Optimism Rules at Indo-Pak Unity Day in Milpitas
By Ras H. Siddiqui

A new group in the Bay Area called the Open Hearts Indo-Pak Initiative (OHIPI.ORG) held what can be termed as a “one of a kind” joint India-Pakistan Independence Day celebration at the India Community Center in Milpitas on August 11 th, a week before the usual and very large and separate gatherings which are planned by each community at various cities throughout the US to celebrate August 14 th and 15 th , the independence days of Pakistan and India.

This show was spearheaded by Deepaa Thakor and Rizwan Elahi plus his wife Zilehuma along with a number of friends and it certainly lived up to its expectations. Show sponsors were Imtiaz Ahmed CPA, Naeem Akram, Naeem Wahab, Shalimar, Harmesh Kumar and Zulki Khan. Over 300 Pakistanis and Indians joined together to celebrate their commonality for a change, through music, fashion and cuisine. It was certainly a pleasant Desihungama.  

The event started around noontime with free admission with cultural entertainment, food booths and vendors selling Desi fashions (It was the first weekend after Eid so festivities were certainly in the air). The ticketed part began at around 6:00 PM, the first segment emceed by Smitha Deepak and Vishal Kapoor, which included dances by the “Nach K Dekh”, and fashions by various collections (Ateka, Vama, Ravi, and special independent children’s , i.e. Mom’s collection). The interval was dinner catered by Shalimar Restaurant, which was followed by more dances and a very popular Bridal fashion segment by Malabis Couture. This segment ended with an “Item Number” which included Deepak Arora playing actor Salman Khan.

The live singing finale was introduced by Aditi Chadha and it was certainly very well done. Featuring an array of local talent including Parminder Guri, Seema Varma, Assad Waince, Alka Bhatnagar, Mandeep Singh and Arif Rizvi, the show also included Urdu and Punjabi poetry by Farooq Taraz.

To conclude, the organizers of this show need to be encouraged and congratulated for their optimism in putting it on. The LOC in Kashmir is hot again but the hearts of many Indian and Pakistani Americans long for peace and humanity to prevail. The song sung by Parminder Guri at this show pretty much sums it all. “Mein Na Hindu Na Musalman, Mujhe Jeenay Do.”

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