Letters from Readers
A farewell with gratitude to Dr. Prateen Desai
With the demise of Dr. Prateen Desai (1936- 11/30/2020), we lost a pioneering architect of the Indian community in Atlanta. A past president of India America Cultural Association (IACA), Prateen also made a significant contribution to the spectacular dance-drama in 1975—the Ramayana—which was a milestone event
by IACA and was featured on the cover of the Sunday magazine of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Prateen’s academic credentials were stunningly impressive: Masters in Engineering from Virginia Tech and Ph.D. from Tulane University. He had a tenured faculty position in Georgia Tech, a visiting professorship around the world—all exemplifying an academician’s dream.
Prateen was also a musician (both classical and light), a drama artist (Hindi and Gujarati dramas), an excellent conversationalist, and an avid reader. He generously contributed to many charities. He organized a book club as well as a food club to amalgamate eastern and western culinary cultures.
His wife, Vibha Desai, along with Usha Kadaba, started the first Indian dance and music academy in Atlanta in 1981. Together, the couple has greatly contributed to our community.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his son Sahil who is a lawyer, his daughterin- law Julie, and two grandchildren, Asha and Kiran. In recent years, Prateen and Vibha had moved to California to live close to their family.
It was comforting to learn from Prateen’s family that he volunteered to part from his body in a spirit of tranquility and total acceptance. He fully participated in his life, prompting me to quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., “The riders in a race do not stop when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing center before coming to a standstill. There is time to hear the kind voices of friends and say to oneself, ‘The work is done.’”
Yes, you played very well, Prateen!
Dr. Bhagirath Majmudar
India American Cultural Association Golden Jubilee Celebrations
India American Cultural Association (IACA) was founded on December 10th, 1970 as a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Georgia. At the time, there were only a few hundred people of Indian origin in Atlanta. Today we are an immensely proud community of over a hundred and twenty thousand people of Indian origin living in metro Atlanta. IACA is planning to celebrate its 50th anniversary with yearlong activities to commemorate its golden jubilee year starting from January 26, 2021.
Like many democratic organizations, IACA has also seen its share of ups and downs but it has taught us a lot organizationally. Going with the team through these ups and down was an interesting journey.
We recently conducted elections for the 2021 Executive team and the Board of Directors will be taking office from January 1, 2021. Chand Akkineni was elected as President; Vir Nanda as Chairman, Board of Directors; and me, Ani Agnihotri, as Vice Chairman, Board of Directors.
We all have been serving IACA for decades and look forward to renovating IACA property as well as celebrating golden jubilee celebrations of our cherished organization with community friends.
Johns Creek, Georgia
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