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Dignified celebration of AIA Annual Day

May 09
21:10 2011

AIA office bearers and guests L to R Yogesh Dwivedi, Prof Pandey, Salil Mishra, Naren Patel, Ms Beena Patel, Yash Amin, Consul Vishwas Sakpal and Shri Patel

CHICAGO: The Association of Indians in America (AIA) celebrated its annual day at Ashyana Banquet Hall in Downers Grove on May 1 in the presence of 120 plus guests and members. It was not an elaborate affair but still it was a dignified one and quite enjoyable for all those present.

Welcoming the guests, the second term AIA President Naren Patel mentioned that one of the oldest ethnic organizations founded in 1967 has been striving to achieve its objectives hard and the emphasis is slowly turning on involving second generation Indians more and more in its affairs. Last year, it started something new involving young children – a dance and singing competition arranged by Anil Sharma.

It was a successful youth competition program. “This is how we engage our young generation to participate and promote our culture. This year my granddaughter Shriya Patel and her group are also participating in the dance program and I want to thank all the parents for their commitment and dedication to keep our culture alive. I am very happy that so many dance schools are performing in this program.”

He offered special thanks to Cook County Circuit court Clerk Dorothy Brown, Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard, Indian Consul Vishvas Sapkal -soon to be Consul General in St. Petersburg, Russia – for their unwavering support and presence.

Prof Ghanshyam Pandey, Chairman Board of Trustees, in his brief address said it was significant that this one of the oldest organizations of Indian origin in this country was singularly free from factions and factional fights. “It is the only organization with direct membership and probably among the very few ones which did not split, or bifurcate, or had any conflicts. It is an organization with a great vision and has lived up to its objectives fairly well,” he observed.

Whereas the national AIA was engaged in addressing many of the issues of vital importance to the Indian community, its chapters, which are spread throughout the country, are engaged in community activities be it social, cultural or participating in the American mainstream, he pointed out.

It has also recognized the need to involve increasingly the second and the third generation Indians in its affairs. With this view in mind, the AIA IL chapter initiated an essay competition and last year it conducted a grand youth talent show and competition in October. “This was a grand success as about 120 youth participated in this competition with 20 youths each from the University of Illinois Ubrana-Champgin and the Northwestern University who participated in the A Capella singing competition,” he said.

As in previous years, this year AIA will be celebrating Independence Day on Daley Plaza on August 15th.

Through the National AIA programs on Project India and AIDS Awareness, it sends many doctors to India and supports the treatment program of AIDS patients. AIA annual Banquet is a tribute to Asian heritage besides being a fun-filled program.

Anil Sharma, Kaathakali Dasgupta and Shaila Khedker entertained the audience with old and new film and non-film songs while second generation Indian youth and young children presented dance performances which were quite entertaining and won the hearts of those present. Yogesh Dwivedi proposed a vote of thanks.

Ramesh Soparawala
India Post News Service

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