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Young Rajasthanis Assemble In Boston

Press Release

The Rajasthani American Youngadult Samaj (RAYS) recently concluded its first ever youth-only convention in the historic city of Boston. As part of the pariwar of the Maheshwari Mahasabha of North America (MMNA), RAYS aims to bring together youth of Rajasthani descent between the ages of 15 & 30, single or recently married. It aims to bring together Rajasthani youth to foster community spirit among the young adults in our community, and explore educational and professional opportunities. RAYS is an avenue to learn more about the cultural and traditions of our Rajasthani heritage, and also provide a forum to discuss issues affecting Rajasthani youth.

True to RAYS vision, the convention intended to bring together a diverse crowd of people to learn, develop and have fun, and it certainly delivered on all those aspects. 45 young adults from all over North America attended the convention, some from as far as California, Atlanta, Miami, Michigan, and Toronto. The attendees included people from 18 to their late 20s, students in high school and college and working professionals. There were both single and married people attending the convention, as well as both Indian-raised and American-raised youth.

The group really got a chance to bond and build some lasting friendships. On Friday night, the first night of the convention, the youth got together for some ice-breaker sessions and games, that really gave a chance for the youth to connect. After a dinner of pizza for the hungry travelers, the youth headed out to a night of dancing, and stayed up late enjoying themselves. The arrival of adult out of towners was warmly handled by the New England Chapter team headed by Rekhaji Palriwala, with an informal dinner taking place on Friday evening at MMNA Director Prabhulalji Rathi’s home.

The anchor program for the weekend convention was the Karma Yoga Conference on Saturday. The Conference which attracted over 200 participants was organized by the VHPA co-chaired by Dr. Abhaya Asthana and Dr. Mona Khaitan. RAYS leaders Abhinav Somani and Sai Rathi moderated breakout sessions for grades 10-12 teens and held an impressive discussion on the topic of Destiny vs. Self-effort. Sai Rathi and Dhruv Maheshwari were both youth speakers in the general session and spoke eloquently on the Meaning of Karma and Svadharma. Fifteen separate breakout sessions with different topics suitable for various grade levels and adult participants were discussed, written on, and prepared. A Souvenir Book was prepared which included the proud writings of all our youth participants. In the afternoon cultural program Dr. Seema Rathi, President of MMNA,  presented books on Dharma with thanks to the adult guest speakers, Dr. Kumar Nochur, Chairman of Sri Lakshmi Temple, and Sri Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, Hindu Chaplain of Columbia University. The Karma Yoga conference was truly the fruit of immense effort. The co-chairs spent two months full-time planning and executing the intimate details of the conference, in addition to the several hundred hours spent by the youth.

One of the goals of RAYS is to provide a forum for discussion of issues that affect Rajasthani youth, and the convention provided the perfect platform for many spirited discussions. On Friday evening, the youth discussed ‘What it means to be Rajasthani’. There were nostalgic discussions of times spent in Rajasthan, and a lot of memories of the food, culture, clothing and community environment were brought up. The youth also shared ideas on how to build a more cohesive Rajasthani community in America. The discussion also brought forward ideas on what we could take away from our Rajasthani heritage to be successful in today’s world.

Further discussion sessions were held following the Karma Yoga conference. The youth gathered outdoors to enjoy a beautiful late summer in Boston, and shared thoughts and ideas on the perceived gap among Rajasthani youth raised in America and those who have migrated from India. A mature, balanced discussion allowed youth from both sides to exchange perceptions, and resulting in clearing up a lot of misconceptions that both sides held. It showed that despite different backgrounds, both sides can come together and form meaningful relationships. The convention itself was a testament to this fact, with people from both backgrounds coming together from all over the nation to form friendships and engage in meaningful discussion.

The youth then changed into their festive clothes to come ready to enjoy the gala evening organized by the New England MMNA chapter with food, fun, prizes, and dancing. Dr. Seema Rathi noted in her speech that this significant event incidentally coincided with the period of Shradhpakash. She asked us to remember our revered ancestors and to be grateful to them as we owe our existence to them. We collectively prayed for their souls to rest in peace. With their blessing and grace our pariwar will surely grow in love for generations to come. The President’s concluding message for the RAYS was for the youth to inspire our PARIWAR and with their radiance MMNA will be further glorified.

On Sunday, the youth took a guided trolley tour of the beautiful city of Boston, followed by a cruise around Boston. It was truly a memorable way to conclude a truly memorable convention, and capture all the memories and friendships built in the many photos taken. The youth then sampled a taste of Boston’s diverse culinary delights at Quincy market. The convention ended on a very sweet note with the ‘Vidaai ki Mithaai’ kindly sponsored by Anitaji Ajmera from New York.

The convention would of course not have been possible without the support and sponsorship of many people from the MMNA pariwar. Notably, MMNA President Dr. Seemaji Rathi provided continuing guidance and support to all the RAYS committee members throughout the two intense months of planning and organization. The dinner and DJ night that was greatly enjoyed by all the participants on Saturday night was sponsored by the New England Chapter President Rekhaji Palriwala and her team. They also coordinated the event organization and hosting. Saturday lunch was sponsored by the Mid-West Chapter President, Paragji Bajaj, and his team, while Friday dinner was sponsored by North-East Chapter President, Rajeshji Kabra, and his team. Nishaji and Adarshji Dhupar from NJ sponsored lunch on Sunday. Souvenir t-shirts were sponsored by Dr. Dwarka Prasadji Rathi. Rachitaji Soni, the advisor for Maheshwari Sakhi provided the sponsorship for community service assistance. We are very thankful to the VHP in America and Monaji Khaitan for organising the Karma Yoga Conference, and to SAMAR for organizing the ethnic population registration for bone marrow transplants. Vidaai ki Mithai was sponsored by Anitaji Ajmera, Chair of Maheshwari Sakhi.

The entire convention would have been impossible without Mr. Jayantji Kacholia’s initiative to kickstart the youth group proposed at the 2003 Houston Convention. We are also grateful to Sushmaji and Vijayji Pallod, from Texas, for their constant encouragement.

We are grateful to the MMNA Board of Directors led by Prabhulalji Rathi, NEC and chapters for their continuous support, time and energy

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