Gujarati Cultural hosts anniversary and Diwali Milan

Lamp lighting among others by Niranjan Shah, Pratima Shah and Rishikant Singh

CHICAGO: The 36 years old Gujarat Cultural Association, one of the oldest of its type of ethnic organizations in Chicagoland, did it again by celebrating its annual Diwali Milan and get together in style and grace.
The event at Waterford Banquet Hall in Elmhurst on Saturday December 1was attended by 350 plus members and guests among whom quite a few were non-Gujaratis. One of the highlights, besides induction of new life members and introduction of new Executive team, was the scintillating music from Bhupinder Singh and his group.
The event started with Beena Patel addressing in Gujarati and Hetal Patel, both senior members of the organization, welcoming the guests and Jyotindra Patel dwelling on GCA achievements and activities. The traditional lamp lighting ceremony began with the Chief Guests Niranjan Shah and Pratima Shah taking the lead followed by Air India Regional Manager Rishikant Singh and other dignitaries which included former Illinois official Raja Krishnamoorthy, still a popular figure with Indian Americans despite his political losses.
Niranjan Shah was brief and most relevant starting in English but switching over to Gujarati befitting the occasion. He said he felt honored to attend the event with his wife as has been the case for nearly 29 years since 1982. He observed that the things have changed a lot and the new faces are coming in the organization as with the broader Indian community but then “we cannot forget our old associates and acquaintances with whom we worked and walked in the past together.”
Gujarat Cultural Association has been doing yeomen services not only for the Gujarati community but for Indians at large and he wished the association well in its bid to serve the community in years to come.
Air India Regional Manager Rishikant Singh paid handsome tributes to the enterprising spirit of Gujarati community observing that it is not only here but go anywhere – Africa, UK Europe, Australia-New Zealand – and you will find this vibrant community contributing to the welfare of the society at large. Closely following the Gujaratis are Punjabis, Malayalees and Andhraites. “In fact, it is the Indian Diaspora and it is the privilege of my airline to serve the Indians across the world with first class services,” he added.
In a talk to this paper, he said that Air India from Chicago has been doing “really great with its non-stop flight from Chicago to New Delhi with easy connections to most cities.” Air India has added newer version Boeing-787 Dreamliner with added facilities but the services to begin with are from Europe to India and Australia. He said that Air India has been constantly changing and improving its Menu for in flight passenger meals and making it more customer friendly.
Kanti Patel, chairman of GCA introduced one by one the top invited dignitaries one by one and said that it is not only Gujaratis but even Punjabis and others too are supporting the association in its endeavor to serve the community.
Ashok Punjabi of Chicago Imports went to the extent of presenting gift to each and every person present during the Diwali Milan. Present among others on the occasion were Naren Patel of MedStar, Chandresh Brahmbhatt and Satish Gabhawala of AAHOA, Arvind Patel of GOPIO and Jasbir Suga, Gulzar Singh, Dinesh Gandhi and Harin Sheth.
Kanti Patel also introduced the new executive team members. The team consists of:
Girish Patel President, Dr Manish Brahmbhatt Vice President, Shaurin Mehta Secretary, Hemang Patel Jt Secretary, Dinesh Patel Treasurer, Kanu Parekh Cultural Secretary, Geeta Bhatt Jt Culural Secretary.
The Board of Directors was introduced too and they are: Jyotindra Patel, Yogi Patel, Vijay Patel, Dilip Patel, Nilesh Patel, Subhash Majmudar and Gopal Trivedi.
Secretary Shauirin Mehta proposed a vote of thanks. This was followed by sumptuous dinner and grand music fest from Bhupinder Singh and group.

Ramesh Soparawala
India Post News Service

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