Indian Cultural Center achieves a key milestone.
Indian Cultural Center (ICC) took a key step towards center’s “A dream becoming a reality” on the auspicious day of Sharad Purnima when they performed Bhoomi Pujan and broke ground for constructions to begin shortly. On October 3, a renowned group of priests including Mr. Haren Dave, Mr. Mahesh Dixit, Mr. Bhupendra Shukla and Mr. Ghanshyam Dave lead the Hindu religious rituals at the sacred site. As the chants became louder the sprinkles of rain showered the site as if the God is acknowledging the prayers and blessed us for this eagerly awaited and anticipated project.
Over 400 people including donors, community members and invited guests attended this ceremony at the ICC site on 820 Route 73 south, about 1 mile North of Kresson Road in Evesham Township. Recent downpours of rain, cloudy skies and the threat of thundershowers did not dampen the spirit of everyone joining at the site. The moment people started to walk through a well decorated and welcoming gate of ICC, everyone felt the liveliness in the environment and they all joined in festive environment. Appropriately, Mr. Ghanshyam Dave said, “he felt vibrations at the site the moment he arrived there for the first time,” and added, “This site is meant to be a place for us to preserve, nourish and advance our Indian culture, heritage, religious values and social values."
Despite facing multiple challenges of hosting such a big event at a construction site, under leadership of Dr. Dhiraj Panda the event was a well planned, appropriately executed and it was a largely successful event. As the guests arrived, they were directed to appropriate parking spaces by the team of volunteers lead by Mr. Lalit Patel and Mr. Preveen Garg. They were later escorted in the vans to the site where cheery youths from the community welcomed them. The guests were given outline of event, briefed about the project and recommended to observe the ICC model prepared by Mr. Narendra Amin. The youth team led by Komal Patel made sure all the guests received all the information they need. Dr. Panda said, “For so many of us who have toiled arm in arm for countless hours over almost two decades to realize our dream of building a cultural center in our area, this day marks dawn of the new era."
Rina Patel, Treasurer and a ICC Board of Trustee acknowledged many families and organizations who has come forward to support ICC and thanked them for their pledges which amounts to about half of what needed to completely finance this project. She also appealed to those who are standing on the sidelines to search their hearts and find a way to become a donor participant and have ownership in this center. She added, “Today marks a key milestone toward that end as we turn the page in the next chapter. I want to thank you all for being a part of our celebrations today. I know that you know how important it is that we pass on to the succeeding generations the legacy that is uniquely ours. So I speak to you with a heart of expectation and belief in the coming generations that they will make the world a better place than it is today. I believe with every fiber of my being that the new center will play a key part toward that end."
While addressing the gathering invited guest Honorable Congressman Rob Andrews spoke of the long journey to have a cultural center and the positive impact the Indian community brings to the region. Congressman said "This is a day of celebration for all communities in our wonderful country of USA. When one community prospers all communities thrive. When one community suffers our entire nation suffers." He reminded of struggle Indian community and other immigrants faced and suffered. He then congratulated Evesham Township leaders and board for welcoming ICC to the town. Congressman further said, "This is a great day as we break ground and begin a process of building a living monument through the contributions of this community. I hope that through the years the grandchildren and their children will come here to learn the richness of the past. I am more hopeful and more optimistic that they will visit this place and learn their glorious future that you and this community will build for USA. America is strong because we are diverse." While offering his heartfelt congratulations to the ICC Boars for this achievement Congressman concluded by saying, "I look forward to return here many times in future to celebrate the highlights and successes for the years to come."
NJ State Assemblyman Scott Rudder presented The Senate and General Assembly of State of New Jersey joint legislative resolution stating, "The groundbreaking ceremony represents the culmination of an extensive planning process, which has brought to fruition only through the extraordinary labors and efforts of a number of devoted people whose commitment to the project has been evidenced by their service and leadership within the community." He presented this proclamation to Mr. Sailesh Chaudhary, a Board of Trustee of ICC.
Dr. Dhiraj Panda recognized contributions of all towards fulfilling the dream especially Mrs. Kirti & Dr. Prahlad Patel and their family, for donating this beautiful piece of property for the community that literally supports our dream. Dr. Panda concluded, "The work has just begun. Yes, the dawn is breaking, the daylight is streaming, but the dream will remain only a dream, unless we come together and share the responsibility to get the edifice here where stand today."
These speeches were followed by groundbreaking where the invited guests, the donors, Board of Trustees and community members proudly displayed their hard hats and shovels ready to work hard so next year we can come here not under a tent but in the well planned building. "We wouldnt be breaking ground today without the support of the entire Indian community and we are eagerly waiting the day we open our doors to all of South Jersey," said Dr. Manu Dadhania who is heading the fundraising of ICC. "Finally we will have our place that can be called our own."
Manju Goel who has lived in Southern New Jersey for 36 years, summarized her emotions and said,
"When I first came to this country, I thought that maybe one day I would have my own house. It was something I dreamed of often." She continued, "At the ICC groundbreaking, tears came to my eyes as I thought that my own house was being built. The dedication of the entire community and ICC leaders showed true spirit and commitment towards this great project. Our dream is coming true." Mrs. Goel truly spoke to the emotions of many in the community.
After everyone was treated with a sumptuous lunch donated by Rajbhog foods of Cherry Hill, the event concluded amongst very high spirits as everyone was escorted back to their cars in chauffeured vans. Please visit our website www.iccofsj.org for information and call any one of the committee members to get involved as we take this historic journey to the finish line.