Federation of Indian Associations [FIA] Chicago hosted a grand Indian Republic Day Gala replete with colorful celebrations encompassing traditional, patriotic and stunning contemporary dance presentations remarkably depicting the beautiful majestic elements and soul of India that which was enhanced further by the presence of Consul General of India Neeta Bhushan, legendary Sarod maestro & Padma Vibhushan Sri. Amjad Ali Khan along with wife Subhalakshmi and sons Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash – all fused into an extraordinarily memorable Republic Day celebrations on Friday January 26, 2018 at the Meadows Convention Center in Rolling Meadows, IL.
The highlight of the evening’s celebrations was the swearing-in ceremony of the FIA Executive Board: Sanhita Agnihotri as new FIA President with Executive Vice President Pradeep Shukla, Vice Presidents: Harish Kolasani, Secretary: Saloni Dar, Treasurer: Satish Dadepogu, Joint Secretary: Chris Aryan, Joint Treasurer: Raj Patel and host of Directors Yoga Balaji, Vijender Doma, Shafeeq Khaja and Shabana constituting the newly elected board for 2018-2019. Chief Guest Consul General of India.
Neeta Bhushan in her address conveyed her heartfelt Republic Day greetings and congratulated FIA-Chicago for hosting an impressive event in celebration of the Republic of India. Consul General Neeta Bhushan fondly recalled her first attendance at FIA’s Indian Republic Day event in 2017 as the Chief Guest and said she is pleased to be in attendance again in 2018. Legendary Sarod Maestro & Padma VIbhushan Amjad Ali Khan extended warm greetings on the occasion of India’s Republic Day event.
FIA President Sanhita Agnihotri in her debut presidential address unveiled bold ambitious plans to steer FIA in a new direction by launching more meaningful program initiatives significant to the Indian American community. She said the new team teeming with renewed sense of aspirational zeal is determined to help lay foundations to take FIA in a new direction to restore its rich and glorious past. FIA President Sanhita Agnihotri waxed eloquence with Hindi couplets and expressly thanked Consul General of India Ms. Neeta Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan Amjad Ali Khan for their valued presence and as a token of appreciation presented silk shawls in demonstrating FIA’s appreciation.
The evening celebrations predominantly encompassed breathtaking dance presentations especially an epic ballet dance presentation facilitated by Harish Kolasani with 32-members dancing in unison and harmony adulating India’s ‘Unity in Diversity’ theme hailing India’s landscape of mountain ranges, vast rivers, dark forests, stream, sandy deserts its colorful diversity of people of all castes, creeds, faiths each complimenting the union of India. This dance was choreographed by Rina Thakur of RinaRockers, Jelena Mitchell of Art Ballet of Conservatory and Shanti Johnson of Yoga Planting. Each dance presentations capturing the spirit and essence of India were stunning and some even breathtaking with each performance amazing the audience eliciting extended applause.
Keerthi Kumar Ravoori, FIA Trustee urged the guests to pause on this Republic Day to salute the vanguard of freedom fighters who have shown their valor to secure emancipation from the colonial rule and achieve Independence which eventually enabled India to attain its sovereign Democratic Republic. Pradeep Shukla, Executive Vice President and Minhaj Akhtar, FIA Trustee intermittently spoke acknowledging the generous sponsorships and publicly thanked Mr. Iftekhar Shareef, CEO of National Bankcard Corporation, Mrs. Malini, Midwest Manager of Air-India, Mr. Syed Hussaini of Win Trust Bank, Mr. Iftekhar and Bernard of MB Bank were acknowledged for their generous sponsorships.
Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, President of Multi Ethnic Task Force thanked FIA for hosting phenomenal gala in commemoration of India’s Republic and went on to introduce Christ Kennedy Junior. Young Chris Kennedy Jr. [Grandnephew of late John F Kennedy] son of Chris Kennedy spoke at length about his family of leaders who have paved the way laying bridges of enduring friendship between United States and India.