Ambassador Nirupama Rao Visits Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Nov. 14, 2011
Within two months of presenting her credentials as the ambassador of India to the US president, Nirupama Rao visited Los Angeles on November 14, 2011, where a welcome reception was organized for her and the new Consul General of India in San Francisco, N Parthasarathi at the Hilton Hotel, Long Beach. Although the organizers got very short notice to arrange gala reception on a weekday, yet the response from the community was tremendous.
Inder Singh chairman of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) spearheaded the effort and brought together almost all major groups including National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), Federation of Indo-American Associations of Southern California (FIA), India Association of Los Angeles (IALA), Indian Community of Southern California, Rajput Association of America, Khalsa Care Foubdation, Sikh Dharma, Indian Muslims Association and Ambassador of Sikh Dharma, Satpal Singh Kohli and his group, to welcome the new high ranking officials. Before the program was started, the ambassador was gracious to take photographs with all the different groups one by one.
Inder Singh welcomed the ambassador and talked about the Indian community in Southern California. It is from Southern California that the first Asian/Indian, Dalip Singh Saund was elected to the US Congress. Bhagat Singh Thind of Southern California had the courage to take his case of citizenship in 1924 all the way to the Supreme Court of America. He then talked about several Indian American entrepreneurs including Uka Solanki who owns many Big Saver Food stores with an annual turnover of $100 million, Harbhajan Singh Samra who has been named by the New York Times as “the Okra king of USA” and several more.
Aparna Hande FIA president talked about India’s Independence Day celebration in Southern California. The celebration at four places, San Diego, San Bernardino, Artesia and San Fernando Valley attract large no. of people, bring the community on one platform, showcase India’s cultural heritage, promote Indian businesses and provide forum to many elected officials and aspiring politicians.
Dilip Butani, president of Indian community talked about several philanthropists from Southern California including Navin Doshi who donated funds to create Doshi chair of Indian History in University of California, Los Angeles, Uka Solanki who funded the Yadunandan India Center at California State University, Long Beach and Dr. Awtar Singh who has established a fully funded annual fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley for a top student from Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh for graduate studies.
Ashok Madan talked about the annual awards function where the community recognizes excellence among high school graduates. He acknowledged that the continuity of the annual event is a tribute to the generosity of sponsors and dedication and commitment of many selfless volunteers who have been helping organize the yearly event. The twenty-fifth award ceremony was organized at this hotel in April last.
Gursharan Nat, IALA president reminded everybody that the 100th anniversary of the Gadar Movement is coming in two years, in 2013. He hoped that the Consulate in San Francisco, the Indian Embassy and the community celebrates the 100th anniversary as a major event and with great enthusiasm.
Chandu Patel, NFIA chairman talked about unlimited opportunity of investment in India, particularly in the Hospitality business.
Ambassador Rao who till two months ago, was secretary of the External Affairs Department in India, talked about the investment opportunity in the field of Education, Hospitality industry, farming technology, etc.
Abdulgani Shaikh, president of Indian Muslims Association presented a book on Southern California Indians Community, while Bobby Kumar, chairman of IALA presented the book to the Consul General Parthasarathi.
Kewal Kanda of Rajput Association gave vote of thanks. He also acknowledged the presence of Mohinder Singh, Chief editor of India Journal, Harry Sidhu, Mayor Protem, City of Anaheim, Dr. Prakash Narain, Councilman City of Cypress and Mahesh Parekh, LA County Commissioner