» News » Ranju Batra sworn in as AIA-New York president

Ranju Batra sworn in as AIA-New York president

By George Joseph
August 02, 2011 03:11 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Community activist Ranju Batra was sworn in as president, Association of Indians in America, New York Chapter, at an event held at the Indian consulate.

Indian Consul General Prabhu Dayal led the swearing-in ceremony.

Founded in 1967, the AIA is the oldest national association of Indians in the United States. It was founded after Congress passed the Immigration Act in 1965-66, repealing the Asian Exclusion Act of 1917.

The AIA-NY is well-known for organising the Diwali festival at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, which attracts thousands of people.

The swearing-in program started with the Indian and American national anthems. Krittika Biswas, a school student who recently filed a case against New York City alleging false arrest, led the Indian anthem.

The American pledge and anthem was led by senior United States Federal District Judge Harold Baer, who was backed up by New York State Supreme Court Justices Deborah Dowling, Larry Knipel, Barry Salman, Martin Schneier, Elaine Slobod, Bruce Tolbert and Ronald Zweibel and Commissioner Alan Croce.

This was followed by remarks by United Nations Assistant Secretary General Lakshmi Puri and her husband, Hardeep Singh Puri, India's permanent representative to the UN.

Those who felicitated Ranju Batra included advocate Bill de Blasio; New York City Comptroller John C Liu; Manjeev Singh Puri, India's deputy permanent representative to the UN; Ken Jenkins, chairman, Westchester Board of Legislators; Wayne Jennings from New Hampshire; and Uma Sengupta.

Blasio called Batra a great friend and a real leader who through her hard work and achievements has helped the Indian-American community earn a high level of respect.

"Ranju has rendered great service to the Indian-American community and India by building a great bridge of friendship between the United States and India," Ambassador Dayal said.

"A very capable woman has been elected to this prestigious post and she is going to bring great creativity, energy and commitment, and all the bright ideas she has for the betterment of the community," said Lakshmi Puri.

"Ravi Batra (Ranju's husband, and an attorney) is a great guy. Actually, his greatness is due to Ranju. Between the two of's like a flash of lightning-creative energy," Hardeep Singh Puri added.

Ranju Batra said, "I want to open AIA to young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow, but who will remember our core tradition of responsibility to family and society... I am proud of Smiti Khanna for starting AIA's flagship program of Diwali at the South Street Seaport. This year, it is on October 2, which happens to be Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. I hope to see you all there."

AIA national executive president Animesh Goenka, executive committee member Divya Shah, past presidents Sushma Kotahwala, Urmilesh Arya, Rajendra Bansal, Smiti Khanna, Arish Sahani and Dr Shashi Shah were also present at the event, which concluded with a ghazal recital by Jasvinder 'Bunty' Singh.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
George Joseph in New York