Lal K Motwani And the name brings up the picture of a multidimensional personality. The name brings to mind a list of prestigious organizations with which Motwani has strong involvement. One starts wondering how come one man can shoulder so many responsibilities simultaneously. This octogenarian is still going strong and takes in a stride all the work that he is expected to do on account of his involvement in so many organizations. To list just a few, he is President, Alliance of Global Sindhi Associations, Inc. and Tri-State NY Coordinator, Global Organization for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International, besides a host of other organizations. During 2013-15, he was Chairman, National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA)-USA, a colossal organization of scores of associations of Indians.
When I asked him the other day how he managed to spend so much time sitting at his desk and doing so much writing work and then going out to meet people, raise funds, grab sponsorships and take care of publication of a more than 100-page brochure, he looked at me as if I had asked a foolish question and with his usual mischievous smile said it didn’t bother him. “I am used to much harder work”. And it is not just the amount of work that he does which people admire him for. It is the ease with which he does it. It is the perfection that he wants to see in all he does. I have been to many functions he has organized from time to time and have found them well designed and very well executed. One of his specialties is publication of brochure. If I am not mistaken, he may have published more than 60 of them, each of a distinct quality and having a stamp of perfection. I have seen him editing, proof reading and giving personal attention to even printing. I am sure the brochure which Mr. Motwani is publishing on the occasion of the 27th anniversary celebrations of GOPIO will add another feather to his cap. He is truly a leader and an achiever.
This man who has rubbed shoulders with Presidents, Prime Ministers, Senators, Congressmen is simple and humble and has never flaunted his personal relationship with them.
With a passion for promoting Indian culture and undertaking community service, Lal Motwani has carried on his tireless voluntary work for the past three decades. He was born in 1936 in Sindh, which is now in Pakistan. Motwani moved to Baroda in Gujarat, where he studied and began his professional career in Lucknow. He came to US in 1977 as an Architect from Lucknow, the capital of North India. Through his hard work and dedication he has emerged as one of the leading Indian American Community leaders in the New York metropolitan area. Lal Motwani is a familiar and respected name within the Indian Community as well as in the New York and New Jersey political arena. For the past 35 years, he has established himself as an architect, designer and has been elected to several esteemed positions within the NRI Associations and won many awards. He retired recently as the Assistant Director of New York City’s Housing Authority Office of Facility Planning and Administration.
With his tireless focus in gaining momentum and achieving cordial relations with United State establishments, Motwani got appointed to several prestigious institutions including Advisory Committee of Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Multi Cultural Development Advisory committee in New York. Motwani became the 1st one to organize Diwali Festival and Ramayan Dance-Drama at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York.
Motwani was also part of the initiative to start the Diwali Celebrations in South Sea Port near Wall Street and City Hall to promote India’s heritage, art and culture to mainstream community in the US. Over hundred thousand attend the celebrations, shopping for Indian food, goods, art and watching Diwali fireworks. The event has become an annual cultural exchange tradition in the heart of New York City.
Motwani, a natural-born artist and designer by profession from India has literally been able to leave his “mark” on a number of New York City landmarks. Be it John F Kennedy (JFK) airport, LaGuardia Airport, World Trade Center, American Express, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, City Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank and New York City Housing Authority, the world’s largest public housing facility housing 1/8 of the NYC population.
From Dharma to Karma Lal Motwani excelled in his ability in every walk of life and his crusade was always well supported and applauded by one and all. There are hundreds to mention. His efforts and organizing skills helped to raise over$200,000 for the Heart and Hand for Handicapped and $10,000 for the victims of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center tragedy, to just give examples.
In every US election Motwani lent his support to candidates who supported Indian-American relations and he raised fund for their elections. His support also helped candidates such as Bobby Jindal to secure a seat in the US House of Representatives and he became the Governor of Louisiana. To promote education and help the needy, Lal Motwani is remembered as a pioneer in establishing scholarship and awards for children of Engineers and Architects.
Motwani is also recognized as the “Ambassador of Dharma” for promoting spirituality and religion among Indians and others, especially during Global Dharma Conference, New York in 2003.
Motwani is the recipient of dozens of awards and honors. He is the first Asian to be awarded the esteemed “Distinguished Service Award; “Manager of the Year 2001” by the New York City Managerial Employees Association.
Lal K. Motwani has always been an outstanding leader and achiever among South Asian migrants in the United States and he always promoted and supported India’s vast wealth of history, culture, education, democracy and cooperation among all. NFIA has been in the forefront of strengthening US-India ties.
As President of NFIA, Motwani organized US Congressional luncheon, White House briefings, lobbying for better US-India relationship and has prepared position papers on this relationship for US Congress and Senate. He has also campaigned against hate crimes against Indians in the United States.
As a president of NFIA, Lai K. Motwani represented 3.2 Million Indo-Americans in the United States. Recently, on June 9, 2012 Lal was awarded “Bharat Gaurav Lifetime Achievement Award” by Sanskriti Yuva Sanstha in New Jersey. It was awarded by Mrs. Mamta Sharma, NCW Chairperson, Govt. of India.
Motwani has served the cause of Indian community through his long and active association with the three most consequential community organizations in the US, of two of which he is also a founding member. National Federation of Indian Associations (NFIA), founded 32 years ago and Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) founded in 1989, and the third, FIA -Federation of Indian’s in America -NY-NJ-CT; known for organizing the annual India day Parade in New York City; the largest event outside India celebrating India’s Independence Day.
In what is another honor for Motwani, he was the coordinator for FIA’s first India Day Parade held in New York City in 1981
Beyond social and cultural barriers, Motwani reaches out to all including the law makers of the two largest democracies of the world, India and the United States. His constant and close relationship with many US lawmakers has helped to generate momentum for India’s voice to be heard on crucial policy decisions leading to progress and safety in the Indian continent.
Motwani through his vast network of social, political and professional relations has helped numerous new immigrants and non-resident Indians in the US to gain access and momentum to reach their dreams. These and other selfless services he provided to the known and unknown became his strength to support and continue serving more when in need.
A powerful motivational force for the community in the last more than 35 years, Motwani’s name is etched out, like his stamp on many monuments and buildings in New York, onmany individuals and organizations. He has lent grace, beauty and strength to them with his mere touch. He is a symbol of India’s heritage and has become forever a part of the history of Indian diaspora in the United States.
As I write this humble introduction to a gigantic personality, I learn he and his wife Kavita, married in 1966, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 12.
Here is a man who says he is neither retired nor tired. He is ready to play more innings, which in any case he did play as a cricketer. Play on, Mr. Motwani. The world needs people like you-always determined to lead and achieve.