LOS ANGELES: Shivaji Maharaj America Parivaar (SMAP) celebrated 344th Rajyabhishek (coronation) Anniversary of Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on Friday June 8, 2018. The event took place in Himalayan Cuisine, Artesia, CA and was attended by over 200 people.
The event started with snacks and networking from 7:30 pm to 8 pm. Dr. Jose Fierro, President of Cerritos College, Mrs. Fierro and Dr. Manohar Shinde, founder of Dharma Civilization Foundation along with the event organizing community lit the lamp to start the event. The lamp lighting ceremony was followed by American and Indian National Anthem. Smt. Sangeeta Kopalkar mesmerized the audience with her melodious voice. She had come from San Francisco to perform special coronation and inspirational songs. Prior to this event, Ms. Kopalkar has successfully completed World Tours in over 30 countries performing long side A-grade artists like Sonu Nigam.
Chetan Manohar, emcee of the evening then called Shri Vijay Patil on stage. Mr. Patil started with chanting “Jai Bhavani Jai Shivaji” slogans with the attendees. He extended his warm welcome to all and thanked the audience for their overwhelming response. The event was sold out in 8 days before the event date, before any advertisement appeared in the newspapers. He gave the credit for that to the ‘respect and devotion’ people have towards the great Indian National Hero, Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj pointing to the elegant backdrop of his Royal picture on stage, which was designed by Artist Pooja Thomre from San Diego. He described numerous qualities of Shivaji Maharaj – leadership, management, strategy, visionary, and more notably, his founding of Hindavi Swarajya (a State created by the People for the People) over 380 years ago. Mr Patil claimed that Shivaji Maharaj believed that the kingdom belonged to the “people” and he was just an administrator of it. He developed a merit-based society where there were equal rights to all citizen regardless of where they came from — sex (Male/Female), Religion, Race or Caste. The coronation ceremony sent a message to the world 344 years ago that people’s kingdom can be strong and prosperous.
“SMAP nurtures the philosophy of Shri Shivaji Maharaj and promotes the values that he represented”, said Mr. Patil. The organization is primarily engaged in spreading the ‘Unity and Leadership’ lessons learned from the Legendary Life of Shri Shivaji Maharaj that can be applied in today’s world. “We’d like to identify and create the kind of leaders in US who will support the cause of Unity”, he continued. He also described four key objectives of the organization – (1) build a network of leaders (2) promote initiatives that unite people (3) help people who are less fortunate to bring equality and provided special emphasize on the last one (4) build a Leadership Center. “We would like to build Shivaji Leadership Center in Los Angeles with an elegant/inspiring status of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj” said Mr Patil in his closing remarks “We need your support in achieving this objective”. He requested the audience to read through the brochure that was distributed to them.
Next, Anshuman Sinha introduced Dr. Jose Fierro to the audience who welcomed the audience and described his views on the leadership. “A leader works for the community at large and it’s not the other way around” he said. He was thankful to SMAP for inviting him as a Chief Guest at this celebration.
Ms. Vasundhara Pawar then introduced Guests of Honor to the audience – Mannohar Shinde, Dr Seema Hanamsagar, Sanjay Shah, Arun Bhumitra and other community leaders. She also recognized the Nepali community leaders who were present at the event and thanked all the sponsors for their generous support. “To further the noble cause of promoting Unity & Leadership, we need your generous support”, Ms. Pawar appealed to the audience and concluded by saying, “The Leadership Center will inspire many generations of Indian Americans to come”.
Emcee then called Shri Jagdish Gaikwad and Milind Nandedkar to present Chhatrapati Legacy Awards to Dr. Gopal Marathe and Shri Ashok Madan, for their excellent contribution in Arts/Culture and Community Organization respectively. Chief Guest Dr. Jose Fierro honored them with the awards. The awards were followed by inspirational songs on Shivaji Maharaj by celebrity singer Smt. Sangeeta Kopalkar.
Internationally acclaimed artist, Dr. Sinduri Jaysinghe, founder of Savithri Arts Academy then captivated the audience with a state-of-the art dance drama on Shivaji Maharaj. She depicted the handing over of Bhawani Talwar by Goddess Bhawani to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which was then used to destroy the evil and create people’s kingdom that offered, safety, security and prosperity to its citizen. This was the first dance drama of its kind on Shivaji Maharaj ever presented in USA. Pin drop silence and goosebumps/tiers experienced by some members of the audience was a testimony of the outstanding presentation.
This was followed by a speech by Aparna Hade on Rajmata Jijabai, mother of Shri Shivaji Maharaj. She explained the importance of Rajmata Jijabai in shaping the life and values of Shri Shivaji Maharaj. “The modern women need to take lesson from the history and raise their kids in dignity and self-respect”, she concluded, “It starts with the Mother. Simple things like calling your son Raje (a king), will inspire him to become a true king/leader one day”. The message that really resonated with audience.
Next, Mr. Abhay Hanamsagar provided eye-opening accounts of the historical Panipat War. He shared the map of Hindavi Swarajya and the details on Panipat war. He suggested that the world map might have looked different if the warriors who were fighting a war to defend Swarajya (People’s Kingdom) had shown some unity. “The lessons of Unity are equally applicable in today’s world” he emphasized, ”Invaders of India were successful in their Divide & Rule strategy because there was a lack of unity among the community”. This 8-minute jaw-dropping speech took the audience on a historical tour and brought it back to the present making them realize the value of Unity and Leadership in today’s world.
Mr Hanamsagar’s speech was followed by an inspiring speech on Sivaji Maharaj’s Leadership skills by Omkar Katre, a student in middle school who was accompanied by two elementary school children, Eshan Patil and Om Patil as his fellow Mavalas (solders). In his short speech, Omkar described Shivaji Maharaj as a Great, Heroic, and Inspiring Legend and concluded that he would remain a source of Inspiration and Pride for many generations!
Two classical dances by Shankara Dance Academy and Rangashree academy kept the audience engaged in the theme of Unity and Leadership. Vijay Patil thanked the audience for their two hours of patience and active engagement. The event was concluded after a sumptuous dinner.
The feedback from the attendees was very positive. This function was the first of its kind so, some attendees did not know what to expect when they arrived at the event. “We were pleasantly surprised to see such an inspirational program” said Dhaval Patel, one of the attendees, “a great storyline, intellectually stimulating speeches and world-class performances kept the audience engaged for over 2 hours! It was an unbelievable show, very motivating! we need more events like this to create positive community spirit”.
The organizing committee included — Ashutosh Khisti, Jagdish Gaikwad, Dr. Sinduri, Vasu Pawar, Aparna Hande, Milind Nandedkar, Anshuman Sinha, Satish Mandavgade, PK Nayak, Ramesh Ramnani, Vilas Jadhav, Vijay Patil and many other members of SMAP.
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