Indo-American Press Club, Atlanta Chapter Hosts Glitzy Indian Republic Day Celebration and Award Ceremony

By Mahadev Desai SFA Productions. Vinod Sharma.

Indo-American Press Club, Atlanta Chapter hosted a historic ,glitzy Republic Day Celebration and Awards ceremony at the spacious, well decorated Ashiana Banquet Hall, Global Mall, Norcross on Saturday January 28. The grand Reception was graced by the presence of Chief Guest, India Consulate in Atlanta’s Hon.Nagesh Singh, Deputy Consul D.V. Singh, Guest of Honor, Chairman, Board of Commissioners, Gwinnett, Charlotte Nash and leading members of the Atlanta community. The guests exchanged greetings, enjoyed the appetizers, admired the beautiful Rajasthani oil paintings displayed in the hall, and watched the slide show of Republic Day celebration in New Delhi. The engaging program began sharp on time at 7.15 p.m. with an introduction by the IAPC Vice President and emcee Mini Sudhir Nair, who is associated with leading TV Channels in India. She spoke briefly about similarities in the US and India’s Constitution. Basic freedoms like freedom of the press and freedom of speech are guaranteed in both countries. She further spoke about IAPC and its objectives. The Mountview High school students entertained the guests with a zesty patriotic dance.IAPC, Atlanta Chapter’s Treasurer Ninan Kodiyattu sang an elevating Prayer Song. After rousing national anthems of the U.S.A. and India; the distinguished guests Nagesh Singh, Charlotte Nash, Antony Thaliath Narender Reddy, P.I.Joy, Veena Rao and IAPC President Dominic Chackonal were welcomed on stage and presented flowers.

Mini introduced her two assistants Shiny Aboobacker and Kalyani Sudhir. The IAPC, Atlanta’s Sec.Jamaludheen Mustankhan welcomed and thanked all the dignitaries and attendees. In his Presidential address, IAPC.Atlanta’s President Dominic Chackonal informed the audience that IAPC-ATLANTA Chapter’s opening ceremony was performed by Deputy Consul, D.V.Singh, on September 2, 2016. IAPC was formed in 2013 for the purpose of enhancing standards of journalism. It will promote cooperation and fellowship in media; offer scholarships to enhance skills and proficiencies and encourage young people to consider journalism as their professions.IAPC is committed to unbiased news coverage of all events. It will also recognize and honor those Indo-Americans who give outstanding service to the community. IAPC has already organized three International Conferences-in New Jersey,New York and Connecticut. IAPC already has eight Chapters. “But today we have a different platform. We already organized photo and essay contests so today we will honor those contests winners. We will also give several more Awards. Thereby we are celebrating ‘Unity in diversity’.”

Hon.Nagesh Singh-IAPC Reception

Nagesh Singh began his eloquent and thought-provoking remarks by thanking enlightened and compassionate leader and distinguished friend of the Gwinnett community, Chairperson, Board of Commissioners, Gwinnett, Charlotte Nash and her husband Michael Nash. India’s Constitution has borrowed quite a few features from the US Constitution. Above all, Bill of Rights was incorporated in India’s Constitution as fundamental rights guaranteeing liberty, fraternity, justice and equality to all our people. We also have shared values-plural multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial societies.We have same ambitions and we are trying to grow and create international order based on fundamental freedom and democracy and common interests. So it is a special feeling to celebrate India’s Republic Day and Independence Day in the US.I complement IAPC because press is one of the pillars of democracy. Press has an important role not only in seeking accountability from the people who govern us(I mean in India).IAPC has also a bigger role to play and that is to promote better understanding and unity between various communities that live in this country, so that we become peaceful, harmonious community wherever we are. This is where press plays an important role.

IAPC. Remarks by Charlotte Nash

Charlotte said that she has attended many events in the Indian community with Nagesh Singh and has always received warm hospitality and love. India has borrowed a few things from the US Constitution but US has borrowed other things. “We have borrowed your talents, and your skills. India has brought together lot of diversity under one flag and we are also working on that.

