and sought feedback from experienced professionals Sabira and Ches to critique as well as give suggestions for improving candidate portfolio presentations.

Shrinali  then moderated the brief panel discussion with speakers after which Surbhi Kaul acknowledged all volunteers  and proposed the vote of thanks to the speakers. Surbhi, a Vice President at Juniper Networks was a speaker at ASEI’s 33rd National Convention and is an ASEI Life Member who serves on the Silicon Valley chapter board. She also gave a “heads-up” & call for volunteers as well as next year’s board member nominations across all 5 professional chapters.

The moderated Q&A session then “graduated” to social audio Clubhouse room “Engineering Tales”, where the event continued with a few of the Design summit speakers. It included more non-ASEI members too, all of whom were given a chance to interact with speakers of this Summit. John Rodriges moderated the session, sharing his experiences as a UX designer with Citigroup and past jobs. The quality of conversations there once again proved the value of this topic and popularity of design as a discipline amongst techies as well as non -technical folks.

The Design Summit showed the attendees the depth of Design experience and thought leadership amongst ASEI community members and gave a glimpse of the richness of its collaborations with national and international professional bodies.

As is evident from recent activities  and newsletters, ASEI has had an action packed 2021 so far with a large number of educational and networking opportunities  and new programmes such as MentorConnect, UniversityConnect and Youth Programs to serve its members’ interests and inspire the next generation of engineers and technologists amongst the diaspora.

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) is a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for networking, career advancement, community service, mentoring and technology exchange for professionals, students and businesses in the United States and abroad. Members are guided by several objectives, including the creation of an open, inclusive, and transparent organization; providing positive role models, awarding scholarships, and remaining socially responsible. ASEI was founded in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan by a handful of visionaries. Today, the organization  has active professional chapters in Michigan, Southern California, Silicon Valley, San Diego, and Washington, DC and  more student chapters in universities across the US. For more information, or to join this professional body, visit: www.aseiusa.org

ATA’s Grand Bathukamma Celebrations Held in Chicago

American Telugu Association (ATA), a burgeoning Telugu non-profit organization catering to the interests of Telugu people across North America, organized its flagship event ATA Dussehra & Bathukamma Sambaraalu with much pomp and fervor on Saturday, October 9th, 2021 at Sri Venkateswara Swamy (Balaji) Temple in Aurora IL.

Bathukamma is a floral festival celebrated during Navratri time and is predominantly celebrated in the Telangana State of India. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers arrangement. Women and little girls offer prayers to goddess Gauramma for good health, wealth and prosperity to their families.

Bathukamma event took off to a grand start with a strong contingent of 350 local community members taking part in the festivities. Illinois 11th District Congressman Bill Foster was the Guest of Honor for the event and amidst Vedic renditions kickstarted the festivities with the ceremonial lamp lighting ceremony. Congressman  Foster appreciated the outstanding contributions of Telugus across all walks of life to the American society as doctors, engineers businessmen, etc. Congressman Congratulated the audience for keeping the Indian Traditions, festivals and values alive in the US and was curious about the significance of the festival. According to the Congressman, it was estimated that around 1 Million Telugu native language speakers/Indian Americans are currently living in the United States. Saree-clad Indian Women and little girls dressed in ethnic attire danced to the folk songs late into the evening.

A special kolatam dance performance spearheaded by Saritha Reddy Nandyala mesmerized the audiences. The special attraction of the evening was the percussion instruments performance by Maharashtra Rudra Garjana and Chicago Chenda group playing traditional drums (dhols). Drone cameras were used to capture the aarathi and Nimajjan activities. Specialty snacks from Telangana and sumptuous Indian delicacies were served. President Bhuvanesh Boojala, President-elect Madhu Bommineni wished that the people in both the Telugu states a safe and happy Dussera & Bathukamma. Bathukamma Event Coordination, planning and execution were conducted under the leadership of  Board of Trustee Dr Meher Medavaram and Sainath Reddy Boyapalli Board of Trustee & Treasurer ATA.  Maheedhar Reddy Muskula (ATA Office Coordinator) assisted the event. Regional Coordinators Venkatram Reddy Ravi, Venkateswara Ramireddy and Suchitra Reddy oversaw the event proceedings with support from Chalma Reddy Bandaru, Venkat Thudi, Mahipal Reddy Vancha, Bhanu Swargam, Narasimha Chittaluri, Karunakar Doddam, Amar Nettam, Laxmi Boyapalli, Ramana Abbaraju, Satish Yellamilli, Jagan Bukkaraju, Vishwanath Chitra, Hari Raini & Bheem Reddy. ATA Chicago Team congratulated the support of volunteers, local organizations, friends and family members for their never-ending support to ATA. ATA Media chair Bhanu Swargam praised the relentless media support to ATA.

Bathukamma pre-event and making of the floral stacks was coordinated by Suchitra Reddy, Padma Muskula, Deepthi Vancha, Vaishali Ravi, Tulasi RV Reddy, Harathi Thudi, Aparna Kollu, Lavanya Gundu, Nandini Bukkaraju, Deepika Namasani, Swathi Rao, Asha Tuluva Supritha Kesavarapu, Prasuna Reddy Voruganti, Sudha Kunduru, Anitha Koppara, Asha Reddy Pasham, Malleshwari Peddamallu & Saritha Challa. Raffle ticket winners, Best Bathukamma winners, etc were awarded prizes.

Patients Prefer In Person Over Telehealth Visits To Doctors

New Yorker Charlie Freyre’s sinuses had been bothering him for weeks last winter, during a COVID-19 surge in the city. It was before vaccines became widely available.

“I was just trying to stay in my apartment as much as possible,” Freyre says, so checking in with his doctor via an online appointment “just seemed like a more convenient option. And you know, it was very straightforward and very easy.”

The $20 copay was well worth it for the 26-year-old ad salesman, whose girlfriend also routinely relies on telehealth to see her nutritionist. “It’s a very easy way to get an expert opinion without having to necessarily leave your apartment,” fill out forms or spend idle time in waiting rooms, Freyre says. “We all know what going to the doctor can be like.”But now, Freyre has a sore knee — and he’s not content to to visit his doctor by phone or Zoom. “That’s something that I will 100% want handled in person.”

Freyre’s telehealth experience is fairly typical. Telehealth is continuing to have its breakout moment — transforming the way we receive routine medical care during the pandemic, when visiting medical centers has carried with it the risk of coronavirus infection. Yet even today, with that infection risk easing for those who have been vaccinated, many patients nevertheless prefer that doctors, nurses and other health workers be able to examine and talk to them in person.

That’s one finding from a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard that surveyed patients in August and September. Around 42% of respondents said someone in their household had used telehealth. Of those, 82% reported satisfaction, yet nearly two-thirds — 64% — would have preferred to see their nurse or doctor in person.

In-person visits can be more thorough

“I think people just really like that face-to-face visit,” says Rebekah Bernard, a Fort Myer, Fla., family physician, and a board member of Physicians for Patient Protection, which advocates for better patient care. Bernard, who runs a concierge medical practice that charges patients a flat monthly fee for services, says she started offering telehealth options to her patients five years ago, long before COVID-19 hit U.S. shores. Back then, not one of her patients used it. That changed during the pandemic, when patients told her having the telehealth option allayed their worries about getting safe access to health care.

