AIA-NY honors six at Benefit Gala; announces highlights of Deepavali Fest October 1

Honorees with plaques at the AIA-NY Benefit Gala in Long Island Sept. 17, 2023 – Arun and Asmita Bhatia, Sharda Kothawala (with Haridas Kotahwala), Dr Subhash Kini, and Dr Saurabh Lodha with AIA-NY President Jagdish Gupta. PHOTO: courtesy AIA-NY

Hicksville, NY: The Association of Indians in America (AIA-NY) held its Benefit Gala to raise funds for the annual iconic Deepavali Fest at South Street Seaport in Manhattan scheduled to be held October 1. It also honored six individuals for their services in various areas of endeavor.

The gala was held on September 17, 2023, under glittering chandeliers in the ballroom of the newly opened Pearl Banquet Hall in Hicksville, NY. More than 200 people including past presidents of AIA and advisory board members attended, according to a press release from AIA.

Dr. Jagdish Gupta, president of AIA-NY, and Dr. Samin Sharma, chairman of the Board of AIA-NY, at the Sept. 17, 2023, Benefit Gala in Long Island PHOTO: AIA-NY

President Dr. Jagdish Gupta, a gastroenterologist who took over in June this year, described the honorees as “the crème de la crème of our community, including physician leaders, philanthropists, educators, and entrepreneurs.”

More than 200 people attended the Sept. 17, 2023, Benefit Gala for the Deepavali Festival scheduled for Oct. 1, at South Street Seaport. PHOTO: AIA-NY

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Asmita and Arun Bhatia, Founder and CEO of the Arun Bhatia Development Organization.

David Seligman receiving a plaque of recognition from AIA-NY, at the Sept. 17, 2023, event in Long Island. PHOTO: courtesy AIA-NY

Excellence in Healthcare Administration Award was given to David Seligman, Deputy Regional Executive Director for Northwell Health Western Region.

Award to Dr. VK Raju accepted by Dr. Leela Raju at September 17, 2023, event hosted by AIA-NY. PHOTO: AIA-NY

Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University Dr. V. K. Raju, was honored for Excellence in Ophthalmological Surgery & Prevention of Childhood Blindness. On his behalf, his daughter Dr. Leela V. Raju, also an ophthalmologist, accepted the award.

Dr Subhash Kini, drector, Center for Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai (Morningside), received the Excellence in Bariatric & Minimally Invasive/Robotic Surgery Award.

The Businesswoman/Entrepreneur Award went to Sharda Haridas Kotahwala, for their family business in diamond and precious stones jewelry business.

Dr Saurabh Lodha, of the Department of Dermatology, Columbia University, received the Excellence in Dermatology – Special Young Physician Award.

New York Life Insurance Company, a major sponsor of AIA’s  Deepavali Festival, was honored for Community Service  Excellence. NY Life’s Corporate Vice President, Srinivas Ranga received the plaque.

“AIA-NY has been organizing the Deepavali Festival in New York for the past 36 years, and it has become an iconic event, attended by thousands of people from the Tri-State area, including both Indians and non-Indians,” noted Dr. Gupta. He congratulated the community as Diwali has been declared a school holiday in New York City, saying, “Over the years, it has come to symbolize our culture and heritage in the USA  as Diwali is a manifestation of Indian culture.”

Highlights of the free-to-public Deepavali festival at South Street Seaport on October 1 include: Children’s Program (1.30-3 pm), Nach Inferno (4-5.30 pm), VIP Hour (3.30 – 5 pm), and the finale – Fireworks on East River at 7 pm.

Many lawmakers, dignitaries and entertainers are expected to participate.

Dr. Samin Sharma, Advisor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AIA-NY, in his address, highlighted the stellar achievements and contributions of Indian Americans, particularly in healthcare.

Award to sponsor New York Life – accepted by Srinivas Ranga at Sept. 17, 2023, event hosted by AIA-NY in Long Island. PHOTO: AIA-NY

Citations for AIA-NY from Indian Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, Nassau County Chairman Bruce Blakeman, and New York State Senator Kevin Thomas were received by Dr. Gupta.

AIA Board members at the gala included Dr. Samin Sharma, Dr. Nirmal Mattoo, Animesh Goenka, Dr. Shashi Shah, Dr. Buddhadev Manvar, Sunil Modi and Smiti Khanna. Past Presidents in attendance included Harish Thakkar, and Dr. Narinder Kukar.

Nilima Madan was the Gala Chair.

Sponsors included Fareportal-CheapOair/Qatar Airways Alliance, New York Life, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Northwell Health System.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here