FIA-Chicago hosts a ‘kick-off’ event to announce India Independence Day festivities

Chicago IL: Federation of Indian Associations-Chicago [FIA] hosted a ‘kick-off’ event to formally announce a series of events in celebration of India’s Independence Day at a luncheon hosted on Sunday May 5, 2013 at Punjabi Dhaba Banquet Hall on Devon Ave. in Chicago.

Alderwoman Debra Silverstein [50th ward] joined by State Senator & Committeeman Ira Silverstein, Hina Trivedi, Iftekhar Shareef and a host of FIA Trustees joined together to light the lamp signaling the ‘kick-off’ that will set in movement the hosting of a series of grand-scale events in honor of India’s Independence which includes Grand India Independence Day Parade, Gala Banquet and Flag-hoisting ceremony in Chicago’s downtown.

In her remarks Alderwoman Debra Silverstein said “Indian Americans are an important part of the City’s 50th ward and I commend you for bringing such vibrant richness and diversity to the ward. Ald. Debra Silverstein further added that Indian Americans have helped to bring flourishing business establishments on Devon Ave and pledged that she will work with the community to foster growth and development of adding more businesses in the sprawling India Town in her ward. Ald. Debra Silverstein thanked the kids for presenting beautiful dance presentations and said steering children in such traditions will help build healthy communities.

State Senator and Committeemen Ira Silverstein echoing the sentiments commended FIA for hosting events that highlight the spirit of Indian Independence. Ira Silverstein appreciated FIA for inviting him and said he is proud to represent the Indian American community.

FIA President Hina Trivedi speaking on the occasion thanked the executive board and trustees for their collective efforts in making FIA a vibrant umbrella community organization. Hina Trivedi paid tributes to the spirit of volunteerism that is the hallmark of FIA and thanked FIA for its deep-rooted commitment to the community.

Iftekhar Shareef, FIA Trustee Chair who presided the event, thanked the host of trustees and board members for their unstinted support. While conducting the event, Iftekhar Shareef gave historical information about FIA and its steadfast growth. To show FIA’s appreciation for chief guests, Iftekhar Shareef invited Hina Trivedi to honor Ald. Debra Silverstein with a colorful shawl; while he invited Vandana Walia, FIA Secretary to put a golden shawl on State Senator Ira Silverstein amidst applause.

Later, Iftekhar Shareef declared the three major events to be hosted in honor of India’s Independence: (1) India Independence Day Parade — Saturday, August 17, 2013; (2)India Independence Day Gala Banquet– Friday August 16, 2013; (3) Indian Flag-Hoisting — Thursday, August 15, 2013 I downtown Chicago. Later, Iftekhar Shareef recognized the 2013 executive board comprising of Keerthi Ravoori, Executive Vice President, Ravi Harsoor, Vice President, Veenod Patel, Vice President, Amar Upadhya, Vice President, Vandana Walia, Secretary, Minhaj Akhtar Treasurer, Kalyan Anandula Reddy, Joint Treasurer and Chris Christian, Joint Secretary.

Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, FIA’s Executive Vice President earlier welcomed the guests and led the opening festivities. Keerthi Ravoori reminded the guests of the rich historical traditions of FIA in hosting ceremonious kick-off events to herald the hosting of major events honoring India’s Independence.

Young children in colorful costumes presented three beautiful folk dances which depicted the traditions and rich culture of some of the Indian states.

Babu [Marsha] Patel, FIA Trustee – in his remarks – was critical of Chinese incursions over the territorial integrity of India and lamented on the prevailing land & order problems and economic outlook projections.

Vandana Walia, FIA Secretary proposed a vote of thanks and especially thanked the Media and acknowledged Ankur Chaudari for spearheading new website for FIA and Harish Kolasani for providing valuable assistance in hosting the kick-off program.

Among the prominent attendees include Dr. Asish Sen, President Indo American Democratic Organization, Dr. Basanti Bannerji, President,Indo American Center and Chandresh Brahmbhatt AAHOA’s Upper Midwest Regional Director. Some of the FIA Trustees present were Babu Marsha Patel, Anil Pillai, Bhailal Patel, Prahlad Patil, and Ranjit Ganguly. The event concluded with lunch hosted by FIA.

Ms. Lavanyalatha Jonnalagadda is a dancer, choreographer and performer and is well recognized in ChicagoLand (United States of America) as the foremost proponent of Kuchipudi a traditional classical dance from the southern Indian state of Andhara Pradesh. Ms. Lavanya is a disciple of Sri. Chinta Adinarayan Sarma one of famous proponents of Kuchipudi Dance.

With her passion and competitive nature, Lavanya has won several awards including the Gold Medal at ‘1987-YMCA All India Competitions in Music & Dance’. She also gained the title “Natya Rani” from Kala Jyoti Organization, Rajuamundry. She was also recognized at Silicon Andhra event held in Hyderabad during December 2012 in memory of Sri. Vempati China Satyam as one of the selected 40 Dance Instructors of Kuchipudi. Silicon Andra event was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the largest gathering of Kuchipudi Dancers in the world. She has been passing on her knowledge, skill and passion for dance to the next generation since migrating to USA and is located in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Lavanya’s disciples, Lakshmi Nanduri, Amulya Vundru, Sahithi Muppala, Sreeja Matukumalli, Pranathi Karumanchi, Vishnavi Jonnalagadda, Vishali Ambula and Pranatih Bollineni have gained praise of audience at the Federation of Indian Association’s 2013-Independence Day kick-off ceremony held at North Shore Banquet Hall, Chicago on 5th May 2013, entertaining and showcasing the rich culture of India with three distinct performances. First performance was a Kuchipudi Classical called ‘Jai Jai Padmavathi’ depicting how Lord Vishnu saves Gajendra that is famously known as Gajendra Mokshma in Hindu Mythology. Second performance was a Lambadi Dance depicting the way Banjarans express the happiness and praise for their companions. The third performance was a South Indian Folk Dance called ‘Neeli Neeli Kondameeda’
performed by a team of 9 year olds. It was a pleasure and amazement to see the passion, energy and immersion shown by the young participants of these three performances, who proudly stated that despite their busy school work and having to maintain high grades, they love to learn and performing classical arts.

Same performers have also recently won 1st place in three categories in ‘2013 Dhimtana & TV9 TANA Dance Competitions’ held in Chicago during April and have been selected to perform in the nationwide event going to be held by TANA & Dhimtana Organizations in Dallas this month. Parents of the performers said, despite their busy schedules and other responsibilities, they are very pleased by the passion and interest their kids have developed in learning and performing classical dances and that their enthusiasm has been motivating them to further encourage their kids and accommodate various programs in their day to day schedules.