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.