Federation of Indian Associations Chicago (1980) kicks off Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav with gala Parade

Leading the FIA Chicago (1980) India Day Parade Aug. 6, 2022, in Chicago’s Devon Ave., Miss India Worldwide 2022 Khushi Patel, Rakesh Malhotra, FIA President, Consul General of India Amit Kumar, Mrs India Worldwide 2022 RU, Best Talent Aparna Chakravarty, FIA Trustee Bhailal Bhai, Rajesh Patel and Vijender Doma Treasurer FIA. Photo: courtesy Asian Media USA via FIA Chicago (1980)

The Federation of Indian Associations Chicago (1980) held its India Day Parade on Devon Avenue August 6, 2022, to celebrate India’s 75th Independence Day. Thousands of people lined the street according to organizers.

The Parade marks the beginning of a series of events to commemorate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Government of India’s initiative on the occasion of India’s 75th year of independence from British rule.

Mohan Kaka, 86, a Chicago resident and, Miss India Worldwide 2022 Khushi Patel, led the colorful parade in ‘Little India.’

Rakesh Malhotra, president of the Federation of Indian Associations Chicago established in 1980, along with India’s Consul General in Chicago Amit Kumar, and Consul Vinod Gautam hoisted the Indian national flag, followed by the singing of India’s national anthem by 9 year-old Vardan Tiwari.

“We strive to bring our community together and instill a sense of belonging, thank our freedom fighters, rejoice 75 glorious years of Independent India as well as make a commitment to the younger generation for a peaceful and prosperous future,” Malhotra said about the Parade.

Malhotra also thanked the Chicago Police Department for their help ensuring safety and smooth running of the parade, as well as Alderman Debra Silverstein, participating organizations, supporter, sponsors, and local business community of Devon Avenue.

Consul General Kumar wished everyone a very happy Independence Day and congratulated FIA Chicago for choosing Devon Avenue for the “exceptionally beautiful parade.”

Miss India Worldwide 2022 Khushi Patel was the Parade Marshal and said, “This is the second time in a ow that I participated in the parade, I feel honored to march with Indian community and celebrate Independence Day.”

Indian Community enjoying the FIA Chicago (1980) India Day Parade Aug. 6, 2022, on Devon Avenue, Chicago. Photo: FIA Chicago (1980)

The Parade featured twenty-two decorative floats, four marching groups, and three marching bands, that were greeted by thousands of people lining the Devon Avenue.

Several Indian American community and business  organizations were part of the parade, including Maharashtra Mandal of Chicago, Gayatri Mandir Parivar , Jalaram Temple , Sri Gurudwara Sahib Devon , United Telugu Christian Community, Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) & UMAS, Zankar Beads, the State Bank of  India, CK Motors, Patel Brothers , Care for Soul , Midwest Malayalam Associations , Sardar Patel Foundation, Hanuman Temple, UDUPI Palace, Tiffin Restaurant, India Saree Palace, and the Karni Sena of Chicago.

Holding the Indian National Flag FIA President Rakesh Malhotra, and Director Joy Shah at the Aug. 6, 2022, parade on Devon Avenue, Chicago, organized by FIA Chicago (1980). Photo: FIA Chicago (1980)

“The floats truly represented the diversity of the Indian American community showcasing their  culture heritage, representation of their  states and regions of India,” organizers said in the press release.

“It doesn’t matter how different we are. What matters in building a community, is the desire to live in a peaceful, giving, caring and safe environment, despite all our differences.” said Dr Ram Chakraborty founder of Chicago Kali Bari. Mrs India Worldwide 2022 RU, Best Talent Aparna Chakravarty was the guest of honor on the Chicago’s Kali Bari Float.

The decorated float of MAFS went past the stage chanting “Vande Mataram.” The Unity Sardar Patel Foundation float was roaring “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.”

Several political leaders from Chicago including Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam, State Representative Kevin Olickal, and Alderman Raymond Lopez also participated in the parade and congratulated the Indian diaspora.

Leading the Aug. 6, 2022, India Day Parade in Chicago organized by FIA Chicago (1980) — Ms India Worldwide 2022 Khushi Patel, Rakesh Malhotra, FIA President, Mrs India Worldwide 2022 RU, Best Talent Aparna Chakravarty, FIA Trustee Hina Trivedi, Rajesh Patel and Alderman Raymond Lopez. Photo: FIA Chicago (1980)

“As we stand firm and united, I have no doubt that we will continue to write many more stories of success and happiness together.” said State Senator Villivalam.

FIA Trustee Iftekhar Shareef also greeted the Indian American Community.

FIA Executive Board members including past President Raj Patel, Executive Vice President Hemant Patel, Vice President Jayesh Patel, Amar Upadhyay,  Secretary Jatinder Singh Bedi, Jt. Secretary Chirag Chavda, Treasurer Vijender Doma, Jt. Treasurer Nirmala Reddy and Trustees  Bhailal Patel, Kanti N Patel, Iftekhar Shareef,  Babu Marsha Patel, Anil Pillai, Sohan Joshi, and honorary Trustee Sher Rajput, also marched with with participants in the Parade.

Established in 1980, FIA Chicago was founded to primarily serve the community and promote India’s cultural heritage while making meaningful contributions to America’s growth through various programs and cultural activities, the press release said, adding that more than 50 Illinois-based community organizations and nonprofits are members of the Federation.



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