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FIA’s Republic Day marks biggest festivity of Bay Area

January 31
22:06 2017
Ash Kalra, Consul General Venkatesan Ashok, Dr Romesh Japra, Ro Khanna & Rajesh Verma

Ash Kalra, Consul General Venkatesan Ashok, Dr Romesh Japra, Ro Khanna & Rajesh Verma

SANTA CLARA: In the presence of about two dozen elected officials, dozens of heads of community organizations, a large number of sponsors, scores of artists, and 2000 attendees, Federation of Indo-Americans of Northern California celebrated the biggest festivity of the Bay area to mark the 68th Indian Republic Day at Santa Clara Convention center theater, Santa Clara.

The singing of the National Anthem of USA by Alka Bhatnagar and the Indian Anthem by the entire FIA team, spiked the patriotic atmosphere of the evening. The traditional ceremony of the lamp lighting augmented the nostalgic value a notch up.

Dr Romesh Japra, FIA’s Chairman and Founder of FOG, aptly summed up the positive spirit. “We truly represent the heightened aspirations of Indian Americans and we are amplifying our efforts to reach out to the 200,000 and growing population of our folks,” he said. He announced that FIA would be organizing a Free Holi Mela on March 12 at Newark Junior high school, Newark.

“We want to bring THE whole community at a larger stage so that we can create a bolder image of our community,” he said.

The majestic Rajpath in New Delhi saw a fascinating display of India’s military might and resplendent cultural diversity as the country celebrated its 68th Republic Day on Thursday, Jan 26, with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan attending the event as Guest of Honor.

Rajesh Verma, President, FIA, expressed his happiness on witnessing the huge crowd and dignitaries. “FIA is growing exponentially, and its best days are ahead and reiterated on the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Festival of India and Parade which will be celebrated from August 4 to 13, 2017,” he declared. He urged the public to volunteer, sponsor and support this historical event.

Deepak Chhabra, Chair, Events and Parade, said this year’s parade in August will be special and he looks forward to working with all the organizations to make it memorable and grand. He urged the Bayareans to join the grand celebration.

Consul General Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok was the Chief Guest and he commended the FIA leadership for hosting such a magnificent event that will project the growing strength of the Indian community. He spoke on Indian roots and the bonding we share with our motherland.

Joining the celebrations, Congressman Ro Khanna in a statement said it marks an important day that India adopted their Constitution as their governing document – the day India officially became a republic. “Today celebrates both India becoming a republic and it signifies the special bond between the world’s oldest and largest democracies. This bond encompasses shared values, commercial trade and mutual security,” he said.

Among the elected officials who attended the event included Congressmen Ro Khanna, Assemblymen Ash Kalra, Assemblymen Kansen Chu, Savita Vaidhyanathan, Mayor, City of Cupertino, Raj Salwan, Council member, City of Fremont, Arun Goel, Council member, City of Dublin, Kathy Watanabe, Council member, City of Santa Clara, Rajeev Batra, City Manager, Santa Clara, Rishi Kumar, Council member of Saratoga, John Kessler from Betty Yee office, and Teresa Cox to name a few.

Cultural activities were held and the gathering was treated with some spectacular musical feats. A multifaceted entertainment program which included music and dance performances was presented by Bay area kids. It was one of the highlights of the event.

The day-long event was emcee by Jyotsna Bendapudi, FOG Cultural chair. Over 700 kids from 100 groups from age group 4-15 participated in the competitions which had categories such as Bollywood, hip-hop, classical to name a few. Students presented a patriotic and cultural program along with short speeches depicting their patriotism in the best possible manner. The celebration continued with song and dance competitions that reminded of the sacrifices made by freedom fighters. The competition culminated with prize distribution ceremony wherein trophies and certificates were given to the winners of all categories.

This year FOG Republic Day celebrations hosted a special kids fashion show. Nearly twenty-five children in the age category of 5-12 years walked and posed at the stage of Santa Clara Convention Center Theater on the background scores of patriotic songs like India Waale and Chuk De.

Alka Bhatnagar and Group singing patriotic songs

Alka Bhatnagar and Group singing patriotic songs

“Mera Bharat Mahan” themed fashion show was a huge success as there were representations from majority of Indian states. Children dressed in their ethnic dresses represented unique cultures of each of the states. Parents used this fashion show as a teaching moment to teach their children about various states of India, as one parent commented I am from Punjab, but my children who are born here don’t know anything about that state but with this fashion show he was able to talk about various states of India to his children.

The Fashion show was organized by Ritu Khurana and team. Kids represented Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and few other states.
Divine Vastu, Nurture Kids, Gateway Eye Care, Paramount Builders – Jerry Ahuja, Tea India, Gurus Education were the sponsors for the evening. Proposing a Vote of Thanks, FIA Chairman Dr Romesh Japra thanked the generous support of the sponsors, members, media and the immense contributions of his team.

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

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