NEW YORK, May 1, 2024 - The Gujarati Associations of North America had the honor of hosting a prestigious celebration of Gujarat Maharashtra Day in collaboration with the esteemed Consulate General of India. The grand celebration, proudly presented by Amul The Taste of India, served as a lively platform to celebrate the formation of the two states on this date in 1960. This celebration is an opportunity for communities to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the values of linguistic diversity, regional autonomy, and cooperative federalism that are crucial to India's democratic fabric.

The event was made possible thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Gujarati Associations of North America, the Consulate General of India in New York, and their esteemed partners, including the Federation of Indian Associations FIANY-NY-CT-NE, the Gujarati Literary Academy of North America (GLA), and the Albany Dhol Tasha Pathak.

The evening began with a warm welcome by Ms. Priti Patel, the General Secretary of FIA. She set the stage for an unforgettable journey through the cultural landscapes of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Being a proud Gujarati herself, she recited a beautiful Gujarati poem that translates to "Gujarat is one of Bharat's heartbeat, its the name of a fountain, and of peace and prosperity." Similarly, Pallavi Kabadi addressed the crowd in Marathi, perfectly demonstrating the symphony in the cultures of the two states.

Dr. Avinash Gupta, President of the FIA, Addressed the crowd and introduced our guests and sponsors. Hailing from the Jharkhand himself, he pointed out how this event is a showcase of unity in diversity in itself when the crowd enthusiastically responded with the Gujarati phrase, “Majama,” to his greeting, “Kem Cho." He invited FIA Chairman, Mr. Ankur Vaidya, to join him and welcome Hon. Binaya S. Pradhan, Consul General of India in New York with an ethnic turban or pagdi traditionally worn by men in the Gujarat-Maharashtra region.

Mr. Pradhan delivered an inspiring speech, emphasizing the strong connections between India and its diaspora. He highlighted that the separation between the two states was a celebration of their unique identities, saying "Today, we are celebrating the birth of the two states. We are also celebrating the economic and social progress they have made in the last 63 years." He also mentioned how the Gujarati community, known for thriving everywhere they go, dominated the first two waves of Indian immigration to America. He spoke about the history of the communities and their interrelatedness, with a focus on his own roots in Orissa.

The highlight of the evening was the series of mesmerizing performances and thought-provoking speeches that captivated the audience. From the enchanting dances of Nirmiti School of Dance and DanceXStudio to the insightful speeches by Poet Ankit Trivedi, Dr. Kenneth X. Robbins, and Dr. Maitree Sabnis, each segment of the program left a lasting impression on all in attendance.

Attendees had the opportunity to attend a fascinating and insightful presentation by Dr. Kenneth Robbins and Dr.Maitree Sabnis on the history of Gujarat and Maharashtra via Zoom. Their works on the history of these two states were the highlight of the event as they shared their knowledge about the origin of the states, including the etymology of their names, and discussed their current-day economic situations and opportunities. Both professors are collaborators who curated and lectured on the Princely States of Gujarat series at the Asiatic Society, and their collaboration includes a book titled "Gujarat: A Journey Through History and Culture."

Mr. Ankit Trivedi, a well-known name in the field of Gujarati literature, was invited on stage to share his work on this auspicious occasion. He graciously entertained the crowd by reciting his poems and also spoke about his experience and pride in being a part of the community. Following his engaging performance, The Nirmiti School of Dance presented the first performance of the evening, choreographed by Sima and Dani. The audience was then treated to a performance by the Dance X studio, choreographed by Jay Shrikant.

In a special segment, Mr. Srujal Parikh, Joint Secretary and Board Member of FIA, graced the stage to felicitate the sponsors and partners whose generous support made the event possible. The occasion was elevated with the launch of Amul Milk and other fresh products in the US for the first time in history on this auspicious occasion. Mr. Jayen Mehta, the MD of Amul, The Taste of India, inaugurated the launch and enlightened the crowd through the journey and success of India’s largest cooperative who is also the proud sponsor of USA’s ICC - International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup team.

The history of Amul was highlighted, from its founding in 1946 to its growth into the world's largest farmer-owned dairy company with an annual turnover of over $10 billion. The company's mission to become the strongest and largest brand in the world was reinforced by the launch of fresh milk in the US, in partnership with the Michigan Milk Producers Associations. The launch of Amul products in the US was then officially announced, and Joe Digleo, the President and CEO of the MMPA, along with Mr. Greg Solin, Mr. Brad Parks, and Sudeep Jain, along with Hon. Consul General Mr. Pradhan and Deputy Consul General Varun Jeph, were called up on stage. Getting to the most awaited part of the event, which follows a tradition of honoring influential individuals from the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra who have made us proud in their specific domains.

Mr. Ankur Vaidya announces the names of all the honorees and sponsors to be felicitated, using this occasion to honor them. He invited Honorable Consul General Binaya Pardhan, along with Deputy Consul General Varun Jeph and Alok Kumar, to felicitate the honorees with the traditional ethnic turban and a memento of the Modhera Sun Temple as a symbolic reference to the occasion. Among these honorees were Hemant Marathe, Mayor of West Windsor, FIA Senior Advisor Padma Shree Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Grammy Award winner Falu Shah, Hemal Dhavalikar, Gujarati poet and composer Ankit Trivedi, Mr. Jayen Mehta from Amul, the entire team of GANA, Rambhai Gadhavi, Legend of Gujarati literature and a founding member of the FIA, GLA President Ashish Desai on stage. He also thanked all the partners and sponsors, including the entire team of Amul, Team Air India, and the entire team of Consul General of NY.

As the evening drew to a close, Bhavisha Patel from Siddhivinayak Temple New Jersey graced the stage with a beautiful performance of “Vagyo Re Dhol,” a well-known folk song, leaving the audience spellbound.The annual celebrations of Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day bring together citizens from all walks of life to acknowledge and appreciate the unique identities, traditions, and accomplishments of these two dynamic states. It is a time to reflect on the progress made, the challenges overcome, and the bright future that lies ahead. The celebrations were filled with joy, laughter, and a renewed appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of these two vibrant states.

Share this: