New York City Mayor Eric Adams proclaimed April 6th as Dr. Thomas Abraham Day at the dedication ceremony of Dr. Thomas Abraham Library.


New York: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) was honored for his contribution of 50 years of service to the Indian Diaspora community and India by dedication of Dr. Thomas Abraham Library at the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center in Elmont, New York. New York City Mayor Eric Adams proclaimed April 6th as Dr. Thomas Abraham Day in honor of the new library opening.

Indian Consul General Binaya Srikanta Pradhan inaugurated the library at a festive event at the Center, attended by cross section of the community on April 6. Apart from books, the library also contains historical documents depicting the growth of the Indian American community and history of Indian Diaspora community, especially from the collections of Dr. Abraham.

Consul General Pradhan Cutting the Ribbon at the Dr Thomas Abraham Library 1

Dr. Thomas Abraham Library Inauguration – Consul General Pradhan Cutting the Ribbon. Also seen are New York City Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs Dilip Chauhan, Rockland County Legislator Dr. Aney Paul, Kerala Center President Alex Esthappan and NY State Senator Kevin Thomas

Dr. Abraham, whose community work spans a half century, is noted for founding several organizations which have become big institutions of the Indian American community and the global Indian Diaspora community. Dr. Abraham has been serving the NRI/PIO community for the last 51 years. He served as the founder president of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York in the 1970s which organizes the largest India Day Parade outside India and the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) in the 1980s. Dr. Abraham currently serves as the Chairman of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) which he founded in 1989 and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Indian American Kerala Center in New York and was a Co-Founder of the Center. Dr. Abraham also served as the Co-Chairman of the fund-raising campaign to institute a chair for Indian studies at Columbia University. Two other groups initiated by Dr. Abraham are National Indian American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) and South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS).

Lighting of trhe lamp and Saraswati Vandana as a Kathak Dance

Photo left: Lighting of the lamp by notable ladies of the Kerala Center and Abraham Family, from l. to r. Dr. Nitya Abraham, Leela Moduthagam, Jessica Abraham, Prof. Teresa Antony, Chinnamma Stephen and Vilcy Esthappan; Photo right: Barnard College student Nandini Lal performing Saraswati Vandana in Kathak style.

Library Committee Member Abraham Thomas started the program with a brief welcome and then introducing Kerala Center Vice President Daisy Stephen, who served as the MC. The program was started with rendering American and Indian National Anthems by Ms. Lauren Vattakalam. Kerala Center President Alex Estappan in his welcome speech noted that Dr. Abraham was the founder of most of the major Indian community organizations in the New York area including FIA New York, NFIA and GOPIO. These organizations have empowered the Indian community over the last 50 years.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the library hall with Consul General Pradhan cutting the ribbon along with dignitaries. Kerala Center officials and immediate family members of Dr. Abraham. The program was started with lamp lighting ceremony and a Kathak Dance Sarswati Vandana by Barnard College student Nandini Lal.

Kerala Center Board Chairman Nephrologist Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran introduced the Consul General and said “It is a proud movement for the Kerala Center to have this library at it premises.”

Addressing a packed audience, Consul General Pradhan said, “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 the society.”

Pradhan said that he was familiar with organizations like GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) which Abraham founded. When he joined the New York Consulate, he met Dr. Abraham on the first day and got a clear picture of the Indian American community from him.

‘The gradual growth and changes in the Indian society can be seen through his life. This growth is exciting. People mentioned Dr. Abraham’s name when he visited Ohio, a state within the jurisdiction of the consulate. It means his work isn’t limited to the New York tristate area. It is amazing how he shaped the brand India over half a century.” Said Pradhan.

The Indian community is growing steadily here. We pay a high price for that. Now at least one lakh students from India come to study here every year. The community has now become a force to reckon with.

Consul General Binaya Pradhan Speaking and New York City proclamation presented

Photo left: Consul General Binaya Pradhan Speaking, Photo right New York City proclamation being presented to Dr. Thomas Abraham, from l. to r.: Kerala Center Founder E.M. Stephen, Senator Kevin Thomas, GOPIO President Lal Motwani, New York City Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs Dilip Chauhan, Consul General Pradhan, Dr. Thoms Abraham, Kerala Center President Alex Esthappan, Leela Miruthangam, Dr. Nitya Abraham, Terrence Moduthagam, Jay Thomas Aberaham and Jessica Abraham

When he was ambassador to Tanzania, he tried to set up a branch of IIT there.  The government of Tanzania came forward to set it up. The president of that country knew about the benefits achieved by India through IITs and wanted to have the same in his country. This was achieved during his term in Tanzania.

Pradhan asked the diaspora to pay attention to the Indian American community here as well, along with the services done for India. The community should come forward to help the Indian students coming here. That is very much needed.

He also praised the works of the Kerala Center. He suggested adding digital facilities at the library and the Consulate is willing to contribute to the same.

New York City Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs Dilip Chauhan presented a proclamation from New York City Mayor Eric Adams declaring April 6th as Dr. Thomas Abraham Day in honor of the new library opening. In his proclamation, Mayor Adams applauded Dr. Abraham for his continued effort to support and uplift people of Indian origin descent in New York and beyond.

New York State Senator Kevin Thomas, who was another honored guest, revealed at the event that his field of activity is going to change soon. He had announced that he would contest for the Congress, but later called it off. He said he is also no longer running for the New York State Senate. There were earlier indications that he would get another important appointment. He did not reveal what that would be.

Senator Thomas said more youth should come forward to politics. He also presented New York Senate’s Proclamation honoring Thomas Abraham.

Mr. Bruce A. Blakeman, Executive of Nassau County, where the library is located, issued a citation honoring Dr. Abraham for his half a century of dedicated service to the Indian American community. The award was presented by former Nassau County Commissioner Varinder Bhalla and former Deputy Commissioner Ratna Bhalla. Both praised contributions of Dr. Abraham.

Proclamation from New York Senate and Citation from Nassau County Executive Being Presented

Photo left: New York State Senator Kevin Thomas presenting a proclamation from New York State Senate honoring Dr. Abraham, Photo right: Nassau County Citation being presented to Dr. Abraham, from l. to r.: GOPIO President Lal Motwani, Ratna Bhalla, Dr. Abraham, Varinder Bhalla, Consul General Pradhan, Keral Center President Alex Estappan and Board Chairman Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran

Connecticut’s senior US Senator Richard Blumenthal issued special recognition to Dr. Thomas Abraham Library. In his massage, Senator Blumenthal said, “I appreciate all the work you have done for the NRI/PIO community, and indeed the State of Connecticut, including founding of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and GOPIO-CT, as well as numerous community institutions and nonprofit organizations you have supported.”

“The inauguration of the new library at the Kerala Center in your name is well deserved, and I am glad to hear that it will serve as a reference and research center for Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora,” Blumenthal continued. Senator Blumenthal’s recognition certificate was presented by GOPIO-CT Executive Vice President Mahesh Jhangiani.

Dr Abraham with GOPIO CT Officials and the original Team of 1970s and '80s

Photo left: Dr. Abraham with GOPIO-CT Officials, Photo right: the original team of 1970s and ’80s for community mobilization

Kerala Center Founder President E.M. Stephen recalled that he had written in the press in 1994 saying that the Kerala Center would be a research center. Now that is coming is place and he is very happy in seeing library housed at the Keral Center.

He said he has been associated with Thomas Abraham since 1978, working in the organizations founded by him. He termed Abraham as a philosophical and progressive person who works for the good of all.

John Isaac (Shibu), who is running for the New York State Assembly from Westchester complimented Dr. Abraham for his community achievements and also urged the community to promote political involvement in running for public office. Rockland County Legislator Dr. Aney Paul was also present at the occasion.

Community leaders from various community organizations which Dr. Abraham founded spoke at the event included SACSS Executive Director Sudha Acharya who was also former President of FIA New York, Vice President of NFIA and Founding Co-Convener of GOPIO; GOPIO ‘s Global Ambassador and 2024 Convener Prakash Shah and Rajul Shah; NFIA Vice President for New York Region and President of NIAASC Gunjan Rastogi.

 Dr. Thomas Abraham’s son Jay Abraham, who is a senior engineering manager at Pratt and Whitney, daughter Montefiore Urologist Dr Nitya Abraham, granddaughter Leela and other family members attended the function. The Library Committee will be headed by Kerala Center’s new Grand Patron and Dr. Abraham’s son Jay Abraham, who thanked the Kerala Center for housing the library. Keral Center Secretary Raju Thomas gave the vote of thanks.

In a fireside chat set up with MC Daisy Stephen, Dr. Thomas Abraham thanked all who attended the event. He said that if his work has done any good to the community, it makes his life worthy and satisfied.

“Our community should continue to grow and become stronger in the political arena too,” Dr. Abraham said.

Fireside Chat with Dr Thomas Abraham and Audience

Photo left: Fireside chat with Dr. Abraham, Photo right: Audience at the event.

Dr. Abraham further said that this library would serve as a resource center for the Indian Diaspora with compilation Diaspora history in different countries and as research center for Diaspora studies.

“Down the road, a few decades from now, people should know how the Indian Diaspora contributed to India in the last 50 years, how it influenced India government to liberalize in the 1980s and ‘90s, how the Diaspora brought technologies and investments to India, and even the close US-India relations is attributed to our Diaspora in the USA, said Dr. Abraham.

Kerala Center Officials and Members with Dr Thomas Abraham

Kerala Center Officials and Members with Dr. Thomas Abraham

The program ended with a Bhangra by Dr. Reena Sharma, a research scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York.

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