The Association of Indians in America (AIA) New York Chapter, held an inauguration/oath ceremony of the newly elected President, Harish Thakkar, and his Executive Committee at the Consulate General of India, in New York.
The ceremony was attended by the Consul General of India Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha, Congresswoman Grace Meng, New York State Senator John Liu and Air India Regional Manager, Bhuvna Rao, besides past presidents of AIA, national chapter presidents, community leaders, and guests from the tristate area, according to a press release.
The ceremony started with the rendition of ‘Ganesh Vandana’ performed by Anandita Guha, a dance performance by students of Arya Dance Academy and a dance performance by a five-year-old Indian American girl, Angel Shah. Smita Guha sang a Bollywood song.
Congresswoman Meng congratulated the team, and reinforced her support to the Indian community. John Liu gave a proclamation to Thakkar and also congratulated him and said he will support upcoming AIA events.
Thakkar, in his speech, laid down his vision to enhance educational based projects on AI (Artificial Intelligence) which will help young girls in the community.
Thakkar extended special thanks to Liu for agreeing to host an AIA Diwali event at Albany.
“We will arrange to celebrate this special event there with help of my committee,” he said.
Desi Next is AIA’s young chapter of young adults who are bringing the next generation together. They have done programs for Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
“We would like to do more events for Desi Next such as cultural and sports events,” said Thakkar. AIA will organize health related lectures and seminars in the community, he added.
AIA has been doing a kids’ Diwali celebration in Queens Public Library for last eight years, and Thakkar said the organizations’ vision was to expand this kids Diwali event in Nassau County too.
Thakkar said he wants to be instrumental in bringing the community together through AIA, and pass the legacy of “our culture and heritage and projects we undertake in the future.”
Thakkar has been associated with AIA for past 14 years and the BAPS Sanstha, which is a spiritual, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service.
The New York Chapter of AIA was established in 1968 and is well known for its social, cultural and educational activities. Among its various activities, celebrating Diwali at South Street Seaport in New York City has become one of its flagship events since 1987.
AIA organizes Diwali celebrations on a grand scale, where more than 100,000 New Yorkers from all walks of life turn up to watch the splendor and glory of a showcase of Indian culture, arts and crafts, jewelry, Indian traditional clothes and a taste of Indian dishes from various regions of India, at South Street Seaport.
Political dignitaries, senators, members of US Congress and Indian diplomats are invited at this function to promote better understanding between US and India. Topping it all, the program closes with a spectacular display of fireworks in the East River leading to a grand finale, watched by over a million New Yorkers and from neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut.