by Shobana Muratee
STAFFORD –India Culture Center (ICC) Houston celebrated its annual signature event I-Fair 2020 on Saturday, February 1 at the Stafford Center where a gathering of Indian Americans wit-nessed a plethora of cultural events commemorating India’s 71st Republic Day. The theme of the celebrations ‘United India’ (Akhand Bharat) was highlighted through dances by children as young as four that are students of various local dance schools and also by seniors representing Indian Senior Citizens Associations. The glittering costumes and vibrant colors of the young performers combined with their amazing talent elevated the mood to a truly jubilant one.
A host of local elected officials included Fort Bend County Judge KP George, Fort Bend County Court at Law 3 Judge, Juli Mathew, Fort Bend County Court at Law 5 Judge Teana Watson, Naushad Kermally, Council Member, Sugar Land, Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella, Mayor Pro Tem Wen Guerra, Ken Mathew, Councilmem-ber, Alice Chen, Councilmember, Sam Merchant representative, Congressman Al Green, Xavier Herrera, Communications Director, Office of Fort Bend County Judge to name a few. Candidates running for various politi-cal offices took the opportunity of meeting with the people.
Nisha Mirani, ICC’s outgoing president, was applauded for her unstinted contribution as a lead-er and volunteer throughout her term. In her welcome address she thanked the community for their participation in ICC events and the board members and the trustees for their effort in making the events a grand success.
“At India Culture Center, our mission is to serve as an umbrella organiza-tion for the Indo American Community of Greater Houston, so that the various member organizations come together to support one another and exchange ideas,” Mirani said. India Culture Center (ICC), Houston is the oldest Indian American non-profit Organization in Greater Houston area, established since 1973 with a mission to promote ‘cul-tural, intellectual, social, physical and spiritual welfare to the people of Indian origin’.
Mirani was later recognized for her exceptional leadership and contribution during her term as ICC’s presi-dent. A plaque was presented to her on behalf of ICC by City of Stafford Mayor, Leonard Scarcella. Also, on the occasion, a special recognition was made to Col Raj Bhalla, ICC’s past President for guidance and long-standing support to the organization. He was presented a plaque by Mirani.
The formal program began with lighting of the lamp followed by the singing of the American and the Indian National anthems by Ishan Vijaywargiya. Mayor Scarcella in his message lauded the Indian American community for their contributions the city’s economic and cultural progress and to the nation in general. Many other officials also spoke on the occasion paying rich compliments to the members of ICC for their efforts in connecting communities with their events.
Earlier, a segment of light entertainment had the popular game Antakashri organized by Ajit Patel and Santosh Verma and an enthralling talent show Mom & Me organized by Jasmeeta Singh and Falguni Gandhi and Essay Contest by Santosh Verma.
The cultural segment that followed the formal segment had participants from: Arya Dance Academy, Dhadak Dance School, Sunda Performing Arts, Katy Bollywood Beats Dance, Storytellers dance school, Kathak Kala Kendra, USDG Lilrockstars, Indian Senior Citi-zen, Srinatraj School, Odissi Academy, and Swar Madhuri.
Event Chair Ajit Patel said, “The colorful and heritage-rich I-Fair has truly become a marquee event in the Indo American Community in Metropolitan Houston, with attendees representing every major ethnic group from the South Asian subcontinent. This year’s India Festival endeav-ors to reconnect with our ancestral roots and culture by showcasing the spectacle of Indian herit-age through arts, crafts, songs, dance, and music. He also thanked his Board, vendors and partic-ipants for making the event a grand success. Special thanks were made to Darshak Thakkar (Krishna Sounds) for audio and Navin Mediwala (Katy Photographer) for photography. A sou-venir commemorating the India’s 71st Republic Day was released on the occasion.