IACA organized 14th Festival of India on August 14th 2010 at the Gwinnett Center. Event attracted large number of Indians and locals from the region. We had enthusiastic response from both vendors and visitors. The entertainment programs were well attended. Check out the event photo album1, album 2, album 3, and album 4
Article by Mahadev Desai
India American Cultural Association (IACA) organized its signature gala 14th annual Festival of India, to celebrate India’s 63rd Independence Day, at the Gwinnett Center on Saturday, August 14, 2010.
The theme of the Festival this year was Engage, Evolve and Entertain. The Festival of India Torch was lit in Johns Creek by Mayor Bodker at Ocee Park. It then traveled to Global Mall, where the Global Mall owner and noted philanthropist, Shiv Aggarwal, had invited Mayor of Norcross, Bucky Johnson to attend the ceremonies. From there to East Cobb Park where the County Commissioner, District 1,Helen Goreham graced the event. The Festival of India Torch was lit in Johns Creek by Mayor Bodker at Ocee Park, it then traveled to Global Mall and Mr. Shiv Aggarwal invited Mayor of Norcross, Bucky Johnson to attend the ceremonies. We had our last event at East Cobb Park and county commissioner, district 1, Helen Goreham was our guest. The flame was received amidst patriotic fervor and jubilation at the Gwinnett Center in a grand finale. At all the stops, the flame attracted record attendance this year.
The Festival was graced by the presence of Atlanta’s two leading public dignitaries in the legal field, lawyer Matt Wilson and Justice David Nahmias.
The Cultural Committee member, Lakshmi Vedala introduced the Chief Guest, Attorney Matt Wilson, who is running for Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Matt has a BS in Business Administration, University of California, Berkeley in 1972 and he received his JD from Washington College of Law, American University, Washington,D.C. in 1975.Matt has owned and operated the Wilson Law Firm for 20 years. He is a broadly experienced Trial lawyer, with a commendable pro-rights record.
In his brief remarks, Mr. Wilson said,” It is a privilege and an honor to speak to you and to celebrate the Independence of India. As citizens of independent nations, we have the honor and duty as citizens to vote I am a candidate for the Supreme Court of Georgia and I will be on the November ballot. I want you all to think of the importance of the court system, because it is here where our rights are protected, where our government is limited to the constraints of our Constitution and where equal protection under the law is afforded to all citizens. Equal protection means that despite whatever element of diversity you bring you are entitled to the equal protection of the law. Thank you for honoring me today but the honor is really to India and all people of India on this celebration day of the Independence of India.”(Applause)
IACA Treasurer,Samir Doshi introduced Justice David Nahmias. was named to the Supreme Court of Georgia by Governor Sonny Perdue in August 2009, to fill a vacancy. His seat will be up for election in November 2010.Justice Nahmias is a native Georgian, with 20 years legal career. He graduated second in his class at Duke University and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served on the Law Review.
Justice Nahmias said,” Thank you for the opportunity to be here for the very large and enjoyable celebration of Indian heritage and culture. I am always surprised at how large and influential our immigrant population has become in our State and Country. I am a child of two immigrants-my father was born in Egypt and my mother was born in Germany. My parents came to Atlanta in 1964.Georgia Supreme Court is very important in the lives of Georgian families and businesses. All the seven Judges on the Supreme Court are elected. Please remember that all must respect rule of law and no one is above law. It is incredibly important to the American dream. As federal prosecutor in Atlanta, my office has investigated and tried violent crime,fraud,drugs, and public corruption cases. I have always believed in upholding the law and equal justice for all. Let me stress that we do not run on issues but on qualifications. I hope I will get your support on November 2nd. I really appreciate all you and your community do for our great State and I hope you enjoy this great Festival today.”(Applause)
Vir Nanda(Board of Directors) and Justice David Nahmias presented commemorative plaques to the following Awardees in recognition of their excellent and continued contribution to the community:
Mustafa Ajmeri, Keshav Kumaran, Ritesh Desai, Shiv Aggarwal, Aparna Bhattacharyya, Arun Kothary, Manju Kothary,Lakshmi Vedala, Krishnaveni Kesavarapu, Ramakanth Rallapalli, Sangeeta Mayur, Chaitanya Bhatt, Raj Bansal, Ram Sidhaye, Tushar Sanghvi, Parthiv Parekh, Mahadev Desai, Samir Doshi, Shri Ranganathan, Viren Mayani, and Padma Rallapalli.