That sort of shift in acceptance and how it’s used may have big implications for telehealth’s role in the U.S. in the future. It’s use by various physical and mental health specialties grew tremendously in 2020, as federal and state governments and insurance companies adopted emergency COVID-19 measures, relaxing restrictions on coverage, privacy controls and professional licensing, for example. Now, some of those rules regarding telehealth appointments are being reinstated.

Bernard, the physician in Florida, says the last year has also shown her the limits and downsides of telehealth: “You may be missing that opportunity to be talking with the doctor who’s going to say, ‘Hey, by the way, I see you haven’t had your mammogram or you haven’t had your pap [smear].’ ”

Both she and most patients prefer in-person visits, because it is both more personal, thorough and ultimately, she says, better for the patients’ health.

A lifeline in rural areas

But when and where such visits aren’t available, she says, telehealth can be critical. “What’s going to be important is offering patients options and finding out what makes the most sense in a certain area,” she says. “I’m sure in rural areas or places where, for example, they don’t have a lot of specialists like psychiatrists, we really need to make sure we have access to telehealth for those patients.”

Myriad telehealth companies are already investing to make that happen.

New York City-based TytoCare, helps medical centers and doctors gather data on patients remotely by distributing devices that can sensitively measure patients’ oxygen levels or take images of the inside of their throat, for example. David Bardan, a vice president at TytoCare, says that data is then transmitted to doctors, who use it diagnose medical problems.

Nursing homes in rural areas, for example, are heavy users of the service, he says. “This is way more convenient than having to potentially air-transport or even having to drive long distances, in many cases, to access those specialists,” he says. That’s the sort of circumstance where telehealth excels, Barden says — and he believes those applications of telehealth will endure.

Governor Kathy Hochu Leads Diwali Celebrations In New York

Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York, joined by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, kick started Diwali celebrations in the state of New York while joining the South Asian community at the World’s Fair Marina Restaurant in Corona, Queens on October 11, 2021.

Governor Hochul delivered remarks and presented a Proclamation to celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali, one of the most significant festivals is Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. It’s a five-day celebration that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.

In her remarks, Governor Hochul said: “Thank you for allowing me the chance to share in the tradition of lighting the candles, to participate here tonight, to meet so many of you who have been my friends a long time on this journey, and your support means the world to me and I’ll never take that for granted.”

The first female governor of the great state of New York thanbked the organiZers and leaders of the Indian American community: “I want to just thank Uma SenGupta for all you’ve done for us, and to your family, your mother, and the influence of your late father – you are the reason why we celebrate today, people like you who came to this country humbly, not sure of what the future would bring, but you always had that deep rooted faith in your traditions and to know that Diwali followed you to this country, that you had this light within your heart that you could bring to America and let shine and let all of us gather here in honor of the Goddess Lakshmi. Many of the traditions honor the male gods but this is one that’s dedicated to women so I think this is particularly special as well. Dr. Sumita Sengupta, I want to thank you as well. Randhir Jaiswal, the Consul General, is here as well. Dr. Hari Shukla, I want to thank him for making me feel so welcome, the founder of South Asians of New York.”

“New beginnings, new endeavors and an opportunity to renew ties with family and friends” is what Diwali brings to people around the world who celebrate the Festival. Like food, fashion, and faith, Indians carry with them their beloved festivals wherever their livelihood takes them. It’s no different in the US where people of Indian origin have been living since the 1820s.

Governor Kathy Hochulm, who is seeking to be elected as the Governor in the polls next years, is leading in a new poll of likely Democratic candidates for the state’s top seat ahead of next year’s primary and election season, and the vast majority of New Yorkers don’t want disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo to run again. Hochul got 44% support from New York State residents, with State Attorney General Letitia James coming in second at 28% and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at 15%, with 13% unsure, according to the Marist Poll released Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Hochul added, “This occasion celebrates the eternal hope of human kind that guides all of our communities, and as Diwali inspires a spirit of festivity, New Yorkers extend appreciation to our Indian and South Asian communities for their contributions and commitment to upholding and sharing our wonderfully rich heritage story and time-honored traditions, and we extend the warmest wishes for joy and peace and prosperity in the future.”

Over the years, a growing Indian immigrant population has been celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, going all out to replicate the massive festivities from their motherland. The scale of celebrations has become such that popular US tourist spots like Disneyland in California and New York’s Times Square get painted in vibrant Indian colours. Even the White House has been celebrating the festival for many years. After all, the 3.1 million Indian-Americans form one of the most successful immigrant communities in the US.

Need For Management Of Perception About India:” V. Muraleedharan Tells Diaspora

“India is fully democratic. Judiciary is independent. Media is free. There is no substance to the claims that the media is controlled by the government,” declared India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Shri V. Muraleedharan on October 12th at the Mill River Hotel in Stamford, CT.

The visiting Indian leader from the ruling BJP Party was responding to a question raised by this writer about the “intimidation, influence and control” on the media by the government and about the negative image portrayed by the Western media due to the short-sighted and communalistic policies and programs of the ruling BJP.

Shri Muraleedharan urged for a “management of perception” to change the way India is being portrayed by the Media and appealed to the NRIs to be the “ambassadors of India” to help reshape the image outside of India. “I am here to listen to you. Want to make sure your suggestions are heard and implemented,” Muraleedharan said.

The young leader from the state of Kerala and elected from to India’s Upper House of Parliament from the state of Maharashtra was addressing the representatives of the Diaspora during a Reception and Interactive session organized by the Consulate of India in New York and the GOPIO – CT Chapter. Stating that the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi calls himself a sewak of every Indian, Muraleedharan said, “The role of the Ministry of External Affairs is to care for the Diaspora. And my visit today is for the purpose of benefitting the Indian Diaspora,” he told the audience.

Shri Muraleedharan, who officially took charge as Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in May 2019, is visiting the United States to address the United Nations. He took the opportunity to travel to Connecticut to “listen” directly to the Diaspora and address their concerns. “I’ve been in charge of the External Affairs Ministry for the last 2 years. I was feeling that there is a need for interaction with the Diaspora. And this forum is a place where people have an opportunity to share their problems and concerns,” he told the audience. While assuring the community that he has listened to the concerns of the Diaspora, he will address each one of them and find an amicable solution.

On Press Freedom in India, the Minister categorically denied that Government is interfering with or “controlling” the media. “Allegations that the Indian media is controlled by the government doesn’t have any substance to it,” he said. Pointing to the fact that there are several media who are openly critical of the government, he asked the audience, “If the freedom for the media is restricted, how can the media be allowed to be critical of the Government? How could the media publish the stories of the bodies floating in the Ganges during the peak of the Pandemic, even though the situation is far from what was reported?” He described such allegations as totally false and there is a need for the “management of perception.”

The event was led by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chair of GOPIO International and GOPIO – CT leadership including President Ashok Nichani, Exec. VP Prasad Chintalapudi, Secretary Prachi Narayan, Treasurer Biru Sharma, and Joint Secretary Meera Banta. Several past presidents Sangeeta Ahuja, Shailesh Naik, Shelly Nichani and Anita Bhat.

