FIA-Chicago rolls out a magnificent India Independence Day Parade

Chicago IL: The patriotic euphoria was domineering as the crowds waving tri-color flags accompanied with shouts of “Bharat Mata Ji Jai” permeated the Chicago’s India Independence Day parade hosted by the Federation of Indian Association-Chicago [FIA] on a crowd-jammed Mahatma Gandhi Marg. in the heart of the India Town in Chicago on Saturday, August 18, 2012.

The uninhibited patriotic fervor was abundantly palpable as the parade snaked through a nearly 2-mile march led by a massive Indian flag carried by teenagers with the Scottish Band playing the marching beat interspersed with high-decibel sounds of drum-beats and pulsating music emanating from several floats.

Parade Grand Marshal Aftab Shivdasani, the hottest Bollywood star led the extenteded parade with an enduring smile on his face as he waved and greeting crowds of people which was followed by a great convoy of decorated floats laden with colorfully dressed and spirited participants as it gently made its way through on Devon Avenue amidst the cheers and shouts from the crowds lined up on both sides of the street.
Before the parade stepped out, the tri-color Indian flag was gently hoisted with saluting hands of the FIA executive board members, community and business leaders encircling the raised flag who spontaneously erupted in singing the national anthem in zestful unison on the corner of Devon & Western.

Embarking on the reviewing stand, Ajai Agnihotri, FIA’s President welcomed the crowds of enthusiastic participants and expressed great appreciation for the remarkable spirit of patriotism demonstrated by the people; while Iftekhar Shareef and Sanhita Agnihotri served as comperes providing interminable commentary as the parade gently proceeded in front of the reviewing stand.

Parade Chair Iftekhar Shareef stridently welcomed the crowds and went on to acknowledge sponsors of the floats and other major benefactors.

Iftekhar Shareef introduced Parade Marshal Aftab Shivdasani in most generous terms as a Bollywood’s hottest star who has portrayed some of the memorable chocolate-boy roles in movies earning a great fan following.
Actor Aftab Shivdasani spoke eloquently in praise of motherland India and said that he was truly gratified by such outpouring of patriotism by Indian diaspora. Aftab Shivdasani added that even though the motherland India may be a distance away, but the spirit of India and the very essence of the celebrations of Indian Independence is remarkably alive in Chicago. Aftab Shivdasani thanked the leaders of FIA and sponsors for inviting him to such a grand parade. He proclaimed his fondness for Chicago and said that it is his second visit to the windy city.

The front-line of the parade encompassed several dignitaries, elected officials and VIPs including congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown led by FIA president Ajai Agnihotri, Iftekhar Shareef, Trustee Chair and host of Trustees and FIA officers including Kanti Patel, Babu Patel, Bhailal Patel, Harish Bhatt, Sohan Joshi, Sanhita Agnihotri, Vandana Walia, Ranjit Ganguly, Anil Pillai, Chandresh Brahmbhatt, Sitaram Patel, Sher Rajput, Kishan Patel, Devendra Patel and Veenod Patel. FIA’s Executive Vice President Keerthi Kumar Ravoori joined Iftekhar Shareef and Sanhita Agnihotri in co-anchoring the parade’s proceedings.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of the 9th Congressional District waving the tri-color flag commended India’s enduring devotion to democracy and its march towards economic progress. Alderman Ameya Pawar of 47th Ward commended the Indian American community for showcasing the rich cultural diversity of India and recalled his days attending school in the 50th ward.

Incumbent Congressman Joe Walsh of the 8th congressional districts a danced in the parade to the drum-beats and excited the crowd with his strident remarks. Dorothy Brown, Circuit Court Clerk, in her remarks, thanked the Indian Americans and paid tributes to Indian democracy. Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County shouted out her remarks interspersing with “bharat mata ki jai” while acknowledging the rich contributions made by Indian Americans. Air-India Manager Rishi Singh congratulated FIA-Chicago for rolling out a great parade.

The parade had several business and non-profit organizational floats from sponsors including McDonalds, AAHOA, Big Cinema, Sahil, Patel Brothers, National Bankcard Corporation, National Republic Bank, Jamba Juice, Lucent Technology, Money Dart and several community-based floats which included Anna Hazare, United Christian Community, 42 Gam Kadva Patidar Samaj, Indo American Democratic Organization and Overseas Congress [Kerala].

Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA

Suresh Bodiwala
Asian Media USA
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