On March 7th IAGB had a strong gathering at the IAGB Civic Engagement discussion forum. The panel was well informed and shared valuable information in regards to town governance and about the opportunities to participate and get involved in civic engagement duties. IAGB along with many other partner organizations were getting prepared for our next significant event - the Visa Camp by hosting CGNY and CKGS. on March 21st but we had to postpone for time being. Before the decision to move the date was made we had received 875 RSVPs for this event. As of now we are hoping that we will be able to keep our future events as planned for the dates advertised but stay tuned.
In this issue, you will find:
  • Civic Engagement Forum A Report - Prag Singh
  • From the Director's Corner – Sushil Motwani
  • Spotlight – Saroj Madhani-Savani (President) and Ramila Thakkar of GURJAR
  • Guest Column – Aashna Miharia
  • IAGB Upcoming events
  • IAGB Recent events
  • IAGB Sponsors
  • Our Media Partners

Like always, we invite you to submit guest columns on diverse topics for inclusion in the newsletter. Your feedback and suggestions and welcome!! Please contact via Email if you wish to make community event announcements through this newsletter.

Please visit our Website to sign up for annual family/single or life membership of IAGB. Contact Us if you are interested to volunteer at our upcoming events.

  • May 2020: IAGB Run (Date and other details will be announced soon)
  • Jun 2020: IAGB SeniorFest (Date and other details will be announced soon)
  • Aug 15th, 2020: India Day

As we grind through the quarantine days in the most unexpected turn of events, lets all follow the rules in spirit and the letter. No socializing, and not stepping out except for necessity and emergency. Hold your family together. Take care of the elderly. Check up on your friends regularly. We will all come out of these uncertain times and will learn to appreciate all our freedoms that much more.

The  United States Census of 2020  will be the twenty-fourth  United States Census .
National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, will be April 1, 2020. [1]  This is the first  U.S.  census to offer options to respond online or by phone

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a  census  be taken every 10 years  to count  all people— both citizens and noncitizens —living in the United States. An accurate  count  of the population is required by law and serves as the basis for fair political representation. This is the first time Indian-Americans can identify their race as Asian Indian and get counted. The process of filling up the census takes less than 10 minutes.

-- Yogita Miharia & Sanjay Kudrimoti

IAGB Civic Engagement Forum on March 07, 2020 - A Report
-- Prag Singh
What happens when you ask people to ignore the big news cycle and look close to your home/town? A very meaningful conversation occurs, with over 40 participants, about where our tax dollars are going, how our children’s needs are getting addressed in local school systems and above all, how can we have a voice in this multiracial community as an Indian American, or as IAGB likes to call it, initiation of “coupling”.
In a discussion that started by looking back at the history and timeline of one of the major new housing development projects (that has put Indian American community in the middle of rising population in metro west), the lessons were shared and a hope to create new paths for similar such initiatives was desired by one and all. And all of this urges the Indian American community to get right at the center of the “decision making” process.
A panel, carefully selected, to take a deep dive on tax issues, to address the fact that this community has a huge population that always has some or other excuse (justified or not) for not participating in local governance, to finally have someone (and an organization) that is ready to take this baton of getting Indian Americans involved in the decision making process at local level. This group was also chosen to represent the two key forms of town governance, namely open and representative. The overall theme represented how our community can successfully collaborate internally first and externally later to form a cohesive bond of people and make its presence felt.
Among many other topics covered from how best to participate in your own town governance to getting tax payers of Indian origins with no current voting rights (people on visa), attendees were also keen to know more about how best to be involved with town and how can they actively play a role in those decision makings. A lot of enthusiasm was shared across topics like how the school budget is decided and how commercial taxes (in this case new residential development) help the town keep personal taxes low. How much time a person needs to take out to be actively involved in town garnered a lot of responses and interests both from the panelists and the participants. 
An engaging discussion took place on the fact that as a community, Indian Americans, are clearly lacking in bringing their strength to the table. This has been a recurring theme whether it is a local election or an election for State or Federal government.
A grass root movement (“Coupling”) at local town level was picked up as a best stepping stone to create a larger and cohesive presence of community.
--- Prag Singh

Indian Consular Camp - Postponed

COVID-19 – Corona Virus Information from IAGB
-- Sushil Motwani

Fellow Readers:
In today’s world, news and information are delivered in so many ways, that it is impossible and overwhelming to keep track of information that is relevant and important for future references.
The year 20 20 has brought us a new world problem – the spread of the Corona Virus – COVID-19 as it is medically termed as. Searching information from Google, again leads to more websites and channels that can be overwhelming and confusing. Let us not use “WhatsApp” / Instant-Messaging or websites which may provide us false information as our central source of information. Also, beware of Coronavirus phishing / spam – hackers are using the pandemic as a bait to get your personal credentials. Do not click on emails, if you are unsure of the source. Attentiveness and knowledge are your two best tools. Look carefully to spot wrong addresses, misspelled domains, URLs with misleading labels, and other signs.

