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CHICAGO: A political wing of Indian Americans in Chicagoland, Indo American Democratic Organization in Chicago land (IADO), celebrated thirty three yeas of its existence with a gala banquet at Holiday Inn in Skokie with lot of enthusiasm and fanfare in the light of approaching Presidential elections in November. Besides, a good number of IADO members and supporters, the event was also graced by a number of top Democratic leaders, elected and otherwise. Lt. Colonel Tammy Duckworth was Chief Guest at the event while among the dignitaries were Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Danny Davis, State Congressman Lou Lang, Cook Country Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, State Senators Kotowski and Silverstein.. The event started with the singing of national anthems of USA and India. This was followed by an inspiring speech from IADO Chief Harendra Mangrola. The emcee of the near three-hour function was Parag Mehta who did a remarkable job getting the guests introduced and setting the tone of the function in right mood. It was inevitable that such an event would take notice of the recent developments at Oak Creek Sikh temple in Wisconsin or the savage killing of American Ambassador in Libya. Mangrola took note of these two events and condemned the uncivilized and barbaric acts of violence by extremists. A moment of silence was observed in memory of those who lost their lives and also to show support for families of the victims. Mangrola said he was saddened and surprised noting that it was America who helped people in Arab countries to transition to democracy and yet it is America who is the butt of the anger of people in some of these regions. In difficult times like this America is lucky to have a leader and President like Barack Obama who keeps his cool in difficult times and shapes the country’s policy in a right way. Exhorting support to Obama, he observed that it is not only that we should re-elect him but we should also send members to the Congress who are supportive of his policy.
Republicans claim to care for small business but in fact they do not. Republicans also claim to care for new immigrants, the seniors in the country, those who are handicapped, the children, and under privileged but their actions belie their words. America will be better of with Democrats at the helm of the affairs, he said. Illinois can take lead in turning Red Congress to a Blue Congress by re-electing the old guard and electing six more Congressmen by fighting hard the Republican money machine, he said. “After the redistricting we have just 18 congressional districts in Illinois and we have 44 days left to change these Red districts to a total Blue.” He urged all those eligible to vote to get themselves registered and fill the ballot box supporting Democratic candidates. Another highlight of the evening was a great entertainment program titled Satyagraha – which means the force of Truth – underlying the importance of changes thru ballot rather than bullets. The Kalapriya Foundation presented entertainment program in three stages and it was applauded by one and all. The Scene I presented that the quest for truth was a lifetime journey undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi. This dance sequence described the conflict within the being; between mind, body and soul (heart) and the conflict between peoples. Scene II showed that Mahatma Gandhi found strength in compassion in the face of violence/conflict. Chavez’ farmers (shown harvesting) stand together to resist and stand for the rights of the farmers Scene III presented Rev. Martin Luther King, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, who found from Satyagraha and the quest for truth, hope and strength to overcome the injustices experienced by African Americans in “We Shall Overcome”. A song that has returned to Gandhi’s India as “Hum Honge Kamiyab” IADO was incorporated in March of 1980. Its mission is to lobby on behalf of the Indian American community on issues of immigration, affirmative action, education, social security, healthcare reform and hate crimes. Additionally, they strive to get Indian Americans to participate in the political process from voting to running for office. Vote of thanks was proposed by IADO Secretary G. Verghese.

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