Among others who attended the Reception and the Interactive Session with the Honorable Minister Shri V. Muraleedharan, included, Deputy Consul General of Indian in New York, Dr. Varun Jeph; Consul for Community Affairs at the Indian Consulate Mr. A.K.Vijayakrishan; CT Assemblyman Harry Arora, several community organizations including Milan cultural Association President Suresh Sharma; Past President of the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and CT, Andy Bhatia; CT Tamil Sangam President Shivakumar Subramaniam and past president Uma Sekhar; CT Telugu Association Past President Rao Yelamachali; Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut President T.P. Sujanan; GOPIO Media Council Chair Nami Kaur; Sabinsa Corporation President Dr. Asha Ramesh; and former Provost and Vice President of Academic affairs of GOPIO, Dr. Rupendra Paliwal.

In his introductory remarks by Dr. Thomas Abraham, welcoming Minister V. Muraleedharan said, “After the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was merged with the External Affairs Ministry, Cabinet Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his associate Minister Shri Muraleedharan have been dealing with Diaspora affairs. Minister Muraleedharan, we are so pleased that you took some time off your busy schedule at the UN to join us and interact with us.”

Dr. Abraham provided a brief history of GOPIO International, which was formed at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989 in New York, which has now grown into  a Pan-Indian community organization for NRIs and PIOs with over 100 chapters spread in 35 countries. “We at GOPIUO are a partner with Indian missions abroad to protect India’s interest around the world.

Drawing the attention of the Minister to some of the issues faced by the NRI/PIO community, Dr. Abraham said, “We campaigned for Dual Nationality and the govt. came up with PIO Card and later on with the OCI card. We asked for voting rights for Indian citizens living outside India. Although voting rights are given, there has been very little participation because of the requirements of physical voting in India. The Election Commission has recommended Proxy Voting, but not implemented yet.”

He urged the government of India to appoint at least two Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, representing the 32 million people of Indian origin living outside India, more than half of them Indian citizens.

Other issues raised during the meeting included, violence against Indians in South Africa; post pandemic issues of Indian workers in the Middle East; Challenges for NRIs to open and operate banking accounts in India and the technical problems faced while submitting application for OCI Cards, removing travel restrictions to India for people of Indian origin who are citizens outside India and issues relating to OCI card holders doing business in India, but are treated as foreigners in some areas where changed government rules such as the Biodiversity Act are affecting them. “We also suggest some initiatives through ICCR for sending cultural troupes to PIO countries for India’s 75th Celebration next year.”

Dr. Abraham introduced Deputy Consul General at the Indian Consulate Dr. Varun Jeph, whom he described as a medical professional, “Dr. Jeph, and has joined the mission only last month and has already reached out all community organizations.”

The ministry of external affairs wants to offer opportunities for every Indian abroad the right to vote, the Minister Muraleedharan said. However, the practical aspect of this major issue has several challenges. Pointing to the fact that Indians are spread over more in almost all 193 countries and coordinating the efforts and ensuring that all those who are eligible are given the opportunity to vote has been a major challenge, while assuring the Diaspora that he will address the issue and follow with the concerned officials.

On Cronoa related travel restrictions, the Minister said, the situation is evolving. We want that every Indian should be given the opportunity to travel to India.  However, it’s based on international civil aviation authority and that commercial flight operations have not started to the full yet. In order to attract foreign tourists to India, the Government has announced that the there will be no charges for visa for the first five lakh Visa applicants to India, Muraleedharan said.

Responding to a question of NRIs not being allowed to own properties in India, he assured “you need not be worried” and said that he is not aware of any law in any state, including in the state of Andhra Pradesh that the properties of NRIs are going to be taken away by the state.

Muraleedharan said, the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence is “a celebration of Indians across the globe so I don’t think that you need to come to India to participate in that. All our Missions are organizing the events and I urge every Community organization to take the lead so that every Indian is involved in the celebration of the 75th year of India’s Independence.”

“I am here to listen to you. Want to make sure your suggestions are heard and implemented” V. Muraleedharan Tells Community Representatives During Interactive Session In Connecticut

“I am here to listen to you. Want to make sure your suggestions are heard and implemented,” India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Shri V. Muraleedharan during a Reception and Interactive session with the Indian Diaspora on October 12th at the Mill River Hotel in Stamford, CT. Stating that the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi calls himself a sewak of every Indian, Muraleedharan said, “The role of the Ministry of External Affairs is to care for the Diaspora. And my visit today is for the purpose of benefitting the Indian Diaspora,” He told the audience.

“India is fully democratic. Judiciary is independent. Media is free. There is no substance to claims that the media is controlled” by the government, declared Shri V. Muraleedharan, who is visiting the United States to address the United Nations.

Muraleedharan, who officially took charge as Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in May 2019, took the opportunity to travel to Connecticut to “listen” directly to the Diaspora and address their concerns. “I’ve been in charge of the External Affairs Ministry for the last 2 years. I was feeling that there is a need for interaction with the Diaspora. And this forum is a place where people have an opportunity to share their problems and concerns,” he told the audience. While assuring the community that he has listened to the concerns of the Diaspora, he will address each one of them and find an amicable solution.

The event was jointly organized by the Consulate of India in New York and GOPIO – CT, led by GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani, Exec. VP Prasad Chintalapudi, Secretary Prachi Narayan, Treasurer Biru Sharma, and Joint Secretary Meera Banta. Several past presidents including Sangeeta Ahuja, Shailesh Naik, Shelly Nichani, and Anita Bhat joined in at the reception.

Among others who attended the Reception and the Interactive Session with the Honorable Minister Shri V. Muraleedharan, included, Deputy Consul General of Indian in New York, Dr. Varun Jeph; Consul for Community Affairs at the Indian Consulate Mr. A.K.Vijayakrishan; CT Assemblyman Harry Arora, several community organizations including Milan cultural Association President Suresh Sharma; Past President of the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and CT, Andy Bhatia; CT Tamil Sangam President Shivakumar Subramaniam and past president Uma Sekhar; CT Telugu Association Past President Rao Yelamachali; Malayalee Association of Southern Connecticut President T.P. Sujanan; GOPIO Media Council Chair Nami Kaur; Sabinsa Corporation President Dr. Asha Ramesh; and former Provost and Vice President of Academic affairs of GOPIO, Dr. Rupendra Paliwal.

In his introductory remarks by Dr. Thomas Abraham, welcoming Minister V. Muraleedharan said, “After the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was merged with the External Affairs Ministry, Cabinet Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his associate Minister Shri Muraleedharan have been dealing with Diaspora affairs. Minister Muraleedharan, we are so pleased that you took some time off your busy schedule at the UN to join us and interact with us,” Dr. Abraham said.

Dr. Abraham provided a brief history of GOPIO International, which was formed at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in 1989 in New York, which has now grown into  a Pan-Indian community organization for NRIs and PIOs with over 100 chapters spread in 35 countries. “We at GOPIUO are a partner with Indian missions abroad to protect India’s interest around the world.

Drawing the attention of the Minister on some of the issues of the NRI/PIO community, Dr. Abraham said, “We campaigned for Dual Nationality and the govt. came up with PIO Card and later on with the OCI card. We asked for voting rights for Indian citizens living outside India. Although voting rights are given, there has been very little participation because of the requirements of physical voting in India. The Election Commission has recommended Proxy Voting, but not implemented yet.”

