EDISON, NJ – The Samast Vaishnav Vanik Jan of North America (SVAJAN) celebrated 10 years at their first convention on November 18-19 at Royal Albert’s Palace, in Edison, New Jersey. Around 750 people attended the meet.
“Svajan has been growing each year for the past 10 years. The mission of Svajan is to build unity, strength and prosperity among us and maintain our cultural heritage and Vaishnav values,” said Nalin Shah, President of SVAJAN.
Shah spoke also of women empowerment at the meet.
“‘Naari tu Narayan’, we need that, that is our value. Our women can pass on our culture and heritage to our children, the next generations, because their participation in the youth sector is also necessary. Svajan has decided to form a women as well as a youth association within the next two years,” he said.
“It is also very true that we are the last generation who listen to our parents and we will also be the first generation which has to listen to their children. We are a limited edition. So let’s combine the power of youth, women and us to be an example of great teamwork. Together we can achieve and reach both young and old; leaders become great not because of their power but because of their ability to act towards others. Every effort is not converted into success but success does not come without effort,” he added.
Also speaking at the gathering was Dr. Bharat Barai, a medical oncologist in Merrillville, Indiana, who called New Jersey, “Desi” Jersey.
“My concept of unity is like an onion. An onion has a lot of peels. When you put all of those peels together it forms a small, solid mass because when we talk about unity our concept should be smaller unity, lager unity, much larger unity and eventually very large unity,” he said.
“So what we have to do from here is to support the growth of private institutions in Indian which will be able to obtain and give jobs to people based on the merits and not task preservation because that is going to be a losing game,” he told the audience.
Barai is currently the medical director of the Cancer Institute, Methodist Hospitals; a clinical assistant professor of Medicine at Indiana University Medical School and the secretary and former president of the Medical Licensing Board of the State of Indiana.
He is also a trustee and former President of FIA Chicago, the former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Manav Seva Mandir and also helped organize the reception for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden on September 28, 2014.
Barai has received numerous community service awards for his voluntary services in last 25 years including the Pravasi Bharatiya Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Various distinguished community members were honored at the convention, including Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media (who couldn’t attend, but his wife Dr. Sudha Parikh was present to accept the honor on his behlaf) and Padma Shri H.R. Shah of TV Asia, as well as other grand sponsors and committee members.
The night ended with entertainment from singers Omkar Deshpande of Indian Idol, Ankita Bramhe of Voice of India and Shirvari, a participant of the International Keystroke Championship.
The convention also featured workshops on yoga, health awareness, speed dating, student achievement and other entertainment, including garba, drama, Gujarati songs and qawwali.