FIA commemorates India's 66th Independence Day with patriotic fervor and enthusiasm

Chicago IL: The spirit of patriotism was truly depicted at Federation of Indian Association’s 66th Independence Day celebration banquet on Saturday, August 18, 2012 and at the Grand Parade held on Sunday, August 19, 2012. The Banquet included a spectacular cultural program which took place at The Meadows Club, 2950 W. Golf Road, Rolling Meadows, IL. Both events were meticulously planned and coordinated by Founder President Sunil Shah, President Onkar Sangha and his team of FIA office bearers.

Dignitaries included William Mcleod-Mayor, Village of Hoffman Estates, Ms. Mukta Tomar, Consul General of India in Chicago , Rodney Craig- Mayor of Hanover Park, Fred Crespo-State Representative, Carole Pankau-State Senator, John Lawson-Schaumburg Township Assessor, Prachi Desai- Bollywood Actress and Chief Guest and Congressman Joe Walsh.

One of the main attraction was the presence of the young and vibrant Bollywood actress, Ms. Prachi Desai from Bombay, India. She was the Chief Guest at the banquet and the Grand Marshall at the FIA Parade. Prachi Desai is a well known Indian film and television actress. She has starred in movies such as “Rock On” and “Bol Bachchan” and many popular TV serials.

Ms. Prachi Desai expressed her gratitude for bestowing upon her the honor of being the Chief Guest at this gala event and she was thrilled to be representing her country which is the biggest democracy in the world. She shared her warm wishes with everyone in the audience.

The evening began with the social hour where guests freely mingled and socialized before the start of the program.

Mr. Thakkar Basati invited FIA Board Members and Dignitaries up on the stage and acknowledged their gracious presence. The event commenced with lamp lighting amidst all the dignitaries on the stage.

FIA Board-Founder President FIA Sunil Shah, Banquet Chairman Harinderpal Singh, Parade Chairman Dr. Imad Shaikh, President Onkar Singh Sangha, Exe.Vice President Rita Singh, Vice Presidents : Jaswant Sangha, Mukesh Shah, Monty Syed, Sunny Kular, Dhitu Bhagwakar, Secretary- Shahid Razvi, Jt. Secretary-Bharti Desai, Jt.Treasurer- Azeem Uddin, Executive Director- Eraj Ahmed.

American National Anthem and Indian National Anthem were recited accompanied by a video presentation.

President Onkar Sangha in his welcome speech thanked all the dignitaries present and described the role of Indian American Community in the development of the US economy, business and politics.

Keynote Speaker-Consul General, Ms Mukta Tomar in her speech emphasized that India has come a long way in the world economy and overcome large obstacles. These obstacles have given us the opportunity to form partnerships and space for collaboration on a personal, professional and national level. “Economies of several nations worldwide have seen a slow down over the past few years. By sharing our resources, increasing our relationships and alliances, we can all prosper”, she said. She recalled the speech made by Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh during his Independence Day address in New Delhi, where he spoke on two issues which affects any independent democratic nation – national security and economic growth. He assured all Indian citizens that his Government would place utmost importance on these two issues for a better tomorrow.

Congressman Joe Walsh in his spirited speech recognized 400,000 Indian American owned businesses in the US which play a key part in the growth of the US Economy. He stated that he will not be silent until the US invites Chief Minister Modi to visit the US and issue him a Diplomatic Visa.

Mayor William D. Mcleod, Rodney Craig and John Lawson and State Representatives Fred Crespo and Michelle Mussamen also gave short speeches and wished Indian People a very Happy Independence Day.

Master of Ceremony for both events was FIA treasurer and Cultural Program Coordinator, Bharti Desai. She is a renowned singer in the Chicago Metropolitan area who has enthralled the audiences with her charming personality.

Cultural program line-up and performers:
1) Vande Mataram and Garba Dance was presented by Nrutyakalashree Dance Academy- Nikita Khara; Jasmine Patel; Kinjil Patel; Palak Patel; Pooja Patel; Radha Patel; Sanjana Shah; Aashna Singh; Riddhi Soni; Siddhi Soni; Annika Kulkarni Their items were colorful and captivating.
2) Yeh Chees Entertainment presented a bolloywood dance 1) Noman Khan- Group Leader- owner of company; 2) Nishma Patel; 3) Anand Bhatt; 4) Tanya Sharma; 5) Kevin Tony; 6) Megha Mathur; 7) Nikita Khara Noman
3) Hindi Lovers Club and Bombay Beats: 1) Shilpi Jain;2) Deepika Manglani; 3) Srishti Chandra 4) Samiksha Gupta; 5) Priya Gupta
4) Bombay Beats: 1) Shilpi Jain; 2) Srishti Chandra
5) Bollywood Dance: 1) Jigar Shah; 2) Nirali Shah
6) Mehjit Singh Virdi- a powerful singer made many dance on the stage as well as on the floor.
7) Shreelekha Mohanty- Entertained the audience with her peppy numbers which rocked the stage.
8) Pratibha Jayrat with her beautiful and melodious voice enthralled the audience.
9) Bhangra: 1) Paramveer Kaur; 2) Taranpreet Kaur; 3) Jeevan Kaur; 4) JohnPaul Smith Jr.

A colorful Independence Day parade was held on Sunday, August 19, 2012 which Started from Infinity Car Dealership at 1075 W. Golf Road, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169. There was lots of enthusiasm in every body’s mind and all participated in this event with full vigor despite the scorching heat. As always, Founder President seemed very excited and wore a beautiful Tri-Color suit and along with President Onkar Singh Sangha and all FIA team members were present. Many were seen wearing traditional dresses and there was even one person who had dressed like Gandhiji.

Many dignitaries were present at the Parade and Parade chairman Dr. Imaad Shaikh successfully conducted the entire event.

In the beginning Flag Hoisting was done by Prachi Desai, amidst great applause from the crowd. Then parade started its journey, as slogans of patriotism and Bhajans were sung by the people present.

A special stage was built for the final ceremony where most of the dignitaries gave short speeches. Grand Marshall, Prachi Desai complimented the Indian American Community for keeping alive the culture of India and for celebrating religious as well as patriotic events. Founder President Sunil Shah, President Onkar Singh Sangha, Exe. Vice President Rita Singh and others also gave short speeches on this occasion.

The entire FIA team deserves a special recognition for the successful completion of both events to commemorate India’s 66th Independence Day.

Suresh Bodiwala, Chairman of Asian Media USA and Jyotikumar Chokshi, Editor of Asian Media USA had an opportunity to conduct interview regarding perspective of the “66th Independence Day celebration” with Simi Bharaj Miss India Teen Illinois 2012 where she said that ” I was very honored to be invited to attend the 66th India Independence day celebrations that were held on August 18-19 in Schaumburg. I was born in Africa, brought up in Canada and I now live in the United States. I have never actually been to India, but all the same I still consider myself Indian at heart. As the song goes, phir bhi dil hai Hindustani. I believe that younger generations of Indians in America must participate in cultural events in order to be able to keep the traditions alive. I also feel that all young people must do some charitable work in order to gain some perspective of the meaning of life and fulfill a higher cause. As a teenager, I feel that I am representing a certain demographic in our community. I hope to be a role model to other teenagers and I would like to use this platform to tell them that I can relate to all the problems that they go through on a day to day basis like the pressure to do well in school, do well in sports, be popular, look good. I want to remind kids my age to be strong, stay healthy and always strive to be your better self. Remember to stay focused on what is important and not to get caught up in the wrong things. We are growing up here in an American culture and we must fit in, but at the same time we must try to preserve our own values that are essentially Indian. I was dressed for this very special occasion in a Sabyasachi sari provided by Elite Studio of Devon Street, Chicago”

Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA

Suresh Bodiwala
Asian Media USA
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