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“FIA-Chicago Celebrates 74th Independence Day amid COVID-19 pandemic”

  By Richa Chand
Schaumburg, IL, Aug 17, 2020 – Amid the continued Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the FEDERATION OF INDIAN ASSOCIATIONS (FIA - CHICAGO) 501 (C)(3), along with Marriott Hotel Hoffman Estates, hosted India’s 74th Independence Day Virtual Event on Saturday, Aug 15, 2020, from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM, at Chicago Marriott Northwest, 4800 Hoffman Estates, IL 60192. Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan (FIA President 2020), Sunil Shah (FIA Founder President),
Surely this year’s Independence Day celebrations were very different, compared to the previous years, due to all the safety concerns and precautions taken for Covid-19, but nonetheless the “josh” was high! Following Govt. issued Covid-19 regulations, and observing Social Distancing norms, this event was offered on-site for a limited few numbers of people, while most of the folks joined via Zoom or Facebook live feed.
The virtual program began promptly at 4:00pm, with the beautiful rendition of American National Anthem by Jenish Bulsara, followed by the Indian National Anthem Jana-Gana-Mana sung melodiously by Pratibha Jairath & Vinita Gulabani, who were also the emcees for the event. A patriotic Welcome Dance was also presented by the students of SR Academy. Later in the program also more patriotic songs were sung by Jitendra Bulsara.
There were lots of good speeches presented at the event, with FIA Founder President Sunil Shah, presenting the Welcome address, followed by a speech from Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, President FIA-Chicago, and Onkar Sangha, Founding President. Rita Singh, Founding member and Advisory board introduced Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. It was great to hear Raja Krisnamoorthi share a few words about the Indo American community. Neil Khot, Founding member, introduced Hon’ble Consul General Mr Amit Kumar, who also presented a speech, with lot of information about support services offered by the Consul office.
Sunil Shah introduced Chairman of Ghoman Group, Amarbir Ghoman.
During his speech FIA President Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan expressed, that this year due to the pandemic created by COVID -19, FIA Chicago took a cautious decision of celebrating the Independence Day virtually, He mentioned that such a large participation is really a testament to the Indian American community’s growing patriotism. He said, “FIA Chicago has been instrumental in bringing our Indian American community together through cultural activities and being an umbrella association helping all in whatever way we could. We started this year with a successful grand event of celebration of India’s republic day by having a health fair. We were planning for many more opportunities to bring our diaspora together when this worldwide pandemic brought it to this stage. But nevertheless, me and my 2020 committee of FIA Chicago has not stopped their efforts to help our community.” He also thanked the frontline warriors for all their dedicated efforts.
As you know we always start any auspicious celebration with lamp lighting…Light to take away darkness and bring Knowledge, Peace, and Strength, the emcees requested Sunil Shah, Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, Onkar Sangha, Rita Singh, Amarbir Ghoman. Commissioner Dan Patlak, who were physically present at Marriott Hoffman Estates to do the honors. This was an innovative lamp lighting this time, as all the folks (connected online) were requested to raise hands and Team FIA members were requested to hold a candle during lamp lighting. This also reflects our FIA’s tagline ‘United we stand”!!
Lamp Lighting ceremony, was followed by the Introduction of the FIA Board:
Founder President - Sunil Shah
Current President 2020 - Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan
Founder & Past President - Onkar Singh Sangha
Founding Members - Neil Khot, Mukesh Shah, Rita Singh, Dhitu Bhagwakar, Sunny Kular
Past President - Ninad Daftari
Exec Vice President - Hitesh Gandhi, Kamal Patel
Vice Presidents - Vinita Gulabani, Shital Daftari, Chetan Patel, Jatinder S Bedi, Altaf Bukhari
Advisory Board Members - Syed Hussaini, Manish Gandhi, Brij Sharma, Asha Oroskar, Smita Shah, Pradeep Shukla. Neal Patel, Jasbir Sugga, Keerthi Reevori, Aishwarya Sharma, Pinky Thakkar
Secretary - Varsha Visal
Treasurer - Vaishal Talati
Cultural Secretary- Hema Shastri
Joint Cultural Secretary - Abir Maru
Joint Treasurer - Ila Patel Chaudhari
Joint Secretary - Ashwani Mahajan
Directors - Vibha Rajput, Pratibha Jairath, Anu Malhotra, Richa Chand, Subbu Iyer, Sonia Luther, Mukesh Shah, Hitesh Patel, Vikram Seth, Vik Kalwani, Ashima K. Washington, Nisha Mathews, Jesse Singh, Jitendra Bulsara, Harsh Shah, Mandeep Kumar, Saurin Thakkar, Tanvi Dhillon, Vaikunth Patel, Amar Chaudhari
After the FIA Board 2020 member introductions, the following dignitaries present at the event were invited to say a few words: Hoffman Estate Mayor William Mcleod, Schaumberg Mayor Tom Daily, Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig, CEO Redberry Corp Deepak Kant Vyas, CEO MAFS Mrs Santosh Kumar, Advisory Board members: Brij Sharma, Asha and Anil Oroskar, Sr. VP Hanmi Bank, Syed Hussaini, Pinki Thakkar
This year, FIA-Chicago Honored the Pandemic Heroes, our Front-line workers for their selfless service to humanity in these dire times. The following individuals were recognized: Dr. Sreenivas Reddy, Falguni Dave (not present), Vikas Sahal Air India (Manager), Kalpesh Joshi from AHOA, Exec Vice President Hitesh Gandhi.
Special Guest :- Rodney S. Craig, Mayor of Hanover Park, Village -IL
Supported by Vandana Jhingan ( TV Asia ) & Poonam Gupta certified Yoga Therapist
Event Coverage by Adbhhut Media - Online & Print Newspaper & Channel Your Region Your Paper, A Support For All Communities English & (??????) Punjabi is Print Media Have something to report?, Share your story & news item! When is Your Event ?, Note -Event information must include Date, Time, Address & Contact information Mr. Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan Phone : 414 429 5313, 847 942 3641 Email : [email protected]
After the Recognitions, Awards & Speeches, the program was concluded by presenting the Vote of Thanks by Varsha Visal, to all the dignitaries, attendees, guests, and sponsors who supported this event: Ghoman Group, Harry Ghoman, Amarbir Goman, New York Life Sunil Shah, Adbhhut Media Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, Remax Jesse Singh, Orochem, Redberri, Mag Mile Capital, Jigar’s Kitchen, Air India, Vinakom.
Last but not the least, FIA greatly appreciates its sponsors and supporters. FIA Media Partners for this event were: Gurmeet Singh Dhalwan, ADBHHUT Media, Vandana Jhingan TV Asia, India Post, Desi Talk, hi India, Hello NRI, Divya Bhaskar, Punjabi Times.