The Federation of Indian Associations, Chicago (FIA Chicago), one of two such organizations in the greater Chicago area, held India’s Independence Day celebrations, and also donated $25,000.00 to the organization Bharatiya Senior Citizens of Chicago. Founder President Sunil Shah, as well as Founder and Past President Onkar Singh Sangha and President Mukesh Shah presented the check to BSC President Haribhai Patel during FIA Chicago’s India Independence Day Concert-cum-Banquet at the Jain Center Auditorium, Aug. 11. More than 1,500 people attended Bollywood star Aishwarya Majmudar’s concert. “For FIA Chicago, India Independence Day and community service go hand-in-hand. …The money has been donated to accelerate BSC’s ongoing efforts to build its own facility for the community Seniors,” Sunil Shah is quoted saying in a press release.
The Independence Day celebrations continued the following morning with a flag hoisting ceremony where India’s Deputy Consul General in Chicago O.P. Meena presided. Hanover Township and FIA’s Director Khaja Moinuddin was the lead organizer of the flag hoisting ceremony.
Among the elected officials and other prominent people who attended the event were Congressman Raja Krishnamurty, D-Illinois, State Senator Cristina Castro, Hanover Township Supervisor Brian McQuire, Trustees Craig Essick, and Trustee Eugene Martinez, State Senator Laura Murphey, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Frank Avila.
Several speakers dwelt on India’s achievements and goals over the next five years, including President Mukesh Shah who called on Indian-American youth to value their cultural heritage as they face the challenges of society here; Sangha rejected India being called a third world country pointing to its achievements as a growing power and economy; Meena highlighted the spiritual and historic significance of the month of August, and noted the objectives spelt out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to achieve a clean, poverty free, corruption free, terrorism free, and communalism free India.
Congressman Krishnamoorti complimenting FIA Chicago for being the “Friends of India and America,” reflected upon the mutual respect for the values of liberty, freedom, human rights and democracy. India’s Independence Day is a moment to celebrate these values and recommit to them, he added.
Senator Cristina Castro assured her constituents that she would continue to give a good fight in Springfield for the rights of citizens; McGuire drew attention to the similarities between the India and U.S. struggles for independence and self-determination.
A cultural performance and patriotic songs followed. Ashley Singh sang the U.S. national anthem beautifully and Rita Shah sang the Indian anthem. Chicago’s prominent singer Rinki Talati sang famous Indian patriotic songs. Chicago singers Mahijit Singh Virdi, and Geetaanjali Maru also sang Bollywood numbers, as did Bollywood Singer Aishwarya Majmudar.