EDISON, New Jersey: The Indian Overseas Congress, USA had a large gathering to celebrate the Birth Anniversary of Shri Rajiv Gandhi Ji in the USA on August 25, 2019, at the Royal Grand Manor Banquets where members and supporters of the Indian Overseas Congress gathered to pay tribute to his life and achievements.
“Rajiv Gandhi’s dreams laid the foundation for a modern India in Telecommunications and Automation while preserving freedom, democracy, and secularism for all,” said Shri Dr. Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress while inaugurating the 75th Birthday celebrations of Rajiv Gandhi, late Prime Minister of India.
“We need to resist strongly against any efforts to undermine those great advancements,” he added. Mr. Pitroda recollected his collaboration with Mr. Gandhi and praised him for his innovative spirit and visionary thinking. Having known Shri Rajiv Gandhi personally, he went on to give, very eloquently, a firsthand account of Rajiv Gandhi’s glory, dynamism, vision and his Idea of India. Since more than half of India’s population was born after Rajiv’s death and were therefore not likely to know too much about Rajiv Gandhi ji, Mr. Pitroda explained to the audience who he was, what was his era like, what did he really do, what was his dream for India and what was his Legacy.
Mr. Pitroda also stated that Rajiv Gandhi was responsible for giving 18 years young to vote in India, and he was responsible for beginning privatization in the public sector in Telecom – created MTNL & VSNL. Mr. Pitroda added that in the Information Technology, computers and software revolution in India was initiated by Rajiv Gandhi. In the field of Technology, Rajiv Gandhi had the vision to take technology to the poor and rural areas of India to improve immunization, literacy, milk production, drinking water and telecoms and he planted the seed to eradicate Polio altogether from India. Mr. Pitroda also shared some light moment stories about Rajiv Gandhi visiting him in Hospital at one time and a story about how Mr. Pitroda managed to get an interview with Mr. Gorbochov after he had been denied by the Russian bureaucracy. Finally, before Mr. Pitroda stepped down, he took several questions from the floor.
Rajeshwar Gangasani Reddy welcomed Chief Guest Sam Pitroda IOC Chairman, Mohinder Singh IOC President, George Abraham IOC Vice Chairman. A brief PowerPoint presentation of Rajiv Gandhi@75 memories and his contributions to India. Harbachan Singh started the main program by requesting all guests for a minute of silence in memory of Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi Ji., Mr. Harbachan Singh, Secretary-General stated that this yearlong birthday anniversary was being celebrated throughout India and around the world by Indians and that today’s event was also wholly devoted to his remembrance and paying tribute to his legacy. After which Vijaya Nadella welcomed the guest with a flower bouquet. IOC President Mohinder Singh felicitated Dr. Sam Pitroda with a silk shawl and handed over a $7500.00 check as a donation to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation which provides transportation vehicles to the disabled and poor.
Mr. George Abraham, Vice-Chairman stated that Rajiv ji was a transformational personality which will be long remembered for his visionary zeal and dynamic spirit. He also praised Mr. Pitroda for his sacrificial collaboration that brought about an I.T. revolution in India. Mr. Gurmit Singh Gill, President of the Punjab Chapter, praised the work and contribution of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and stated that the Congress Party would be even stronger the next time to fight in the next General Elections.
The President, Mr. Mohinder Singh Gilzian in his remarks pointed out the great work the Chief Guest Mr. Sam Pitroda has performed under the leadership of Rajiv Ji and expressed his deep gratitude for his current responsibility as the Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress Department of AICC guiding various chapters around the globe. He added “Bharat Ratna, Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest Prime Minister of India and perhaps one of the youngest elected head of the government in the world. His rule introduced India to the digital age and Indian professionals today are ruling the information industry throughout the world. – Rajiv Ji always said, one of his main objectives, besides presenting India’s unity was to protect it into the 21st century. – He carried out many tasks that bear testimony to his legacy as a top-class politician. – Peace in Punjab & the North-East and ushering in the telecom and computer revolution are his gifts to the country.”
Mr. Rajender Dichpally, General Secretary, lauded the reforms of the Rajiv Ji era and praised the late Prime Minister for his dynamism. Mr. Puneet Ahluwalia NRI and Republican Leader who served on Trump Asian American Advisory Committee spoke on the occasion and marked that there is a need in today’s India and specifically among youth to emphasize on fundamental ethical rights of democracy and secularism before it is too late!
The event was put together by a team comprised mainly of Mr. Gurmit Singh Gill, President of the Punjab Chapter, Dr. Jayesh Kumar Patel, President of Gujarat Chapter, Mr. Pavan Darisi, President of Andhra Pradesh Chapter and Mr. Rajeshwar Gangasani Reddy, President of Telangana chapter. These Chapter Presidents each paid high tribute to Rajiv Gandhi. Special Guest Mr. Tom Mottackal, CEO Tomar group, was invited to speak and was honored with a plaque by the President.
The following leaders gave interesting accounts and spoke highly of the contributions and leadership of Rahul Gandhi Ji – Mr. Tejinder Singh Gill, Senior Vice President, Ms. Leela Maret, President of Kerala Chapter, Mr. Amit Dixit, President of Massachusetts Chapter, Mr. John Joseph, Vice-President, Mr. Roy Manthena, Telengana (Boston), Somashker Gidugu, Senior Vice President of AP chapter, Mr. Thomas Mathew (Chicago), Vice-Chair of Kerala Chapter, Mr. Punit Ahluwalia (Washington D.C.).
The following appointments Harkesh Thakur Vice President, Gulshan Ghotra appointed President Haryana Chapter, Thomas Mathew as Chairman, Kerala Chapter, Saji Karimpannoor as General Secretary, Kerala Chapter, Sosamma Andrews as Chair for the Women’s group, Kerala Chapter, Anjan Karnati as the Chairman, Membership Recording Committee, Narinder Singh Munder as the General Secretary IOC, USA, Harpal Singh Tanda as the Vice-President of IOC, USA. were also made at the meeting. Leela Maret was specially recognized for her role in the ongoing membership drive for IOC, USA.
Vote of Thanks was conveyed by Mr. Ram Gadula Senior Member IOC – USA, who thanked the chief guest for giving his time on such a short notice and grace the occasion. Event was possible by the volunteers of IOC – USA NJ. Thanks to the following Media houses for their coverage: TV Asia, ITV and TV9.
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