FOG Republic Day attended by thousands of Bay Area residents

2 2Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

FREMONT, CA: The Federation of Indo-Americans (FIA) of the Northern California aka FOG, celebrated India’s 70th Republic Day with day long cultural activities on Jan 27 at the Santa Clara Convention Center theater. FIA has been celebrating the Republic Day of India for over 37 years now, meticulously promoting the opulent culture and various dance and music styles of India.

In all, 160 dance schools participated with over 1000 Indian origin children in this year’s competition and performances. The audience enjoyed the enthralling and captivating performances of the children in 20 different groups. The dance competitions were coordinated and meticulously executed by Jyotsna B Sharma, FOG Cultural chair and her team of 40 volunteers.

Each dance group exhibited an abundance of talent, innovative choreography and unprecedented pride in India’s culture. The colorful costumes, song selection, efficient and attractive stage decoration, professional lighting and sound system enhanced the visual impact of the entire show. Over 60 kids participated at the My India fashion show and Freedom leaders speech contest, co-ordinated by Ritu Khurana, Gurus education and Anita Karwal, FOG Idol team.

The evening ceremonies began with the American National Anthem sung by Angela followed by the Indian National anthem sung by Alka Bhatnagar. The dignitaries were led by Ambassador

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Sanjay Panda, Consul General of India, San Francisco, Assemblymen Kansen Chu, Assemblymen Ash Kalra, Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Vice Mayor Raj Salwan, Council-members Teresa Keng, Yang Shao, Santa Clara Vice Mayor Kathy Watanabe, Council-members Raj Chahal, Teresa O Neill, Saratoga Council-member Rishi Kumar, Consul (Community Affairs, Information & Culture) Sumati Rao Saxena, Teresa Cox, Ohlone college.

The traditional lamp lighting ceremony was performed once the dignitaries and the FIA Board were on the stage at 6:30 pm. The dignitaries in their brief speeches extolled and praised the development India has seen since independence and the India USA collaboration in various fields and the friendship between the leaders of both the democracies.1 2

Ambassador Sanjay Panda, Consul General of India in San Francisco, was the Chief Guest and he spoke on serving 1.4 million India origins of the West Coast and the planned improvements in the consular services. The FIA led by Dr Romesh Japra and his team, was praised by all the dignitaries for its growth over the last thirty years and empowering the Indian community through year-round events such as Indian Independence day celebrations, Indian festivities such as Diwali & Holi, health fairs, senior and women empowerment programs to name a few.

As a tradition, FIA recognized and awarded Parmeet Randhawa for outstanding contribution for community & women empowerment, Yogi Mahendra Lohmorh (posthumously) for outstanding contribution for the community and yoga services for 15 years and Deepak Chhabra, Chair – Parade, best volunteer of FOG. The event culminated with Punjabi Pageant fashion show coordinated by Parmeet Randhawa.

A vote of thanks was given on behalf of the FOG by Dr Romesh Japra. “Thanks a billion to our proud sponsors Bank of the West, Air India, Astrology Partner Astro Vastu Solutions Vaneet Sharma, Dr Monika

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Chugh, Tea India, Keen Learners Montessori, Anthem Realty Karishma and Deepak Chandani, Gurus Education, Visitors Guru, My Tax Filer, Young Explorers, Sangita Dutta, New York Life, State Farm, PNJ5. My heartiest congratulations to all the award winning children, their parents and teachers,” said Dr.Japra
Rajesh Verma, President, FIA thanked all the volunteers, participants, sponsors, patrons for their continued support and announced the FOG Holi event which is planned for March 23 in Fremont.

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