Chicago, IL – The 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was celebrated by the Consulate General of India Chicago at its premises on Wednesday Jan 9.
Consul General Neeta Bhushan delivered the keynote address welcoming and thanking the community for their presence in celebrating the event at the consulate.
The event was well attended by community members, heads of various Indian-American associations, and Consulate staff.
The guests and participants were welcomed by Nupur Jingran, a community member, who gave a brief introduction about Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, its relevance and the role of non-residents in India. The theme of the event was, “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India.
This day was usually celebrated every year till now on Jan. 9, to mark the day Mahatma Gandhi returned to India to lead the freedom struggle against colonial rule, Consul General Bhushan noted. However, this year, it is being celebrated as a festival in India between Jan 21-23 at Varanasi followed by the Kumbh Mela in Prayag Raj and celebration of Republic day in New Delhi on Jan 26.
Last year in July 18, Indian Minister of state Swati Singh, visited Chicago to promote the PBD and invite the diaspora to attend the event in India.
Singh was India’s Minister of State for NRIs, Flood Control, Agriculture Import, Agriculture Marketing, Agriculture Foreign Trade and Uttar Pradesh state minister in the Ministry of Women Welfare, Family Welfare, Maternity and Child Welfare.
Bhushan acknowledged the significant contributions, milestones and achievements of the 30 million Indians living abroad. She highlighted the effort of the Government of India in reaching out to the Indian community settled across the world citing the example of the 90,000 Indians evacuated from more than 54 countries and brought back to India.
Her speech included an account of India’s economic transformation from a $2.5 trillion-dollar economy toward $5 trillion; it’s 77th ranking on ease of doing business; International Monetary Fund’s projection that India’s growth rate was expected to be about 7.5% in the coming years. She also noted new government initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, rural electrification, etc.
Bhushan also assured the community in her speech of the various ways the Consulate helps in crisis situations like any medical emergency, loss of passport, theft of personal belongings or any unforeseen situation. She also spoke about the 24/7 helpline emergency number, open house on every first and third Wednesday of the month, consular camps, as well as very active media platforms.
In the event a multimedia presentation on the PBD was made, and Bhushan honored previous Pravasi Bharatiya Samman recipients.
The Vishwa Hindi Diwas was also celebrated after the PBD event, Gurbachan Kaur of Hindi Lovers Club spoke about their efforts at promoting Hindi language for the last 8 years. Rakesh Malhotra; president & CEO of Global Natural Resources Inc., and Shanu Sinha, director of Indian American Cultural Association recited a poem in Hindi.
Several kids performed songs and recited poems in Hindi, among them Aabeer Awasthi, 9. and.Nishika Dubey, 8, who recited a poem by Pandit Harivansh Rai Bachchan.