PUNE: Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal (BMM) of North America, the sole body to preserve Marathi culture and ethics in the USA, is all set to organize BMM 2024 from the 26th to the 29th of June 2024. BMM 2024 will be the largest convention of the Marathi community outside India. It will take place at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, California. Started in the early 80s, this biennial convention will cater to all age groups and will have business conferences, start-up forums, job opportunities, education, matrimony, healthcare, and entertainment.
Speaking at a Press Conference organized in the city, Prakash Bhalerao-Convener BMM 2024 said, “We chose San Jose as the venue for BMM 2024 as the Bay Area in California is the hub for Marathi community with the maximum number of Marathi households from across North America. About 25 years ago, there were one thousand Marathi families, today this number has touched Ten Thousand families who are not just well-established professionals and entrepreneurs but are also the ones who make conscious efforts to preserve our Marathi culture and value system. 80% of these families are from the western Maharashtra belt (Mumbai, Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and so on)”.
He further said, “BMM 2024 has programs for all age groups, however greater focus has been given to opportunities and issues pertaining to the youth and senior citizens. The benefits one can derive from such a large-scale convention are the exposure and opportunities one can get during networking and from the thought-provoking, inspiring lectures and talks. The youngsters will get to hear and interact with successful personalities from different sectors. BMM 2024 will be a 4-day convention. All days will have parallel sessions or programs and one can choose to attend. Recorded audio/visuals of these programs will be available for those who wish to watch them at a later time.”
BMM representative Dimakh Sahastrabuddhe, President of Pune District Co-operative Housing Societies and Apartments, Suhas Patwardhan, and others were also present on the occasion.
Day 1 will begin with a business conference. Alongside, there will be a day-long program focusing on the varied issues faced by Marathi senior citizens who have either settled or are visiting their children in the USA. The session will cover everything from spirituality to healthcare. The day also has a program on Matchmaking for the young looking at finding a suitable life partner from amongst the Marathi community. The youth of today are also burdened with the issue surrounding the H1B Visas. A special session has been planned to address this wherein legal experts will provide guidance and clear doubts. In the past, Indians would migrate to the USA primarily to pursue further studies in engineering or medicine. That is not the scenario today. Today’s young generation has a plethora of career options to choose from but is not sure who to seek firsthand authentic information and guidance from. To cater to this, there is a session called ‘Beyond Doctors & Engineers’. The first day will conclude with an extravagant musical program featuring celebrity Marathi artists. Along with all this, there will also be a closed-door event for invitees from amongst the patrons, donors, corporate sponsors, and other VIP dignitaries.
Day 2 will witness a formal inauguration of the convention in the presence of all BMM and BMM24 office bearers and dignitaries. The opening will have a grand-scale cultural program open to all. There will be special catering of exquisite Maharashtrian cuisine as lunch for 7000 attendees. The day will have parallel sessions on spirituality, music, youth, lecture series by Marathi stalwarts, and so on. The day will conclude with the convention’s first marquee event.
Day 3 will have a keynote address by the convention’s chief guest. The theme for the rest of day 3 is similar to that of day 2. The 2nd marquee event of the convention will take place on this day.
Day 4 will include the closing ceremony of the convention. The day will also have a BMM award function for various Marathi achievers followed by a ballot for BMM Presidential elections. The voting is open for all members of Maharashtra Mandals across America. The grand finale for the convention will be the film festival which will screen select short films along with one mega premier. This will be the first time that a film festival will be a part of the BMM Convention.
On all days, between sessions, there will be presentations from select NGOs. The thought is to provide a platform for NGOs that work relentlessly towards the upliftment of society. Our convention will help people act on their social responsibility toward the cause that is close to their hearts.
The preparation of the convention has begun in full swing with over 100 local artists, 200 invitee artists from India, corporate dignitaries, etc. being finalized, 2,500 rooms have been reserved in hotels that are in the vicinity of the convention center. Currently, 350 volunteers from 20 different committees from different Maharashtra Mandals are working on various subjects related to the convention and the number is expected to go up to 700 during the actual convention.
There is a huge dearth of facilities for senior citizens in the USA like healthcare guidance, home-cooked food service, help on posthumous religious formalities, and more. Through the funds generated from this convention, there is a plan to come up with these facilities and offer services like medical concierge and other services to improve their quality of life.
A special mobile application has also been developed to reach out to all Marathi people far and beyond to come together on one platform to not just access the details of the convention but get connectivity with Marathi people across geographies and professional domains. The app will remain available to all even after the convention.