In her Presidential address,IACA President,Padma Rallapalli said that this year IACA has come a long way. The Board of Directors and the Executive Committee members this year are driven and are committed to making a difference to IACA.” It has been a very successful year so far. Earlier in the year, we did a census workshop for the community and celebrated India’s Republic Day. Then we conducted Spelling Bee workshops. An English play ‘Out of Order’ cum dinner was held in March at the IACA; which was followed with Holi celebrations. The innovative and maiden Job Fair held in April was a resounding success. Annual IACA Scholarship banquet was followed with a very elegant IACA Annual banquet at the Bombay Grill where we recognized several community activists. One of IACA’s signature events, the Beauty Pageant, in July under the organizing team led by the pageant director Anisa Daftari was a huge success in terms of attendance and quality of the programming. The team is now working on Health Seminar in September, Classical Day(A day enriched with classical Indian music) in November and later on a Fund-raiser for the Sanatan Mandir Both the Sanatan Mandir and India Center projects are progressing well. Our former in-house magazine ‘Voice of India” has been brought to life and our website has been revamped. I am very thankful to the Board and the Executive Committee members for their support, involvement and ‘can do’ attitude. I would also like to thank our esteemed guests for gracing the Festival with their presence today. Finally my heartfelt thanks to all the sponsors, vendors, FOI and Sanatan Mandir Committee members, Gwinnett Center team,Vibha and ACS, visiting members of the public, participants in the Cultural program and all the volunteers for making FOI a huge success.(Applause)
Chand Akkineni exhorted all to support IACA’s India Center comprising of an auditorium and banquet hall to accommodate 700 to 800 people. He further commented that this year, a new feature – Job Fair was added to the Festival. It is supported by companies – ITJobCafe, Radiumsoft Inc., Lunex Telecom and Prudential. On FOI, he lauded, “It is a proud feeling to see FOI celebrate its 13th anniversary with the enthusiastic support from the community, sponsors and volunteers.”
Booths in the Main Hall:
Despite economic downturn all the 60 booths were taken up by vendors selling Indian apparel, jewelry, toys Baba Ramdev Health products,, real estate,education,insurance, travel, and medical services. Booths were set up by not-for-profit religious and professional membership Organizations and Associations. Atlanta’s popular Sarvana Bhavan, Royal Indian Cuisine and Unique Foods International did brisk business selling mouthwatering food and beverages. As there were only three restaurants serving food, some members of the public were frustrated at the long queues for food and drinks But overall, the booth-renters were happy that the stage for the ‘Cultural Show’ was also in the same hall as it drew more public to the booths.
The Cultural Show:
The theme for FOI cultural event -2010 is “Evolution of entertainment in India from 2010 BC to 2010 AD.IACA’s Cultural team presented a riveting and very entertaining mammoth 8 hour cultural program with the participation of approximately 200 participants in colorful Indian costumes and accessories from 11am to 7pm. The program attracted lot of audience, who were glued to their seats until 7pm.. Several volunteers helped with the back stage production all day. The highlights included: Exciting Game Show “Hamare Hangama”, 4 sessions of 15 minute dance floor for audience participation ,Small skit of Putrakameshti scene from Ramayan , patriotic songs, Wonders of India, Bollywood Band , Bhangra, Dandia, and other folk dances, Bollywood songs, and Classical instrumental renditions, and Classical dances. Kudos to the Culture team which was headed by Krishnaveni Kesavarapu and included Lakshmi Vedala, Vijaya Gandapodi and Nivedita Garabadu and Atlanta’s well known and respected performing arts promoter Syam Yellamraju..
The children were kept engaged and entertained by Biha Youth Group with the help of Vibha volunteers. The kids made Indian themed bead bracelets with green, orange, white beads, while some kids made monkey necklaces, and binocular necklaces. Some had fun with henna designs.
Leena Joshi who runs ‘Theme Works’ Creative Arts Classes for Kids and Adults at Alpharetta and Global Mall locations conducted an Arts Competition for Children. The Competition winners were as under:
Group 1 Ages 5,6,7
Alna Kandepi, Nishika Byakod, Ansh Malbari
Group 2 Ages 8, 9,10
Shravanthi Pogula,Sravya Amadipudi, Aryna Gavankar, Anushka Saxena
Group 3 Ages 11, 12, 13, 14
Mounika Pogula, Manali Manglorkar
GAPI-SAI Health Fair at the FOI
The GAPI/SAI Health Fair, organized jointly by GAPI President, Dr.Sreeni Gangasani and, SAI Health Fair’s Founder, Dr.Sujatha Reddy was well attended by over 250 people who benefited
For other pictures at this event click here
from the services of 30 physicians representing 18 specialties. nine nurses and over 50 health care workers and volunteers. An ebullient Dr.Gangasani commented,” I would like GAPI to get involved with more health and education related charitable activities. GAPI is working on establishing a clinic to see uninsured on regular basis. In these tough economic times I want people to utilize these opportunities to maintain a healthy life. Both Dr.Sujatha Reddy and I thank all the physicians, nurses and volunteers from bottom of our hearts for taking part in this community outreach service. My special thanks to Dr Sujatha Reddy and IACA President Padma Rallapalli, for all their help in organizing this successful health fair.”
Tushar Sanghvi and Samir Doshi handled the booths management. The Executive Vice-President Viren Mayani was here, there and everywhere, dealing with the booth vendors, helping out with the Cultural program, meeting with the dignitary guests and with and with Vir Nanda handling the advertising and fund-raising portfolio. The Secretary Shri Rangnathan also did a commendable job with moving vote of thanks. The Registration Team of Vishal Mehta and Gouranga Banik did an outstanding job.The Festival was also marked with the prominent presence of Long –serving members of IACA,Paddy Sharma, Ani Agnihotri,Narsi Narasimhan,Upedra Bhatt, to name a few.
The Festival of India, which began in 1997 has now become a much anticipated and appreciated annual event, with patriotic fervor and providing an invaluable glimpse into the rich and vibrant culture and heritage of India to Atlanta’s fast growing young Indian generation as well as to the mainstream communities..