FIA in Chicago hosts India’s 73rd Republic Day, launches scholarship

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Some of the members and guests who attended the Federation of Indian Associations of Chicago celebrations of India’s 73rd Republic Day, on Jan. 29, 2022 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Photo: courtesy Asian Media USA

The non-profit Chicagoland based Federation of Indian Associations hosted its first signature event of 2022, celebrating India’s 73rd Republic Day at Chicago Marriott Northwest, in Hoffman Estates, IL on Jan 29th, 2022.

This limited seating event was broadcast virtually via zoom and Facebook live, in adherence to the latest covid 19 state guidelines, the organization said in a press release.

A Scholarship Program was launched at the event awarding three high school students.

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Emcees for the event were Richa Chand and Vinita Gulabani.

The American National Anthem by Nitya Rao and the Indian National Anthem by Ananya Ghosh jumpstarted the event.

Chairman and Founder of this FIA Sunil Shah highlighted   the “yeoman services” provided by the organization in the recent past during and after the pandemic. He introduced the new team under the new president Hitesh Gandhi, and spoke of the plans for 2022, especially to commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav FIA Chicago has intent to start their own community center to facilitate better ongoing services to community people.

In his closing remarks, Shah said, with “Freedom in our heart, pride in our soul, purity in our blood – Let us salute our Motherland India!!”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi addressed the cheering audience and expressed great joy and best wishes to Team FIA and the entire Indian community for the “outstanding contributions” over more than a decade.

Immediate past president Dr. Kamal Patel outlined the achievements of the FIA during his tenure last year as the outgoing president of the FIA and welcomed the new team led by Hitesh Gandhi. Onkar Sanga in his brief address congratulated the FIA for their achievements in the last year and wished that the new team would take the FIA to greater heights.

Hitesh Gandhi the new president for the year 2022 outlined his plan for the new year, listing the activities and events.

The FIA Board was introduced and immediately followed by the traditional lamp lighting ceremony. The patriotic song “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon” by Jitendra Balsara received cheers from the audience as did the energetic dance performance by the students of SR Dance Academy, choreographed by Elizar Rodriguez.

The Chief Guest Consul General of India in Chicago Amit Kumar in his address, wished everyone a Happy Republic Day and spoke about the enormous progress India has made in the last several years and how it is positioned to succeed even more as well as the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, an initiative by Govt, of India. He spoke about the covid pandemic, and despite its challenges how India successfully carried on its vaccination drives and the role of technology and innovation.

Other leaders who spoke at the event were: Mayor Oakbrook Dr Gopal Lalmalani, Mayor Hoffman Estates,William D Mcleod, Mayor Schaumburg Tom Dailly (via zoom), Village President Hanover Park Rodney Craig, Illinois Gen Assembly Rep. Michelle Mussman, Secretary of State candidate – Alexi Giannoulias (via zoom), and Illinois State Senator Laura Murphy.

Mayor Mcleod and Mayor Dailly presented commemorative plaques to FIA on behalf of Village of Hoffman Estates and Village of Schaumburg respectively.

On a somber note, the FIA paid tributes to Mir Ali who passed away recently by presenting his wife with a honorary plaque for his dedicated service to FIA and a Scholarship grant of $1,000 to his daughter Nida Ali.

Felicitations and recognitions by the FIA of Chicago on Jan. 29, 2022, during the organization’s celebration of India’s Republic Day in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Photo: Asian Media USA

In total 3 Grant Scholarships were provided to students. These were announced by Shah and given away by Consul General Kumar, Deepak Kant Vyas CEO Redberri, Anil Loomba (virtual) Hitesh and Kim Bhatt, the Bhatt Foundation.

The other two students who were the recipient of scholarship are Ria Sharma from Stevenson High School and Jaisnav Rajesh from Waubonsie Valley High School.

Hitesh Bhatt, Founder, and Kim Bhatt, President of the Bhatt Foundation were honored with a Plaque and were acknowledged for their sponsorship support to FIA. In their speech, the Bhatt’s, shared their message of “Improving Global HealthCare and Education through Innovation”. They touched upon their philanthropic work in USA, India, Honduras and Africa and expressed their interest in supporting FIA’s initiatives as well.

Live zoom session with the legendary Bollywood actress Poonam Dhillon from India held during the Jan. 29, 2022, Republic Day of India celebrations hosted by FIA of Chicago. Photo: Asian Media USA

Other prominent speakers present were Dr Vijay Prabhakar, Mr Zakaria and Dr Anil Oroskar. Brij Sharma, Manny Lingaiah, Harish Kolasani, Ajeet Singh, Vandana Jhingan, Pradeep B Shukla, Gladson Verghese, Yogi Bhardwaj, Harry Siddhu and many others.

Aparna Chakravarty and Mukhtar Shah provided musical entertainment. Mukhtar Shah (Voice of Mukesh) paid tribute to  Late FIA Director Mir Ali through his songs.

The highlight of the event was a very exciting live zoom session with the legendary Bollywood actress Poonam Dhillon from India. She was introduced by Asha Oraskar and welcomed by FIA General Secretary Richa Chand. Followed up by questions and appreciation remarks by Hitesh and Kim Bhatt, Pinky Thakkar, Hitesh Gandhi, Neil Khot, Ajeet Singh, Sunil Shah, Vinita Gulabani, Anu Malhotra, Altaf Bukhari, Kaashif Khan, Pratik Deshpande.

The event ended with a vote of thanks by the Cultural Secretary Pika Munshi.

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