GOPIO Central Jersey holds Community Recognition Awards and India Independence Day 

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American and Indian flags

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Central Jersey hosted its Community Recognition Awards and India Independence Day celebration on a virtual platform which was attended by invited guests, public officials, community leaders, GOPIO members and awardees from various fields.

Honorable Consul General of India in New York, Radhir Kumar Jaiswal, was the chief guest, and New Jersey State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji was the Guest of Honor for the event on Aug. 15.

In his address, Jaiswal said that watching both the American and Indian flags displayed and national anthems sung is a true celebration of democracy in the United States, according to information provided by GOPIO.

For the first time ever, a Indian flag hoisting happened in Times Square, New York, which was a proud moment for all Indians, he said in the statement.

 

A speech by the prime minister of India from Red Fort, Delhi, India, was a symbol of achievements and aspirations of future. He promised to work and wanted to connect with the Indian diaspora to exchange the ideas in national education policy and technology advancement with India, according to the statement. 

GOPIO International Chair Dr. Thomas Abraham mentioned that India has made tremendous progress in last seven decades and Indian diaspora in the U.S. has made tremendous contributions in health care, hospitality, information technology, science and education, and there are now many Indian Americans in political positions, including governor, Congress, Senate and state and local levels. 

Mukherji expressed his pride in Indian Americans in New Jersey and congratulated GOPIO and their members for the involvement in civic and community work, according to the statement. He added that it is a proud moment that there is a candidate of Indian descent for vice president this November.  

During the unprecedented time of public health crisis, not only the physicians and frontline health care workers of Indian origin, but other small businesses that include hotels and restaurants, rose to the occasion to serve those who were in need, Mukherji said in the statement.  

Dr. Tushar Patel, president of GOPIO Central Jersey, provided the history of GOPIO and described Central Jersey activities of the past 12 years. He read a letter from New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal, who was another Guest of Honor but was not able to attend due to a schedule conflict.  

Patel announced the new executive team for the next two years: Kunal Mehta, president; Vijay Garg, executive vice president; Nishith Mehta, vice president; Amit Kucheriya, secretary; and Kunal Gupta, treasurer.  

The Executive Committee attended the event at IndusTV in Princeton, but all others attended via virtual platform which was broadcasted live on the IndusTV platform on social media. Kunal Mehta was the master of ceremony. The event started with melodious singing of the American national anthem by Anika Patel and the Indian national anthem by Falguni Shah. Two choreographed patriotic dance performances were given by Bina Master’s students of NrityaKala Dance Academy and Tarika and Tanvika. 

Newly elected president Kunal Mehta promised his commitment to bring various programs and activities to keep GOPIO-Central Jersey in a positive direction and expressed his sincere gratitude to all executive members for their continued support, according to the statement.

Eight accomplished individuals in various fields and professionals were awarded with 2020 Community Recognition Awards:

  • Falguni Shah is a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter for her mix of Indian classical melodies and western contemporary sounds. She was named one of the 20 most influential Indian women by the Economic Times of India in 2015. She was honored with an award for her contributions in performing arts.  
  • Varsha Singh dedicated her time and service to providing stroke education and information in communities throughout New Jersey for the past 10 years. She holds many national and international positions in stroke organizations and provides expertise and experience in developing protocols and guidance. She was honored with an award for her contributions in the health care field. 
  • Revathi Kulkarni Roy empowered women by providing them employment since 2007.  She pioneered Asia’s first ever women’s cab service and now runs an all-female logistics company Hey DeeDee where the riders and drivers are all women. She has been on the list of Fortune Most Powerful Women in business in 2019. She was honored as a global achiever and for women empowerment.  
  • Raman Kapur is an entrepreneur, investor, advisor and mentor to many CEOs and working with young, women and minority entrepreneurs through his TiE New Jersey organization. He is educating future leaders about unconventional resources for raising capital for startups through various available resources and tools. He was honored in business entrepreneurship award.  
  • Devendra Singh is the founder and president of Hindi USA which was created in 2001 to promote learning Hindi language for younger generation. In last 19 years, Hindi USA has more than 4,000 students and 400 teachers. Due to his passion to educate and promote Hindi language, he was honored for his community service.
  • Neel Shah provided business, tax and other investment opportunities to families during the pandemic by conducting weekly educational webinars to keep them informed.
  • Sudharani Kankanala raised more than $100,000 during her involvement with the Rotary Club. She has dedicated her time with various community organizations to include Red Cross and the United Way, North Brunswick Township and Boys Scout. 
  • Arvind Patel, owner of Rajbhog Foods, delivered 14 tons of food, which is nearly 27,000 pounds, in meals during the pandemic to more than 30 hospitals, medical centers, universities and law enforcement agencies in New York and New Jersey.