He urged the government of India to appoint at least two Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, representing the 32 million people of Indian origin living outside India, more than half of them Indian citizens.

Other issues raised during the meeting included, violence against Indians in South Africa; post pandemic issues of Indian workers in the Middle East; Challenges for NRIs to open and operate banking accounts in India and the technical problems faced while submitting application for OCI Cards, removing travel restrictions to India for people of Indian origin who are citizens outside India and issues relating to OCI card holders doing business in India, but are treated as foreigners in some areas where changed government rules such as the Biodiversity Act are affecting them. “We also suggest some initiatives through ICCR for sending cultural troupes to PIO countries for India’s 75th Celebration next year.”

Dr. Abraham introduced Deputy Consul General at the Indian Consulate Dr. Varun Jeph, whom he described as a medical professional, “Dr. Jeph, and has joined the mission only last month and has already reached out all community organizations.”

The ministry of external affairs wants to offer opportunities for every Indian abroad the right to vote, the Minister said. However, the practical aspect of this major issue has several challenges. Pointing to the fact that Indians are spread over more in almost all 193 countries and coordinating the efforts and ensuring that all those who are eligible are given the opportunity to vote has been a major challenge, while assuring the Diaspora that he will address the issue and follow with the concerned officials.

On Cronoa related travel restrictions, the Minister said, the situation is evolving. We want that every Indian should be given the opportunity to travel to India.  However, it’s based on international civil aviation authority and that commercial flight operations have not started to the full yet. In order to attract foreign tourists to India, the Government has announced that the there will be no charges for visa for the first five lakh Visa applicants to India, Muraleedharan said.

On Press Freedom in India, the Minister categorically denied that Government is interfering with or “controlling” the media. “Allegations that the Indian media is controlled by the government doesn’t have any substance to it,” he said. Pointing to the fact that there are several media who are openly critical of the government, he asked the audience, “If the freedom for the media is restricted, how can the media be allowed to be critical of the Government? How could the media publish the stories of the bodies floating in the Ganges during the peak of the Pandemic, even though the situation is far from what was reported?” He described such allegations as totally fals and there is a need for the “management of perception.”

Responding to a question of NRIs not being allowed to own properties in India, he assured “you need not be worried” and said that he is not aware of any law in any state, including in the state of Andhra Pradesh that the properties of NRIs are going to be taken away by the state.

Muraleedharan said, the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence is “a celebration of Indians across the globe so I don’t think that you need to come to India to participate in that. All our Missions are organizing the events and I urge every Community organization to take the lead so that every Indian is involved in the celebration of the 75th year of India’s Independence,”

Connect TheUNN for the latest news…!

Hindu Heritage Month Goes Into US Congressional Record

Illinois Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has submitted a statement in the House of Representatives Sept. 30, 2021, on recognizing October as Hindu Heritage Month. The statement is now part of the U.S. Congressional Record, the official daily record of proceedings in Congress. (His statement can be found in the Congressional Record Vol. 167, No. 172 of Oct. 1.)

Rep. Krishnamoorthi, said he joins the many Hindu faithful in the United States in recognizing October as Hindu Heritage Month. Several Hindu organizations in the U.S., including Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), have declared October as Hindu Heritage Month, and several states including New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Minnesota, Virginia and Massachusetts have proclaimed October as Hindu Heritage Month, according to the website hindumonth.org, as have several cities like Dallas, TX, and  La Palma, CA.

The Congressman, who represents the 8th Congressional District in Illinois, said his constituency “is home to many followers of this uniquely pluralistic religion, and I wish to celebrate the Hindu community’s valuable contributions to my district and to our state and country.”

“I believe this acknowledgment is especially timely, given the disturbing rise of prejudice and racism in the country,” the Congressman said, “including Hinduphobia as manifested in hateful speech and violent acts perpetrated against Indian-Americans and Hindu houses of worship.”

Noting how Hinduism dates back millennia and may have ‘profoundly’ influenced both ancient and modern cultures, Krishnamoorthi said “It’s message of religious tolerance, non-violence, and the universality of the human experience was introduced to this country in 1893 by Swami Vivekanand in his landmark address at the World Parliament of Religions,” in Chicago.

Vivekananda’s spiritual influence on Mahatma Gandhi was profound, the Congressman said, and Gandhi “inspired the important work of one of our nation’s most revered leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., to advance the cause of civil rights in the United States.”

Rep. Krishnamoorthi went on to say, “The Hindu faithful in our country include physicians, lawyers, scientists, economists, philosophers, artists, academics, business leaders, government officials – and Members of Congress,” who are inspired by Vivekananda’s call to service and respect for all religions and people.

“Madame Speaker, I know all Americans of goodwill share these beliefs, and today I would like to celebrate the work of the Hindu faithful in building bridges of understanding between all Americans, fo their important contributions to our economy and our cultural and civil life, and for the part they play in creating our wonderful and distinctively diverse American experience,” Krishnamoorthi said.

On Sept. 5, 2021, the ‘Hindu Heritage Month’ which has an eponymous organization (hindumonth.org) announced, “Today, Dharma-based organizations including those of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain traditions from around the world, are pleased to announce the addition of another major festival, indeed an entire month of festivals,in October as the Hindu Heritage Month.”

It goes on to say, “Hindus represent one of the newest and the fastest growing immigrant communities in the United States and Canada. Backed by a rock-solid family structure and love for education, they are fully integrated into every aspect of their adopted society, enriching it with not only outstanding professional contributions but also rich cultural heritage. From the elegant ethnic wear to delicious food to festivals like Holi and Diwali, their diverse and rich culture has impressed all in the Western world.” Various Indian organizations of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain traditions announced Oct. 3 that the month of October has been designated as “Hindu Heritage Month.”

Thee celebration of Hindu Heritage Month will be a showcase for the diversity that is so fundamental to Hindu civilization, said a press release, adding that each participating organization will decide the manner as well as the schedule of their events. Celebrations can take many forms: cultural programs, fashion shows, webinars, multi-day conferences, walkathons and more. Some events may be conducted in-person but the majority will be virtual, given the Covid-19 situation.

Mission Bindi and the Hindu Student Council are the first organizations to announce their first event for Hindu Heritage Month. They will be observing “World Bindi Day” on the first day of Navratri, Oct. 7, 2021. Dr. Jai Bansal, Indian American vice president of the World Hindu Council of America, and one of the organizers of the event, noted that with second and third generations now making their mark in their adopted lands, the time has come for the Hindu community to talk about its rich cultural heritage and important role in making the multitude of contributions to every aspect of the fabric of the adopted lands.

TiECON East Hosts a Successful In-Person Business Conference

TiECON East, the largest entrepreneurial conference in New England, broke the COVID-19 pandemic spell in Boston and successfully held a day-long in-person conference, which attracted over 50 speakers and was attended by about 400 people.

TiECON East, which is organized by TiE Boston, was be held in-person on Oct. 1 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA. All attendees were required to be fully vaccinated and to fully adher to the CDC health guidelines. Major sponsors of the conference included Amazon, Microsoft, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Arent Fox, Converge, Sittercity, Innospark, Thread Research, Progress and Embark.

