Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, organized massive celebrations across the US to commemorate India’s 63rd Republic Day. IAMC’s chapters across the nation celebrated the day India’s Constitution came into effect, marking the birth of a modern, secular and democratic Republic.
This year’s festivities, organized on a larger scale, with elected US officials participating at several chapters, were marked by commemorative speeches, entertaining programs for children and adults and various exciting contests.
IAMC Republic Day online Video and Essay Contest at www.republicday.org received a tremendous response. Winners of exciting prizes such as iPad, iPod Touch and Sony HDTV are as follows:
Video Contest Winners
1. First Prize: Kolaveri Di Republic Day Remix by Hayaa Hyder
2. Second Prize: Dance Performance by Shivangi Gupta
Essay Contest Winners
1. First Prize: India’s Contribution to World Culture – A few pearls by Mahesh Chandramouli
2. Second Prize: Influence of India in my surroundings by Samah Syed
1st Prize Winner – Zidan on Republic Day 2012 by Syed Zidan Ali, Gonda, UP
San Francisco Bay Area Celebrations
|Congressman Mike Honda , Indian Consul Community Affairs Mr. Anand Kumar Jha, representatives of several elected officials as well as heads of several Bay area organizations attended a feisty celebration at Chandni Restaurant on January 28th, 2012.Congressman Honda was given the “Maulana Hasrat Mohani” Award in recognition of his community services. Anand Kumar Jha presented excerpts from the speech of the President of India and was awarded a plaque in recognition of his consular services. A letter of recognition was received through the Chief of Staff of Congressman Pete Stark. Congressman Stark was also awarded a plaque in recognition of his services to the community.Speeches by several distinguished guests emphasized the significance of Republic Day and the guarantees in the Constitution to justice, liberty and equality.The Quiz competition, Fancy Dress competition and the children’s performance of the renowned patriotic song “Saare Jahaan Se Achcha” added color to the festivities that was accompanied by a delicious Indian lunch.|
San Diego Celebrations
|Congressman Bob Filner, Assembly member Marty Block and representatives from several local organizations joined the Republic Day Celebrations organized by the San Diego Chapter on January 29, 2012 at Holiday Inn Express.Figure 1 Prof. Vinay Lal delivering the Keynote Address
Congressman Bob Filner presented a proclamation to the San Diego Chapter, recognizing the Republic Day celebrations. In his remarks Congressman Filner reminisced about his work with Dr. Martin Luther King who advised him to read the works of Mahatma Gandhi. Assembly member Marty Block noted the similarities in some of the challenges faced by India and the US, and urged the audience to be vigilant in safeguarding the Constitution.Figure 2 Congressman Bob Filner giving the Proclamation to San Diego Chapter Secretary Fatma Zohra
Prof. Vinay Lal (Dept. of History, UCLA) delivered the keynote address in which he shared an interesting analysis of the Constitution and what it means to the 1 billion people of India. Mr. Mohammed Nasrullah, President of the San Diego Chapter described the ideals of justice, liberty and equality and the ability to live in a spirit of fraternity with one’s fellow countrymen as the “basic yearnings of every human heart.”
A Fancy Dress competition, a Quiz Contest, a Painting Competition as well as songs by some attendees marked the festivities that were accompanied by a delicious Indian lunch.
|The Republic Day event was held on Saturday January 28th on a warm and sunny afternoon. DJ Bunty Singh’s musical stylings filled the Knights of Columbus event hall in Westborough. India n fare, including beautiful jewelry and long flowingy traditional dresses, lined one the wall waiting to be bought up by lucky customers.Amin Zama, President of IAMC’s Boston Chapter (Indian American Muslim Council) gave the welcome address in which he honored the late Dr. Omar Khalidi, a great writer and intellectual who contributed immensely to the ideals that IAMC is striving for. Dr. Khalidi was also posthumously recognized through an award received by his wife Mrs. Nigar Khalidi. Other awardees included Farukh Ansari and Umang Kumar for their outstanding community service and activism.The audience was asked to observe a moment of silence for Mahatma Gandhi, whose assassination anniversary would be in two days on January 30th.
The quiz titled “Who Wants to Be an Informed Indian,” was received enthusiastically the audience. The highlight of the afternoon was a great performance on the sarangi by DJ Bunty Singh.
In Press: http://bostonsouthasian.com/BSA.FEB.2012.Online.pdf
New Jersey Celebrations
|Over 150 people gathered at the Elks Lodge in Northern New Jersey to celebrate India’s 63rd Republic Day on Sunday, January 29, 2012.The first Muslim mayor of Indian origin, of Teaneck Hameeduddin also spoke on the occasion and stressed on the importance of being connected to the roots.Prof. Sushila Gidvani – the veteran social activist and well known personality of the Tri-State area was the chief guest and thanked the organizers and IAMC for their efforts in serving the Non-Resident Indian community and extended her support to the organization in building bridges with other similar like-minded organizations across United States. Dy. Director Homeland Security John Page addressed the gathering and distributed prizes to the winners and runners-up of the Quiz Contest, the Drawing Competition and a colorful fancy dress competition. The attendees enjoyed a delicious Indian lunch.The audience was mesmerized by Lata Mangeshkar’s rendition of India’s National Anthem, which followed the US National Anthem. Beautiful poetry was recited by Shiraz Sharief.This occasion was special to the migrant Indian community and served as a reminder that the constitution grants equal rights to all residents of the country, and that it is the duty of all Indians, whether they live in India or abroad, to protect those rights for everyone.
|The IAMC – MN Chapter hosted the India Republic Day event at the Presidents’ Room of the Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota on Saturday January 28th, 2012. The program started with the American National Anthem followed by the Indian National Anthem by 10 year-old Sidra Khatoon.Satveer Chaudhry (Former MN Senator) and Dr. Ajay Skaria (Asst. Professor UMN) were among the distinguished guests. Former Senator Chaudhry emphasized the involvement of Muslims and Muslim organizations. The greatness of the US and Indian Constitutions lies in their commitment to safeguarding the rights of minorities, he remarked. Dr. Skaria said that while August 15th marks India’s freedom from colonial rule, January 26th marks the day India made a commitment to what it would like to be. He emphasized the need for vigilance to meet the challenges to the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Kusum Gosain, President of the Indian Association of Minnesota emphasized the importance of strengthening the intra-community relationships.The audience enthusiastically participated in a jeopardy quiz during the lunch. Dr. Hyder Khan recited Sulaiman Kahteeb’s poem Himala ki Chandi.The event was moderated by Shajiullah Khan. The quiz was conducted by MN Chapter President Autif Syed and Secretary Hamed Siddiqui.|
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation.