ANAHEIM, CA – Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis wowed thousands of Indian-Americans on July 3 at the packed Anaheim Convention Center as he greeted them in Marathi and urged them to visit and see the changing Maharashtra. Fadnavis was undoubtedly the star of the four-day 17th Bruhan Maharashtra...
He mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and emphasized that ‘Make in India’ would not succeed unless we embark on ‘Make in Maharashtra.’ He asked American-Maharashtrians to invest in Maharashtra and spoke of how India is young and how it can provide human resources to the entire world as India’s average age is only 25. The chief minister offered 25 per cent discount on packages to those visiting the state through Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to explore what it offers..Fadnavis said, “Maharashtra, which has a rich and diverse culture, has several unexplored scenic tourist centers.”
He mentioned the scenic coastal stretch, the mountains of Sahayadri, the places of pilgrimage and Ajanta and Ellora. He outlined economic and social reforms of his government for ease of doing business and spoke of his vision to make Maharashtra the leading state in India. Lauding the contribution of Maharashtrians in the US, he said, “It feels proud to see how well you have preserved your roots. Each of us must contribute to our janmabhoomi (birth place), karma bhoomi (work place) and matru bhoomi (motherland).”
At the end of his address, the thousands who made up the audience, gave him a standing ovation.
Fadnavis also unveiled the Convention Smaranika,a souvenir book, and a tri- monthly magazine published by the Maharashtra Government -‘ Maharashtra Unlimited.’
Following the address, the audience was entertained by an eye pleasing, impressive ceremony done by hundreds of Los Angeles artists. Subhash Desai – Maharashtra Minister for Industries was also present. He inaugurated the Business Expo, which had several booths put up by various businesses.
Swadhi Kshatriya, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra was also present.
Others who spoke at the Convention included Special Guest Vivek Randive , owner of Sacramento Kings; Convention Convenor Shailesh Shetye and Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal President Sunil Suryawanshi.
Co-Convenors of the Convention were Ajay Dandekar and Sanjeev Kuwadekar.
The opening ceremony on July 2 began with national anthems of America, Canada and India in that order.
Hundreds of local artists presented a Swagat Geet which made for an very grand opening ceremony.
Though it was a 4- day convention, the first day , July 2 was the pre- conference day which consisted of various business related seminars. A business plan competition also took place. Main speakers were well known cricket commentator Harsha Bhogale and his wife Anita Bhogale. Many well accomplished American Marathi business people took part.
The program also included Continuing Medical Education for doctors. ‘La Cinema,’ was a panel discussion for the movie industry with well known Marathi film stars along with Indian-Americans in Hollywood such as the ‘Outsourced’ team . ‘Uttar – Ranga’ was a conference for seniors 55+ focusing on elderly Indian in the US who have their unique set of problems.
The opening day ended with a banquet which included two entertainment shows, ‘Jaduchi Peti’ an amazing show highlighting the power of the harmonium, followed by a fashion show by Shekhar Rahate, a well known Hollywood fashion designer who belongs to Maharashtra. At the end of the day the original cast from India who included Shashank Ketkar, Mangesh Kadam and Leena Bhagawat, presented ‘Goshta Tashi Gamatichi.’
Various cultural programs peppered the second day, July 3 as well. There were programs for all age groups. Natya Sangeet and Classical music to speed dating, writers workshop among others. The day ended with an amazon Rock Concert by well known Marathi singers Avadhoot Gupte and Vaishali Samant which was greatly enjoyed by all - especially the young . This was undoubtedly a highlight of the convention. Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal awards were presented to accomplished Indian- Americans of Maharashtrian origin just before this concert.
The third day , July 4, began with ‘Sa Re Ga Ma,’ a music competition on the lines of the Zee TV program. Avadhoot Gupte, Vaishali Samant and well known singer and disciple of Bhimsen Joshi - Anand Bhate (known as Anand Gandharva) were judges. Vibhuti Kavishwar won the competition while Narendra Kulkarni came in second and Aditi Kane, third.
The highlight of the closing ceremony was a comedy show ‘Lagna Pahave Karun.’ Many well known Marathi TV artists participated.
The official sponsor for the Convention was Excellence Shelters.