“Holding an in-person TiECON 2021 was challenging due to COVID-19, but many thanks to our sponsors, speaker, attendees and volunteers who made this conference a huge success,” said Sanjay Jain, Co-Chair of TiECON East. “We were sold out one day prior due to our speakers line-up and safety protocol.” Kiran Uppuluri, Chair of TiECON East and Founder and CEO of verteXD, said the success of the conference was the result of six months of immense work by the team and a labor of love.

“We applied our proven SCE Framework (Copyright verteXD) outline that takes a Human-centered design approach to the conference, and seeing it come to life felt great,” said Ms. Uppuluri. “We squarely focused the design on the customer facing the new reality – i.e. the Post-Pandemic world.” She said the outcome was: a sold out conference, fantastic sponsors, a wrapped audience for the entire day, and a series of “aha” moments hearing from 55 thought leaders and innovation experts presenting never before seen or heard content. “Safety was paramount and we thank all our attendees for adhering to the policies we put in place,” said Ms. Uppuluri.

Anu Chitrapu, President of TiEBoston, the organizer of TiECON East 2021, said the conference was hugely successful. Prasad is Senior Vice President and Head Scientist at Amazon Alexa, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) service that powers Amazon’s family of Echo products, Amazon Fire TV, and third-party products. He leads research and development (R&D) in AI technologies aimed at making interaction with Alexa a magical experience for customers.

Shetty is Co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. Spun out of MIT, Ginkgo’s mission is to make biology easier to engineer. Started in a Cambridge, MA, apartment, Ms. Shetty has helped to grow the company to over 500 people. Ginkgo’s cell programming platform is enabling the growth of biotechnology across diverse markets, from food to agriculture to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo is also actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including community testing, epidemiological tracing, vaccine manufacturing and therapeutics discovery.

“Safety was paramount in the conference. Only 100% vaccinated people were allowed to attend. In fact, we had to decline some attendees and speakers who could not comply with this requirement,” said Ms. Chitrapu. “Our swag bag had a pack of 5 Anti-Viral masks so attendees could change their masks as needed and individual hand sanitizer bottles. It was this attention to safety that gave our attendees confidence.”

AAPI’s Global Healthcare Summit 2022 To Be Held In Hyderabad

The 15th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) 2022, organized by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will be held at the prestigious Hotel Avasa in Hyderabad, India from January 5th to 7th, 2022.

“Harnessing the power of Indian Doctors worldwide, the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit platform has evolved with the support of prominent global and Indian medical associations,” says Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI. “The theme for the Summit this year is, ‘Prevention Is Better Than Cure Through Technology, Telemedicine & Transformation’ and we want to coordinate and collaborate all our resources towards helping India emerge stronger and healthier.”

According to her, “Senior leaders from leading healthcare organizations such as pharmaceuticals, device and medical equipment manufacturers and major medical teaching institutions, hospitals and from the Ministries – Health, External/Overseas Affairs and regulatory bodies are collaborating with AAPI with the ultimate goal to provide access to high quality and affordable healthcare to all people of India.”

AAPI is hopeful that several international healthcare industry partners are looking for opportunities to participate at this event for greater collaboration on Research & Development and philanthropic engagements, Dr. Gotimukula added.  Chronic diseases, notably diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, COPD, oncology, maternal and infant mortality, and emerging ones – trauma and head injury, transplant and minimally invasive robotic surgeries are only some of those that are going to be covered during this Summit. An exclusive Healthcare CEO forum brings the healthcare industry perspective, with senior Government officials, both Union and State providing the legislative wisdom. Hands-on workshops provide supervised skill transfer.

“Physicians and delegates  from different parts of the world will come together, facilitating exchange of knowledge,  cutting edge technology  and best practices in protecting and promoting healthcare,” Dr. Udaya Shivangi, Chair of AAPI GHS USA 2021 says. “In addition to continuing the ongoing projects commenced by past AAPI leaders, GHS will have new initiatives and innovative ideas. The GHS 2022 will focus on envisioning future digital health solutions, and preventive strategies with state of the art CMEs and  Symposiums with information on current and emerging issues and trends in healthcare.”While elaborating on the themes and areas that are going to be covered during the Summit, Dr. Kusum Punjabi, Chair of AAPI BOT, says, “In our efforts to realize the core mission of AAPI, which is to share the best from leading experts from around the world, to collaborate on clinical challenges, research and development, philanthropy, policy and standards formulation, the Summit in Hyderabad will have clinical tracks that are of vital to healthcare in India.”

Dr. Ravi Kolli, President-Elect of AAPI said, “Healthcare in India is one of the largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment.  India is making significant improvements in the healthcare infrastructure and is building modern medical facilities throughout India. Indian doctors have made tremendous progress in the 21st century and India is now being touted as a medical tourism hub” While elaborating the objectives of the Summit, Dr. Anjana Samadder, Vice President of AAPI, says, “This innovative Summit is aimed at advancing the accessibility, affordability and the quality of world-class healthcare to the people of India. Among other areas, the Summit will focus on prevention, diagnosis, treatment options and share ways to truly improve healthcare transcending global boundaries.”

This international health care summit is a progressive transformation from the first Indo-US Healthcare Summit launched by AAPI USA in 2007. Since then, AAPI has organized 14 Indo – US/Global Healthcare Summits and developed strategic alliances with various organizations. “It is these learning and relationships that have now enabled AAPI and participating organizations to plan ahead and prepare for an outstanding event that is expected to have over 300 very prominent and talented physicians and surgeons of Indian origin from around the world and are very passionate about serving their homeland, Mother India,” Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Secretary of AAPI, says.

According to Dr. Krishan Kumar, Treasurer of AAPI, “With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI would like to make a positive and meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India.”There are several AAPI leaders who are working very hard to make the GHS a memorable event, said Dr. Gotimukula. “Among them, I want to recognize Dr. Lokesh Edara, Chair Global Medical Education; Dr. Seema Arora, Women’s Forum; Dr. Joseph M. Chalil, Chair of CEO Forum; Dr. Soumya Neravetla, Chair of the popular Medical Jeopardy; Dr. Ayesha Singh and Dr. Shubham Anand, GAIIMS President, who are coordinating the Medical Students Research Symposium.”

“Being organized at this critical phase, GHS 2022 is aimed at exploring possibilities for greater collaboration and cooperation between the physicians and health care providers in India with those of Indian origin and major health-care providers abroad,” Dr. Gotimukula said. For more information, please visit www.aapiusa.org/ https://summit.aapiusa.org

Covid Claims 700,000 Lives, While Cases Begin To Fall

The United States reached its latest heartbreaking pandemic milestone, eclipsing 700,000 deaths from COVID-19 just as the surge from the delta variant is starting to slow down and give overwhelmed hospitals some relief, reports here suggest. It took 3 ½ months for the U.S. to go from 600,000 to 700,000 deaths, driven by the Delta variant’s rampant spread through unvaccinated Americans. The latest milestone is deeply frustrating to public health leaders and medical professionals on the front lines because vaccines have been available to all eligible Americans for nearly six months and the shots overwhelmingly protect against hospitalizations and death. An estimated 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated, providing kindling for the variant.

