Illinois Governor Pat Quinn led the India Day parade in Chicago, organized by the Federation of Indian
Associations-Chicago, August 16.
India’s Consul General in Chicago Dr
Ausaf Sayeed joined what the organizers
said was a record crowd on Devon
With a giant Indian flag and a Scottish
pipe band in the lead, the parade kicked off
from Western and Devon Avenue and
steered through spruced-up streets of the
Mahatma Gandhi Marg.
Over 30 colorfully decked floats depicted
India’s diversity as people lined up on both
sides of the street, waving tricolor flags.
Unlike most such celebrations in the
United States, there were no Bollywood
stars, though there were Indian television
actors Mohit Malik and Neha Merda.
“We would like to do the events without
any film stars essentially because we refuse
to meet their extravagant demands and
resources,” said Keerthi Kumar Ravoori,
Governor Quinn applauded the Indian-American community and praised India’s
democracy. Consul General Sayeed
thanked the FIA for hosting a successful
Others who joined the parade included
Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon,
Chicago Alderman Joe Moore, County
Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, Schiller Park
Mayor Barbara Piltaver, Gujarat tourism
chief Manish Sharma, and Gujarat Chief
Minister Anandi Patel’s husband Mafat
Community leaders Babu Marsha Patel,
Ajai Agnihotri, Kanti Patel, Bhailal Patel,
Sher Rajput, Ranjit Ganguly, Sohan Joshi,
Harish Bhatt, Sitaram Patel, Kalpesh Joshi
Venood Patel, Anil Pillai and Dr Hyder
Mohammed attended the parade.
Iftekhar Shareef and Sanhita Agnihotri
were the emcees.
Governor Quinn presented parade manager Kanti Patel with an Outstanding
Community Leadership award.
The street festivities continued after the
parade, with dance and musical performances in the heart of Devon Avenue.
Noman Khan and Shailni Saxena were in
charge of the performances.
The FIA also hoisted the Indian flag at
Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago August
15, ahead of the parade. Illinois Secretary of
State Jesse White, state Senator Ira
Silverstein and Alderwoman Debra
Silverstein paid rich tributes to India.
An estimated 3,000 people — according to the organizers – attended Indian Independence Day celebrations hosted
by the India Culture Center at the Stafford
Civic Center, Houston, August 16.
The theme of the event was ‘Colors of
Freedom’, and orange was clearly the color of
choice. ICC organizing committee members
donned orange jackets and led the parade while
singing patriotic songs and shouting slogans of
‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’
Chandrakant Patel, the ICC president,
described it as an organization that ‘builds
bridges.’ Since its formation in 1973, he said,
ICC has ‘evolved from an event-based organiza-
tion to a service-based organization.’
India’s Consul General in Houston P Harish
referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
call to rebuild India as a manufacturing hub,
and urged the gathering to ‘make a difference
by transferring your skills and expertise, to go
back and teach (in India) at some stage of your
US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson thanked
the ICC for the Urban Youth Program, which
provides after-school tutorials, summer enrich-
ment and mentorship seminars for school-
children at India House.
Addressing the gathering, Judge Ed Emmett
said his bookshelves have books on India, there
are Indian paintings and Indian statues around
his house, his son teaches Vedanta in India and
he himself practices meditation and yoga. He
announced that he would be taking a trade
mission to India in December.
Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella, the
longest serving mayor in the US since 1969,
thanked the ICC for selecting the center to celebrate this special day.
Swapan Dhairyawan, the ICC’s chief trustee,
was presented with the Outstanding
Community Service Award.
The Swar Kinnari musical group from India
sang patriotic songs. Kamlesh Patel, who shot
to recognition with the television show Dance
India Dance, performed and moved the audience with his speech on how a person without
legs — he is disabled — can win one of India’s
top dance contests.
Illinois governor attends India Day parade in Chicago
A snapshot from the event
Houston celebrates in large numbers
India’s Consul General in Houston P Harish and his wife Nandita personally greeted the
nearly 200 guests who attended the
flag-hoisting ceremony at the consul general’s residence to celebrate
India’s Independence Day.
Attendees included elected state
and federal officials including US
Congressman Pete Olson, Indian-American community leaders, and
University of Houston President
Congressman Olson said he would
always ‘have a special place in my
heart for India.’
“When I went to India last
December, what the officials
pressed upon me was we need your
oil, your natural gas,” Congressman
Olson told India Abroad on the
sidelines of the event.
“The best thing we can do for
India is to get our gas there as fast
as possible. We have some contracts
which will start in 2015. This will be
good for both countries – we get the
benefits of using our resources and
creating jobs and India benefits
from sourcing natural gas and ener-
gy from friendlier nations which
will help its growth..”
He said he was “excited” about
Narendra Modi as India’s prime
“I think we’ll speak the same language – the language of trade, which
means more cooperation in international security, in energy, in tackling
terrorism,” he said. “That is a democracy in a bad part of the world and
that’s why we must embrace India.”
Nearly 200 guests attended the flag-hoisting ceremony.
‘The best thing we can do for India is to get our gas there as fast as possible’
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, raised hand, with, from left, Chicago Alderman Joe Moore, County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, FIA President Keerthi Ravoori, Smita Shah, Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed, Neha Merda and Mohit Malik at FIA-Chicago’s India Day parade.