68th Republic Day of India
Federation of India Community Associations (FICA) The Rainforest - Cleveland Metroparks Zoo January 28, 2017
FICA is an organization dedicated to serving the needs of the Asian Indian Community in Northeast Ohio. From its humble beginnings as a student association in 1962, it has grown to be the voice of a diaspora of over 20,000 and on the increase. FICA helps Asian Indian families assimilate into the mosaic of greater Cleveland.
FICA hosts an annual event to celebrate Republic Day. The event, dinner and performances took place on Saturday January 28, 2017 in the Zoo's Rainforest which provided a unique and fun setting on a cold January night.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Rainforest
The theme of the Republic Day event was Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a term meaning 'not to injure'. The word is derived from the Sanskrit and means to cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings, including all animals according to many Indian religions.
During the cocktail and networking hour attendees were free to tour the Rainforest. Then FICA president Sujata Lakhe Barnard welcomed the crowd to the 68th Republic Day.
Sujata Lakhe Barnard
Sujata then introduced Mistress of Ceremonies Sravanthi Vallampati. She spoke about the theme of the evening - Ahimsa.
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Mistress of Ceremonies Sravanthi Vallampati then called up the Republic Day committee which also included FICA president Sujata Lakhe Barnard, Vandana Singh, Hemant Kanodia, Utkarsha Hazarnis and Geetanjali Maheshwari.
Republic Day committee
Michael Sreshta played Jana Gana Mana, the national anthem of India, on the saxophone as the crowd sang.
Sreshta then played the US National Anthem on the saxophone while Subodh Chandra led the singing.
Subodh Chandra and Michael Sreshta
Mr. Viswanathan Narayan sang the patriotic song Vande Mataram.
Vande Mataram is a poem from Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's 1882 novel Anandamath. An Ode to Mother Bengal as Mother goddess, it was written in Sanskrit and Bengali. It played a vital role in the Indian independence movement, first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.
Sri Aurobindo referred it as "National Anthem of Bengal". In 1950 (after India's independence), the song's first two verses were given the official status of the "national song" of the Republic of India, distinct from the national anthem of India, Jana Gana Mana.
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Sanjay Garg spoke about a FICA volunteer program called Shiksha Daan - the gift of education.
Sravanthi Vallampati introduces Sanjay Garg
Dhanya Rao and Debolina Ghosh from the Nritya Geetanjali School of Dance performed a Naga Nrityam Snake Dance choreographed by Shoba Narayan.
A group from Rockwell Automation performed a traditional dance with sticks at the event.
Rockwell Automation dancers
Before heading to the Storm Room for dinner, a young boy taught people how to make origami swans to celebrate peace and ahimsa.
After dinner, guests were invited to speak about Ahimsa in their native language. They then enjoyed dessert and dancing.
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