Pillai exhorts community to help build center in Washington.
By The American Bazaar Staff
VIENNA, VA: The National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) felicitated veteran community leader and this year’s Bharatiya Pravasi Divas Samman winner Dr. Parthasarathy Pillai on June 22.
More than a hundred people, among them dozens of his close friends and family members, attended a banquet dinner held in Pillai’s honor at an upscale Northern Virginia restaurant.
Community leaders Dr. Joy Cherian, Dr. Sambhu Banik and Sunny Wycliffe paid tributes to Pillai, who received the prestigious award from President Pranab Mukherjee last January “for fostering closer relations between” between India and the United States.
“I had numerous opportunities to witness Dr. Pillai’s community activities and public services,” said Cherian, who received the Pravasi Bharaiya Samman in 2008, in his keynote address.
Describing Pillai as someone who doesn’t trumpet his accomplishment, Cherian said the College Park, MD, resident “made a great impact in our Indian American community, especially for our younger generation.”
In his address, Pillai thanked the community for its support. “This Pravasi Bharatiya Samman belongs to you,” he said. “You taught me how to work with people.”
Pillai, who earned a Ph.D. in agriculture, plant physiology and biochemistry from Banaras Hindu University, retired as a chemist from the US Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.
Building an Indian community center in Washington, DC, has been a pet project for Pillai in recent years. He exhorted the community to continue to work for it and make “our dream a reality.”
In their address, Banik and Wycliffe, who have known and Pillai for decades, praised him for his services to the community.
Minister of Community Affairs at the Embassy of India N.K. Mishra, who lighted the ceremonial lamp, also spoke on the occasion.
Other speakers included community leaders Rajen Anand, Manoj Sreenilayam, Satish Korpe, Renuka Misra, Pradeep Ganguly and Anadi Naik.
The event was sponsored by among others, Balagan Swamy of Balagan Business and Tax Service.
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