NEW YORK – The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, in collaboration with member of the Indian American community, hosted a farewell reception July 18 for Riva Ganguly Das, India’s Consul General in New York, at the Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, New Jersey.
Ambassador Das, who assumed charge in New York in March 2016, was recently named the new Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations by the Government of India, and is scheduled to leave for New Delhi later this week.
The event, attended by more than 250 members of the Indian American community, was hosted by FIA and sponsored by H R Shah, Padma Shri Dr Sudhir Parikh, who is the founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media; Albert Jasani, AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin), Drs. Sanjay and Kavita Gupta, TV9, Anil Bansal, Indian Panorama, Malini Shah and FOKANA (Federation of Kerala Associations in North America).
Many speakers, including FIA chairman Ramesh Patel and president Andy Bhatia, H R Shah, chairman of TV Asia and Anil Bansal, chairman of Indus American Bank, recounted how Das had steadfastly interacted with the Indian American community.
Speakers also pointed out that Das was instrumental in co-sponsoring the International Yoga Day celebrations this year with the New York City Public Advocate’s Office and the Parks Department.
Despite her short stint in New York, Das was also credited with engaging several US congressmen and senators as well as New York City elected officials.
“When we had a welcome dinner for you over a year ago, there were more than 500 people and at your farewell dinner today we have much less,” said Andy Bhatia. “It is because many are sad to see you leave so soon and have decided not to be here and have you see them in tears.”
Patel was exuberant yet emotional while introducing Das at the event.
“You have been very helpful and gracious to the cause of FIA and India Day Parade and we wish you all the best,” said Patel.
Das joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986. A post-graduate in political science from Delhi University, she was a lecturer at Delhi University before joining the Indian Foreign Service. Following her first foreign posting in Spain, Das has had stints in Nepal, Bangladesh, China, The Hague and Romania.
In her remarks, Das lauded the FIA in “showcasing Indian culture to mainstream communities in New York, aiding in better understanding of Indian immigrants.”
She pointed out that it was imperative a direct channel of communication always existed between the Indian Diaspora and the Indian Consulate in New York.
“I have always tried to encourage fortnightly meetings between the Indian Consulate and Indian organizations, both cultural and corporate, to be able to understand the concerns of the Diaspora,” she said.
FIA partner organizations represented at the event included, FOKANA (Federation of Kerala Associations in North America), TANA (Telugu Association of North America), Haryana Global Chamber of Commerce, Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, AAPI and BAJANA (Bihar-Jharkhand Association of North America).
The FIA of NY-NJ-CT was formed in 1970 and is among the largest umbrella organization representing over 500,000 Indian Americans, in the tristate region. The centerpiece of its efforts culminates in the India Day Parade in New York each year.
The 37th India Day Parade in New York this year is scheduled for Sunday, Aug 20. The gala banquet is set for Aug 21 at the Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, NJ.