Thursday, September 12, 2013

FIA Federation of Indian Associations: Insult to Democracy & Secularism


FIA Federation of Indian Associations: Insult to Democracy & Secularism

Thursday 05th, September 2013
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This write up was sent for Public Debate to ALL THE INDIAN NEWS PAPERS IN USA. Every one has ignored it except Indian Panorama that did an Editorial on Sep. 21, 2012 and opened it for Public Debate & A Petition to Prime Minister of India with the attached article on 9-28-12

Mr. Kamlesh Mehta Publisher of The South Asian Times has tried to make a Deal with FIA that if they honor him with life time achievement award and seat on the Board of Trustees; he will not publish this in his news paper! Publisher of Desi Talk & India TimesDr. Sudhir Parikh is one of the Trustee of FIA has no interest in such things rather his News Papers along with so called the oldest with largest circulation India Abroad don’t feel they have a moral duty to raise issues concerning the community.

FIA Federation of Indian Associations: An Insult to Democracy & Secularism

FIA Federation of Indian Association came into existence in 1977 after changing the name of umbrella organization “Joint Committee of Indian Organizations” founded in 1975 under the leadership of Rajan Ghosh. The main goal of this organization was to celebrate India’s Independence and Republic days in Tri-state area by bringing under one roof Indian student organizations; India Club of New York University, India Club of Columbia University and Association of Indians in America, The Bharathi Society of America and the Tagore Society of America. 

Mr. Thomas Abraham a Christian from Kerala was elected First President of FIA and in March 1981 Sureshwar Prasad Singh took over and initiated the first India Day Parade in 1982 in New York . He was succeeded by H. C. Chandershekar for the term of 1982-83. During the Presidency of Sudha Acharaya in 1983-84 tradition of Bollywood movie star as Grand Marshal with Sunil Dutt was started. She was also instrumental in bringing 17 more organizations under FIA. With the Presidency of Ram Gadhvi in 1985, Hindu Gujarati Leader’s  hold on FIA started increasing and the final nail in the coffin was put with the entry of Ramesh Patel to have absolute control. This organization lost its focus on Student Organizations, other regional organizations and other communities involvement in the India Day Parade. FIA has stooped so low that its Chairman Ramesh Patel appointed Nirav Mehta a wanted man by CBI in India as its President in 2010 and subsequently as its Trustee in 2011.

The 13 members all Hindu FIA Board of Trustees under the Chairmanship of Ramesh Patel has only 2 non Gujarati members; Yash Pal Soi a Hindu from Punjab and Prabir Roy a Hindu from West Bengal . 6 member Executive Committee baring Treasurer Ahmed Shakir all are Hindus from Gujarat. The same is true for various Parade committees; majority are Hindus from one state Gujarat only. Current President Kanu Chauhan is the Trustee also and was President in 1997 also. This raises serious question there are almost 1 million Indians in Tri-State area how come FIA could not find talented individuals from other religions and other regions of India ?  

The truth is FIA has been majority controlled/owned by Hindus from one state Gujarat only for over 25 years. In fact FIA is in perpetual control of Ramesh Patel along with his hand picked kitchen cabinet including fugitives running from law in India. The most disgusting part is in FIA none of them knows the meaning of Indian Unity, other states and religions of India, Culture, Art and recognition to American born Indians who have brought glory to the community. All they know is how to parade themselves, their families, friends and parade contractors with a Bollywood star. They do not hesitate to Parade Girls in Indian Tri color Bikinis dancing on the song“Mera rang de Basanti Chola” to Insult India-the very country they profess they love.

FIA is not at all transparent and willing to put their accounts on the internet for public to see despite the fact money spent has been received from organizations owned by Indian public like State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Air India etc. and Indian Multinational Corporations like Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Zee TV etc. as well as Indian Americans. No one knows how the money is collected and spent. All the contracts are awarded to majority from Gujarat on no bid basis without calling for open tenders.

Insiders are claiming that donations from big donors are collected by a third party and after taking out 15-20% their commission that third party gives rest of the money to FIA with the full knowledge of its Chairman Ramesh Patel. Then FIA is violating US Laws also for Charitable organizations by openly taking sides in Elections besides violating financial disclosure and Foreign Trade Practices laws. FIA should be investigated for its illegal activities by Government of India for misusing Public Organization Funds, appointing fugitives running from law in India as President and Trustee as well as various US Authorities for violating its numerous laws.

Moreover a great majority of Indians do not agree with FIA Bosses narrow thinking that “Hindu Gujarat is India and India is Hindu Gujarat”. They must honor and respect that India has 28 states and 7 Union Territories practicing all the major religions of the world. The Hindus of other states are not inferior to Gujarati Hindus. Neither the Sikhs, Muslims, Jains, Christians & Budhist are inferior to Gujarati Hindus.

Multi-religious and multi-state Secular nature of India and Democratic process demands term limits for all FIA office bearers and trustees as well as representation to every state and ethnicity to the maximum possible limits. Let there be a public debate on this issue on the basis of the formula given below:

1. Equal Representation to all Major Religions of India by keeping 2 members for each religion nominated by their religious bodies. If there are multiple religious bodies in a particular religion; those bodies have to put their head together to nominate 2 people for a tenure of 2 years only for the post of Trustee. The Trustees post will have 1 term limit with no exceptions. After a gap of 4 years a person can come back on the request of his/her religious body. This will give equal representation to Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Budhist & Christians. All financial matters will be the responsibility of the Trustees.

2. One member from each of the registered State organizations for 2yrs term nominated by their organization like Gujarat, Bihar, Bengal, Punjab, Uttrakhand, Kashmir, UP, Jat, Kerala etc. for the working committee. There will be 2 Term Limit. If the organization wants to replace its nominee after 2yr term, they are free to do so.

 3. One Member each from registered Indian Student bodies nominated by their Student council for a term of 2yrs for the working committee with 1 Term limit.

4. One Member each from LGTB community for a 2yr Term nominated by their organization with a 1 Term Limit.

 5. One Member from the Indian Consulate nominated by the CG to monitor that the theme of the Parade is in conformity with the international image of India .

Non representation of people from other religions and other states as well as Union Territories of India in FIA doing India Day Parade has been going on for over 2 decades. This is gross injustice and can not continue any more. In the name of Equality and Justice it is the solemn duty of every individual of Indian origin living in America to demand equal representation for all communities and all Indian states in FIA. If FIA do not agree to this they should not be funded or sponsored or allowed to do India Day Parade insulting the very Secular and Democratic nature of India.

The major sponsors especially government of India owned state corporations, Indian Multinationals and Indian Americans must be involved in this public debate. If FIA do not agree to democratic changes and are still funded by sponsors; those sponsors must be boycotted and exposed in India for supporting religious and regional discrimination in America by majority controlled/owned FIA by Hindus from Gujarat.

People who understand public service and are capable of bringing good for the Indian & American community are side lined because they are not willing to bow to the dictates of FIA controllers/owners. FIA under undemocratically installed current owners practically every one Hindu from one state of India Gujarat has lost credibility to organize India Day Parade that is suppose to reflect the multi-religious, multi-state, Secular and Democratic India.

Joint Effort by volunteers
Secular India Day Parade 
By: Dave Makkar


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