NEW YORK (TIP): Kannada Koota’s 40th anniversary celebration – considered a landmark in the history of Kannada Koota in New York – was held for the first time in Long Island, New York at the newly built Madison Theater, Molloy College. This was a unique event held in the multicultural and financial capital of the world, New York. For the very first time, many of the local U.S. dignitaries were invited and honored. The inauguration program was started after a combination of Indian and Continental breakfast.
The Indian Consul General in New York Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay was the chief guest of the occasion. George Margos, Comptroller of Nassau County, Judge Peter Skelos, Judge New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Tom Suozzi former Executive of Nassau County, Prakash M. Swamy, president of American Tamil Association, Dr. Kishore Kuncham, President of Indian Association of Long Island, Bobby Kumar and Kamlesh C. Metha – community leaders, George Abraham, chairman of Indian National Overseas Congress, Amarnath Gowda, Dr. S. Rajoor – Kannada leaders; Syed Zahid, Nassau County Human Rights Commissioner and Dr. Yelleshpur Jayaram were among the guests present on the occasion.
Many past presidents of KKNY were also honored. The inaugural program began with a welcome by Sanketha Geete -KKNY’s anthem – and U.S. National Anthem. President Dr. B. R. Surendra gave an introduction on the past four glorious decades of Kannada Koota and welcomed all the guests. The program was traditionally inaugurated by all the honorary guests by lighting the sacred lamp.
While this happened, Committee Members sang Kannada Geethe, highlighting the lighting and praying for world peace. Mulay commenced his speech in Kannada and praised the richness of the Kannada language, culture and emphasized the culture of India as a whole. He praised the contributions and dedication of Kannada leaders to this land of opportunity. All the guests were honored traditionally with Mysore Peta (hat) and shawl. The chief guest George Margos spoke about his experience with Indians and his visit to Bengaluru, and appreciated KKNY’s contributions.
Judge Peter Skelos addressed the audience by appreciating Kannada community for bringing a splendor of culture to Molloy. The Afternoon session of cultural extravaganza began with a presentation of Kannada Koota by Dr. Surendra, followed by Bharatnatyam and group dance by KKNY children. A cultural ambassador from India H. S. Murali presented a documentary – tribute to one of the greatest singers of Karnataka, Dr. P. B. Srinivos. Lunch was greeted with an authentic South Indian cuisine followed by a program to felicitate all who gave a hand in preparing the event.
The highlight of the day was the sensational music concert by Nadabramha Hamsalekha and associates, who came from Bengaluru. The group presented a special program exclusively designed for KKNY: “Shanti Nudi Kannada, Clear Nuclear.” Kannada Koota honored Hamsalekha with the title of “Sahitya Sangeetha Sambhrat.” A wonderful program designed by Kannada Koota “Karnataka Express,” a dance-drama highlighting the unique cultures of the different regions of Karnataka, which was seen by passengers traveling in a train all over Karnataka.
A hilarious drama from Connecticut members made everyone laugh until their stomachs hurt. Dinner was served with North Indian style cuisine. During the breakout sessions at the projection hall, a few presentations and a few award winning short-films were shown. The grand-finale of the day was by sensational Raghu Dixit and band that enthralled the audience.