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IACA's Indian Republic Day Celebration

March 2009
IACA's Indian Republic Day Celebration

Although India became independent on August 15, 1947, it did not have a permanent Constitution until January 26, 1950. After long deliberations that lasted for 166 days, India’s Constituent Assembly adopted a Constitution for the country on January 26, 1950, making it a truly sovereign state. This day is celebrated every year as the Republic Day of India.

The largest celebration takes place in India’s capital, New Delhi, where the festivity is marked by grandeur, with spectacular parades by the different regiments of the Indian military in the presence of the President of India.

The Indian American Cultural Association (IACA) celebrated the occasion at its center in Smyrna, Georgia, with fanfare on the crisp winter morning of January 31. The mood was jubilant and many attendees showed up attired in colorful traditional Indian clothing.

Chand Akkineni, the program organizer, kicked off the event with opening remarks, introducing Sucheta Rawal, a community leader, who was emceeing the event, and Dr. Anantha Kamath, the newly elected President of IACA. Dr. Kamath talked about various initiatives taken by his team to bring younger generations of Indians to IACA. Mr. Tushar Sanghvi, the immediate past Chairman, introduced the guest of honor, Air Commodore A.I. Mehta, a high-ranking Indian Air Force officer who has served India for many years and was in the United States on an official trip. Cdre Mehta, who spoke about India’s growing military capabilities and preparedness unfurled the Indian and U.S. flags. The Indian and American national anthems were sung in chorus, led by Ms. Supriya Sreedharan.

The cultural program that followed featured music and songs depicting the richness and diversity of Indian culture. The star performers were Neera Bahl, Mehak Shah and her students, Smitha and Pallavi Rallapalli. Dr. Paddy Sharma, Chairman of the IACA Board, proposed a vote of thanks.

The fun did not end with the cultural show. Warm and flavorful Indian food brought the event to a satisfying close.

—Dipak Rath

The Gujarati Samaj of Atlanta kicked off 2009 by celebrating its first Valentine’s Day party on February 14. Over 300 people attended the event.

Adults were greeted with soft music, tables lit up with candles and real flower petals in the main hall. They dined on tasteful Punjabi food prepared by Raj Bhog. President Vipul Patel introduced this year's executive team and thanked the board of governors and volunteers for their support in hosting Valentine’s Day. He also spoke about the significance of Valentine’s Day.

DJ Jasmeet then took over with games for couples, in which volunteers from the audience were asked fun questions about their spouse. When men were asked to sing one song that described their wives, a variety of songs, performed with varied levels of talent, entertained the audience. This opened up the room for “Paper Dance,” where about 22 couples were each asked to stand on half a page of newspaper and dance to the music being played. Once the music stopped, they were asked to fold the newspaper in half and continue dancing. Each time the music stopped and resumed, the newspaper got smaller and smaller, and as the dance progressed, many resourceful husbands ended up carrying their wives in order to be able to stand on the piece of newspaper. Winners of this contest were Nirav and Mittal Patel, who received a book titled 2002 Romantic Ideas for Couples.

After the games, the dance floor was opened up for everyone to dance the night away.

While some children joined their parents on the dance floor, others watched the movies screened for them in the children’s area and took part in activities organized for them. Many children enjoyed watching their parents do the Paper Dance, and were seen exhorting their dads to take care and “not drop Mom”! Children had pizza for dinner and ice cream from Bruster's, generously donated by Kiran Patel.

– Khyati Patel

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