GREENBELT, MD: Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and the state’s Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith were among more than 300 who gathered here to celebrate the 69th Republic Day of India, hosted by the National Council of Asian Indian Associations, Inc., and Sikhs of America, Inc., along with a number of other Indian American organizations in the Washington, DC, area on January 28.
Other dignitaries who were present included Commerce Minister at the Embassy of India Puneet R. Kundal and Montgomery County Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich, both candidates for County Executive.
Rutherford, the chief guest, presented a Proclamation from the State of Maryland to the NCAIA. A number of other dignitaries also presented citations to NCAIA and Sikhs of American in recognition of their work.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the state administration is working closely with the country to collaborate and expand their partnership, the lieutenant governor said. He pointed out that through the success of many India-based companies doing business in Maryland, whose size has doubled in recent years, the ties are being taken to a new level.
READ: NCAIA celebrates Indian Republic Day in Washington area (January 30, 2017)
He added that the administration is looking to expand the exchange of knowledge and innovation through collaborations between Maryland and Indian universities. Rutherford, who was introduced by Sikhs of America. Chairman Jessie Singh, also lauded the contribution of Indian Americans in the state.
Other prominent speaker of the evening included Wobensmith, Kundal, Berliner and Elrich.
Kundal narrated the significance of January 26 in India’s history and read out excerpts of the Republic Day remarks by the President of India to the nation.
A souvenir was published for the occasion by a committee of editors consisting of Dr. Nagendar Madavaram, Dr. Surinder Singh Gill, Rabin Goswami and Anadi Naik.
Several prominent Indian American community leaders were honored for their contributions to the Indian American and broader American communities. Recipients included P.C. Mishra, an official from the Indian Embassy; Prabhjot Singh Kohli, a member of the board of trustees of the Guru Nanak Foundation of North America in Silver Spring, MD; Asif Ismail, publisher of The American Bazaar; and Jessie Singh of Sikhs of America; and Mohan Grover, a businessman and community leader.
A special Award was presented to Steve McAdams, who is the Executive Director in the Maryland Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, in recognition for his services to community.
Earlier, NCAIA President Pavan Bezwada welcomed the guests and recognized prominent leaders who were in attendance. Dr. Suresh K. Gupta, Chairman of NCAIA, gave a brief history of the organization and spoke about the various events the organization hosted in the past one year. Baljinder (Shammi) Singh, on behalf of coordinators of the event, welcomed all the participants, sponsors and advertisers.
READ: NCAIA celebrates Indian Independence Day (August 17, 2014)
Other highlights of the evening included recognition of the many Indian Americans pursuing political offices in Maryland; among them Anis Ahmed, Shruti Bhatnagar, Ashwini Jain, Raj Kathuria, Samir Paul and Sanjay Thomas. NCAIA Vice President Devang Shah urged members of the community to register to vote.
The evening concluded with a cultural program which included performances from many different regions of India. The cultural program was coordinated by Rabin Goswami, Arundhotee Goswami and Rama Sharma.