Unity in Diversity at United Diwali Fest
(Left) (Photo: Sri Photos)
The Consulate General of India, Atlanta in cooperation with Indian-American associations organized the second annual United Diwali Fest on Saturday, October 26, 2019, at Infinity Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia.
The damp weather didn’t deter thousands from joining in the celebration of victory of light over darkness, from 3pm-8pm. The festival brought a spirit of unity, not only among Indian associations but various religions, as Diwali is celebrated among Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains.
Diverse guests of honor with Consul General Kulkarni (center) at the traditional diya lighting. (Photo: Sri Photos)
Traditional diya lighting was done by Consul General of India Dr. Swati Kulkarni, Consul Shailesh Lakhtakia, guests of honor German Consul General Dr. Heike Fuller; Nigerian Consul General Mrs. Aishatu Aliyu Musa; Barbados Honorary Consul David Cutting; Deputy Consul General for Israel Mr. Alex Gandler, and GA State Senator Greg Dolezal (R, Cumming).
(Left) GA State Senator Sheikh Rahman and Consul Lakhtakia. (Photo: Sri Photos)
Invitees also included GA State Representatives Mike Glanton (D, Jonesboro) and Angelika Kausche (D, Johns Creek); GA State Senator Sheikh Rahman (D, Gwinnett); GA State School Superintendent Richard Woods (R); Ex-GA State Senator from Duluth, running for Gwinnett County Chairman, Curt Thompson (D); Ex-Home Depot executive, running for U.S. Representative, 7th District Lilburn to Cumming, Lynne Homrich (R).
Senator Rahman expressed Diwali greetings and assured that he was available if anyone needed his help. Prasad Vanpal, Marketing Assistant at the Consulate, and Ms. Mini Nair, President of the Indo-American Press Club also attended.
(Left) A dance from Kerala. (Photo: Sri Photos)
Dr. Swati Kulkarni in her address emphasized the need of unity, illustrating with a story about being stronger together and noting that even animals realize the value of unity since they come together as a group in an emergency. The visit of Prime Minister Modi and President Donald Trump to Houston reflects unity, she said, as 50,000 people welcomed PM Modi. She encouraged everyone to participate jointly in International Yoga Day and other events. A slide show of the accomplishments of the Consulate was shown.
(Left) Gujarati Folk dance by MUDRA Bharatanatyam Dance Academy. (Photo: Sri Photos)
More than 80 organizations and 4000 individuals participated in the free festival. Dance schools showcased classical and modern dances and dances from various states. Booths sold products, and free food was provided.
(Photo: Sri Photos)
Looking at the large celebration brought back memories of hardworking individuals: Dr. Girija Vijay, Punam Keswani, Meenakshi Bhatia, Deepa Dharamrup, Drs. Bhagirath and Uma Majmudar, Dr. Darshan Singh Bhatia, Dr. Ranjeet Singh, Drs. Ravi and Seshu Sarma, and the late Prakash Wadhwani are a few of those instrumental in laying the foundation for our Indian community in Atlanta.
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Consul Lakhtakia introduced various committees and special guests throughout the evening. Volunteers from various organizations came together forming different committees-Venue, Welcome, Guest, Cultural, Finance, Marketing, Food, which planned this event in five weeks. It was well supported and participated by several members from the media community. Prashant Kollipara founder of Byte productions did a wonderful job with audiovisual presentation. The program was sponsored by (Diamond Sponsor) Patel Brothers, (Gold Sponsor) 27th Investments, and by various Indian organizations.
Kids, light on their feet, jump in a dance at the festival. (Photo: Sri Photos)
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