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Gujarat Cultural Association hosts colorful Diwali celebrations

By Suresh & Usha Bodiwala

Chicago IL (Nov. 9, 2014): Gujarat Cultural Association hosted a grand Diwali celebration enhanced by ‘live’ musical concert that attracted a host of families, friends, and community figures on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Waterford Banquets, 933 South Riverside Drive, Elmhurst, IL.

Upholding its grand annual tradition, the Gujarat Cultural Association celebrated the festival of lights with gaiety with house-full attendance. The event was graced by dignitaries present from all different professions such as political, entertainment, education, business, medical, IT (Information Technology), along with prominent Community Leaders.

The evening started with a social hour featuring a variety of delicious appetizers and soft drinks. The program started with welcome speech by Meena Purohit. She conveyed Diwali and New Year wishes to everyone and invoked the blessings Goddess Laxmi  on this occasion..  

Meena Purohit invited all dignitaries important guest and gujarati Samaj executive board members for lamp lighting led by president Kanti S Patel joined by prominent leaders including Niranjan Shah, Dr. Bharat Barai, Mafat Patel, Iftekhar Shareef, Babu Patel, Keerthi Ravoori and Ashok Punjabi. 

Introducing president Kanti Patel, her daughter Hetal Patel said "My daddy Kantibhai Patel, came to America in 1973. He was one of the forefathers that started Garba in Chicago at the Hare Rama Hare Krishna temple. He is ambassador for keeping our roots and heritage in this country for US born second generation Indians. (Indian root, Gujarati root, Indian culture and Bollywood music). He work selflessly for our Gujarati and Indian community, he has plenty of love in his heart. He has committed countless hours, blood, sweat, and multiple resources  to our community" said by Hetal Patel

Ashok Punjabi who was the chief guest conveyed Diwali greetings and thanked Kanti Patel for giving him the honor to be on the stage.

Mr. Niranjan Shah, prominent community/business leader who was the honored guest gave the Diwali greetings and praised president Kanti Patel and added "Kantibhai came in this country 1973, few years later, I came in this country. During this time, he saw Jimmy Carter to Barak Obama as a President of United States of America. Gujarati has some uniqueness that they are extremely working people. They do not look for any positions such a s president without any ego. They work hard to uplift the society. Kantibhai is one of them and he honor him as father of Gujarati. Besides all Gujarati, there are people from FIA such as Iftekhar Shareef , Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, Babubhai Patel, they work tireless for the community. Give them a big hand to all of them. Kantibhai is from Dhrmaj in India and also Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is from the same town. Kantibhai has very similar qualifications as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel have" concluded Niranjan Shah.

Dr. Bharat Barai, a prominent Gujarati Medical Doctor conveyed Diwali 2071 and Happy New Year 2071 to everyone. He told a story about MBA. He was a director of Kansas center of Medical board. During this time he decided to do NBA. He called UIC for his admissions. A few week later, a call came from UIC that you are a medical doctor what is the purpose of MBA. They added that you are Gujarati, MBA is not necessary because MBA is in your genes.  He told a story of Narendra Modi, he is a Chief Minister of Gujarat. When Nano Motors Co. came to Gujarat, he told Chief Executive of Nano to give as many as jobs to Gujarati. Executive Director agreed. However after sometimes, Executive Director of Nano told Narenbhai that he cannot keep his promise. It is not because he not giving a job to gujarati. All gujarati, they have a job and they quit the job. Ordinary person came to me to work in canteen. After 6 month he wants to quit and he wants a contract to run the canteen" said by Dr. Bharat Barai.
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Consulate General of India, was unable to attend the event but his message was read by Iftekhar Shareef who stated, "India is a country that is strong and vibrant with its strength rooted firmly in its multiplicity, in its true democratic traditions, its sense of tolerance and accommodation and in its rich and centuries old traditions and culture. I hope that you will continue to maintain your close links with your homeland while carrying on with your outstanding contributions to your adopted homeland”.

Awards were given to the following individuals for their outstanding service to the Indian community.  

Nilesh Topiwala: In appreciation and recognition for your loyal service as a certified public accountant to the Indian community and your continual support to our organization.

Dr. Nita Patel: In recognition for her excellent achievement in dentistry and her commitment and dedication to the Indian community.

Mitesh Patel: In honor of dedication and professional achievement in construction while continuing your support to the Indian Community of the Chicagoland Area.

Kalapadma Dance Academy presented 3 dance items- Diya dance with lamp, Ganesh Stuti and Raas from Ram Lila movie.

Singers who entertained the audience with sensational Bollywood songs were:
Nalini Parikh (female), Sunil Patel, Eshaan Ahmed, Shohail (Aqeel Bhatti), Jitubhai Jothi and Jitu Bulsara. They are all well known singers from Chicago area.

Nalini Parikh, she is versatile singer. She sang Lata Mangeshkar. Noor Jahan, Asha Bhosle and Shreya Ghoshal. She has no professional training. However, she is God gifted. People call night angel of Chicago. She is singing for the last 25 years including famous Babla group in India. Her opening song is Satyam Shivam Sundram. Aap ke Nazar roh me, Jai ye aap kahan jai.

Sunil Patel, he is versatile singer. He is a brother of Sunita Parikh. He sang KishorKumar, Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi and Yashudas. He sang following songs: Ji Wa Na Se Bahri, Teri liye hum hai, Kora Kagaz tha yeh man mera, Jab bhip chale anna.

Eshhan Ahmed, he is a versatile singer. He sang Mahendra Kapoor. He sang ,Aap aiye toh kayal yeh dil se, Chalo ek baar ajanbi bangye Tum haaare chaile wala.

Shohail(Aqeel Bhatti), he is a versatile singer. He sang Kishor, Mukesh, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Sonu Nigam. He sang the opening song, Tere mast mast do nain, Tu na maare entri, jiya darak darak jaye. He sang most of the current Bollywood  hottest songs.

Jitu Bulsara, he is a versatile singer. He sang Kishor, Mukesh and Mohammed Rafi. He sang Desh Bakthi , patriotic songs.

Jitubhai Jothi, he is a versatile singer. He sang Mukesh. He sang yeh raat bheegi bheegi, hume tum se pyar kitna, yaad nagaye bete dino ke