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Cerritos, CA (January 22, 2011)
By: Kewal Kanda/Karen/Gary Singh

Federation of Indo-American Associations of So-Cal (FIA-SC) and United Federation of Indo-Americans in California (UFICA) the two dominant non-profit organizations serving Southern California celebrated India’s 61st Republic Day anniversary with pomp and show on January 22, 2011 at Cerritos Center of Performing Arts, Cerritos, CA. The program was co-hosted by Kewal Kanda (FIA-SC) and Ashok (Pat) Patnaik (UFICA). The highlight of the program was the unity march by both groups that started separately from opposite sides of the hall and then merged on stage as one group and was welcomed by the audience with a thunderous applause. Kewal Kanda and Pat Patnaik gave a brief background of why India celebrates Republic Day and Independence Day in the same year.

VP Cultural Charu Miglani (UFICA) and her counter part from FIA-SC Navin Gupta co-hosted a superb cultural program that enthralled the audience. Punjabi Bhangra, Bharat Natyam, Hip-hop Bollywood dances, Rajasthani dance and many more events kept the audience at awe throughout the evening. The audience applauded magnificent presentation and beautifully choreographed dances by young Indo-Americans. You could feel the Indian aroma emanating from the stage.

President of FIA-SC Rajinder Dhunna thanked Vinita Vineet (UFICA President) and her team for the hard work and co-operation that helped put together this wonderful program. Mr. Dhunna mentioned India is being recognized as a formidable country all over the world now. Why is it happening now, he asked? Because India is producing, besides its booming economy, brilliant brains as in young scientist, engineers, professors and IT professionals who are leaving their stamp on every thing they do. He also spoke of the ever growing cooperation and friendlier relationship between United States of America and India. He hoped these cordial relations between the two giant democracies to promote peace in the world will become a guiding light for the rest of the nations. He introduced City of Cerritos Mayor Joseph Cho, and City of Artesia Councilman and former Mayor Tony Lima to the audience and they congratulated the Indians on this 61st Republic Day.

President of UFICA Vinita Vineet reciprocated sentiments of Rajinder Dhunna and thanked his group for working together with UFICA to put together this successful function. She spoke of our legacy that we even though we are American citizens we have not forgotten our roots. Today on this evening we are depicting exactly that.

President of UFICA Vinita Vineet then introduced 10 time congressman Ed Royce (40th District, CA). She said Ed Royce is Co-Chairman of India caucus and his priorities are protecting our homeland, supporting our troops, providing tax relief, and has represented us in many congressional committees such as terrorism, trade, and commerce. He was an instrumental force in negotiating and closure of nuclear deal with India. Mr. Royce himself spoke of his good relations with Indian leaders and congratulated the attendees on this auspicious day.

The Sankara Eye Foundation is doing an unparalleled job in providing eye sight to millions of needy in India. FIA-SC and UFICA made a promise to help this foundation through fund raising during this function. The both groups jointly kept the promise and are going to donate a good portion of the proceeds from this evening’s function. They also honored a representative from this foundation who was present in the function.

At the end of the cultural program, the audience was served a sumptuous food by Ashoka the Great, Cuisine of India, Artesia. The audience then enjoyed the open dance to the tunes of Bhangra and Bollywood songs. It was an evening filled with joy and fun for all.