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The Community Welcomes Consul General Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan

January 2024
The Community Welcomes Consul General Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan

The Federation of Indian-American Associations of Georgia (FIA-GA), together with forty-eight other Indian American community organizations, hosted a formal dinner banquet to welcome the newest Indian Consul General in Atlanta, Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan, and his wife, Mrudula Lakshmanan, to Atlanta. Although he had been here already for a month, this welcome couldn’t be planned earlier due to his hectic schedule as he hit the road to meet elected officials in eight states within his diplomatic territory.

[Left] Officials of close to 50 community organizations came together to welcome Consul General Ramesh Babu Lakshmanan.

 

The event, at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta NE in Norcross, was emceed by Bhrushira Vyas. A brief inaugural speech was presented by Vasu Patel, President of FIA-GA. He spoke about the collective effort by community organizations to host this dinner banquet and that although the Indian community in Atlanta is smaller than the communities in New York and Houston, it is very generous and passionate about successfully managing such events. Patel called upon a select few to join Lakshmanan on stage to light the ceremonial lamp and begin the evening’s festivities.

AT_9_01_24.jpgPadma Bhushan awardee Dr. Jagdish Sheth was invited to share his remarks. As usual, he remained very eloquent and spoke favorably of the two nations— the U.S. and India—becoming more committed to one another in a myriad ways. Ani Agnihotri and Chand Akkineni, Chairman and President, respectively of IACA then welcomed the CG.

[Right] One of the several dance performances at the event.

Performances by Bharat Kala Natya Academy and The Third Eye Dancers followed. Shiv Agarwal, philanthropist and owner of Global Mall in Norcross, was invited to share a few words. He thanked the hosts and also invited Craig Newton, Mayor of Norcross, to say a few words. Newton welcomed Lakshmanan and spoke of the growing and successful Indian diaspora in his city. He was well-apprised of the Indian American contributions, especially the doctors and the IT engineers settled in Norcross.

Founder of the Indian Friends of Atlanta (IFA), Sunil Savili, followed soon with his welcome note. He said that the FIA was formed not for any specific community or faith but for all the Indian diaspora and to assist them in overcoming any challenges they face that can be mitigated by organizational support. Savili requested Lakshmanan to assist the community with some issues that he felt were very critical— including

AT_8_01_24.jpgOPT for F-1 students and having an officer- in-charge at the Consulate to help facilitate business exchange between the U.S. and India. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awardee Shubash Razdan, along with his wife Raj Razdan, spoke next, extending their support to the Consulate and the Consul General.

The singing sensation Jyothsna Nanu followed immediately after. She sang a mash-up of several songs in different languages, ably supported by karaoke music tracks. She did an exceptional job delivering it, earning the audience’s applause.

Former President of the Georgia Association of Physicians from India (GAPI) Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, mentioned that GAPI serves the diaspora irrespective of insurance coverage, and holds a medical camp once a month for those who are uninsured. He also raised awareness about heart issues within the South Asian community.

Bharatkala Academy students delighted the audience with another strong folk dance performance, followed by a Kuchipudi dance by the students of Neelima Gaddamanugu of the Nataraja Natyanjali Kuchipudi Dance Academy. Their item was based on Lord Krishna’s life events. The last of the welcome remarks were brought by one of the founding members, board member, and secretary of FIA-GA, Rajeev Menon. He took the opportunity to introduce Lakshmanan and invited him to say a few words at the banquet hosted in his honor.

[Left] Norcross Mayor Craig Newton at the event.

 

Consul General Lakshmanan spoke of the existing collaborative relationship between the two great nations as well as the rising potential over the coming years, in terms of trade, commerce, and cultural exchange. He also spoke of the success and global dominance in fintech, which has taken India by storm. Even a local fruit vendor who sells his wares on a cycle accepts his payment digitally on his mobile—a scene unheard of and unthinkable just a couple of years ago. He responded to Savili’s requests and assured him that some of the things are already in motion and the remainder will be addressed. He suggested that all follow the website which will be replenished with lots of information. He concluded by thanking all community organizations for coming together to welcome him.

Soon after that, Vyas requested each table group to ascend the stage, take group pictures with Lakshmanan, and proceed towards the dinner buffet. The evening concluded by a vote of thanks by Rajeev Menon.

—Viren Mayani


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Submitting your report for consideration in Around Town

Please send post event reports for consideration in the Around Town section to AroundTown@khabar.com. Publication of reports is based on several criteria including the volume of reports submitted for a given issue. Guidelines for the reports are on our website at http://www.khabar.com/magazine/around-town/guidelines_for_submitting_reports_to_around_town. Deadline: 15th of each month—for consideration in the following month. However, chances of inclusion are better if reports are received well in advance of the deadline – where possible, e.g. within 3-7 days of the event.



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