Federation of Indian Associations Chicago (1980) Celebrates Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

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Lighting of Lamp by Rakesh Malhotra, President of FIA Chicago, together with Consul General of India in Chicago, Amit Kumar, Mayor of Lincolnwood Jesal Patel, President/Mayor,Village of Oak Brook Gopal Lalmalani, Village Trustee Dr. Hina Patel, Mrs Surubhi Kumar, Dr Sunita Malhotra, FIA Trustee Hina Trivedi and Dupage County Judge Kavita Athanikar. Photo: FIA Chicago 1980

The Federation of Indian Associations Chicago (1980), celebrated India’s 75th anniversary of independence – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM)- by thanking Freedom Fighters and recognizing the contributions of the Indian diaspora living in Chicago, at its annual Gala dinner Friday, August 12, 2022, at Ashton Banquet.

Releasing annual FIA Souvenir to commemorate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, Aug. 12, 2022, Cosul General Amit Kumar, Surabhi Kumar, FIA President Rakesh Malhotra, Santosh Kumar, CKB founder Dr Ram Chakraborthy, Trustee Chair Satish Gabhawala, Mayor of Lincolnwood, Jesal Patel Photo: FIA Chicago 1980

The event was attended by more than five hundred prominent people from the community.

“Today is a time to reflect upon our achievements of the past 75 years and set the agenda for the next 25 and involve our younger generation in nation building and  making India secure safe, healthy and peaceful future,” President of the Federation Rakesh Malhotra is quoted saying in a press release as he expressed  gratitude to India’s Freedom Fighters, and others.

Kathak Performance by Indian Dance School founder Gauri Jog and team of talented dancers. Photo: FIA Chicago 1980
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Attendees included trustees, past presidents, Consul General of India Amit  Kumar,Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi,  Mayor of Lincolnwood Jassel Patel, Gopal Lalmalani,  Village President Village of  Oak Brook,  Dr Bharat Barai,  Alderman Shweta Baid,   Dr. Hina Patel, Village trustee, South Barrington. India’s Lok Sabha Member Mitesh Patel, joined the event virtually via Zoom and addressed the attendees.

FIA Trustees Babu Marsha Patel, Bhailal Patel and Kanti Patel giving award and recognition to Anjika Awasthi, Vardan Tiwari and Vidhi Chavada. Photo: FIA Chicago 1980

The Ghar Ghar Tiranga video was played, followed by Bharat Mata Song in  Sanskrit, and the Indian and U.S. national anthems were performed. A  lamp lighting ceremony took place.

Nirmala Reddy and Abhinav Raina anchored the event. Malhotra, in his address, emphasized participation of the Indian diaspora in nation building for peace, development and prosperity.

Consul General Amit Kumar, who released the FIA souvenir, dwelt on the wide-ranging India-US strategic partnership encompassing almost every facet of human development including The Quad for security in the Indo-Pacific as well as other multilateral agreements to confront global challenges.

Congressman Krishnamoorthy praised the Indian American community and FIA; Dr. Bharat Barai spoke via zoom and congratulated the Indian diaspora.

Lok Sabha Member Mitesh Patel thanked FIA, Chicago for their efforts and initiatives. “The Indian American Community is a living bridge between our two great countries and contributed immensely to strengthen trade, commerce and cultural relations,” he said.

Consul General of India in Chicago Amit Kumar and President of FIA Chicago, Rakesh Malhotra, honoring 96 year old Freedom Fighter Surinder B Jhingan, Aug. 12, 2022. Photo: FIA Chicago 1980

The FIA annual Community Excellence Awards were presented to several people including children. Trustee Chair Satish Gabhawala outlined the achievements of the FIA and introduced philanthropist, Chairman and Trustee of Vaishnav Samaj of Midwest, Dr Umang Patel, who presented the awards.

Freedom Fighter Surinder B Jhingan; Member of Parliament Mitesh Patel;Past President of FIA Chicago Rajesh Patel who received the Leadership Excellence award; Kanti S Patel, past president of FIA and Trustee received Lifetime Achievement Award; Founder Chicago Kali Bari receiving this huge honor said he was humbled by this recognition and dedicated the Award to all the devotees of Kali Bari for promoting the values and culture of India; Amar Upadhyaya dedicated his award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to uplift the tribals of India.

Judge Kavita Athanikar congratulated the awardees and FIA’s leadership and the organization’s seminal work through the year and during COVID. Founder of UP Associations of Greater Chicago Subhash Chander Pandey also praised the FIA for its dedication to the community.

FIA Executive Team Lead by President Rakesh Malhotra, Executive Vice President Hemant Patel, Past President Rajesh Patel, Secretary Jatinder Singh Bedi, Jt Secretary Chirag Chavda, Treasurer Vijender Doma, Jt Treasurer Nirmala Reddy, Trustees Satish Gabhawala, Bhailal Patel, Hina Trivedi, Kanti S Patel, Kanti N Patel , Prahalad Patil, Director Satheesan Nair, and FIA Delegate Raju Shah, Aug. 12, 2022. Photo: FIA Chicago 1980

During the event, a video of the FIA India Day Parade at Devon Ave was played.

Others honored at the event included Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, Dr. Bharat Barai, Dr  Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, Dr Ram Chakraborty, Founder and Executive Director of MAFS Santosh Kumar, Mayor Jassel Patel,  Trustee, Wheatland Township Meghna Bansal, Alderwoman Shweta Baid, Judge Athanikar, Lion Hina Trivedi,  Dr Subhash Chandra Pandey, Founder and Chairman of Uttar Pradesh Association of Greater Chicago, Dr Umang Patel , Trustee and Chairman of  Vaishnav Samaj  of Midwest, USA, Jayanti Thakkar founder of  Lohan Association of Chicago, Renowned Journalist and founder of India Tribune Prashant Shah,  Hemant Patel, Executive Vice President of FIA,  Retd. Army officer Arvind Ankleswaria, entrepreneur and community leader Joy Shah,  Art Yoga & Meditation Practitioner and Art of  Living Teacher, Pam Brockman, StandwithUS Director Peggy Shapiro,  Sunderkand Parivar founder Sanjay Sharma, BAPS volunteer Paresh Patel, HSS volunteer Ram Prasad, as well as students Vidhi Chavda, Sarah Patel, Anjika Awasthi, Sathya Padhu Venkatesan and 9 year old Vardan Tiwari.

The awardees received a specially designed carved trophies made by tribal artisans from Chhattisgarh in India.

Gauri Jog, Kathak exponent and founder of Indian Dance School, Chicago, and Dancing Petals students – Akansha, Anushi, Kunjal, Luna and Pooja performed  a Kathak fusion dance choreographed by Gurmeet Kaur.

Hemant Patel reiterated the importance of Independence Day and presented the vote of thanks.

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