NEW YORK – Record cold temperatures failed to keep away attendees to the Federation of India Associations NY, NJ & CT (FIA) celebration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, held here at the Consulate General of India, on Sunday, January 7.
Occurring since 2003 to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s homecoming to India from South Africa during World War I, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PVD) is held annually “to strengthen the engagement of overseas Indian community with the government, reconnect with their roots and celebrate their achievements and contributions to the development of India.”
Newly-elected President of FIA, Srujal Parikh, warmly welcomed the assembled guests and oversaw the ceremonial group lamp-lighting to kick-off the event.
Dance entertainment highlighted the PVD, starting with students from Rimli Roy’s Surati for Performing Arts under the direction of Vidhya Dinesh, who performed Ganesh Vandana. Company dancer Imani Gaston also performed Shiva Tandav, a traditional Odissi classical dance piece.
Although Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty was unable to attend the function due to his flight being cancelled by inclement weather, he was ably represented by the Consul for Community Affairs, K. Devadasan Nair, who reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments applicable to the Indian diaspora’s obligations to “end ‘chalta hai’(‘It’ll do’) attitude and replace with ’badal sakta hai’ (‘May change’).
Nair likewise quoted Modi’s statement about encouraging the youth of the diaspora engage in these PVD events and connect with their roots, to “change from ‘brain drain’ to ‘brain gain’.”
Jenifer Rajkumar, Director of Immigration Affairs & Special Counsel for the New York Department of State, talked about the need for the Indian community in the US to add to its already numerous achievements by getting more involved in politics, stressing “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!”
Another bonus during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebration was the date confirmation announcement of the next India Day Parade, the largest one held outside of India. The parade is scheduled for this coming August 19th, with additional details to be released in March.