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Gujarat for sale in New Jersey; any buyers ?

  • In Community
  • 00:00, 12 Jun
  • By Sudhir Vyas

Edison: This is not an April fool joke. It is true. Gujarat and Gujarati community is for sale in New Jersey. Any Buyers? Interested parties may please contact the community leaders in New Jersey who are out to sell Gujarat and keep the proceeds. After a dull and drab winter, the so-called community leaders come out from their hidings to announce that they are organizing three-day event to showcase Gujarat to the Gujarati community in the Tri-State especially in New Jersey. These community leaders have in the past organized such events which have been flop shows to say the least.

This year the Friends of Gujarat (FoG) (they have yet to clarify how they are Friends of Gujarat) have come out for their third edition showcasing Gujarat from July 1-3 at the Raritan Center. Similarly Indian American Festival Association (IAFA) have also announced the organization of enjoying colorful India from September 2-4. At the NJ Expo Center. One more event is also in the air, this one being organized by the seniors association.

It is no secret that the FoG led by Kirit Patel who had also organized Swarnim Gujarat almost five years ago followed by Global Gujarati conference were nothing but utter failure in show casing Gujarat, and poor utilization of available sources. At the recent launch of their third edition named Gatisheel Gujarat,  this correspondent asked as to how different this one will be from two earlier outings  Kirit Patel said “this time we have planned it much earlier”.

On the other hand is IAFA team comprised of likes of Bimal Joshi, Nilesh Dasondi, Popatlal Patel and others which has been organizing garbas on Oak Tree road for the past two years? It is yet to be established how this team would be holding an event as big as highlighting Gujarat would perform but judging by their performance of Garbas in a remote corner of Oak Tree Road, it looks like we are in for another poor show on Gujarat.

The sad part of all this is the fact that none of these organizers have Gujarat at their center of their heart. They only want to put up a brave face before the corridors of power in Gandhinagar and show them how big a community leader they are and thereby boost the ego of those in power in Gujarat. Some have even keen on hobnobbing for some power for themselves or their kin.

Leaders like Kirit Patel had assured during earlier events that almost 500,000 trees will be planted in Gujarat, that computers and books would be bought for libraries around Gujarat. How many trees were planted and how many computers were supplied is yet to be known. While the dollars earned here are never accounted for nor are the funds that were made available from Gujarat are utilized the way it was meant to be.

The former Chief Minister and present Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged such petty leaders from New Jersey. It is now turn of present Anandiben Patel to pamper these leaders and give them assurance of “full support” by the Gujarat government.

While Narendra Modi loved this publicity stunt, and Anandiben loves it now, but what these community leaders do not tell their political bosses back in Gujarat that when Modi came on air to make a live broadcast to the audience, the audience took their dinner break. Also little do these politicians know that much of the publicity material shipped to ports of New Jersey are thrown to the winds by these same organizers before and after the event.

The likes of Kirit Patel’s, Bimal Joshi’s and Nilesh Dasondi’s are only interested in putting themselves in the spotlight and hog some limelight at the cost of the poor Gujarati community who is fooled by their tall claims. Past experience have shown that there was nothing that a common Gujarati family would take back home after the three-day event. Not even the taste of so-called Gujarati delicacies. On previous such events some of the food was even inedible, some of the items were half-cooked and nowhere close to the food from Gujarat.

The less said the better as far as the entertainment. There are instances when a group which also wants to highlight Gujarati music, had artists who sang the same songs and couplets they had sung at their last outing here. Even the compere, a well-known young poet shamelessly recited the same verses he had done earlier. Another event had a drama on Kasturba----hope you know who Kasturba was--- and the patience of the audience was tested followed by an interview of Rajmohan Gandhi---you know who Rajmohan Gandhi is? If not refer to the old history books or ask your grandparents.

To all fuel to fire the so-called some handful of community leaders who wants to flaunt their monetary might come forward and offer financial help. It is another story all together as to how these cash-rich community leaders after the end of the event make these organizers come down on their knees pleading for release of remaining funds so that they could pay for the people who organized for the lights, sounds, publicity material, or advertisement. These wealthy community leaders shamelessly hog the lime light, ask for 20-50 seats in the first couple of rows to oblige their friends and business associates and then vanish till the next such Gujarati program is announced.

While it is yet to be confirmed but another shocking aspect of organizing such events is the case of human trafficking. There have been instances in the past with other groups including some religious organizations when people have been brought to New Jersey and then some of them manage to disappear never to be found in this vast country. A case in point is that of a  saint from one of the religious sects came to New Jersey, stayed here for a couple of months and then vanished as a result of which an advertisement had to be put in one of the newspapers to locate this saint.

It is high time this virtual “loot” and fooling of the innocent Gujarati community by these so-called community leaders is stopped and do something creative for Gujarat. These community leaders must by now realize that the state of Gujarat is not that poor economically, socially or morally that it will need the help of the Gujarati community leaders to keep it thriving. Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat.