Gautam Bhatia, chair, Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board of the City of Aurora, displays a backpack to be distributed to students of the Gurukul. At right is Kunjal Harshavat of the Gurukul.

Madhu Patel
CHICAGO: Indian American parents and children came together at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora, a south side suburb of Chicago, to celebrate the annual function of the Hindi Gurukul with dances and songs displaying that they had quickly learnt the language and key aspects of their Indian heritage.

The event included the award of certificates to students for their academic performance at the regular and summer sessions of the Gurukul.
Welcoming the parents, Ajay Jain of Gurukul said that the mission was to keep the language and culture alive among the younger generation of Indian Americans. “These children are borderless citizens of India and they need to take the Indian culture with them wherever they go not only for their betterment but also to spread the relevant Indian values globally,” he said. The Hindi Gurukul committee, he added, seeks the support of the local community to fulfill this mission.

“Hindi is a beautiful language and unique due to its rich vocabulary and ancient heritage,” said Preeti Jain. The Gurukul employs the Starttalk program’s method of teaching Hindi as a foreign language by

: A scene from the Ramayana presented by the students in Hindi.

focusing on the five recognized Cs of language learning (communication, connection, community, culture, and comparison). Giving examples, she explained that language enables one to communicate in interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes. She said that the Hindi language is a vehicle to impart Indian cultural values to Indian American children, many of them born in the US.


The program was ably compeered by Kunjal Harshavat, who is also on the faculty of the Gurukul. She invited several dignitaries from the field of education and from the local Indian community to speak to the Gurukul students and their parents. Kunjal highlighted the importance of music and poetry as efficient tools to learn a language.

A video message from Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin was screened in which he lauded the contribution of the Gurukul to help enrich the diverse culture of the city. He said he looked forward to participating in the Diwali celebration in November organized in Aurora by the Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board of the City of Aurora.

Mike Raczak, president of the Indian Prairie School, gives certificates to students of the Hindi Gurukul. Others from left are Kunjal Harshavat, Ajay Jain and Preeti Jain of the Hindi Gurukul.

Mike Raczak, chair of the board of education of the Indian Prairie School District 204 was the special guest. Raczak praised the efforts of the school to help the children learn a second language. He said that bi-lingual skills were invaluable in an increasingly connected world.
Gautam Bhatia, chair of the Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board of the City of Aurora, lauded the efforts by the Gurukul and invited the audience to participate in the Diwali celebration to be held at the Wabaunsee Valley High School in Aurora on November 3.
The event concluded with snacks donated by Patel Brothers.