Several leading New Jersey business- owners of Indian origin, met with Consul General of India in New York on Feb. 16, 2021, to discuss ways in which they could contribute to the helping India’s economic development and grow U.S.-India relations.
The meeting took place at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, New Jersey, and included among others, Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha, Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, who operates more than twenty clinics in the tri-state area; Padma Shri H.R. Shah, founder and chairman of TV Asia, Ankur Vaidya, chairman of the Federation of Indian Associations-NYNJCT, and Mahesh Bhagia, chairman of the Edison Democratic Organization, who is a candidate for Mayor of the city.
“It is always a pleasure to visit Edison, New Jersey. You said that it is Little India. For me it is a big family. This is how I look at it,” Consul General Jaiswal said in his speech. “This place has very deep history connected to Thomas Edison. With your hard work and success, commitment and dedication, you only burnish the history of Edison,” he told the Indian-American business gathering of around twenty entrepreneurs.
“I’m sure in the days ahead when history is going to be written again, the contribution of Indians and all that they have done, the progress, the prosperity, for science and technology, for the well being of humankind, your name, and the (Indian) community’s name will be written in golden words,” Jaiswal said.
Dr. Parikh welcomed CG Jaiswal to Edison, describing the township as “India out of India,” and said the community was at the service of the Consulate.
“Fifty years ago, when I used to head the Indian American Forum for Political Education, IAFPE, we used to give a lot of internships in the summer months and from that we got (leaders) like Bobby Jindal, Upendra Chivukula and Kris Kolluri,” Dr. Parikh said.
Jindal is the former Louisiana Governor and Congressman; Chivukula is a former New Jersey Assemblyman of 12 years standing, and current commissioner on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; and Kolluri is a former Capitol Hill senior staffer, who served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and is currently head of the NJ Schools Development Authority since 2008.
“We all have worked very hard in the last 50 years to promote our community and indirectly for India-U.S. relations,” Dr. Parikh went on to say. “Let us know what we can do Consul General – what we can do for the government of India and for Mother India,” he added.
Noting that those present at the meeting included business leaders from many sectors such as real estate, pharmaceuticals, nursing homes to name a few, Dr. Parikh said his own medical practice includes 25 clinics, one of which is in Edison on Oak Tree Road.
“And two months from now, there will be an ITV Studio, and a big auditorium to accommodate 500 people. That is for the community,” Dr. Parikh said.
Deputy CG Sinha said Indian-Americans are at the heart of the U.S.-India relationship.
Vaidya of FIA noted how in the past, “For many (Indian) migrants who came to America with a dream but don’t know anyone. From JFK (Airport) in the early days, and now its Newark, they would come here (Edison) and knock on your door and ask to stay. And there are many who are success stories (now).”
Bhagia noted how 2020 had been a difficult year for the community. But “One great thing is all of the community, including FIA, worked very hard,” holding food drives and collecting masks for distribution, etc. “We did a lot of work in this town. Now we must make sure to get vaccinated.”
H.R. Shah noted that Edison has some 75 ethnic groups, and those of Indian origin have been “very, very strong.”
Joyce Mehta, a member of FIA, told ITV Gold, “We can see that our community has gone from strength to strength. And now moving forward, if we all unite and collaborate, there is nothing we cannot do.”