Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gir lions, Amdavadi autos to roar in New Jersey

Gir lions, Amdavadi autos to roar in New Jersey
Times of India

Gir lions will roar on New Jersey streets, which will also reverberate with the sounds of Amdavadi autorickshaws and Saurashtra chhakdas revving up. This may seem like a paradox but it is going to be a reality when Gujaratis living in North America experience 'real Gujarat' during a three-day extravaganza Chaalo Gujarat - World Gujarati Conference. The event, starting on August 31, will be held at Raritan Expo Centre, New Jersey. After a gap of nearly four years, the Association of Indian Americans in North America (AIANA) will hold its third event at which as many as 45,000 Gujaratis from across the world are expected to relive Gujarat in New Jersey.

"This is an effort to showcase Gujarat and its glorious past, enterprising present and bright future to the people living away from home," said AIANA president Sunil Nayak while addressing the media. "Our motivation is to give the youth who are cut off from their roots a glimpse of their rich cultural heritage." Nayak added that the event would bridge the gap between Gujarat and the Gujarat in America.

"Chaalo Gujarat is an effort to keep Gujarat alive," said MP Parimal Nathwani, who was present at the event. "Lot of hard work is required to organize an event of this scope. The sense of our rich heritage should be kept alive, especially among the youth living abroad."

The highlight of the event is that for the first time more than 10,000 people will watch a 3D film on Gujarat in Gujarati on a giant screen. Other attractions are a spiritual discourse by Morari Bapu, seminars, dayro, sugam sangeet, Miss Gujarati USA pageant, and not to forget, mouth-watering Gujarati cuisine.

"We will ship 15 rickshaws from the roads of Ahmedabad and 15 chhakdas from Saurashtra to New Jersey," Nayak said. "These will ferry people from the parking area to the main concourse and there will be vendors selling chana in newspapers on the stretch."

Besides, the famous pol areas of Amdavad will be recreated at the venue along a 30-feet wooden charkha. There will be a huge kaleidoscope showing images of Gujarat. The event will comprise a trade show, international property show for which Gujarati realtors will be invited, exhibitions, business meets, a youth festival, a Bollywood evening and mega cultural programmes.

The venue will also feature life-size statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which will be specially designed by a Chinese company on the lines of the creations at Madame Tussauds. "Plans are also afoot to have ten people dressed as Gandhiji ride Harley Davidson bikes during the Independence Day parade in New York," Nayak said. "The idea is to send a message that Gujarat and Gandhiji have come to Manhattan."

Other eminent personalities at the event were Krishnakant Vakhariya, Harsh Bramhbhatt, and Harish Bhimani. Efforts are being made to ensure that personalities like Sam Pitroda, Zubin Mehta, Mukesh Ambani, and Paresh Rawal make it to the event.

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