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Guest Author: Friends of India Founder on Controversy On Honoring an Unknown

As one of the founders of the Friends of India, and the one who in 1984 actually gave this name to the first organization of Indians and their friends in the state of Nevada, it is incumbent upon me to say a few words.

The sole purpose is to calm down this controversy and bring back harmony in the community before the festive days of Eid, Krishna Janamashtami and independence celebration.

At the outset, I must say that the editorial is well-written and sets down broad guidelines for honoring a member(s) of Indian community once a year or two. It is a sign of a mature organization to honor its pioneers and various leaders – including some mavericks and entrepreneurs who have also contributed to the local Indian community at large.

I do laud the officers of the Friends of India for thinking of honoring a community member. However, for that, a nomination process needs to be spelled out, advertised, or a call for nominations be sent out right – say, after Holi festival. That should give the Executive Committee a month to deliberate and select a person for the honor.

Knowing the corporate CEOs have thick skins, I still feel kind of ‘sorry’ for Rajesh Shrotriya who is hardly settled down in Las Vegas and is already drawn into this controversy. It reminds me of a time in 1974, when every Indian knew every other. There were hardly 20 of them, and we met at the khana (eating and drinking binge) at each other’s homes every weekend. By the way, there was then not even a singly Indian physician, but two were UNLV professors. The community growing slowly through the mid 1980s, almost every new Indian had visited our home. This is nostalgic piece of community history.

Yes, I had qualms about $10 charge too, but more for not distinguishing between the members and non-members. However, it is OK as some of the money is being sent to a flood relief fund in India. Also, this16th floor site of this event in World Trade Center may be costing more than renting space in a public park.

My hope is that public outcry over this year’s selection of the guest of honor will make future selections open and least controversial. I believe in strengthening Indian organizations and trust its elected officers till their terms are over. We better learn to live with our good and bad choices. Enough said, let us now move on together.

Satish C. Bhatnagar (1974)

Professor of Mathematics (UNLV) and 
Author of five non-fiction books in five genres (on Trafford and Amazon)
Aug 06, 2013  


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2 Comments to Guest Author: Friends of India Founder on Controversy On Honoring an Unknown

  1. Jai Jinendra says:

    I went to the FOILV program yesterday and whatever happened there, encourage me post my views. Seems like its a event of President’s ego to start something new and dishonor all the hard work and efforts made my previous presidents. First of all, when you have large crowd of desi people in Vegas, why did you booked a hall where you can accommodate only 450 people. Last year there was 600+ gathering and even Diwali program has 700+ gathering. Now you are claiming that you had SOLD OUT event and you are the best president among all others, you are wrong Mr. President. OK, here is what I felt. 1. Location, parking and drive – excellent. 2. Inside the hall – much better last year at water street. This L-shape hall with flat on the ground stage was useless. 3. Sound system was very bad and so as the DJ. Why would you bring some one from LA when you have local talents. Tony and Naveen as very good performers but just because Mr. President doesn’t like them, he called someone from LA. 4. Its a open seating event but seems like its FOILV committee’s personal event. They occupied all front tables. We were not been able to see the performers from back because the stage was low and at ground level. Even the lightings and lights was not sufficient enough. 5. Not greeted or welcomed by any of the committee members. Last Year, Supriya and Jayesh Mehta did wonderful job to greet and meet visitors and make them feel confirmable. Supriya did excellent job by introducing parade. 6. Music competition – Well, two songs and a break for 1/2 hours, another two songs and break. People forgot what they listen before to compare. The last competitor, who’s starting was terrible, lost her pitch and sung from her nose, I would had rated her 4th or 5th. Pradip was much better. Pankaj was also good. You really can’t vote for Pankaj, Pradip and Raja Ingle. They are experienced, talented and don’t need voting to prove themselves. If you bring your group, just like last competitor did and keep texting the message, you got the max vote and you win. This is unfair. 7. Guest of honor: Boring and very long speech. 8. Couple of committee member’s speech – seems like talking to themselves and reading and missing the words. 9. Food: I am not talking about the quality as I don’t want to drag that restaurant owner here but the person who were serving the snacks and dessert were serving like they were serving to baggers. One samosa per person is understood but one small piece of pakora and if you take two, the girl who was serving started shouting that you are suppose to take only one pakora, when I asked why, she told that I was told by committee to serve only one. Anyway guys.. I can rate this 1 out of 10 because of parking and location. Atleast I got the good view of city. I am veg and non-alcoholic, so don’t like serving meat and alcohol during India’s Independence day. Accidently one elderly person eat chicken (she thought paneer as she never thought they will serve meat) and start vomiting. All her 70-75 years achievement of being veg was gone…. Jai Hind.

  2. Devotee says:

    While we are discussing community related issues, we should not ignore problems with Hindu Temple. Here are some questions that need to be answered.

    1. Why do we have two pundits doing work of one? Why isn’t temple not open for more hours now that we have two?

    2. Why doesn’t temple management make all the cash handled by Pundits more transparent? Why not make their contract public so devotees know where there money is going?

    3, What are the checks and balances that assure temple gets its fair share of income?

    4, Do Pundits have a job description? How do devotees know what to expect from them?

    5. Why doesn’t temple have any programs to help Hindus in need, scholarship for poor Hindus?

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