Health experts say the fourth wave of the pandemic has peaked overall in the U.S., particularly in the Deep South, where hospitals were stretched to the limit weeks ago. But many Northern states are still struggling with rising cases, and what’s ahead for winter is far less clear.  Unknowns include how flu season may strain already depleted hospital staffs and whether those who have refused to get vaccinated will change their minds.

An estimated 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated, providing kindling for the highly contagious delta variant.  “If you’re not vaccinated or have protection from natural infection, this virus will find you,” warned Mike Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Nationwide, the number of people now in the hospital with COVID-19 has fallen to somewhere around 75,000 from over 93,000 in early September. New cases are on the downswing at about 112,000 per day on average, a drop of about one-third over the past 2 1/2 weeks.

Deaths, too, appear to be declining, averaging about 1,900 a day versus more than 2,000 about a week ago. The easing of the summer surge has been attributed to more mask wearing and more people getting vaccinated. The decrease in case numbers could also be due to the virus having burned through susceptible people and running out of fuel in some places.

In another promising development, Merck said its experimental pill for people sick with COVID-19 reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half. If it wins authorization from regulators, it will be the first pill for treating COVID-19 — and an important, easy-to-use new weapon in the arsenal against the pandemic.

All treatments now authorized in the U.S. against the coronavirus require an IV or injection.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, warned on Friday that some may see the encouraging trends as a reason to remain unvaccinated. “It’s good news we’re starting to see the curves” coming down, he said. “That is not an excuse to walk away from the issue of needing to get vaccinated.”

Covid Symptoms Last Longer Than Previously Thought

One in three people infected with the coronavirus has had Covid-like symptoms persist or recur for three to six months after diagnosis, a new study says, suggesting the so-called “long Covid” is afflicting more people than previously thought.

The study, led by University of Oxford scientists, used anonymized data from millions of electronic health records, primarily in the United States, to compare 273,618 patients with Covid-19 with 114,449 patients with influenza. The researchers looked at such symptoms as chest/throat pain, abnormal breathing, abdominal symptoms, fatigue, depression, headaches, cognitive dysfunction and muscle pain over a period of time.

It found that about 36% of Covid patients still reported disease symptoms three and six months after diagnosis. Most previous studies estimated the so-called long-haul Covid to afflict 10% to 30% of patients. The researchers also found that of those who had long COVID three to six months after diagnosis, roughly 40% had no record of such symptoms in the prior three months.

There was a higher incidence of long-Covid features in the elderly, in more severely affected patients, and in women, the study notes. But long-Covid features were also recorded in children and young adults, and in more than half of non-hospitalised patients, confirming that they occur even in young people and those who had a relatively mild illness.

They say: “The results confirm that a significant proportion of people, of all ages, can be affected by a range of symptoms and difficulties in the six months after Covid-19 infection,” said Dr. Max Taquet, who led the analysis at the University of Oxford. The findings were published in the journal PLOS Medicine

A Phase 3 safety and efficacy trial, conducted in the US, Chile and Peru, of AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 Covid-19 vaccine — which is available as Covishield in India — said the vaccine “was safe, with low incidences of serious and medically attended adverse events and adverse events of special interest” demonstrating an “overall estimated vaccine efficacy was 74.0%.”

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted on more than 32,000 participants and found that in the age group of 65 years and above, the “estimated vaccine efficacy was 83.5%.”

The study, conducted between August 28, 2020 and January 15, 2021, reported that “119 serious adverse events occurred among 101 participants (0.5%)” who were administered the vaccine. In addition, “a total of 7 adverse events leading to death occurred in 7 participants in the AZD1222 group and 9 adverse events leading to 7 deaths occurred in the placebo group.”

However, the study does not attribute any of the deaths “to be related to the vaccine or placebo” and adds that while there were no deaths due to Covid-19 in the group administered the vaccine, there were two deaths due to the pandemic in the group that was given a placebo.

While it has been a long wait for AstraZeneca to get approval for use in the US, the company had in July said that rather than seeking emergency use authorisation, it would go in for a full approval from the USFDA. It is also exploring the possibility of supplying booster doses to people administered its own vaccine as well as those who have been administered either Pfizer-BioNTech’s or Moderna’s vaccine

Ekal’s Aggressive March Towards ‘Mission 2025’

On September 18, “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA – EVF” hosted a day-long virtual ‘National Conference’ with 220 registrants from U.S., Canada and India. Although touted to be a national gathering, Ekal-India had a sizable presence in it, along with some representation from Ekal-Canada. The primary objective of this conference was, not only to review the scalability of ‘Ekal Abhiyan’ projects (an umbrella organization of Ekal’s various logistic operations), but also, to align the aspirations of Ekal-America and Ekal-India for future goals. With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting rural life, this conference had the arduous task of remapping success milestones for ‘Mission 2025’, outlined earlier in Yr.2020.

Ekal-India team presented revitalized facets of ‘Ekal Abhiyan’, namely ‘Digital Literacy’, ‘Arogya Foundation’, ‘Gramothan Foundation’, ‘E-Shiksha’, and ‘Global Communication’, with a focus on the covid-19 pandemic, skill development and economic empowerment. The host team along with Ekal-Canada was composed of members of the board of directors, working committees, regional & chapter presidents and the youth wing. This Pan-American team introduced the topics like innovativeness and accountability in capital projects, technology roadmap, fund-raising targets, cutting-edge technology for project management, and youth involvement.

In essence, all the panelists pushed for a well-coordinated aggressive march towards the milestones of progress, pegged as ‘Mission 2025’. Lot of awe-inspiring information about Ekal achievements came out in various presentations. Ekal-India, keeping an eye on the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative (self-sustaining, self-reliant ‘Bharat’) floated by the Hon. PM Modi plans to showcase 35,000 villages as the ‘Pragat Sanch’ (progressive clusters) with holistic development that would incorporate digital literacy, health & hygiene, skill training, sustainable farming and value-based education.

A small portion of these clusters would be turned into quintessential ‘Adarsh Gram’ (Model Villages), as a role-model template for the future. Ekal is currently leaning towards launching digital technology, at every level of its activities and operations. Ekal-USA, therefore highlighted the E-Shiksha methodology and the preliminary timetable to expand it across Ekal school map. As a dynamic organization, Ekal is perpetually broadening its base, worldwide. With a newly established presence in France and Thailand, the total number of countries with Ekal affiliate branches is now 12.

During the school closures in the U.S., the Ekal-youths, not only helped to publicize virtual concerts with their social media expertise but also, raised funds through athletic activities, talent shows and skills developing tutorials. Being socially conscientious, the youth earnestly took part in their community food drives, tree-planting projects and outreach programs for the seniors in need.

On the covid-19 front, Ekal’s success in rural-tribal areas is staggering. Because of the aggressive safety campaign, herbal medications, nutritional food provisions and isolationist tactics that Ekal field volunteers vigorously promoted there, the pandemic’s effect on rural folks was very minimal. Field volunteers, not only countered the misinformation about the vaccine by asserting its benefit but also, made it worry-free with videos of their own vaccination. This led the vaccination rate to 71% in some corners.

