The Federation of Indian Association of NY-NJ-CT (FIA) held its 26th curtain-raiser for the annual India Day Parade, at the Indian Consulate in New York, unveiling the 2019 theme of ‘ Support our troops – Salute our troops’.
The event opened with national anthems of USA and India, followed by some performances from Nritya Dance Academy, choreographed by Meena Basu Naag. The emcee of the evening was Nisha Kalamdani.
Alok Kumar, President-FIA, in his speech, emphasized the need to appeal to the community to do more in saluting and supporting men and women in uniform.
Kumar applauded the contribution of his team of volunteers. He complimented and expressed gratitude on behalf of the FIA fraternity to the Consulate officials, including Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty and Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha for their warm welcome and reception.
He said the parade is to “promote our motherland, and to showcase what our community is all about.”
Kumar also appreciated the spouses of volunteers for their support as the volunteers juggled their professional and personal life with their commitment to the community.
He added that the parade is “where the community comes and cheer for the success, and see India rising under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Chakravorty cited the need of including youth and the second generation in the festivities.
“India Day parade is an iconic parade. It is held in the capital of the world, which is New York. When you march in the India Day parade, you march for your country and you feel very proud, and humbled at the same time,” he told ITV Gold. “It has been held for so many years, and has become a rallying point for the Indian American community.”
Chakravorty added: “Earlier when the community was small it had a different purpose. The purpose was to bring the community together. Today, the community is different, to highlight India, to show the diversity, and the culture of India. To show that India has arrived in the world.”
FIA Chairman Ramesh Patel reflected on how the parade as an event has evolved and how support from the community needs to grow to further the outreach and grandeur of the parade festivities.
The curtain raiser showcased some distinguished dignitaries, including FIA Trustee and Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, the Founder and Chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, FIA Trustee and Padma Shri Dr. H R Shah, Albert Jasani, Anand Patel (from Dunkin Donuts), Anil Bansal, Andy Bhatia, Srujal Parikh, Shobhna and Dr. Dinesh Patel, among other speakers.
Alok Kumar acknowledged the women team of FIA, along with the 2019 Executive Committee comprising of Himanshu Bhatia, EVP, who also delivered the vote of thanks, Immediate Past President Srujal Parikh, Vice President Saurin Parikh, General Secretary Amit Yadav, Joint Secretary Mardavi Patel and Treasurer Amit Ringasia.
The curtain-raiser also showcased live music as well as authentic appetizers and a full dinner sponsored by the Royal Albert’s Palace.
“Indian Americans are perhaps the most proud of their heritage and motherland. There are some important reasons for this: it is a stable and democratic country despite all the challenges and problems,” said Dr. Parikh, in his speech.
“When we hold the India Day parade, not only do we celebrate our heritage, we celebrate independence and freedom of India,” he added.