The community organization, Friends of Gujarat, wrapped up a 3-day event ‘Mera India New India’ at the New Jersey Exposition Center over the weekend of Aug. 30-Sept. 1.
According to organizers, tickets for the event were sold out much in advance and many had to be turned down as the venue was packed to capacity with the 25,000 people who came for the festivities over the three days.
This year, the diversity of India through its culture, cuisine, art and people, was featured.
Many dignitaries who had specially flown in for this event were impressed with the arrangements and the program line up, organizers said in a press release, adding that Kirit Patel and his team’s months of hard work was appreciated by those who came.
‘Mera India New India’ commenced on Friday August 30th with the who’s who from New York, New Jersey, several renowned spiritual leaders, politicians, industrialists as well as elected leaders and others from the state of New Jersey, came. others who have gained significant recognition in their respective fields. After the ceremonial lamp lighting ceremony, the program proceedings consisted of blessings from the religious leaders and a welcome speech by President of Friends of Gujarat, Kirit Patel.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath spoke on the occasion via satellite. Others from India who sent inspiring messages included Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani and Speaker of Lok Sabha Om Birla.
Several local groups and many renowned artists from India performed dances and musical renditions, with performers ranging in age from 5 years to 50 plus. Occasionally, the audience interacted with the performers and joined them by dancing along.
Day 2 and 3 also comprised of several entertainment segments including not just song and dance segments, but also seminars, a food festival, exhibitions, fashion shows, youth programs, shipping, food sampling, and more.
“Over 25,000 visitors were in attendance during the 3-day event,” organizers said in the press release. Among those who attended the three-day celebrations were Swami Parmatma Nanda, Vishal Bava, Nirmala Nanda Nath, Satshri Swami, Satshri Bhakti Prakash Das, Chairman of Prasar Bharati Dr. Surya Prakash, Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey, Woodbridge Mayor John McCormic, West Windsor Mayor Hemant Marathe, Brian C Wahler, Dr. Dhirajlal Kotadia, Chairman of Navika Group Naveen Shah, Dipak Shah, Padma Shri H. R. Shah, Dr. Pankaj Naram, Dr Clint Rogers, Albert Jasani, Mukund Thakar, Raj Pandya, Piyush Patel, Indian Member of Parliament Vinod Chavda, Indian Member of the Legislative Assembly Brijesh Kumar Rawat, Middlesex County Freeholder Shanti Narra, Burlington County Freeholder Balvir Singh, Padma Shri Soma Ghosh, social worker and legal advisor Sonal Joshi, Devang Bhatt, Chairman of Kalyan Group (UK) Uday Nayak, Rahul Shukla, Peter (Pradip) Kothari, Kanubhai Patel, chairman of Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Hitesh Bhatt of Bhatt Foundation, and many more, according to the press release.
The Sunday night finale, ‘Power Of One’ with Javed Jaffrey and Saif Ali Khan, played to a packed house, followed by the musical concert by ‘Doorbeen’ of ‘Lamberghini’ fame with the Punjabi rock stars Onkar & Baba.
Among the many highlights during the three days, was a special 1-hour segment of kids’ performances displayed the rich local talent in the Indian-American community. Some of the other performers included Ketul Patel, Shibani Kashyap, Supratik Bhattacharya, Mona Bhalla, Kalpesh Kharva (KK), Bina Menon and her dance group, Ulpa Desai and her dance group, stand-up comedian Naveed Mahbub.
Apart from the song and dance programs, there were several seminars that took place for young and old alike. Well-known healer Dr Naram, spent an entire day at a one-on-one with the attendees during a special health related seminar; Swami Parmatma Nanda spoke about youth empowerment and Hinduism; Dr. Meena Murthy of St. Peter’s University Hospital gave a special talk on reversing diabetes and offered special consultations to members in the audience; Surya Prakash, Ph.D., spoke on current affairs in India; A special exhibition was held to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.