The Main Line Indian Association incorporating the Greater Philadelphia
area and the surrounding suburbs celebrated its third annual
Diwali at the Crowne Plaza,
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania,
October 18 with a sold-out
crowd of over 400 people having
a rollicking time.
The event was supported by
over 20 local corporate sponsors
providing catered Indian food,
music and a youth cultural show.
Proceeds from the raffle went to the charity organization Profugo.
MLIA’s mission is to promote local intra-and inter-cultural connections by providing a forum to foster and disseminate
Indian culture through educational, cultural and social programs in the greater
It was first mooted when several local
Indian American families decided to host
an annual Diwali function to help bring
local Main Line families together.
The first event was such a success that it
sparked interest in creating a new cultural
association for Philadelphia and its western suburbs. The result was the MLIA.
It became incorporated as a nonprofit
organization in Pennsylvania in March
2013 and is recognized as a public charity
under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.
The initial MLIA Board of Directors
were convened in March 2013 and the
current members of the board are Viraj
Parikh (president), Shailu Jaswal (secre-
tary), Sadhvi Khanna (treasurer), Neerav
Mull (director), Seema Singh-Bhan (direc-
tor), Suhag Shukla (director), and Shruti
ARTHUR J PAIS
Gnanendra Kumar Bhattacharjee, a passionate advocate of Indian culture in Ohio and a temple builder who championed inclusiveness at Batavia
mandir, never forgot the importance of giving back to the
Friends and family members, in remembering Dr
Bhattacharjee, who died recently of a heart attack at age 78,
said he spent many hours a month helping minority students in particular.
Dr Bhattacharjee, professor emeritus of microbiology at
Miami University in Cincinnati, had taught at the university for 37 years.
He would often say, ‘We chose to come to this country and we should work hard to give back,’ said Anu
Mitra, professor and family friend.
“He pitched in with community work till his very
end,” said Mitra, who valued his enthusiasm and contribution to, among many things, a monthly food drive
that has been supplying meals to 300 people at shelters for last 24 years.
“He would drive from his home some 80 miles from
our place and bring home-cooked meals,” she said.
Mitra also recalled Dr Bhattacharjee as saying ‘We
must help spread Indian culture, make it available
especially to the younger generations, we must build
mandirs and have our cultural associations — but we
should never forget our obligation to other communi-
ties at large.’
In 2005 he was awarded the Lavatus Powell
Community Builder Award for his service to Miami
and Oxford in Ohio.
He was president of the Oxford Kiwanis Service
Club, as well as the Oxford Community Foundation,
Foodbank in Cincinnati.
He and his wife were honorary chairs for this year’s
Oxford United Way campaign.
His individual efforts had raised over half a million dollars in the past decade alone for charitable causes and
establishing funds for science seminars and school programs, per friends.
He and his wife, a homemaker, established a microbi-
ology scholarship/endowed fund at Miami University
and a children’s education endowed fund at the Oxford
Community Foundation, among other philanthropic
“When he came to this country he had nothing,” said his
daughter Mala Bhattacharjee, a book publicist. “But
when he left, he left a legacy he could be proud of. He was
always humble and giving. And he befriended and sup-
ported hundreds. The Durga Puja events he had started
here is attended by some 2,000 people from Ohio and
He went to college in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and earned his
doctorate from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Known at Miami University simply as Dr B, he supported
science teachers with similar fervor he had for his own
research and contributions to his field, the university said.
He taught tens of thousands of high school students to
clone DNA in school labs in the 1990s and 2000s, per the
school. He retired in 2005.
“He was very fit and full of energy. We have lost a
great teacher, scientist, colleague and friend who
deeply cared about teaching and education even after
his retirement,” said Luis Actis, current chair of microbiology at Miami.
Dr Bhattacharjee earned many grants from the
National Science Foundation and other research agencies and also earned two significant patents, the school
said in a statement.
In 1999 he received those patents for having discovered a simplified and inexpensive way to detect
Candida albicans, a fungus that is potentially lethal to
people with weakened immune systems. He was considered a pioneer in yeast genetics research.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Tripti; his
son Gourab of San Diego, California; and his daughter Mala.
His family has requested that donations be made in
his memory to the Jnanendra & Tripti Bhattacharjee
Fund at the Oxford Community Foundation, which
provides financial support for the education of needy
children in the Talawanda school district. Dr J K Bhattacharjee with wife Tripti at the Durga Puja last year.
A community leader with wide vision
Main Line Indian
Association hosts rocking