The Federation of the Indian Associations, headed by Sunil Shah, celebrated the 68th Republic Day of India at Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows last month.
Welcoming the guests, Shah, FIA’s Founder President, looked satisfied at the successful outcome of the program. “We don’t intend to organize a dinner party that anybody can do. Our purpose is to use this auspicious occasion to display Indian culture and values to younger generation and to the mainstream dignitaries,” Shah said. “We also provide a grand networking opportunity to members of our community,” he added.
The presence of dozens of entrepreneurs, elected officials, prominent community leaders and a large number of young adults prove that FIA has become a facilitator and purveyor of opportunities to the large Indian-American community of Illinois, said Mukesh Shah, current FIA president, who later introduced all the executive board members to the crowd.
Echoing similar optimism, Onkar S. Sangha, past president and founder, thanked all the sponsors for their strong support in FIA’s growth.
“FIA has repeat vendors, enthusiastic guests, and generous sponsors who come to us year after year that show a continuous growth in our performance,” said Dhitu Bhagwakar who headed FIA last year.
The program started with the national anthems of both United States and India, sung by Ashley Singh and Natasha Trikha, respectively.
In the traditional lamp lighting program, prominent community leaders joined the top brass of the FIA, including other founders of the organization like Rita Singh and Sunny Kular as well as advisory board members like Asha Oraskar, Syed Hussaini, Aishwarya Sharma, and Vipul Shah.
Later, 16 artists from Kalashree Dance Academy performed classic ballet. Titled “Game of Thornes”, the performance was choreographed by Toral Chaudhary.
Nine performers of SSR Chicago, with Choreographer Chintu Thottam at hand, spiked up the tempo of the audience one notch up. Mahijit Singh Virdi with his patriotic Bollywood songs evoked nostalgic sentiments in the audience.
Moon Khan, one of the two executive vice presidents of FIA, introduced Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi who reiterated his full and solid support to diversity and equal opportunity. He expressed his happiness to see a lot of his supporters in the audience.
Neil Khot, another executive vice president, introduced Neeta Bhushan, the new Consul General of India in Chicago who was elated to find the top brass of the Indian-American community in the banquet hall.
“Whatever good points I heard about the Indian community of Illinois, I am delighted to witness them right here,” Bhushan said.
Among the elected officials, who attended the event and also addressed the audience, included Village President of Oak Brook, Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, State Senator Christina Castro, State Representative Michelle Mussman, and Mayor of Rolling Meadows Tim Vinbass. Frank Avila, Commissioner of Water Reclamation District, was also in the audience.
In keeping with its tradition of recognizing community leaders for their contributions to the society, plaques were given to Dr. Bharat Barai, a prominent community leader and a recent recipient of the Pravasi Bharat Divas Award bestowed upon him by the President of India; Deepak Kant Vyas, chairman of Redberri Global Corporation; Syed Hussain, Manager of Wintrust Bank; Gulam Mustafa Faheem, CEO of Shalimar Banquets; Paresh Joshi, Vice President of Ramona Inc. and Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, CEO of Adbhut Entertainment.
One of the main two highlights of the program was the fashion show presented by Shital Daftari, CEO of Saris and Things and choreographed by Noman Khan. The surprise entry of Sunil Shah in the fashion show generated a large response.
Another fascinating piece was an hour-long live musical entertainment show presented by Saregama Orchestra. Artists, who performed in this session, included Hitesh Master, Nipa Shah, Rajesh Chelam, and Amit Patel.
Despite a large number of performances, the program went on smoothly thanks to able emceeing by Alka Sharma, Sanjeev Singh and Sweta Bhagwakar.
On behalf of the executive board of the FIA, Ninad Daftari thanked the guests, sponsors, dignitaries and elected officials.