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USHA Launches Vande Bharatam Dinner Initiative in Atlanta


Atlanta, GA: The United States Hindu Alliance launched a new initiative under the banner of Vande Bharatam Dinner in Atlanta on June 30th to promote greater awareness and understanding about the changing Hindu society and a rising Bharat.

The dinner opened with an invocation to Sri Ganesha by Shreya Sunil, followed by the national anthems of the US and India. Sudhir Agarwal, the Chair of the event, in his welcome address, explained the purpose of the dinner and the mission of USHA to an audience of 225 invited guests. “USHA is organizing Vande Bharatam (Salute to India) Dinner events across America to celebrate Bharat - its people, history, culture and contributions,” he said.

Ramesh Babu Laxmanan, Consul General of India in Atlanta, Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., several elected representatives, diplomats, CEO’s, and community leaders attended the event.

In his address, the Consul General gave an informative presentation on the progress being made by India in various fields, including space, manufacturing, information technology and more. He also talked about India’s ambitious plan to become the third largest economy within the next few years. He applauded USHA’s initiative to create awareness and build bridges.

Dr. Alveda King thanked USHA for organizing the event and shared memories of the family’s close ties with India. She also touched upon the historic relationship between Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi.

Speakers at the gathering included Shawn Still, Georgia State Senator, Narender Reddy, Republican candidate for the Georgia House and Ashwin Ramaswami, Democratic candidate for the Georgia Senate.

USHA’s National President, Gokul Kunnath, spoke about three characteristics of India, namely its democracy, diversity, and Dharma. He shed light on the recently held elections, the largest democratic exercise in human history. The uniqueness of the 2024 elections was that every political party was happy with the results, an unusual occurrence in any country.

He further explained in detail about the diversity of the ancient civilization and how diversity is the best evidence for the existence of real freedom in any society. Dharma, he emphasized, isthe greatest contribution of Hindus to the world and therefore India has never been known for violations of human rights, persecutions, or genocides by those who embraced Dharma.

On the contrary, he noted, despite 1200 years of brutal occupation, India has become a role model for the whole world. “The idea of India is unique in the world because it is inherently inclusive and inclusivity is scripturally mandated for Hindus.”

Shri Balabadra Das, a prominent ISKCON leader of Atlanta, also spoke about the place of Bharat in the heart of every Hindu. He also appreciated the work of USHA in bringing people from diverse communities together.

Several prominent leaders of the community were felicitated at the event. Dr. Deen Bandhu Chandora, the founder of the Vedic Mandir in Lilburn and the author of numerous books on Hindu Dharma, Dr. Sujatha Reddy and Dr. Bhagirath Majmudar were recipients of USHA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Sujatha Reddy is a past President of the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, a founding member of USHA and well-known humanitarian. She had organized numerous health fairs in the region helping tens of thousands of patients from all communities.

Dr. Bhagirath Majmudar is a long-time resident of Atlanta and had worked as a professor of Medicine at Emory University. He is a great scholar of Sanskrit and had officiated more than 400 Hindu weddings across the country.

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, a practicing cardiologist and former President of the Georgia Association of Physicians from India received USHA’s Leadership Award. He is the current Chairman of the Georgia Composite Medical Board, which oversees the licensing of physicians in the state of Georgia.

The Sanatana Dharma Award was given to Shree Shakti Mandir of Atlanta for its unwavering commitment towards protection of Hindu interests and Sanatana Dharma in America. Shakti Mandir is one of the largest Hindu temples in North America. More than a million devotees have visited the temple since its establishment. The first ever meeting of USHA was held at the Shakti Mandir.

Several artists from local dance schools participated in the event. They included Kalaashram USA, led by Anurag Sharma. His solo performance and the Kathak dance performed by his students Anita Kant, Anuja Birari, Leena Chugh, Neha Gupta, Tejashri Patil and Vinothambiga Athiappan enthralled the audience.

Another exciting dance was performed by students of Sri Performing Arts, a dance school run by Sreedevi Dadithota. Her students Rashmitha Kandula and Trineatri Rayapaneni performed a Kuchipudi dance.

Acclaimed classical dancer, Kumud Savla’s Nritya Natya Kala Bharti took part at the event showcasing a Kathak dance performed by her students Ananya Saxena, Annika Trivedi and Aishani Mukherjee. The key organizers included Sudhir Agarwal, Swati Agarwal, Uday Gopinath, Mitesh Patel, Prakash Srivastava, Neetu Singh, Rupa Kramadhati, Neeraj Garg, Sandhya Garg, Saurabh Agrawal and Swayam Sarkar.

A large number of youth volunteers also helped to organize the successful event. The well-organized event was ably conducted by the MC’s, Shreya Sunil and Bhrushira Vyas. The event was supported by numerous local community organizations and the official sponsors included Patel Brothers, Walia Hospitality and Fly My Style Travels. Magicdust Photography provided all photography, videography and audio-visual services for the event.