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The Federation of Indian Associations and the Indian Consulate celebrated Gujarat Maharashtra Day on May 1, 2022 at the Indian Consulate premises in New York as part of the ongoing celebrations of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, commemorating 75 years of Indian Independence. The chief guests to grace the occasion were Ms. Archana Joglekar, a celebrated actress, director, and renowned Kathak exponent, and Ms. Kajal Oza Vaidya, a noted author, scriptwriter, radio jockey, and motivational speaker.
The event was attended by Hon. Consul General Sh. Randhir Jaiswal, Hon. DCG Dr. Varun Jeph, FIA President Mr. Kenny Desai, FIA Chairman Mr. Ankur Vaidya, Padma Shri H. R. Shah, Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Mayor of Edison Mr. Sam Joshi, and FIA’s Srujal Parikh, Alok Kumar, and Smt Smita Miki Patel, amongst others. The Hon CG Sh. Randhir Jaiswal welcomed the guests and said that the Indian Diaspora from both the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, not only in America but in other countries as well, continues to contribute towards the economic and social progress of the countries they live in. Hon DCG Dr. Varun Jeph, in his speech said that people from both the states are leaders in finance, business, and entrepreneurship, and they also stand out for their rich cultural traditions and heritage.
The FIA president, Mr. Kenny Desai, said that the state of Gujarat is the “Karambhoomi” of Lord Krishna and has been the land of many notable figures hailing from different fields, like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Bhakt Narsi Mehta, Vikram Sarabhai, PM Narendra Modi, and the industrial houses of Ambanis and Adanis. He mentioned that Maharashtra has been the guardian of Hindu Sanatan Dharam and has produced bravehearts like Chattrapati Shivaji, Baji Rao Peshwa, and Ahilyabai Holkar. He said that people from both states have contributed to the economic, industrial and financial growth of India.
In his speech, FIA Chairman Mr. Ankur Vaidya said that he was born and brought up in Baroda in Gujarat, which had a significant Maharashtrian influence and, as such, had the best of both cultures. He also emphasized the need to engage other Indian communities and have events and gatherings where all the members from the various Indian communities can participate. He said that Hon CG Sh. Jaiswal has done a tremendous job in this direction to bring the communities together. He also lauded the efforts of the officials and staff of the Indian Consulate for doing an unprecedented job and being accessible to all.
One minute of silence was observed in the memory of founding member, past President and Vice Chairman Emeritus, the late Mr. Yash Paul Soi. Mr. Vaidya remembered him for his selfless service and dedication to the cause of FIA and lamented the loss FIA has suffered in his passing away.
Guru Archana Joglekar spoke about the folk of Maharashtra. She explained in detail the culture and folk traditions of Maharashtra. She also spoke about the shared culture of both states. Ms. Kaajal Oza Vaidya said that both the states should be seen in unison and commended the fact that the twin states took the path of progress and development and have excelled in the fields of enterprise, culture, commerce, and entertainment. She said that today’s gathering is proof of the fact that our country lives in our hearts. Padma Shri H.R. Shah said that he is honored to be there for the event and gave a brief outline of the history behind the Gujarat Maharashtra day when the 2 states came into being Mr. Sam Joshi, Mayor of Edison, said that it was an honor to be present and spoke about his vision of having a satellite office of IIT India in Edison. He thanked the FIA for their initiatives, which go a long way towards keeping the Indian community in touch with their Indian roots.
Event Chair, Past President, and member of the Board of Trustees of FIA, Sh. Srujal Parikh said it’s a great honor to celebrate the event and took pride in the fact that Gujarat is the Land of Lord Krishna and Mahatma Gandhi. He recognized and felicitated the sponsors, supporters, partner associations, and members for their efforts to make the event successful. Padma Shri Sudhir Parikh said that he shares a personal bond with Maharashtra as he did his schooling in Mumbai. He attributed his success to the state of Gujarat, as it accorded him his higher education.
The audiences were regaled with cultural performances from both the states, especially the “Garba” and “Laavni,” which they thoroughly enjoyed. The Maharashtrian folk dance was performed by the students of “Archana Nritalya”, which is run by Guru Archana Joglekar.
The MC, Ms. Gayatri Joshi, did an effective job of keeping the audience involved. It was a well-attended event, and it was an absolutely packed house.