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India Culture Center Houston hosts IFair 2016 celebrating India’s 67th Republic Day



Participants at the IFair 2016.

by Shobana Muratee

STAFFORD, TX, January 24, 2016 – Indian Americans in Houston joined India Culture Center Houston (ICC) at their signature event IFair 2016 to celebrate 67th Republic Day of India at Stafford Center on Sunday, Jan 24th. The mid-day program started at 1.15pm with ICC Essay Competition where 20 participants in the age groups 10-15years.presented their creative writing on the topic “What I like most growing up as an Indian American in Greater Houston?”


Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presenting a proclamation to Charlie Patel, ICC president while Event Chair Ajit Patel and ICC Trustee Swapan Dhairyawan look on. Photo credit VOA.

The celebrations were centered on the theme ‘Vibrant India’ and showcased India’s classical dances: Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi and for the first time featured a spectacular Manipuri dance by Soma Dasgupta. Folk dances of Gujarat (Garba), Rajasthan and Bengal’s Durga Aarti along with Bollywood medley dances were also presented. Houston’s young and talented performers at the IFair 2016 ranged from ages five to 85 years. The Ismaili Golden Jubilee Matki Band comprising of senior members had 39 participants who were bright yellow T-shirts and rocked the stage with their performance of the folk song. Equally pulsating were the children TYAGI Group that presented the festival Sankaranthi in different regions of India.


ICC President Chandrakant ‘Charlie’ Patel welcoming the gathering at the Stafford Civic Center, Stafford TX.

After the traditional lighting of the lamp Mrs. Nandita Harish accompanied by Mrs. Charlie Patel, formal Republic Day messages were delivered by ICC’s outgoing President Charlie Patel, Incoming President Rajiv Bhavsar, Chief Guest India’s Consul General in Houston, Parvathaneni Harish and other dignitaries.
Wishing the Indian American a Happy Republic Day, Consul General of India, Houston, Hon. P Harish mentioned that it was their (wife Nandita and his) 4th Republic Day function organized by ICC, “These events are so reminiscent of what we see in India. What you have just seen are performances by children and performances by seniors that brought both ends of stages of life,” he said. “We also see the rich cultural diversity of India, and more than this, these events showcase the links and bonds of the two countries India and US.”


Consul General of India, Houston, Hon. P Harish delivering his message at the I-Fair 2016 on Jan. 24, 2016.

Speaking of ICC’s mission, Patel said that the organization aimed to” promote art, culture and building bridges amongst the diversified communities”. ICC’s major accomplishment was the unveiling of the Mahatma Gandhi Monument in MG District (Little India- Hillcroft) in August, 2015. “I am very fortunate to have witnessed this, after considerable years of legwork done by my predecessors. This is a legacy project of the Indian Community and we appreciate the efforts of the Southwest Management District; the sponsors and the entire team connected with this project,” Patel said.


ICC’s Incoming President Rajiv Bhavsar giving his address

Incoming President Rajiv Bhavsar said in his address, “ICC has focused on bringing inclusiveness and participation. This entire decade has seen ICC collaboration and coordination for serving the community. ICC today is a platform where I see people joining in and giving back to the community.”


The Ismaili Golden Jubilee Matki Band performing.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gave a vibrant speech applauding ICC Houston and recognized the seniors present. Among the other dignitaries present were Houston City Councilman Amanda, Stafford City Councilman Ken Mathew, Sugar Land City Councilmen Harish Jajoo and Himesh Gandhi Chris Brow running for City Controller in Houston.


‘Mom & Me’ Talent contest with Sangita Dua, Charlie Patel and Nisha Mirani.

The event had the leadership of its Event Chair Ajit Patel and Chief Trustee Swapan Dhairyawan and a host of Directors that made it a grand success. About 32 booths conducted their business at the event. A 32 page Souvenir “Tarang” was released. The enormous, colorful digital screen had advertisement, greetings from well-wishers and sponsors running throughout.


Easy competition participants with organizers Sangeeta Pasrija and Parul Fernandes.

ICC Essay Competition was coordinated by Sangeeta Pasrija and Parul Fernandes. Out of the 20 participants five were declared winners were presented with given gift cards. All other participants were given certificates.

‘Mom & Me’ Talent contest was coordinated by Nisha Mirani and Sangita Dua in which mother and child present their talent, dance, song, and musical instrument. This segment was sponsored by Dish Network and the Top 3 Cash prize Winners were: Pavana & Neha Gadde; Ambica & Navya-Navika Aggarwal; and Radhika & Arunima Para

In the cultural segment involved 15 dance schools including ICC’s partnering organizations and had 235 participants who performed. Regional Musical, Patriotic Musical & Bollywood Duets were coordinated by the ICC Director Keka Kar. The Cultural Dance segment was coordinated by ICC Trustee Swapan Dhairyawan.

JVB Preksha Center, Indian Senior Citizens Association, TYAGI Group, Ismaili Golden Jubilee Matki Band group, Freedom Dance Group, Shri Nataraj School of Dance, Sunanda Performing Arts Center, Kathak Nritya Kala Kendra, Payal School of Dance, Taal (Katy Kalaakar) Group, Shivangini Academy of Performing Arts, Anjali Center, Kala Bhawan (Durga Bari) were the presenters on the ICC stage. Serene and Paarth Maniar sand the Two National anthems of India and the USA. Pooja Patel and Aditi Derashri served as Emcees and kept the mood elevated. An Interactive ICC Quiz contest was organized at ICC booth by ICC Director Sanjay Sohoni. With over 500 trivia questions it kept the kids and youth busy. The daylong event was attendance by over 2000 people.

ICC extended its thanks to its sponsors, partnering organizations, media sponsors, vendors, participants and Darshak and Mona Thakkar for Sound & PA System, Raghu Thakkar of Image & Motion for photography services. The vibrant program concluded at 8:15 pm that day. For more information visit www.icchouston.org

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