Chicago IL: The celebration of Punjabi Virsa (Punjabi Heritage) organized by the Midwest Punjabi Association (MPA) in collaboration with the Consulate General of India set the precedent for paying the perfect tribute to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. The event was organized on May 1st, 2022 at Ashton Place, Willowbrook, IL as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate Vaisakhi and pay tribute to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, CG Amit Kumar, Mayor Rodney Craig, Mayor Tom Daily, Mayor Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, trustee Syed Hussaini along with other elected officials and community leaders graced the event. Mr. Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, President, Midwest Punjabi Association gave a brief introduction of the event and briefed the guests about the past activities and upcoming initiatives of Midwest Punjabi Association. He proudly mentioned the guidance given by Mr.Ranjit Singh.
He said keeping in mind the spirit of Ek Bharat Shresth Bhara , Midwest Punjabi Association has decided to pay tribute One author from Punjabi ,one from regional language and one from regional language and one from our national language Hindi. We will continue and take forward the spirit of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in all years to come.We all know Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan is a well-known name in the media industry and the Founder President of Adbhhut Media Newspaper and Channel. Dhalwan is an entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience in wholesale & retail business. He is the Founder President of Midwest Punjabi Association, (MPA) a Non-Profit Organization. He is also a member of cultural inclusion and diversity committee/commission Village of Hanover Park, IL. He is a community leader, social worker, and a Philanthropist.
CG Amit Kumar in his inaugural remarks commended the organizers for their unique initiative to throw light on the tragic event through writings and reflections of noted authors like Sardar Nanak Singh, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. He spoke about the impact of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on the national freedom struggle with the public sentiment across the length and breadth of India turning decisively against the colonial rule.
The master of the ceremony was Prachi Jaitly. The program started with rendition of Gurbani Kirtan by Bhai Jagat Singh Dilliwale and Bhai Bhagat Singh Chicagowale, followed by presentations / recital of Gurudev Tagore’s poems and poems from the Punjabi collection of poems Khooni Vaisakhi, written by Sardar Nanak Singh. A message from Amb (Retd) Navdeep Singh Suri, who is Nanak Singh’s grandson and who translated the poems into English, was played. Navdeep Suri,s video message was followed by the beautiful poetic tribute skillfully crafted by Charandeep Singh along with some of the finests poetic talents like Raj laly Batala, Jasbir kaur Mann, Rakesh Malhotra, Dr. Taufiq Ansari Ahmed, Dr. Afzal-ur-Rehman Afsar, Rakind Kaur, and Suneeta Malhotra. The narration of the performance was done by Prachi Jaitly.
There was also a Kathak dance performance by Shiwali Varshney Tenner based on the poem “Jallianwale Bagh mein Basant” written by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan and a poetry session with local prominent poets of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. Bratasree Roy Biswas is also performed Indian classical dance ‘Rabindra Natya Nritya’ which is a form of dance drama based on poems, song and novels composed by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore from Bengal. The performance depicted how the epic author had returned his knighthood in protest of the Jallianwalan Bagh massacre in the 1919.
Adding more spark to the event Gurmeet and team proudly announced the launch of his sparkling logo ‘GSD’ in the presence of dignitaries and remarkable organizations from Chicagoland. Logo is the actual reflection of though and dreams.The logo was initially acknowledged with greetings from legendary actor Kamal Hasan and was further showered with best wishes & initials of local guests of honor, congratulating the new founder-president as he embarks on his new venture. Participating Indian American associations included the FIA-1980; Artists Association of North America, Bengali Association of Greater Chicago (BAGC), Punjabi Cultural Society,Michigan; Kalman de Ang Sang; Urdu Samaj of Chicago; Dramatech of America; Guru Ladho Re Seva Society, Wisconsin; Swera (Sikh Women Era); and Punjabi Americans Organization (PAO) Saneevani4U; etc.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April 1919. A large peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the oppressive Rowlatt Act. In response to the public gathering, general Dyer surrounded the protesters. The Jallianwala Bagh could only be exited on one side, as its other three sides were enclosed by buildings. After blocking the exit with his troops, he ordered them to shoot at the crowd, continuing to fire even as the protestors tried to flee. The troops kept on firing until their ammunition was exhausted. Estimates of those killed vary between 379 and 1500+ people and over 1,200 other people were injured of whom 192 were seriously injured.
It was one-of-a-kind programs that was purely dedicated to Jallianwala massacre victims and paying tribute to their sacrifice with pure patriotism. A special tribute was paid to the former MPA Vice President Alok Suri who passed away recently. The event was supported and sponsored by Anil and Chandni Kalra of Northwest Realty, Pinky Dinesh Thakkar, Syed Hussaini, Standard Home Care, Amrik Singh of Amar Carpet, Iftekar Sharif, Jesse Singh, Remax, Anil Loomba, HMSI, Brij Sharma of Powervolt, Ashton Place, Puneet Sawhney, Lucky Sahota, Dr Vikram Gill.