FIA Chicago Celebrates 65th Indian Republic Day

Chicago IL: FIA Chicago IL celebrated 65th Indian Republic Day on Saturday – January 25, 2014 at Meadows Club, 2950 W Golf Road, Rolling Meadows, IL. It was the first ever time in the history of FIA that the event was free and by Invitations only guests. The celebration included Indian songs, dances, delicious food, a Hindi-play“Dastak” and meeting the invited dignitaries.

FIA’s New Board for 2014 was declared as – President: Onkar Singh Sangha; Executive Vice President: Dhitu Bhagwakar; Vice Presidents: Bharti Desai, Rita Shah, Surinder Kalra, Mukesh Shah, Ravi Kapoor; General Secretary:Shahid Rizvi, Neil Khot; Jt. Secretary: Sam Azeemuddin; Treasurer: Surinder Palia; Jt Treasurer: Raju Shah, Directors: Shital Daftari, Amit Desai, Ninad Daftari.

The program started with the traditional lighting of the lamp in presence of a large number of City, State and Federal elected officials and well-known Community leaders. Indian national anthem was sung by the versatile singer Shreelakha Mohanty, and the American national anthem was sung by Ashika Sachdev who has been an American Idol Contestant.
A beautiful group dance was performed by Mudra Dance Academy on the music of the famous song Vande Matram by A.R. Rehman. The dance was choreographed by Kshama Shah.

FIA President Onkar Singh Sangha welcomed the community guests, invited dignitaries and the Indian Counsel General Ausaf Sayeed as Chief Guest. He observed that Indian Republic Day is celebrated not only in India but even abroad by people of Indian origin and Chicago cannot be an exception. “We specifically decided to celebrate the event on January 25 since this would coincide with the celebration on January 26 in India. We are happy that we are part of this great celebration.” He appealed for unity among all Indian Americans here and thanked the FIA Members and Executive Committee Officials for their support in bringing this event to fruition.

Welcome Remarks were made by Sunil Shah, Founder & Former President, FIA-Chicago, He emphasized the importance of India’s Republic Day.

Mr. Shah introduced the Chief Guest of the evening as the right person to be representing India as Counsel General, with a personality par excellence, and always eager to attend as many community functions as possible and always eager to help Indian Community.

Counsel General Ausaf Sayeed recounted the importance of Republic Day and briefed those present about the huge strides that India has taken in fields of science, technology and education over the past sixty years and more importantly in recent decades. He congratulated Indian Americans for their initiatives in cementing India-US ties. he was happy that the Indian community here has been celebrating the Indian Republic Day and added that this signified their special feel for the land of their origin.

P.C.S. Past President Rajinder Singh Mago introduced all the elected officials, political candidates, and special guests. Mr. Mago introduced the Keynote Address Speaker Dan Rutherford, Illinois State Treasurer as a true supporter of Indian Community. State Treasurer Rutherford, a Republican is running for the Governor of Illinois seat in upcoming elections. Dan Rutherford wished happy Republic Day to Indians, the largest Democratic Nation on globe. He reminded all, the important role Indians are playing in US economy and assured of his support. Rutherford thanked FIA for arranging this event and inviting him.

Steve Kim, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor also wished Happy Republic Day and emphasized the importance of Asian Americans and appealed to unite in representing the interests of Asian Americans.
U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of 8th. District was represented by her district scheduler Trisha Chokshi. Illinois State Senator Michael Noland of 22nd. district, Illinois state representative Michelle Mussman of 56th district, Deputy Mayor of Hanover Park Rick Roberts, Hanover Township Trustee Steve Caramelli, Commissioners of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Frank Avila and Mariyana Spyropoulos, Naren Patel of Medstar Laboratories graced the event and delivered befitting congratulatory speeches.

A Republic Day Proclamation was presented to Shri Onkar Singh Sangha by State Senator Michael Noland. William McLeod, Mayor of Hoffman Estates also attended the Republic Day Celebrations and addressed the audience.
Laddi K. Singh, a female Sikh Indian American, a democratic party candidate, for Illinois State Representative for 54th district which covers Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Inverness, Barrington etc. also spoke to the audience. She is unopposed in the primaries and will face the incumbent Republican in general elections in November.
Nimesh Jani, an Indian American Trustee of Schaumburg Township also addressed the audience.
A large number of young Indian American’s presence suggested an increased participation in mainstream politics.

Air India Manager, Rishikant Singh also wished Happy Republic Day to all, congratulated FIA for celebrating this day and arranging such a beautiful function. He spoke about the achievements of Air India Globally and also assured of continued excellence in it’s services.

A beautiful cultural presentation by local artists turned out to be a great entertainment. UIC Bhangra dance was a great hit. Dance Performances by Ya Cheez Entertainment Songs Performed by Mahijit Virdi, Rajesh Chelam, Shrilekha Mohanty, Nipa and Noman Khan were great, and Live Musical group by Tara Multani with Punjabi Bhangra Songs that made the audience run to the dance floor.

Pravasi Kala Manch and Washington Hindustani Theater Presented “Dastak” A Gentle Knock on Collective Conscience… A Gripping Insightful Hindi Play Highlighting a Girl’s Life.

The program was sponsored by Harinder Singh of M.I.T.S., Live2U,Vibrant Media Group, KDEF, JDGO Rental car, Saris and Things, Air India, StrikeXTen, Sunil Shah-New York Life, and D’s Creations.

It was one of the best shows of its kind – the celebration of India’s Republic Day in Chicago land by the Federation of Indian Association (new). A sumptuous dinner was relished by all.

The Master of Ceremony was Gaurav Arora, who handled the entire event very nicely.