Sunday, February 2, 2011
Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s tolerant and pluralist ethos, held Republic Day celebrations across its various chapters in the United States. The emphasis of the Republic Day celebrations was to spread awareness within the Indian Diaspora on how the Indian constitution brings to life the very idea of India as a vibrant and tolerant society whose pluralist ethos need to be cherished and preserved.
While the San Francisco Bay Area chapter organized a highly popular Video and Essay contest to mark India’s Republic Day, the highlight of the IAMC Boston chapter was the stage performance of “Republic Day Sholay: Barkha Dutt goes to cover Republic Day in Ramgarh”. A children’s quiz on Republic Day was the highlight of the IAMC New Jersey chapter.
Republic Day Video & Essay Contest
IAMC launched a Video and Essay contest at http://www.republicday.org which became a runaway success garnering over 10,000 visits from 41 different countries. In the short two week span of the contest, over 5,600 votes were cast for the 32 video and 38 essay entries. The 1st and 2nd prize winners for the video contest took home an iPad and an iPod Touch respectively while the 1st and 2nd essay contest winners bagged a Sony HDTV and an Amazon Kindle eReader respectively. Consolation prizes in different categories were also given for both contests.
Video Contest Winners:
- First Prize: “Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara” – Prachi & Surya Makkar from New York [See their acceptance video]
- Second Prize: “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” – Pragati Guruprasad from Fremont, CA
- Most Creative Entry: “The Origin of Republic Day” – Allamaprabhu Pattanashetty from Sunnyvale, CA
- Most Popular Entry: “Tribute to my Republic India” – Sushilkumar Burkul from Collegeville, PA
- Best Performance Entry: “Holiday Again” – Baseer Khan from Santa Clara, CA
Essay Contest Winners:
- First Prize: “A 21st Century Diamond” – Bianca De from San Ramon, CA
- Second Prize: “India’s Contribution to the World Culture” – Subodh Chavhan from PA
- Most Creative Entry: “Ancient India’s Contribution to the Modern World” – Gayathri Kalla from Santa Clara, CA
- Consolation Prize: “Role of India in 21st Century” – Huma Fatima from Santa Clara, CA
San Francisco Bay Area Republic Day Event
The Republic Day event organized by the IAMC Bay Area chapter was also the venue for the prize distribution of the IAMC Video and Essay contests. The event was held at Mayuri Indian Cuisine in Santa Clara. There were over 200 guests in attendance. The event was graced by several high profile speakers, which included:
- Mr. Kumar Tuhin, Deputy Consul General at the San Francisco Indian Consulate [SEE: Profile]
- Dr. Rafiq Dossani, Director of Center for South Asia at Stanford University [SEE: Profile]
- Mr. Ash Kalra, Councilmember for City of San Jose [SEE: Profile]
- Mr. Ahsan Syed, Board of Trustee, IAMC
- Mr. Ashok Kumar Sinha, Consul for Community Affairs at the San Francisco Indian Consulate.
- Dr. M. Nadeem, Community Activist and Professor at National University [SEE: Profile, http://www.drnadeem.com/”>2]
- Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC Bay Area chapter
Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of the IAMC Bay Area chapter started his speech by greeting the audience on the Republic Day and went on to emphasize the importance of the constitution and the need to safeguard the rights and freedoms enshrined in it. He further added “The Republic Day marks a real watershed in India’s history. By introducing the newly drafted constitution, India’s leaders B.R. Ambedkar, Pundit Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad reflected the hopes and aspirations of Indians, irrespective of the economic status, religion or caste”.
Addressing the audience, Mr. Ash Kalra said, “It is important for us to remember where we came from and what our forbearers did for us to be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom”. Highlighting the significance of the Republic Day as the day on which the constitution came into effect, he added that “Declaring independence is not that significant unless you add some values to what kind of country you are going to be in”. He further emphasized “This is the time for us to really understand the values that not only bring us together as Indians but really connect us with America as well”.
Mr. Ahsan Syed gave an inspirational talk and cited the tradition of the Prophet on how patriotism is ingrained in Islam and the special place that India holds in Islamic tradition. He cited poetry from Iqbal and Jigar Muradabadi :
Kabhi shaakh-o-sabza-o-barg par, Kabhi guncha-o-gul-o-khaar par
Main chaman mein chaahe jahan rahon, mera haq hai fasl-e-bahaar par
That translates to:
Be it the blooming garden or a bed of thorns a Fall may bring
I stake my claim forever on the garden’s harvest of spring
He concluded his speech by identifying two challenges that he said are more difficult than the Independence struggle, namely the fight against corruption and the fight against injustice.
Dr. M Nadeem elaborated on the need for political and civic participation among the Indian community.
Mr. Kumar Tuhin, Deputy Consul General at the San Francisco Indian Consulate addressed the audience and said: “To inculcate values in our children which foster a sense of belonging, I commend IAMC for organizing the video and essay contest on India’s Republic Day”. He went on to read a message from the Consul General commending IAMC for organizing the republic day event and bringing the diverse Indian American community together.
Dr. Rafiq Dossani started his keynote address by highlighting “the towering work of Jawaharlal Nehru, who insisted that certain key freedoms being retained that guaranteed that India remained a democracy”. He went on to share his ongoing research on the subject of the Interaction between Democracy and Technology in India and demonstrated how democracy influences the evolution of technology and how advances in technology in turn shape the democratic process.
Congressman Mike Honda (D-15, CA), who could not attend the IAMC Republic Day event sent his greetings to the Indian American community on India’s 62nd Republic Day. The letter went on to praise IAMC stating: “I would like to recognize the IAMC for its tireless advocacy on behalf of Indian American Muslims living in the United States” and added “The IAMC serves as a powerful voice for Indian American Muslims in the United States. The IAMC promotes awareness of issues of importance to the Indian Muslim community and defends the universal values of pluralism and tolerance. I thank the Council for improving the quality of life of Indian American Muslims and contributing to the diversity of our community”.
The speeches were followed by the Video and Essay contest prize distribution ceremony. Several contestants attended the event and the winners received the awards. The first prize video contest winner provided an online vide acceptance speech while the 2nd prize video contest winner performed live at the event. Local Essay contestants also received their prizes during the prize distribution ceremony.
Prize distribution was followed by children reciting the song “Sare Jahan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara”. This was followed by an audience participated quiz in which 20 prizes were given. The program concluded with a vote of thanks by IAMC Bay Area President Mr. Ahsan Khan and a Raffle draw.
VIDEOS From Bay Area Republic Day Event:
PHOTOS from Bay Area Republic Day Event:
IAMC Boston Republic Day Event
The IAMC Boston Republic Day event started with a welcome address by the IAMC Boston chapter President Mr. Amin Zama. It was followed by a touching tribute to the late Dr. Omar Khalidi by his daughter Aliya Khalidi. Dr, Khalidi was an integral part of the IAMC Boston family and had participated in the previous Republic Day events.
Dr. Sanjay Sharma, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a colleague of Dr. Omar Khalidi, also spoke at the event and paid tribute to Dr. Khalidi. Mr. Kashif ul Huda, managing editor of the news portal Twocircles.net spoke at the event and recalled his association with Dr. Khalidi. Ms. Seema Salim, board member of IAMC, in a touching speech, brought to life the many contributions of Dr. Khalidi to India.
This was followed by an ethnic wear show for younger children and a “Freedom Fighter” Fancy Dress competition for the older kids.
The highlight of the evening was the timeline presentation followed by the “Who Wants to be an Informed Citizen” along the lines of the “Who wants to be a millionaire” format. Several exciting giveaway prizes added to the enthusiasm of the audience.
This was followed by a comedy play “26th January in Ramgarh” – a satire on the popular movie Sholay. The theme of the play was that Barkha Dutt, disgraced by her recent scandals, is demoted and sent out by NDTV to cover Republic Day in Ramgarh. She encounters various legendary characters in Ramgarh from the movie Sholay, but finally concludes that Gabbar knows the most about Republic Day and the Indian Constitution, for “khanoon todh ne ke liya khanoon jaana jaroori hai”!
PHOTOS from the IAMC Boston Republic Day Event
IAMC New Jersey Republic Day Event
The IAMC New Jersey chapter celebrated the 62nd India Republic Day at the Shahi Palace in Lawrenceville, NJ. The hall was full of enthusiastic Indian Americans joining the event from as far away from Delaware and Connecticut ending with fruitful networking sessions and delicious lunch.
“India stands as a unique nation in the world with one of the most comprehensive constitution, an accomplishment that very few nations in the world can stake a claim” echoed Mr. Yusuf Dadani. He further added “The minorities of a country play one of the most vital roles in the protection of the constitution”. Dadani concluded his speech by announcing the new executive team of the IAMC New Jersey chapter.
Citing Dr. Omar Khalidi, IAMC co-founder and outgoing General Secretary Mr. Attaulla Khan stated “What is good for the India is good for Indian Muslims. And what is good for Indian Muslims is good for India”. He briefed the audience with a powerful presentation on the achievements, work and vision of IAMC from the national level down to the grassroots. He emphasized the importance of supporting the advocacy group which focuses on facilitating the integration of the Muslim community in India and the US by undertaking strategic advocacy and strengthening the pluralistic values of India and the US.
The newly elected IAMC National President Mr. Shaheen Khateeb urged the audience to strengthen the organization at the grass roots and highlighted the importance of advocacy in the fight for justice.
Mr. Matin Shaik, the IAMC-NJ president thanked the audience and applauded the efforts of the team.
PHOTOS from IAMC New Jersey Republic Day Event