Chicago: The boisterous patriotic fervor overwhelmed with confluence of colorful floats, marching bands, music, dancing troupes and the deafening drum-beats of Indian dholaks were robustly irrepressible even under scorching summer weather as FIA-Chicago kicked-off yet another stunning India Independence Day Parade with gathering crowds cheering reaching piercing decibels on the Saturday afternoon of August 15, 2015 on Devon Ave in Chicago.
With both sides of the streets rendering a cheerful chorus of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ rented the air as the grand parade encompassing 28 dazzling floats gently advanced interspersed with three marching bands, dancing groups augmented by the presence of several high-profile elected officials including Consul General of India Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, IL Secretary of State Jesse White, IL Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Clerk of Cook County Circuit Court Dorothy Brown and Bollywood Celebrities Upen Patel and Karishma Tanna, Trustee of Schaumburg Village Nimesh Jani joined by Tollywood actress Divya Vani – all creating an uncontrollable frenzy with a host of FIA leadership team joining the colorful frontline led by FIA’s President Dr. Indrajit Patel.
As the parade gently passed in front of the reviewing stand, there was uninterrupted commentary depicting the floats led by Iftekhar Shareef Trustee and Events Chair. There was a pause as the strongman of FIA-chicago Mr. Niranjan Shah was honored on the parade dais with a colorful shawl presented by Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed and Keerthi Ravoori joined by host of FIA team.
Cheers and shouts continued to erupt as each float majestically passed the streets of Mahatma Gandhi Marg creating excitement in the air filled with the unrelenting drum beats of Malayalam group and zestful ‘lazim-dance’ led by Maharashtra Mandal group, glaring music from SAHIL/LA Tan float and the Jesse White Tumbler’s team taking the pride of place with its breath-taking acrobatic jumps providing an exciting conclusion to the colorful India Independence Day parade. There where several new entrants in parade floats including Hanuman Temple, CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), ComEd, AAPI (Asian American Physians of Indian Origan) led by its president Dr. Suresh Reddy.
The spirit of celebrations was simply unabated as it continued its joyful frenzy at the Mela hosted by ‘Hi India’ in conjunction with FIA-Chicago immediately after the passing of the last parade unit – a new energetic music and singing was unleashed at the Republic Bank of Chicago outdoor premises thus marking the beginning of a grand musical Mela which provided an exciting conclusion to the weekend of celebrations in honor of India Independence Day. Iftekhar Shareef, Events Convener served as the emcee and conducted the ceremonies on the reviewing stand which was complemented by a host of other Trustees with a singing of Indian national anthem drawing the closure on the parade. FIA is already planning a large mela in Warren Park next year.
Preceding the grand parade led by Parade Chair Ms. Smita Shah, FIA-Chicago hosted a glittering Gala Banquet on Friday August 14, 2015 that showcased the exciting blend of musical amalgamation by a talented group from India belting out soulful singing performances activating the atmosphere at the Meadows Club. The Banquet unveiled inspiring patriotic remarks and musical presentations that lasted late into the night.
Consul General of India Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Chief Guest in his spirited eloquence offered greetings at the banquet and the parade; while generously thanking FIA and its team of leaders for hosting grand festivities in honor of India’s Independence. Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed praised the Indian American community for celebrating India’s Independence with such great pomp and glory all across the Midwest and added that Indian Americans serve as great bridge between two democracies.
Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed praised the FIA leaders and its legion of guests as pride of India and pride of USA. He admired the burgeoning strength of Indians in the United States and significant appointments of Indian Americans in major multinational companies highlighting the burgeoning strengths, accomplishments and contributions of Indian Americans who – he added – are proudly serving as brand ambassadors of India. Consul General said that he would like to convene an annual conference of Indian organizations to foster the integration of the Indian communities.
Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed proudly recalled the visits of Prime Minister Modi to USA which he said will remain indelible for many generations to come and the visit of US President Obama which he added is historically significant in the Indo US relations and applauded the US efforts to include India in the United Nations Security Council. In conclusion, Consul General Dr. Sayeed specially complemented on the tall leaders of FIA and called on the single flag hoisting event on the Daley plaza as a landmark event worthy to be cherished.
FIA President Dr. Indrajit Patel said that he is excited and pleased at the success of the three major events; thanked the great host of supporters, sponsors, and business and community leaders for their steadfast support and for pulling together as a team to host such a memorable celebrations. Dr. Indrajit Patel said that FIA-Chicago takes immense pride in hosting these 2-day festivities that seek to honor India’s Independence while celebrating the reigning spirit of Indian democracy, cultural heritage and thriving Indo-American friendship. Dr. Indrajit Patel emphasized on Prime Minister Modi’s doctrine of unity, friendship, cooperation and a sense of community in his remarks.
Several awards were presented at Banquet held at Medows club led by FIA’s Banquet Chair Neil Patel in recognition of outstanding community services and exemplary leadership contributions to Dr. Bharat Barai, Syed Hussaini of WinTrust, Nakul Singh Chand of Air-India, Dr. Chittaranjan Patel, Dr. Umang Patel, Shri Sahab Singh, of Animal Husbandry in U.P. Government, India and Dr. Prem Raj Yadav a grass root BJP worker from newly carved Telangana State; while posthumously honoring Mr. Narendra Patel who was fondly remembered for his exceptional contributions to the community and FIA. A special acknowledgement award was presented to Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, immediate past-president for his meritorious services to FIA.
Dr. Indrajit Patel thanked the Parade team encompassing Kanti S. Patel, Iftekhar Shareef, Ajai Agnihotri, Babu Patel and Anil Pillai for providing valuable support in hosting the parade; while thanking Syed Hussaini of WinTrust and Niranjan Shah of Globetrotters Engineering Corporation for their robust sponsorship support. Dr. Patel also thanked the Banquet team led by Chairmen Neal and Raj Patel along with Veenod Patel , for providing the supervisory support. President Dr. Indrajit Patel acknowledged Harish Kolasani, Kanti N. Patel,Ajeet Singh, Babu Varma of the executive team and honorable trustees including Babu Patel, Iftekhar Shareef, Bhailal Patel, Harish Bhatt,Hina Trivedi, Sohan Joshi, Ranjit Ganguly, Sitaram Patel, Satish Gabhawala and Hetal Patel and thanked Mela team consisting of Mela Chair Ajai Agnihotri, Ajeet Singh and Editor/Publisher of Hi India Mr. Hemant Brahmbhatt for hosting the Mela Festival.
A moment of silence was observed in memory of India’s late president Dr. Kalam, community figures Naren Patel and Hasan Merchant.