So Cal community celebrates India Independence Day

Dr Prakash Narain, Ed Royce, Ramesh Ramnani, Dilip Butani, Amrit Bhandari, Ajay Khetani, Mohan Sharma and Sunil Tolani

ORANGE, CA: The Indian community of Southern California celebrated India’s 65th Independence Day on August 12 at the Rupee Room Restaurant, Orange, CA. The beautifully decorated restaurant was filled to capacity. The special guests of honor were Congressman Ed Royce, Mayor Pro Tem Dr Prakash Narain and business tycoon Sunil Tolani. Assemblyman Tony Mendoza couldn’t come personally but sent his representative.

The program started with National Anthems of USA and India followed by lamp lighting by the guests of honor and Executive Committee members. This was followed by chanting of mantra by Pandit Siddharth Pathak. Next, everyone observed one minute silence, to mourn for victims of the tragic Wisconsin Gurudwara shootings.
Chairman Dilip Butani spoke briefly about India’s Independence. He then invited President Amrit Bhandari who welcomed everyone and said few words about the organization. He also recognized the community leaders.
Next, vice-chairman K V Kumar introduced Ed Royce and invited him to speak. Royce condemned the Wisconsin massacre and said this was the worst thing to have happened. He also mentioned about his trips to India and spoke about strengthening Indo-American relations. Ex VP Ajay Khetani then introduced Dr Narain who spoke about the sacrifices of Indian leaders in achieving independence. He also praised India’s achievements in various fields. He then presented certificates of special recognition to Dilip Butani and Amrit Bhandari. Next, Ex VP Ramesh Ramnani spoke about Tony Mendoza and invited his representative Patrick Sunpanich, who presented the proclamation and certificates on behalf of the Assemblyman.
Dilip Butani then introduced Sunil Tolani, who, on Republic Day, was awarded Businessman of the Year Award. He mentioned that Sunil heads Prince Organization that owns a number of five star hotels including Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Flags-Intercontinental and others.
Sunil wished everyone on the occasion of Independence Day and spoke about his organization’s involvement in social work. Thereafter Ex VP Mohan Sharma introduced executive committee members and the invited guests. Lastly, Secretary Prakash Pancholi thanked everyone and called the artists for the cultural show.
The cultural show started with a Bollywood dance by Karishma Ramnani, Prerna Chugani and Gehna Chugani; followed by another dance number by Bhumika Pandya and Himali Pandya. Next was a powerful Bhangra dance by Harjot Chahal, Aman Sandhu, Ramneet Ahluwalia & Pravjot Singh and the popular dancers from Gabroo Punjab Group.
Melodious music followed the dances. The singers were the best ones in Southern California. The popular list consisted of Nauzad Sadry, Ram Tasildar, Bhawna Chawla, Ami Khetani, Sunny Suratsingh and Sunit Gupta. They kept everyone entertained for over two hours. The program was followed by a sumptuous dinner.

Dilip Butani

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