By Ajit Z. Gandhi
Chicago: I read Prashant Shah’s excellent front- page editorial — “We all need to be blamed for poor attendance at I-Day celebrations” — in India Tribune issue dated August 28.
I totally agree with Prashant Shah. He did not omit anyone or take any sides or show any bias. Most importantly, he showed the guts to criticize the community-at-large for its poor attendance, both at the banquet and the parade. It’s an absolute shame that we Indians still flock to see those so-called stars, even after being in this country for 20, 30, 40 years but we do not attend the parade without those stars. Who will educate the public about the attitude and the exorbitant fees demanded by those stars? For what reason should we pay those monies? When will we, the NRIs, realize that money does not grow on the trees in the US as against the “image” that people in India have? Don’t we all know how hard and deep we work here, especially in today’s economy, to make a living? For what reason are we working our tails off — only to throw at these stars’ nakharaas? Aren’t we behaving stupidly?
As regards the attempts by this year’s committee, it’s a fact that all of them worked hard. I know personally, having worked on several non-FIA committees myself. However, such good deeds, while being thankless, cannot be just hushed away without bringing out the shortcomings, most notably the good-old IST —Indian Standard Time. Prashant Shah was there for the banquet and he knew how late it started and then poor time management after that late start. I feel for those local artists, who were ready from 5:30 p.m. onwards but got a chance only after 9:30 p.m. onwards, at which time everyone had lost the patience and pretty soon practically everyone simply left.
The real funny part in that banquet was that there was hardly a reference to the Independence itself. Most of the time went into the awards and photos. One decision by this year’s committee deserves full marks — the scholarship program to worthy students in American universities. A great decision. Hope the implementation will be as good.
Anyway, kudos to Prashant Shah for a well-rounded editorial, criticizing all, including the media, of which he is a part.