AHIA celebrates 20 years of service

By Subhashini Channa

It was a proud and memorable moment indeed for AHIA (Australian Hindi Indian Association) when the past Presidents, the present committee members and the members of this Association, gathered together for an evening of dinner and entertainment to celebrate a milestone event in the history of AHIA, 20 years of its service to Hindi and Punjabi speaking community in Sydney. The day was Saturday 15th November 2014 and the venue, Sapphire Function Centre, Auburn.

The very name AHIA conjures up dedication, devotion and service to the Hindi and Punjabi speaking Indian community. The tremendous work done by all the volunteers over the years has contributed to where AHIA stands today. Many felt that this spirit of voluntary service will take it to greater heights.

The Founder President, Mr Chander Khanna, said that AHIA was formed in 1994 by like minded individuals to provide a forum where members of Hindi and Punjabi speaking community could interact with one another and celebrate Indian festivals together. He feels that since times have changed, so have the needs and AHIA should incorporate more activities relevant to the changing times, such as Senior Club for social activities and Indian community’s retirement living at one place and meeting social, medical and other needs.

AHIA is a non-profit ,non-political and non-religious organisation. It had three main objectives ”“ promote cultural activities, promote social and welfare activities and promoting awareness of Indian traditions to Government organisations or similar associations. Its Senior Citizen Forum, which has grown enormously over the years, is a great success. As the founding Convener and Co-ordinator of Seniors Forum, Dr Rakesh Sachdev says, this wing was formed to encourage increased socialisation to combat isolation and loneliness, assist them to remain physically and mentally healthy, provide information about their rights and privileges, helping them to understand Australian way of life and also provide emotional support to those convalescing in hospitals and nursing homes. He stated that AHIA will be starting counselling services for senior members and are planning to use Dementia Day Care Services facilities soon.

Mr Sant Ram Bajaj summed it up by saying that AHIA cares not only about its members but others in need too and is known for its services to the seniors and elderly.

The program was hosted by Mrs Omila Bir and Mr Rajiv Chaturvedi. Their presentation added colour to the evening. Their ”˜Shayari” was perfect for the occasion and entertained the guests. Our kudos goes to the two wonderful emcees.

Following the Indian tradition of propitiating Lord Ganesha on an auspicious occasion the program began with Ganesha Vandana.

The whole atmosphere, the elated mood of the members, the soft music, the decor, the cumulative effect was indeed mesmerising.

Mr Tilak Kalra, the current President of AHIA, in his Welcome speech, acknowledged the contributions of all his predecessors. He assured that with the support of his great team he will take AHIA further ahead. He emphasised the need to induct younger members of the community and stated that all members should make a concerted effort to participate in all activities of the Association as it belonged to them.

The whole atmosphere was full of gaiety and laughter. Ladies were dressed in their fineries and men in their formal attires. The atmosphere had a semblance of an extended family getting together to celebrate. Such was the feeling of all present.This togetherness, oneness, feeling of camaraderie is what makes AHIA strong. It contributes to the sense of faith that it has a great future in continuing to serve the Indian community.

All the Presidents, past and present, wished AHIA a great future and a special cake for the occasion was cut by Mr Chander Khanna, the Founder President.

Dancers from Swastika Dance School provided scintillating and vibrant dances which enthralled the audience. Many guests could not hold back and joined them on the dance floor.

The evening was enlivened by Mr Vinod Rajput who enthralled one and all with his beautiful rendering of songs from yesteryears, in his melodious voice, which has a unique richness. Chants of ”˜Encore, encore’, filled the hall and a multitude of dancing feet tapped the floor with gusto to his rhythmic music. The DJ provided popular music till late. Delicious food was enjoyed by all.

A vote of thanks was presented by Mr Jagdish Dua, Secretary, AHIA. He thanked the sponsors, Commonwealth Bank of Australia for their continued support, and Dr Tej Dugal and Dr Pradnya Dugal of Imaging Centre, Mr Vinod Rajput for his whole hearted support to AHIA, Mrs Omila Bir & Mr Rajiv Chaturvedi for hosting the evening, Mr Hussan Jay for     videographing the whole event, all those involved in bringing out the souvenir especially Mr Sant Ram Bajaj and Mr Vipin Dogra and the management of Sapphire Function Centre.    

Thus, the celebrations of 20 years of AHIA culminated with promising visions of the future.

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