Newly elected members of the FIA Chicago Executive Committee taking the ‘Oath of Office’ at the Installation ceremony during FIA Chicago’s India Republic Day Celebrations
Congressman Brad Schneider: “FIA Chicago, a testament of vibrant Indian American Community.”
CHICAGO: Federation of India Associations Chicago (FIA Chicago), at a glittering ceremony, celebrated India’s 73rd Republic Day in Chicago; and, in presence of three US Congressmen, installed its new Executive team with Rakesh Malhotra as its President. Ranking Congressman Danny Davis, Congressman Brad Schneider, and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi were present. Also present was Amit Kumar, India’s Midwest Consul General as Chief Guest.
The new Executive Committee comprises Rakesh Patel, President; Rajesh (Raj) Patel, Ex Officio Past President; Hemant Patel, Executive Vice President; Jayesh Patel, Vice President; Amar Upadhaya, Vice President; Amitabh Mittal, Vice President; Jatinder Singh Bedi, Secretary; Chirag Chavda, Joint Secretary; Vijender Doma, Treasurer; and Nirmala Reddy, Joint Treasurer. Bhailal Patel and Kantibhai N Patel, Trustees FIA administered the ‘Oath of Office’ to the incoming Executive Committee.
Through this event, new Directors of the FIA Chicago have also been introduced. They include Nirav Patel, Ashok Shah, Chirayu Parikh, Kaushik Joshi, Rohit Joshi, Shailesh Rajput, Satheesan Nair, Tribhuvan Gaur, and Ms. Anica Dubey.
Several leading Chicago organizations and prominent personalities from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana attended. These included Ms. Meghna Bansal, Trustee Wheatland Township; Amit Kumar, the Consul General of India; Sunny Ghabawala, Trustee FIA; Sher Rajput, Trustee FIA; Hina Trivedi, Trustee FIA; Kanti Patel, Trustee FIA; Bhailal Patel, Trustee FIA; Parminder Singh Goldi, Harjinder Khasria, Abhinav Raina, Krishna Bansal, and Nimesh Jani.
In his Presidential address, FIA Chicago President Rakesh Malhotra acknowledged the contributions of the Indian diaspora in the fields of science, arts, academics, civil society, and business. Rakesh Malhotra said, “We must continue to contribute wholeheartedly towards building a society that stands firmly on the foundation of equality and social justice.” He called upon all the community organizations to “step up [our] efforts, and embark on a journey from success to significance.”
Rakesh Malhotra called upon the NRI community to “reinforce [our] commitment of creating a system in which there is no place for discrimination. …[and] to reflect on core values of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity. He assured of FIA Chicago’s approach to be inclusive and innovative.“
The goal is to strengthen India-US ties,” he stressed.
FIA Chicago’s outgoing President Rajesh (Raj) Patel extended his greetings to the community. He also acknowledged the efforts and contribution of India’s freedom fighters in making India a Republic. While recalling FIA Chicago’s stellar contributions during its 40-year history Rajesh Patel stated that FIA Chicago, during the last 40 years of its existence, has led the NRIs from the front. He said that FIA Chicago provided the NRIs with participative leadership, and also took up the community issues with the US political leadership. “From time to time,” Rajesh Patel said, “FIA Chicago has fought for the community rights be it social discrimination or the minority bias.”
Rajesh Patel further stated: “As we step into FIA Chicago’s 41st year, I call upon you all to reject the prevailing noise and jealousies, and, walk-in step with the FIA Chicago leadership to strengthen the community going forward.”
He also invited the community children to be a part of FIA Chicago.
Thanking FIA Chicago for inviting him, Congressman Brad Schneider described FIA Chicago as “a testament of vibrant Indian American Community.” The entire Indian American community supports democracy all over the world, he added.
Congressman Brad Schneider stated that the Indian value system exemplifies nonviolence. Indian American community plays a crucial role in America and is involved virtually in every walk of life. He cited Kamala Harris as an example. Congressman Schneider described India and USA as strong economic allies and the two countries’ largest trading partners. He emphasized that India is the 10th largest supplier to the United States.
Referring to their 1959 meeting Congressman Schneider drew a parallel between Martin Luther King and Mahatama Gandhi. He stated that while Gandhi brought India independence from the British, Martin Luther King brought voting right to women in the United States.
Speaking at the occasion Congressman Danny Davis stated,” we are fortunate that we live in the USA and in its state of Illinois…” Congressman Danny Davis complimented the Indian Community for economically strengthening the United States social fabric. “I thank you for what you mean, for what you do, and for what you care,” he added. Congressman Davis made a special mention of FIA Trustee Sher Rajput for being friends with him for the last 50 years. “Thank you, Sher,” he said.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi extended customary greetings to Indians on the occasion of Republic Day. He acknowledged NRIs’ contributions in strengthening Indo-US ties. Referring to the increasing Indian American influence in the US polity, Congressman Krishnamoorthi stated that it reflects the common value system between the countries.
In his speech Amit Kumar, India’s Midwest Consul General said that in India 1.6 million doses of the Coved-19 vaccine have been administered. Through this 90 percent of adults have been inoculated; 70 percent have received two doses; 50 percent of the age group 15 to 18 years have received an inoculation. He thanked the NRIs for enabling the Indian art and culture accepted in the American socio-fabric.
Hemant Patel the Executive Vice President described the celebrations as a benchmark event that shall be a turning point in Chicago’s community circles. He applauded Ms. Madhura Sane’s Kathak performance on the legendary song Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo… “It filled my eyes,” Hemant Patel states. He said, “we are celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the Constitution of India.” While highlighting the progress that India has made during 73 years of independence Hemant Patel stated, “India has reached to the Mars and Moon. India is now the strongest army in the world.” India is the 6th largest economy, he added.
It is mentioned that Madura Sane is a cine star and Director of Chicago’s leading Kathak dance company named Nritya Natya Academy.
Expressing delight over the conduct of the FIA Chicago’s India Republic Day celebrations, Chirag Chavda stated, “This very well organized event reflects good teamwork. …we can lead this too far ahead towards the community progress and fruitful engagement.”
Ms. Nirmala Reddy and Ms. Amy Mehta were the reception committee co-chairs. Jayesh Patel and Ms. Prachi Jaitley were the MCs. Amar Upadhaya and Vijender Doma were the event coordinators. Vice President Jayesh Patel extended the vote of thanks. He describes the function as an outstanding networking opportunity that also had a strong message of community solidarity and camaraderie. “The dance performance by Ms. Madhura Sane was par excellence,” Jayesh Patel says.
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