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AAINA is Born!

Ranjani Saigal

In a glitzy well-orchestrated event at the Burlington Marriot featuring Steve Grossman (Democratic Candidate for Governor) and other political celebrities, AAINA, the Association of Americans on Indian origin in New England Area was born. “AAINA has taken up the arduous task of uniting immigrants from India, bringing political awareness and enhance their civic involvement for a common future and hope, sunshine and freedom,” says Dr Sudharshan Chatterjee, the founder and president of this newly formed organization.

The event was well organized. Arsh Mehrotra, the charming hostess of Aap Ka Manoranjan, was the master of ceremonies for the evening. The evening began with an inaugural address by Dr. Chatterjee. In his address, Dr. Chatterjee gave his perspective on the history of India. The presentation was enhanced using powerpoint visuals and a melodious background rendition of “Amar Janma Bhoomi”. Dr. Chatterjee emphasized the values that are fundamental to Indians like respect for elders and hospitality and hoped that we could share these values with the community around us. The goals of AAINA were presented by Dr. Himanshu Bhatnagar, founder and CEO of Emoksha.com. AAINA hopes to make a difference in the lives of all generations of Indian Americans. In addition to building political awareness in the entire Indian American community, the organization hopes to provide networking and mentorship to students. Even though it was a sell out crowd, Dr.Chatterjee brought a personal touch to the event by acknowledging several guests individually.

The featured speakers included Steve Grossman (Democratic Candidate for Governor), Tim Cahill (Democratic Candidate for State Treasurer), Steve Baddour (State Senator) and Kamal Jain (Liberatarian Party Candidate for State Auditor). All candidates assured complete support for the Indian American community. The candidates also stressed the value of public service and political activism.

The cultural part of the event was a beautiful musical dance-drama written and directed by Harbaldeep Singh with Shalini and Niki Bharagava in lead roles. The musical began with a dance by Uma Sharma set to “In Ankhon ki Masti mein” from the film Umarao Jan. Kalpana Chatterjee presented “Battu” a pure dance number in the Odissi style. Amrita Saigal and Amudha Pazhanisamy presented a Padam dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Bharatanatyam style. A Kathak presentation by Shelly Gupta and Anjali Nath followed. Sumit Widhani and Ambika Wali danced to the popular ‘Lagaan’ number ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale’. The play ended with Vande Mataram performed by all the participants and ended with children waving the Indian and American Flags. Later everyone moved to the dance floor and began tapping their feet to some great DJ music thus providing a fitting finale to this grand, high-energy event.

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