The Federation of Indian Associations- NYNJCT, held the 39th FIA Grand Gala Banquet Reception Aug. 19, in Fords, N.J., the day after its successful India Day Parade in Manhattan which organizers estimated attracted around 100,000 people.
The guest of honor at the evening gala which took place at Albert’s Palace, was India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty. The chief guest was Bollywood actor and successful businessman Suniel Shetty, the Grand Marshall at the India Day Parade.
The gala is meant as a ‘thank you’ to all the people who made the Parade a success, said Ankur Vaidya, member of the FIA board of trustees.
There was a full house of some 650 people at the banquet hall to thank.
Consul General Chakravorty spoke about the partnership between the FIA and the Consulate and his goal of expanding the avenues of the partnership. He also urged everyone present to remember two important dates in the near future – the expected landing of India’s Chandrayaan-2 moon mission on Sept. 7 on the surface of the moon; and the massive ‘Howdy Modi!’ event planned for Sept. 22, in Houston, Texas.
Shetty in his speech indicated how amazing it felt to participate in the India Day Parade and how he got goosebumps standing on the float and feeling the love of the thousands of people on Madison Ave. for India, and the fans who wanted to see him and take pictures of him and with him.
The founder and past president of FIA, Ramesh Patel, who is seen as a mentor in the organization, said he was thrilled by the success of the Parade which some have billed as the largest of its kind outside India. The FIA, Patel said, was moving forward with handing over the baton to younger members of the organization.
Alok Kumar, president of FIA, profusely thanked all those who helped make the Parade a success, including all the volunteers, Shetty, the Indian Consulate, and specifically mentioned the Bihar-Jharkhand Association of North America, BJANA, which helped raise funds and devoted a lot of time, effort and participation. Kumar is originally from the Bihar-Jharkhand area of India.
Entertainment at the event was provided by young singing virtuoso from India Amrish Mishra, known for his wide range and talent covering many genres including ghazals, bhajans, Sufi music, semi classical and spiritual songs and performances. He also sang Indian patriotic songs at the gala.