While overcoming various hurdles unique to a village set up, Ekal never ever lost the sight of keeping all its supporters well informed about the steps it was taking in successfully arresting the spread of the deadly virus. This flow of incessant communication not only strengthened donor’s trust in ‘EVF’, but also was reflected in their generous support for this institution. In Yr. 2020 Ekal-USA, with virtual events had raised almost $10 million, with $6.5 million coming in from the year-end magnificent gala. To that end, Ekal-USA once again confirmed that the eagerly awaited glittering virtual Gala would be hosted on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

At the conference’s conclusion, as the host and President of Ekal-USA, Sureshji Iyer summarized various proposals of the panelists for ‘Mission 2025’. While unveiling the roadmap for the benefit of participants, he explained in a nutshell that, although the number of schools would remain the same at 102,000 mark, the number of villages for E-Shiksha (education through tablets) would go up from current 1,170 schools to all 102,000 schools; Arogya services (Healthcare) from 1,200 villages to 35,000; Ekal-on-wheel vans (mobile digital training) from 29 to 60; Tailoring ctrs from 33 to 150; Integrated Village Development Ctrs (IVD) from 12 to 31; and Gramothan Research Ctr (GRC) from 15 to 31. During the five-year goal period, 50% of schools, 15 GRCs, and 25 IVDs are expected to become self-sustaining, subject to third-party assessment.

Mahatma Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary Celebrates His Legacy

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy organization dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, participated yesterday in events across the nation marking the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, including celebrations in Dallas and Chicago. The birth anniversary, commonly referred to as Gandhi Jayanti, is a homage to the life and legacy of one of modern history’s most iconic human rights defenders.

The celebrations saw participation by hundreds of people, and included food and other festivities. In Dallas, around 200 attendees listened to speeches by IAMC National executives, chapter leaders, youth volunteers, as well as from the Mayor of the City of Kennedale, Brian Johnson. The Dallas event included performances of patriotic songs on India as well as poems honoring Mahatma Gandhi. IAMC chapter president Yusuf Dadani also introduced the IAMC Dallas team to the community.

“[Today’s celebration] was an excellent outdoor event on a beautiful day that pulled the community together,” said Noor Baig, Vice President of IAMC Dallas. “We had a great turnout with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”

“As we [gather] here today, we have to be vigilant,” said Mayor Johnson, referring to the rise of nationalistic movements in Europe, the United States, and India. “What authoritarian governments tend to do is take people that are different and make them the enemy. They make them the outsiders. And we have to unite – if we stay silent, then this is going to continue to grow.”

Throughout his life, Gandhi consistently advocated for Hindu-Muslim unity and the preservation of a pluralistic and secular India. By contrast, the Hindutva movement seeks to transform India, a constitutionally secular state, into an ethno-religious “Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation).” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself been a member of the RSS since the age of eight, and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is an affiliate subsidiary of the RSS.

Syed Ali, President of IAMC stated in his remarks, “Mahatma Gandhi and non-violence are synonymous. During India’s struggle for independence from British rule, Gandhi taught the world how to stand up for one’s rights and achieve victory over a formidable enemy without resorting to violence.” He also reiterated that in India today, “the values that Gandhi stood for – namely, peace, pluralism, social justice, and equality for all citizens – are being undermined and threatened by an ideology that was responsible for his assassination and one that is aiming to subvert India’s constitution.”

Less than six months after India’s  Independence, Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a fanatic Hindu nationalist and a staunch supporter of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who believed that Gandhi’s efforts to bring peace between Hindus and Muslims were detrimental to the goals of Hindutva, the supremacist ideology that is driving much of the religious persecution and mass violence against minorities in India. Modi has paid the usual perfunctory tribute to Gandhi. In a telling sign of how far India has gone down the path of fascism, it was Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse who was trending on Twitter.

IAMC has reaffirmed its commitment to the values Gandhi upheld and laid down his life for: the values of peace, pluralism, justice, equality, and unity among all Indians.

Gandhian Society Organizes Gandhi Jayanthi At Indian Consulate

The Gandhian Society in partnership with the Indian Consulate in NY hosted the Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations in the Indian Consulate on October 2nd to celebrate the Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Late Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. The event was well attended and started with some favorite Bhajan’s of Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu) by Varsha Joshi Gandhi. The Gandhian Society has been doing a lot of charitable services in India and USA and some of the donors were recognized during the event for their contributions to sending ambulances to tribal and rural areas. Some of the donors who were recognized were Mukund Thakar, Gita Butala, Hasmukh Patel, Asha Samant, Magan Patel, Dalpat Patel, Ravinder Thota, Dr.Prabhu Rachakonda, Bhadra Butala and others.

There was a digital museum presentation of the proposed Mahatma Gandhi museum by Balaji Jilla who walked thru the various digital museum’s that were created in partnership with Birla Group and other donors by Birad Yagnik from India, who will also be working on the proposed project in USA.

The Consul General Shri Randhir Jaiswal lauded the services of Gandhian Society in taking forward the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi amongst the diaspora and committed his support to the proposed Digital Museum in New Jersey (USA). He said that the values of Mahatma Gandhi are timeless and universal and one should learn from his vision and simple and good life.

The Deputy consul general Dr.Varun Jeph who recently took over his duties was warmly welcomed by Rajendar Dichpally on behalf of the Gandhian Society. The Deputy Consul General agreed to attend another event by the society on the request of Mahesh Wani to welcome him and honor him and pledged his support to the activities of the Society. Mr.Vipul Dev (Consular Services – Political Affairs) also attended the event and praised the Gandhian Society for all its humanitarian work.

Hasmukh Patel thanked all the volunteers, donors and attendees including Dr. Deepak Naran, Sonal Gadhvi, Gunjesh Desai, Shravan Natakala, Shiva Kumar,  and others. The event ended with the singing of the national anthem and light refreshments.

UNGA President Reminds World, Mahatma Gandhi Taught Us, Non-Violence Is A Power

Commemorating Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi’s 152nd birth anniversary, UNGA 76the session’s president Abdulla Shahid Oct. 2 said that he taught us there’s nothing cowardly about non-violence.

Speaking at a virtual commemoration organized by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN, Shahid emphasized, “It is not by chance that this day, October 2, coincides with Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. In commemorating this day, we also celebrate the legacy of this remarkable man who taught us that there is nothing cowardly about non-violence.” Underlining Mahatma Gandhi’s words, he said that non-violence is a power that can be wielded equally by all provided if they have faith in God of love and equal love for all mankind.

He emphasized that Mahatma Gandhi chose peace to confront injustice. Gandhi’s birth anniversary is being celebrated worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence. Various world leaders including global organizations are remembering his message of non-violence and tolerance. Several events are held in India and across the world to mark the occasion.

Born on Oct. 2, 1869, in Porbandar town of Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi adopted a non-violent resistance and had been at the forefront of the freedom struggle against colonial British rule. This led to India finally achieving its independence in 1947. Fondly known as Bapu, his unwavering belief in ‘Swaraj’ (self-governance) and ‘Ahinsa’ (non-violence) won him accolades across the world. (ANI)

Gandhi Ji’s 152nd Birth Anniversary Held In Chicago

Indian Consulate of India, Chicago collaborated with The Gandhi Memorial Foundation, Chicago on October 2nd, 2021, at Heritage Park in Skokie IL, to celebrate the 152nd anniversary of the Father of the Nation.

