New York, Nov 23 (PTI) The Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA) honoured leading community members from the Indian diaspora for their service and contributions to society at an annual gala that also raised 1.3 million dollars in contribution for Jaipur Foot and other charitable causes.
During the ceremony, attended by founder of Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) Padma Bhushan D R Mehta, Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal, Deputy Consul General Varun Jeph as well as prominent members of the Indian-American community, particularly those hailing from Rajasthan, RANA posthumously honoured Dharamchand Hirawat, former RANA presidents Dr Ajay Lodha and Rajiv Garg with the Lifetime Achievement Award "for their memorable contribution towards society." The association also felicitated prominent diaspora members Dr Raj Bansal, Dr Sadhna Joshi, Dr Shubha Jain and Rakesh Goenka for their contribution to the community over the years, including during the pandemic.
During the event held in Long Island, Mehta spoke in detail about the work of Jaipur Foot, the prosthetic hailed as among the 50 Best Inventions of 2009 by Time magazine, and how BMVSS has helped millions of people in need not only in India but through camps around the world.
Diaspora members announced significant contributions for Jaipur Foot and other charitable purposes. K K Mehta and Chandra Mehta announced a contribution of USD 1 million from their family trust and USD 100,000 in scholarships.
RANA president and Jaipur Foot USA Chairman Prem Bhandari, who is also the family trust advisory board chairman, said BMVSS chief patron D R Mehta will also be advising the trust as to where and how the contribution may be best utilized.
Anil Agarwal and Jugal Kishore Ladda also announced contributions of USD 50,000 each for Jaipur Foot. Dr Raj Bansal said he will sponsor one Jaipur Foot camp in the memory of his late father. Dr Shubha Jain announced a contribution of USD 100,000 to RANA for charity purposes.
Bhandari underscored the need for unity among various diaspora communities and organizations in the US. He said there are many state and community specific organizations like RANA, Telugu Association of North America (TANA) and Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America (BJANA) and diaspora organizations like FIA and Associations of Indians In America (AIA) but it is important that all are united in raising their voices against discrimination and hate crimes, such as the vandalism of the Gandhi statue at the Hindu temple in Queens.
"We are all Indians first," Bhandari said adding that he will continue efforts to bring together all Rajasthanis living in different parts of the world.
Cultural performances showcasing Rajasthan's heritage as well as songs by prominent artists from India enthralled the audience at the gala event. PTI YAS CK