Dr. Thomas Abraham Honored with Library Dedication: A Half-Century Legacy Celebrated by Indian Diaspora

Featured & Cover Dr Thomas Abraham Honored with Library Dedication A Half Century Legacy Celebrated by Indian Diaspora

Dr. Thomas Abraham, the Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), was recently honored for his exceptional service spanning 50 years to the Indian Diaspora community and India. This recognition took form in the dedication of the Dr. Thomas Abraham Library at the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center located in Elmont, New York. The momentous occasion was further commemorated by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who officially declared April 6th as Dr. Thomas Abraham Day to coincide with the library’s opening.

The inauguration ceremony of the library, held on April 6, was graced by Indian Consul General Binaya Srikanta Pradhan, who presided over the event. The ceremony, attended by a diverse representation of the community, marked not only the introduction of a collection of books but also the inclusion of historical documents chronicling the growth and history of the Indian American community and the broader Indian Diaspora, notably from the personal collections of Dr. Abraham.

Dr. Abraham’s legacy is deeply rooted in his extensive community work over five decades, marked by the establishment of several influential organizations within the Indian American community and the global Indian Diaspora. Notable among his achievements are his roles as the founding president of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York in the 1970s, organizer of the largest India Day Parade outside India, and founder of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) in the 1980s. Currently serving as the Chairman of GOPIO, which he founded in 1989, Dr. Abraham’s influence extends to his position as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indian American Kerala Center in New York, a center he also co-founded. Additionally, his contributions include co-chairing fundraising campaigns, such as the one to establish a chair for Indian studies at Columbia University, and founding initiatives like the National Indian American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) and the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS).

The inauguration ceremony commenced with a warm welcome from Library Committee Member Abraham Thomas, followed by introductory remarks by Kerala Center Vice President Daisy Stephen, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. The event was marked by the rendition of the American and Indian National Anthems by Ms. Lauren Vattakalam and a welcoming address by Kerala Center President Alex Esthappan, who emphasized Dr. Abraham’s pivotal role in shaping major Indian community organizations in New York.

A ceremonial ribbon-cutting, led by Consul General Pradhan, was accompanied by esteemed dignitaries and immediate family members of Dr. Abraham. The program continued with a traditional lamp lighting ceremony and a Kathak Dance Saraswati Vandana performed by Barnard College student Nandini Lal.

Addressing the audience, Kerala Center Board Chairman Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran expressed pride in hosting the library, while Consul General Pradhan lauded Dr. Abraham’s contributions, stating, “I don’t see this as the inauguration of a library but as a celebration of the work and achievements of Dr. Abraham and his contributions to society.” Pradhan highlighted Dr. Abraham’s significant impact beyond New York, recognizing his efforts in fostering US-India relations and facilitating educational initiatives internationally.

Pradhan urged the diaspora to support Indian students studying abroad and advocated for the enhancement of digital facilities at the library, offering the Consulate’s assistance. The event also featured proclamations from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York State Senator Kevin Thomas, honoring Dr. Thomas Abraham Day and acknowledging his dedicated service, respectively.

Further accolades came from Mr. Bruce A. Blakeman, Executive of Nassau County, who issued a citation honoring Dr. Abraham’s service, and Connecticut’s senior US Senator Richard Blumenthal, who recognized the significance of the Dr. Thomas Abraham Library. In a message, Senator Blumenthal praised Dr. Abraham’s contributions to the NRI/PIO community and the State of Connecticut.

The ceremony was enriched by remarks from Kerala Center Founder President E.M. Stephen, who expressed joy at the fulfillment of the center’s vision, and community leaders, including SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya, GOPIO Global Ambassador Prakash Shah, and NFIA Vice President Gunjan Rastogi. Dr. Thomas Abraham’s family, including his son Jay Abraham, daughter Dr. Nitya Abraham, and granddaughter Leela, graced the occasion, with Jay Abraham assuming leadership of the Library Committee.

In a fireside chat moderated by Daisy Stephen, Dr. Thomas Abraham expressed gratitude to attendees, emphasizing the collective impact of community efforts. He envisioned the library as a vital resource center for the Indian Diaspora, facilitating research and preserving its rich history for future generations.

The program concluded with a vibrant Bhangra performance by Dr. Reena Sharma, underscoring the spirit of celebration and unity within the Indian American community. Through such initiatives and celebrations, the legacy of individuals like Dr. Thomas Abraham continues to inspire and uplift communities, fostering a sense of pride and belonging among the diaspora.

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