Thursday, August 21, 2014

CALIFORNIA FESTIVAL OF INDIA PARADE 2014

CALIFORNIA FESTIVAL OF INDIA PARADE 2014 
 Dear All,


Telangana NRI Association celebrated the first ever India's Independence day in a newly formed state by participating in India day parade in New York City last Sunday, 17th August.  "Jai Bharat Jai Telangana" slogans reverberated in the streets of New York City.  Having the largest group in the entire parade, more than 250 Telangana NRIs from as far as Georgia, Ohio, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Missouri and Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York/New Jersey participated in the event.

On behalf of TeNA executive committee and board members, I want to thank each and everyone who participated and helped us in making this event a grand success.  You all made mother Telangana proud in front of more than 250,000 people from all around the world.

Lot of hard work, planning and preparations went into making this event a great success and I want to list out some of the background work that took place and mention the names of so many people who contributed.

Preparations were kicked off in the month of July after TeNA board decided to put a Telangana float in NYC India day celebrations. On July 22nd, we had a first meeting with parade committee  in Royal Alberts Palace, NJ. Venkat Maroju, Narayana Swamy, Ravi Dhannapuneni, Mahesh Pogaku and myself  attended the meeting. After this, we had a meeting with Laxman Aelay for his advice on the float design. Once an initial design was drafted, Hari Krishna Vangala from India finalized all the flexi designs, banners, decoration materials, and shipped them to USA.  We were also having regular conference calls with the Telangana float team consisting of representatives from various cities. Thanks to Srinivas Reddy Kompally, Sumanth Garakarajula, Narayana Swamy, Ravi Mayreddy,Venkat Maroju, Sudheer Boyinpally, Arun Ayyagari, Vilas Reddy, Narsimha Nagulavancha, Naveen Kanuganti, Shravanth Poreddy, Sudheer Raju and  Arvind Takkalapally for attending the calls and giving your valuable inputs and taking ownership of various tasks.

By the time we approached the last week, we were getting tremendous response from various cities as many people wanted to join the parade. It was then decided to reserve hotels in NJ so that all the guests coming from distant places can stay at one place. At the same time we were also getting good support from the sponsors so we decided to host a banquet dinner to interact with our supporters and sponsors. 

On Friday, Aug 15th, some of us started to arrive in New Jersey. Venkat and Myself went to the float workshop in Clifton,NJ to check the package received from India and the float framework. The next day we were joined by Srinivas Kompally (who came all the way from Minneapolis), Mahesh Pogaku, Rajashekar Vitall and we all went to the float workshop to organize the float. Towards end of the day, Sudheer Raju joined us in the workshop who came with Sudheer Boinaplly and team who came from Boston to attend the parade. At the hotel, guests started checking in, Mahesh Tanneru, Narasimha, Naveen, Anil and Babu Rao Karimilla came all the way from Columbus, OH. Ravi Mayreddy, Ramesh Kankati, came along with their families from Philadelphia. Sumanth Garakarajula arrived at the hotel with his car packed with all the material needed for the marching group. Shravant Poreddy came from Kansas city and made arrangements for the banquet dinner.

The banquet dinner started at around 9:00 PM with a song by Vidya Venkatayogi. Narayana Swamy, Venkat Maroju and Ravi Mayreddy spoke about the Telangana float event and upcoming TeNA Telangana Renaissance awards. Representatives from various cities spoke on this occasion and pledged their support to TeNA.  Special thanks to Raj Gowlikar and Ravinder Thota who made good financial contribution to the upcoming TeNA events and spoke about the importance of TNRIs doing many more such activities and take part in the development of Telangana. We had almost 75 guests and everyone was excited to interact with each other.  Thanks to Shravanth Poreddy and Paradise restaurant staff for providing us with excellent environment for the meeting and great tasting Hyderabadi biryani.

On the day of the parade, Sunday, Aug17th, we woke up early in the morning, most of us were still feeling tired from the late night discussions we had on the previous day. We pulled our energies together, had breakfast and started to NYC. We reached the event place by 10:30 AM. We had to maneuver New York streets to pull cars near the parade and bring all the materials, sound system, generator and organize them on the float. The women team led by Vidya Venkatayogi, Vijaya Maroju and Jamuna Puskur started decorating the float.  We decorated the float with large colorful Bathukammas, Bonalu, Peerilu and also famous Telangana heros such as Koamram Bheem, Chakali Ilamma, Jayashankar Sir, PV Narasimha Rao and Telangana cultural symbols such as Gadwal Sarees, Pochampally Sarees, Hyderabad Biryani and monuments such as Kakatiya Thoranam, Golconda Fort, Charminar.

In the next half an hour people started pouring in and there were hundreds of Telanganites all around the float. TeNA Boston chapter coordinators Srinivas Rao, Vijay Kaki, Venu Madadi arrived from Boston. Vikram Routhu, TeNA board member came with his friends from Connecticut. Arvind Takkalapaly entered the scene with his team and prepared a life size cut out of Telangana chief minister KCR. Shiva Kumar Ramadugu who took a 15 hr bus ride from Atlanta arrived at the venue. 

We kicked off the parade after observing one minute silence for the Telangana martyrs.  

Ashok Chintakunta and Yogi came from Long Island started the celebrations with theen maar dances to the dappu beats. At around 1:00 PM the we entered the parade on the Madison avenue with Jai Telangana slogans roaring through the streets of New York. After a mile of procession, the float reached at the main stage where the parade ambassadors welcomed the Telangana float with the following message ...

"Telangana is a newly born 29th state of Indian Union.  Telangana people have gone through one of the longest democratic and peaceful agitation in modern India and succeeded in achieving their goal.  It is a great sign of evolution of Indian democracy as democratic aspirations of various sections of population can be achieved in a peaceful manner.

On behalf of FIA we congratulate Telanganites all over the world on their new state.  We also congratulate Telangana NRI Association (TeNA) for participating in the India Day Parade ".

When the above message was read in front of thousands of NRIs each and every Telanganite's eyes filled with joy and tears and every ones hand raised by saying  "Jai Bharat ... Jai Telangana". We repeated the slogans and continued the euphoria until we reached the end of the parade.  


At the end, we had some delicious food and drinks. Thanks to Sudheer Boinpally for making these arrangements. 

Special thanks to Arun Ayyagari and NJ TV5 representative Srinivas for getting an excellent coverage on TV5. Thanks to V6, T-news, Namasthe Telangana for reporting about the parade.

Overall, it was a great feeling to meet so many enthusiastic Telangana NRIs who are always there to work for Telangana. 

Hope to work with each one of you soon. 

Here are some pictures of the event. Thanks to Vijay Kaki for capturing these moments. 

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NY Independence Day Parade 2014
NY Independence Day Parade 2014 (246 photos)
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Here are some links to the media coverage. 

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