The Executive Director, Gandhi Foundation of USA, Antony Thaliath, said,” The corner stone of a successful democracy is a fearless and proactive press. According to Gandhi: “a journalist's peculiar function is to read the mind of the country and to give definite and fearless expression to that mind.” Gandhi tactfully used this value of the press and utilized it in his freedom fight against the British for India's independence. India's free press played a major role in nurturing and shaping that young democracy. And I am sure the Indian American Press can play a similar role in strengthening the Indian American community in their quest for equality and greater achievements and contributions within this nation, and strengthening the Image of India. Congratulations to the Indo-American Press Club and the Atlanta Chapter for carrying the torch into a new century where what it means to be “Indian” is no longer defined by physical and geographical boundaries but by a global culture and a global citizenship. In this country we all will have a shared future. Our children will live in a global community. And I believe the unified dream of love and tolerance preached by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King can be the guiding light to move our global community forward, to build mutual understanding and respect for each other, to show how much more we can do together than apart.”

IAPC Atlanta President Dominic Chackonal
 Author-Poet Subini Lawrence

One of Atlanta’s leading Indian community leaders and political activist Narender Reddy said,” In Atlanta we have far too many Indian Organizations but I welcome IAPC as it is first of its kind to promote noblest ideals of journalism in the US and I wish it lot of success. I am concerned about the state of media here as it is biased. The news are not news any more but opinions of the TV anchors and Press correspondents.  In the end the 'truthfulness’ in presenting the news to the people is totally corrupted or mis-interpreted.Thomas Jefferson famously said, '“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. “In my view, media should endeavor to present news with integrity and transparency”.
CEO of Joy TV and Business Entrepreneur, P.I.Joy said that during the financial crisis in 2007, many people were financially crippled and gave up. But some faced the challenges and recovered from the crisis. “It is our obligation and duty to support and help the India Consulate and also involve in the political process in our adopted land for our voices to be heard and follow it up with accountable action.”
The Editor-in-Chief of NRI PULSE News Paper, Veena Rao commented,”Our community has come a long way since 1950s. But along with progress comes responsibility. Freedom means having a voice, to stand up for our rights and face our challenges as one unified group. It is up to us journalists, students, parents and our elected officials to look after each other, to know our rights, speak up against discrimination and instances of racism and bullying in schools. This country belongs to each of us and embracing diverse cultures and ideas is an American tradition that has made the country one of the greatest in the world. I leave you with Mitchell Obama’s final remarks as First Lady, “Do not ever let anyone make you feel that you don’t matter or that you don’t have a place in our American story because you do and you have the right to be exactly who you are.”

It was time for much anticipated Awards Ceremony. The Award winners were recognized and felicitated with AAPC Awards by Nagesh Singh, Charlotte Nash. Antony Thaliath, Narender Reddy, P.I.Joy, Veena Rao, Anjali Chhabria, and Shaweta Jain.
The Photography Contest and Essay Writing Competitions were held in the last few months.

Photography Contest. Theme “People in Nature”. Winner: Sibay Karikkampally
Essay Writing Contest. The subject was “Why do you like or dislike Social media’. Winner: Joshua Mathew
Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr.Sujatha Reddy. Founder and Chief Organizer of 35 SAI Health Fairs, so far.
Humanitarian Award: Dr.Jay Sampat. (The Award was received by P.I.Joy as Dr.Sampat was unable to attend).
‘Businessman of the Year 2016’Award: Satwant Singh.CEO of Doaba Brokers LLC.
‘IAPC Entrepreneur Award’ P.I.Joy, Founder and CEO of Think Development Systems,Inc.
IAPC Award of Honor: Two Awards were bestowed under this Category.
(i)Mustafa Ajmeri. Well known social activist and Avid Promoter of Performing Arts.
(ii) Sabu Chemmalakuzzy. Dedicated volunteer in the Indo-American community.
Media Excellence Award: Parthiv Parekh. (The Award was received by Mehul Parekh as Parthiv was unable to attend). Parthiv is Founding Partner and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Khabar’ magazine in Atlanta and also an eminent journalist.
Award was also presented to Kerala born Subini Lawrence who has written poems and short stories for children. Her book,LA Reflections, whose theme The theme of LA Reflections is,’Stop cutting trees,. was released by Nagesh Singh and Charlotte Nash.
While the attendees were enjoying the delicious dinner, students entertained them with scintillating dances, including a captivating dance to Gandhiji’s one of the favorite bhajan’ Vaishnava jan to tene kahiye’.Versatile singer Ninan also added to the evening’s fun with his favorite songs.
Vote of Thanks was moved by Alex Thomas.
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