How does one get the information they are looking for?
The list provided below will give you an index of the information related to COVID-19. We promise “not” to bore you with the same information like “Wash your hands” or “Keep Social Distancing”, that you probably already have heard many times now. Instead we would like to direct you to the right source of information about the disease.

What exactly is #flattenthecurve? – Flatten the Curve ? Flattening the curve refers to community isolation measures that keep the daily number of disease cases at a manageable level for medical providers.
What are the symptoms for COVID-19? Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
·          Fever
·          Cough
·          Shortness of breath

Image: ©CDC

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
·          Trouble breathing
·          Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
·          New confusion or inability to arouse
·          Bluish lips or face
If you feel that you may have been exposed to someone who has the COVID-19 or are experiencing the above symptoms, how can I get tested? https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/
·          Go to clinics instead of crowded large facilities.
·          Fees: Testing and Treatments are free.
If confirmed, home isolation for 14 days, please help stop spreading COVID-19.


Information of everything related to COVID-19

CDC - 10 Things that you could do to manage COVID-19 at Home

WHO - How to protect yourself against COVID-19

WHO - YouTube Channel

CDC - YouTube Channel



Website created by 17-year old in Seattle - collects data from CDC and WHI
Information about Corona Virus outbreak in India
First Generation Chinese immigrants in the United States - Real-Time Tracker for COVID-19 in USA and Canada

-- Sushil Motwani
Our community spotlight this month is on the Gujrati organization in the New England Area – GURJAR.

We spoke with Gurjar's President Mrs. Saroj Madhani-Savani and a veteran of Gurjar Mrs. Ramila Thakkar.
Saroj Madhani-Savani
Mrs. Ramila Thakkar
Gurjar is at its best under the Leadership of Women President ” – Dr.Dinesh Patel
There have been 9 female Presidents of Gurjar.

IAGB: Tell us about Gurjar, its history and its EC structure.
Gurjar: A small group of Guajarati folks used to meetup for garba, something very essential to all of them. They rented the basement of a church and danced to their hearts content. Food used to be potluck style. The discussion to start Gurjar started in 1976 after the garba was attended by almost 150 people. That is when the need for an organization became clear, which would reach out to people staying in the suburbs. In a meeting in Dec 1976, the decision to create an organization was taken. Gurjar was officially formed as a non-profit in Apr 1977. A care taker committee took charge when it was formed. Eventually they came up with an EC structure, which is made up of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and 10 Directors, term of whom is 2 years. The elections happen at the General Body Meeting in May. As of now, Gurjar memberships are life memberships. Membership gives discounted tickets for all events hosted by Gurjar. In addition, every member family child gets a $500 scholarship upon High School graduation. Gurjar has been doing this since 1977. In January, annual newsletter in print is sent to every member.

IAGB: How did the name Gurjar come?
Gurjar: Vinod Shah, one of the founding member and the first president of the officially formed Gurjar He came up with the name. at a time, he was Reading Gujarati novel “Saraswatichandra” This novel had profound influence on Gujarat.in this novel he came across word “Gurjar “and this how we got our name

IAGB: What is the mission of Gurjar? 
Gurjar: We have 3 major goals – spread the culture, inspire education and do charity.

IAGB: Tell us about your events. Which one is your flagship event?
Gurjar: We host a multitude of events every year. In January to March timeframe, we typically bring Gujarati movies and/or Gujarati or Hindi dramas. Towards the end of March, we host events like Bollywood bash or Casino night, mainly to attract the young members. These are our fundraiser events as well. In May, we do a talent show. Sometimes we use that time to do competitions, like a few years ago we did a Super Moms Dance competition. After that is our India Heritage Day, which is an outdoor all-day event in Lowell. It was attended by almost 5000 people last year. Sept/Oct is our garba event, and it needs no description. The most popular event of Gurjar. November is our Diwali banquet, which is attended by all our old timers, and boasts of a live band/musician from India. that prior to the Diwali formal banquet, The banquet has been happening since 1993 and is a grand formal event. Before 1993 Diwali celebrations were done in church halls and school cafeterias Both garba and Diwali can be called our flagship events, because of the demand and attendance.

IAGB: Where do you see your organization in the next five years?
Gurjar: As we step into a new decade, my committee and I would like to see Gurjar growing into an organization fully supported by the youngster. Our goal is to recruit and involve the youth and give them the feel of our heritage, that would empower them to instill the same love for Indian culture in their children. Secondly stay connected with all the other regional associations of Indian origin, because unity is power

IAGB: What are some of the other initiatives of your organization? 
Gurjar: We do a lot of charity. We have donated to various organizations like EKAL, ICC, Akshay Patra, WCC, Shishubharti, Desai Foundation to name a few. We also donate to causes depending on the need, like Nepal earthquake, Florida hurricane, Kutch earthquake. We had raised $350K for Kutch earthquake and there was zero administrative cost for raising this amount. Gurjar has also adopted villages in Kutch. We work mostly with local charities, but focus our efforts in India when there is a major calamity. From time to time, we approach organizations when a calamity happens to see if we can help.

IAGB: What are some of the challenges?
Gurjar: Biggest challenge is bringing the young generation to the organization and involving youth in the events. Thus, we do events like Bollywood bash, Casino night, etc. We are also working on a plan to revive the youth club, that will attract young members and involve them. We want to enable them to organize their own events and do community work together.

IAGB: Tell us about your experience as a President of Gurjar.
Gurjar:  I have been in the Gurjar committee for 10 plus years, Under my leadership we have had sold out events like India Heritage Festival, Two Navratri Nights and Diwali Event
Have been very fortunate and feel blessed to have such a supporting committee and the loyalty and well wishes of Gurjar members, friends and the past committee members.

IAGB: Tell us about yourself.
Ms. Saroj Madhani: Being in love with music, dance, drama and culture, I have been involved in various cultural activities throughout my life. I grew up in Mumbai, India in a Jain Gujarati-Marwari (Savani) family. I received my business degree from University of Mumbai and Purdue University. I have participated in many garba competitions and performance on TV. I was actively involved with drama club in college. I participated in many inter-college drama competitions and won medals for my acting. Being culturally inclined, I immediately got interested in various religious and community organizations after moving to USA in 1989. I have volunteered with India circle of caring (ICC), Jain Center of Greater Boston (JCGB) and Jain Center of New England (JSNE) for community service, cooking for events and choreographing dances. Promoting the Gujarati culture has been close to my heart and I have been involved with Gujar since 2010. My professional experience is primarily in Banking industry for 24years. I love to read, travel and dance to any music. My family is my strength - my son Aashay Madhani and husband Vipin Madhani.
Ms. Ramila Thakkar: I grew up in Shillong, current capital of Meghalaya, India. I migrated to the US in 1972 with my husband, Praful. I am a core member of the finance team at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, since 1984. I have always been passionate about community service and have been involved for over 36 years, first 10 years at Shishu Bharati and then Gurjar-Gujarati Association of NE, for the last 25 years, I am currently on the advisory board of Saheli. I am an avid reader my strength lies in my communication and organizational skills. I have lived in the Boston area for over 48 years and what I value most about community services is the bonds formed and the strong camaraderie’s shared, and each and every individual in some way has contributed to my personal growth.
My personal quote: “Blessed are those, who have true friends.”

Visit  https://www.gurjar.org/ to learn more about Gurjar.


