BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, September 11, 2019: Festival of India, an IACA signature celebration of India’s Independence Day, now into its 23rd year, attracted well over 3000 people to its festivities at Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. The FOI Flag March marshaled a huge group with representations from diverse community organizations of various states of India across Atlanta, community leaders including Ani Agnihotri, Vishwanath Ganti carrying the 300 ft long Indian flag.
The landmark festival showcased India at its cultural and intellectual best with spectacular performances from over forty popular dance and music academies across Atlanta and an interesting line up of seminars on diverse themes. The back to back performances included performers of multiple ages, genres, and a range of dance and musicals, both classical and contemporary.
“IACA is one of the premier community organizations in the country which encompasses all sections of our communities that functions democratically. We proudly have been presenting FOI for last 23 years and hopefully will do so for many decades for our kids and everyone else,” stated IACA Chairman Ani Agnihotri.
An added attraction, a fashion show presented and organized by Kiran Agnihotri and Sonjukta Haldar, featuring IACA Miss India GA participants decked in an exclusive collection by India’s top designer Rohit Verma, added glitz and glamour to the festivities. Verma’s exquisite collection was available for sale at the FOI Rohit Verma booth.
Agnihotri welcomed dignitaries Consul Asim Kumar, Head of Chancery, Protocol, Security from the office of CGI, Atlanta, Congresswoman Lucy Mcbath, John Eaves, Ex chair of the Fulton County Commission, and Senator Kay Kirkpatrick to speak at the VIP hour.
“I’m just really happy for your independence and so happy that you bring such value to America, and value to this district,” said Congresswoman Mcbath.
“The Indian people have added richness to our culture, with the beautiful colors, the music, the food and your ethics,” quoted Senator Kirkpatrick.
“IACA has been keeping the flag of India high here, showcasing Indian culture to the native Americans and also fostering relations between the two countries,” complimented Consul Asim Kumar.
“I want you to know that I feel at home. I want you to know that this country is a country of immigrants and the Atlanta region is one of the fastest growing regions in the entire country. And it is fast growing because of the wonderful fast-growing diversity that we have here, including the Indian-American community,” said Eaves.
Various members and organizations of the community who have contributed and supported IACA over the years were felicitated during the VIP hour.
NRI Pulse Publisher and Editor-in-chief, Veena Rao, and City News Editor Jyothsna Hegde were among those recognized at the event. The list of awardees included Corporate Partners/Supporters Delta Air Lines, Inc, Sharma Yashhi and Associates, LLP, 27TH Investments, Patel brothers, Embassy National Bank and individuals Ravi Singh, Shiv Aggarwal, Dr. Paddy Sharma, Raju Kotak, Anjali Chhabria, Mustafa Ajmeri, Mehul Parekh and Kartik H. Bhatt.
Public speaking contest, kids’ arts competition, music and dances performances by leading academies and community organization groups, shopping booths, food stalls, health fair, blood donation camp, yoga demos, Henna painting, and a vibrant bazaar engaged and entertained visitors throughout the day.
Seminars with topics including Unleashing the next wave of entrepreneurship in India, by Madan Padaki, Managing Trustee, Head Held High Fdn, Co-founder & CEO of 1Bridge, Co-founder, Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship and Strategic Advisor to UNICEF India, A Moment of Insight: A Path to a Better Mindset by Dr. Suvrat Bhargave, Psychiatrist, Educator, Radio Personality, and Author of “A Moment of Insight: Universal Lessons Learned from a Psychiatrists’s Couch” (Pinnacle Press) and Book reading from his debut book, Not Native: Short Stories of Immigrant Life in an In-Between World (Wising Up Press) by Murali Kamma, Managing Editor, Khabar magazine added interesting dimension to the festival.