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Indian ethnic groups in America celebrate their culture
Tuesday July 16, 2013 6:22 PM, Arun Kumar, IANS

As they celebrated the July 4 Independence Day of their adopted home, various Indian ethnic groups, from Oriyas to Maharashtrians to Tamils and Telugus also celebrated their culture at regional conventions.

Adding a slice of their own culture to American style traditional parades, barbecues and fireworks, various Indian ethnic groups celebrated the July 4 weekend with seminars and panel discussions, cultural performances, regional delicacies and even matrimonial meets.

Here are snippets from various ethnic conventions:

More than 3,500 Maharashtrians attended the July 5-7 Brihan Maharashtra Mandal of North America convention at the Rhode Island Convention Centre in Providence, the state capital.

Highlights of the three-day event included the first ever BMM Indo-US educators' summit, a business conference showcasing innovation and commercialisation, continued medical education workshops for doctors and fabulous food, according to organizers.

Providence city Mayor Angel Taveras inaugurated the event by lighting the ceremonial lamp. Various local artists performed at the opening ceremony which comprised folk dances, drama, dances and comedy. India's consul general in New York, Dnyaneshwar Mulay, was among the attendees.

The next BMM convention will be held in 2015 in Los Angeles.

A section of the Gujarati community held a two-day convention June 29-30, hosted by the Akhil Anjana Association of North America in Canadian cities of Brampton and Vaughan in greater Toronto area.

The convention was inaugurated by the lighting of the traditional lamp followed by an invocatory dance by 5-year old Jia Chaudhary and seven-year old Vishwa Chaudhary of Alabama. Uday Chaudhary, vice president of AAANA, gave the introductory speech.

Chicago-based oncologist Dr Bharat Barai and Kanti S. Patel, vice president of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), gave a talk on choosing medicine as a career in North America.

About 7,000 people participated in the three-day Telugu convention, titled Sambaralu (Celebrations), organized by the North America Telugu Society (NATS), in Dallas, Texas, according to the organisers.

About 600 youngsters took part in cultural and other programmes with multiple instruments played at the East-West fusion concert, Swara Vedana.

Attendees got a chance to meet-and-greet Andhra Legislative Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar, who sought investments to his state, and film stars Balakrishna, Kajal Agarwal and others.

Republican Senator John Cornyn and some local officials also addressed the convention. Andhra born Maryland lawmaker Aruna Katragadda Miller and Indian Consul General in Houston, Parvathaneni Harish, also attended the convention.

The food served was authentic Telugu cuisine and the ambience was evocative of Andhra Pradesh. "We had everything-including gongura chutney and Hyderabad's dumki biryani," NATS President Ravi Madala said.

Los Angeles will play host to the next NATS biennial meet in 2015. The last convention was held in New Jersey in 2011.

The 26th annual convention of Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) was held at the Sony Centre in downtown Toronto. About 3,000 people came to the 3-day event from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Europe besides USA and Canada.

A highlight of the programme was many Tamils in the diaspora and their sympathizers sharing their thoughts and experiences on the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka.

The US Tamil Political Action Council interacted with politicians from Canada, Sri Lanka and India. Canada's federal minister Bal Gosal brought a message from immigration minister Jason Kenney welcoming FeTNA to Toronto.

The convention also marked the centenary celebrations of Thani Nayagam Adigal, who was instrumental in introducing Tamil to western audiences and who initiated the World Tamil Conferences.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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