Combining My Cultures: Growing Up as a First-Generation Indian American
-- Aashna Miharia
Growing up as a first-generation Indian American can be very tough. From the day that you are born, there are two completely different cultures being hurled at you from every angle. At a very young age, you must understand that most of the children that surround you every day, including your closest friends, do not have the same cultural experiences as you do. As a kid, seeing different people who accentuate different parts of your upbringing at different times can be very confusing and hard to comprehend. Figuring out where you fit in between the two seemingly opposite worlds can feel like an impossible challenge. Growing up with this underlying pressure to find where you fit results in many Indian American kids to feel alienated and alone.
When I was younger, around ages seven to nine years old, I struggled a lot with feeling very out of place, and like I didn’t belong where I was. A lot of these feelings can be credited to the unequal balance of kids of different backgrounds at my public school. Being the only brown kid in a class of twenty children was not, and still isn't, an uncommon scenario for me. Whenever there was another kid who looked like me, I noticed myself feeling more comfortable and less alone. Over several years, I slowly learned that my classmates and I didn’t have as much in common as they seemed to have with each other. It was the little details, like the shock of realizing that the people I talked to daily didn’t eat Indian food for dinner; in fact, many hadn’t even tried it! It was also the bigger things, like wishing someone “Happy Diwali!” and receiving looks of judgment and confusion from my fellow third graders. That situation, in particular, was eye-opening, for I couldn’t wrap my head around why everyone seemed to know when Christmas was, but nobody knew that Diwali, this holiday that was so incredibly important to my family and our culture, even existed! 
I have always adored visiting India for so many reasons. I love seeing and spending time with my extended family, eating the amazing food, and expanding my knowledge of this side of my culture with every visit. However, when I was younger, a big factor of my excitement to go was that I thought that I would finally feel like I truly belonged somewhere. If I didn’t feel that way in the U.S., I was bound to feel that way in India, right? But, I realized pretty early in life that that was not the case. In America, it is easy to feel as if the Indian in me sticks out like a sore thumb: noticeable, and unable to be ignored. But when I’m in India, I feel more American than ever before, for it’s very obvious I don’t understand parts of the culture that are supposed to be common knowledge. Experiencing this excitement only to be disappointed time and time again left me badly struggling with feeling as if I was lost and questioning who I was when I was just eight years old. I hated that I was so obviously different for something that I couldn’t control. Although not me personally, these types of feelings can lead to many Indian American kids to begin to despise their cultural background at a young age. 
For a long time, trying to understand my background made me feel like a round peg in a square hole. I didn’t feel completely Indian, but I didn’t feel completely American either, so what was I? Why didn’t I feel like I fit perfectly in place in either country? It took years before I truly comprehended that it was perfectly okay to be both Indian and American, and that although I might not be able to see it, everyone around me was a blend of several different cultures as well.
Although growing up as a first-generation Indian American has its struggles, there are so many reasons why I would not choose a different upbringing for the world. Whether first-generation Americans realize it or not, it is such a blessing to have the opportunity to grow up with such a unique blend of cultural experiences, and being able to perceive life from two different perspectives from the minute you open your eyes for the first time. Once I finally did begin to learn where I belonged and how to blend my two cultures, I was so much happier, as I could enjoy the best of both worlds. I do not doubt that with time and age, I will continue to work on finding the perfect balance between my Indian and American sides, and eventually create a perfect harmony. I love my heritage so much and am forever grateful that my parents were able to bring their Indian culture into the country that I call home. Every single one of our differences, whether in race, religion, or other, are to be celebrated, not avoided.

Aashna Miharia
Aashna is a freshman at Winchester High School and loves to read and write, and hopes to become a renowned writer some day.
IAGB upcoming Events
Hotstar (Star TV India) which is now part of The Walt Disney Company. Hotstar is the biggest streaming destination in India with 300 Mn users and the leading South Asian platform in the US. We have the best of Indian Entertainment,MoviesWeb Series, regional content and Sports including the IPL and Cricket World Cup. The purpose of this email was to reach out to understand how we could work with the Indian community at your workplace. We have built our reach in the US through community connects such as Cricket fests, match screenings, comedy fest etc.
Currently Streaming
Live Cricket Match INDIA V Newzeland
Hotstar Specials- Out of Love
Showing Master Chef India
Movies- Housefull 4 and Arjun Reddy
Everything in one Platform Don’t Miss the Excitement.
Now Subscribe Using Promo Code IAGBSTAR for special discount.
Newyork Life Insurance Company
At the heart of New York Life is a commitment to be there for the customers when they need -whether today or decades into the future. NY Life has delivered on that promise for nearly 175 years by investing wisely, growing a diversified mix of businesses, and remaining true to the mission as a mutual company, accountable only to their customers, not to outside investors.
People come to work at New York Life to contribute to the financial goals of millions of families and businesses each day. NY Life has a diverse, nationwide workforce that allows them to support the communities where we work. New York Life has a dedicated South Asian Unit for the past 20 years.
At BMW of Sudbury, a Herb Chambers Company, we don't believe in providing the same old dealership experience, and we aren't interested in sticking to the status quo. We are committed to satisfying our customers' every automotive need, and we strive to create the kind of environment that they'll want to share with others. Come to this Massachusetts BMW dealer and you will find a wealth of chic and well-designed vehicles for your consideration. Browse our new 2018-2019 inventory and you'll find a large selection of  new BMW  models, including the ever-popular BMW X5 SAV®, BMW 3 Series sedan and BMW i8 coupe. We also have plenty of well-kept  used BMW  models for budget-conscious shoppers to browse, as well as trustworthy Certified Pre-Owned BMW vehicles. 
Indian Circle for Caring USA Inc., (ICC) is a volunteer non-profit organization focused on providing urgent or emergency guidance and support for our fellow community members and their families as they may encounter unplanned and unexpected events such as serious sickness, hospitalization, accidents, family crisis, and death / bereavement of a loved one. Started in August 2007, ICC has been actively building awareness in the community by working with existing social, religious, professional, services, media and other organizations as well as participation at various events. ICC has over 5,500 members and has received support of over sixty (60) organizations. In order to provide needed support to its clients ICC has built a bank of over 250 volunteers and established strategic partnership with several organizations.
Editors: Sanjay Kudrimoti & Yogita Miharia
IAGB Communications