FIA Chicago hosts Holi Extravaganza with India Covid Relief Fundraiser

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Richa Chand
Chicago IL

The Federation of Indian Associations [FIA] Chicago, a premier community umbrella organization — hosted a spectacular event to mark the festival of Holi amid gaiety interspersed with music, dance and singing that was awash with the vibrancy of colors and gallant exuberance at the Mall of India in Naperville, Illinois on Sunday May 23, 2021. The Holi celebrations attracted a large community attendance which was bolstered by the presence of several high-ranking elected officials and dignitaries notable among them include Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Congressman Danny Davis, suburban Mayors and host of Indian American elected officials.

This spring festival of Holi was hosted with a principal mission to bring awareness of the raging pandemic and the compelling need to lend expeditious assistance to India; and in this direction FIA took a major lead in mobilizing resources, oxygen concentrators, portable ventilators and other life-saving medical equipment and shipping them to save lives afflicted by Covid in India.

With the warm weather complimenting the festivities, the afternoon celebrations catapulted into joyful exuberance spilling out in the outdoors of the Mall where the actual Holi celebrations kicked in high gear with the high-pitched DJ music and the sprinkling of ‘gulal’ color powder on each other ensuring no one is left without the touch of color on them – each celebrant sprung into spontaneous dancing to the reverberating beats of Bollywood hits.

Mistress of ceremonies Richa Chand, Vinita Gulabani and Pratibha Jairath charmed the audience throughout the festive celebration with their captivating eloquence marked by impromptu quips in between.

The event kicked off with an invocation dance presented by Anjali Verghese from Kala Padma Bharatanatyam School, followed by a live singing session from Mir Ali and Introduction of FIA Board, directors, Advisory board and FPMA members. The Dhol Tarasha performance presented by Maharastra Mandal of Chicago left the audience enthralled. There were several energetic Bollywood inspired folk, fusion and modern group dance performances by the students of S R Dance Academy and Saloni Shah Dance Group. There were more songs presented by Jitendra Bulsara and Pratibha Jairath that brought the audience to its feet, and everyone started dancing in enthusiasm. On a solemn note, Suresh Bodiwala also shared his message about Covid & Life Partner launch.  Throughout the program, there were several Sharing & Caring – Announcement/Appeals made by Neil Khot and the invited speakers: Shital Daftari, Anita Beri, Dr Umang Patel, Rita Shah, Chayya Patel, Rita Singh to inspire the audience to open their hearts and to support FIA- Chicago’s charitable target of raising $50k in this fundraiser. There were several keynote speakers at the event.       

Presiding over the Holi celebrations, Sunil Shah, FIA’s Founder & Visionary welcomed the large gathering and said Holi is a celebration of festival of colors – colors of unity – colors of humanity and added It is a celebration of life! Mindful of the stubborn pandemic raging in India, Sunil Shah reminded the audience that it is the primary objective of FIA to lend considerable support to India as it fights one of the most momentous battle to eradicate the scourge of raging pandemic. Shah said FIA has laid out a comprehensive roadmap to bring to bear sustainable assistance including oxygen concentrators, masks, sanitizers, gowns and other life-saving equipment.

Shah’s Welcome speech, was followed by a beautiful song by Rita Shah. Current President Dr. Kamal Patel, Past President and Founder Onkar Singh Sangha & Founding Member Neil Khot also addressed the audience.  With all FIA leadership present, the Holi celebrations started with the lighting of lamp led by FIA’s Founder & eminent visionary leader Sunil Shah joined by U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi & Danny Davis along with host of other dignitaries including Mayor Hanover Park, Rodney Craig, Aurora Mayor Richard Irwin, Cook County Commissioner Kevin B Morrison, Aurora Alderman Shweta Baid. Founding member Rita Singh and Past Presidents, Gurmeet Singh Dhalwaan & Ninad Daftari also joined in, along with Dr Sreenivas Reddy, Dr Umang Patel, Anu Malhotra, Pinky Thakkar & the FIA Advisory Board Members, Ajeet Singh, Keerthi Reevori, Brij Sharma, Vinoz Chanamolu for lamp lighting.

US Congressman Danny Davis, in his speech congratulated the Team FIA for putting together a wonderful show. U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi in his remarks heaped huge praise for the leadership of FIA in hosting the festive celebrations of Holi. Both the leaders supported FIA’s initiative for helping India in these difficult times. Plaques were awarded to Dr Santosh Kumar, Dr Vijay Prabhakar, Dr Umang Patel, Ajeet Singh, Pinky Thakkar, Anu Malhotra, Dr Sreenivas Reddy, Rajiv Sharma, SEWA International Dipti Shah Desai, Mr Vinoz Chanamolu, Mr Anil Loomba, Indian American Cultural Association — IACA Vinita Gulabani & Shanu Sinha.

The event was concluded by the Vote of Thanks speech by FIA General Secretary Richa Chand, followed by Dholi beats and the FIA team led the dancing audience to the outdoors for some Holi color fun! Music was provided by DJ Sajan Vadali & Video monitor support by Mir Ali and Dholi beats by Dhruv Kavi. FIA is especially thankful to Vinoz Chanamolu, Anil Sunkara, Pramod Kumar for hosting the event at their wonderful location, Mall of India, Naperville, IL.

FIA thanks and greatly appreciates all its attendees, esteemed guests, sponsors, supporters & media partners for their unwavering support & trust in FIA.

Sponsors & Supporters: Hanmi Bank, MIDWAY Business Brokers, Suga Builders, OROCHEM, Air India, RELY Services, REMAX, Dr Bhupinder Beri, Mall of India, POWER VOLT, SBI, Reliance Global Logistics, Pinky & Dinesh Thakkar, Marriott, GETSKYLLS.com, Verandah, New York Life, Woodridge clinic.

Media Partners of the event included the Adbhhut Media, India Post, TV Asia, Desi Talk, Divya Bhaskar, Asianet News, Hi India, Asian Media, Daily Herald, Radio Zindagi & The Indian Eye, for their event coverage and promotions.

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