The Consul General of India to the US, Honorable Mr. Amit Kumar and Mrs. Surabhi Kumar graciously joined Dr. Santosh Kumar-President of Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago, Dr. Sriram Sonty-Vice President, Dr. Vijay G. Prabhakar – Vice-President, Mr. Suresh Bodiwala – Trustee, Dipti Shah-Treasurer, Awilda Gonzalez-Director-At-Large, Bharti Desai-Director-At-Large and Shree Gurusamy – Secretary.

The event commenced with Honorable Consul General Amit Kumar who addressed the guests. He highlighted India’s freedom struggle and the significant role played by Mahatma Gandhi, who walked the path and preached non-violence throughout his life. He highlighted “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, which is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of India’s progress and the glorious history of its people, culture, and achievements. Consul General praised the Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago Team of Board Members, Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) staff and Consul General staff members lead by Mr. Ranjeet Singh ji, for doing an excellent job in organizing this important event.

His inspiring speech was followed by the Mayor of Skokie, George Van Dusen, during his speech he said that Township of Skokie is fortunate to have the life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Heritage Park since October 2, 2004, He praised and appreciated the Indian American Community for their support and friendship.

Following that, seniors from Metropolitan Asian Family Services aptly sang the famous Bhajan, “Raghupati Raghava Rajaram”, a song which was extensively used by Mahatma Gandhi to project a secular and composite vision of Indian society.

Dr. Santosh Kumar – President of Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago addressed the guest in her motivating speech. She sincerely thanked Honorable Consul General and his wife for taking their precious time to collaborate and to join this memorable event. She mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi inspired her as a teenager to choose Law as her career rather than being a physician for what she studied for.

Gandhiji ‘s freedom struggle and the injustice done to the motherland emboldened her to become an Attorney to fight for the oppressed. In her speech, she felt the valid reason to talk in Hindi as Hindi being the official language of India. In her assertive speech she emphasized the great saying of Mahatma, “No Religion is higher than the Truth and Righteousness!” She said that Mahatma taught Dedication, Sacrifice and to Stand against Oppression and Wrongful forces, which induced chaos amongst people. A nation should join as one and not get influenced by these wrongful forces. In her speech she urged everybody to follow that and if asked if they were ready to do that!

She thanked Dr. Chadrakant Modi and his wife Dina Modi for donating the 12-foot statute of Mahatma Gandhi, to the Village of Skokie and the Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago. She pointed out that Gandhiji’s practice of Ahimsa (non-violence) which was an extension of his respect for other religions creating a sense of fraternity. She further added that Mahatma Gandhi vehemently opposed injustice and authoritarian rule, which is the primary manifestation of the Gandhian legacy today. Dr. Santosh Kumar was very enthusiastic about the Global Gandhi Youth initiative and praised them for taking this initiative.

Dr. Sriram Sonty, Vice President, Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago presented a set of Gandhian books to Mayor of Skokie George Van Dusen for the Skokie Public Library. He also introduced Global Gandhi Youth USA Chapter Members- Nandini Kandamuri, Rithwik Chekicharla, Sri Sai Kaushik Gollamudi and Manikantha Sri Sai Gollamudi, who spoke about the teachings of Gandhiji as it applies to them today.

State Senator Ram Villavallam, of 8th District of Illinois gave certificates and books to the Global Gandhi Youth USA Chapter Members and congratulated them on their thought-provoking speeches which emphasized the need for tolerance, harmony, and inclusion.

Other important Community leaders present on this occasion included Sohan Joshi, popularly referred as Mayor of Devon – Chicago, 85-year-old Manish Patel-MAFS Senior Citizen, Porus Dadhaboy of United For Peace-Naperville, Sunil Shah-Founder President of FIA Chicago, Dina Modi and Martino Tangkar- Chairman of MEATF. Pastor Jerome Athishtam of Congressman Danny K Davis’s Task Force,  Mir Ali-Popular Singer, Anica Dubey AMEC’s Global Outreach Chair, Bihari Beti Neelam Dwivedi of Indian American Business Coalition-Oak Brook, IL Harinder Mangrola-Community Activist, Cook County Judge Sanjay Taylor, & SAPNA Founder Dr Sarada Sonty.

Rudra Garjana Chicago Dhol Tasha Team led by Mandar Pitre did a fabulous job that elevated the spirit of the day. The percussion ensemble performed at the conclusion of the event which reminded of traditional drums being played during Ganeshotsav in India. The Consul General praised the percussion ensemble for their vibrant performance. Dr. Vijay Prabhakar gave a token of appreciation to each artist and emphasized establishing the first GANDHI KING LEGACY CENTER in North America in Chicago, USA.

The event was well moderated by Shree Gurusamy, Secretary of Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago. She thanked the Metropolitan Asian Family Services Seniors and staff for all the floral and food arrangements at the event. Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago Board of Directors, Dipti Shah – Treasurer, Awilda Gonzalez – Director-At-Large, Bharti Desai – Director-At-Large and Suresh Bodiwala – Trustee were recognized for all their voluntary services during the past year.

Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) as usual prepared delicious Boxed lunches along with hot Tea and water for all the guests. For more information regarding Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago please visit : https://gandhimemorial.org/

Houston Post Office Named for Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal

Elected officials, law enforcement officers, and Houston community members gathered to honor fallen Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal with a post office naming ceremony on October 5th.

Per a bill introduced by Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX); passed with bipartisan support, including that of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX); and signed into law on December 21, 2020, the post office located at 315 Addicks Howell Road will henceforth be named the Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office Building. The Sikh Coalition was deeply honored to assist in drafting the legislation that named this post office in Deputy Dhaliwal’s honor; in the weeks following his murder, we worked to mobilize community members across the country to call on Congress for this and other initiatives to honor his memory.

“Since my son was taken from our family in a senseless act of violence, we have received an outpouring of support and love from the greater Houston community,” said Pyara Singh Dhaliwal, the late Deputy Dhaliwal’s father. “We are so grateful and so honored that Sandeep is being memorialized in this way–forever becoming a part of the city that he served faithfully in and out of uniform.”

At today’s naming ceremony, local law enforcement officers, elected officials, and community members–including Sikh Coalition board member Manpreet K. Singh–gathered to pay tribute to Deputy Dhaliwal’s memory. We thank our colleagues at the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund for assisting Congresswoman Fletcher’s office in organizing today’s event.

“It has been an honor to lead the effort to honor the life and contributions of Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal by naming this post office in his memory,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “Deputy Dhaliwal represented the very best of our community: he worked for equality, connection, and community through his life of service to others. The Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal Post Office now stands as a testament to his remarkable and selfless service, and I thank our partners at the Sikh Coalition for helping us build a bipartisan coalition to honor Deputy Dhaliwal and his trailblazing contributions to American life.”

As a reminder, Deputy Dhaliwal was killed during a traffic stop in northwest Houston, Texas on September 27, 2019. He originally joined the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in 2009; in 2015, he secured a historic, first-of-its-kind accommodation to wear his Sikh articles of faith while serving in uniform. Deputy Dhaliwal was widely regarded for breaking barriers for Sikhs and other religious minorities.