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2013 India House Gala: Celebration of My House, Your House, Our House

Consul General of India P. Harish (left) with India House benefactor Swatantra Jain, India House President Jugal Malani and India House trustee Durga Agrawal. Photos: Bijay Dixit.

Consul General of India P. Harish (left) with India House benefactor Swatantra Jain, India House President Jugal Malani and India House trustee Durga Agrawal. Photos: Bijay Dixit.

By Pramod Kulkarni

HOUSTON: What was once a dream has become a reality. Now fulfilling the mission of India House as a community center for the entire Indian community in the region and the local mainstream neighborhood has became the theme of the India House Gala held Saturday, Feb. 23 evening at the Hilton Post Oak in the Galleria area.

India House, located on a 10-acre plot at 8888 West Belfort Avenue in southwest Houston, serves as a meeting facility for a wide array of cultural activities, business meetings and educational classes. These include Community Health and Eye Clinic, Urban Youth Program and yoga classes. The India Senior Citizens hold all their gatherings at India House. Plus, the grounds of India House includes a cricket pitch for a taped ball cricket league and an annual cricket camp for young children.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was the keynote speaker at the 2013 India House gala.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was the keynote speaker at the 2013 India House gala.

As a result of these activities, India House incurs mortgage payments and administrative and maintenance expenses in excess of $25,000 per month. The annual galas serve as one of several revenue streams to support India House gala.

In a review of India House activities, President Jugal Malani explained that the 2013 gala raised over $480,000 in cash and other forms of donations. India House construction was financed in part by donations by the Jindal Indian industrial house in the name of its founder O.P. Jindal and a large number of trustees and India House Council members as well as smaller contributions from businesses and individuals from the Indian and mainstream communities. India House has also received grants from the City of Houston and other charitable and commercial enterprises, including Chase Bank.

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The elegant evening was organized by co-chairpersons Paul and Stephanie Madan with support from gala committee members, which included India House Trustees Durga and Sushila Agrawal, Dr. Virendra and Nalini Mathur and Naresh Mittal. Over 325 India House supporters and guests attended.

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One of the highlights of the evening was the screening of a documentary on India House activities, narrated by Yolanda Robertson-Benoit, who serves on the India House management staff with Anil Jindal. Speakers at the gala featured Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Consul General of India P. Harish and Dr. John Mendelsohn, former president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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Video tributes came from U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Texas governor Rick Perry, both of whom recalled their past visits to India House. Representatives of U.S. Congressman Al Green and State Senator Rodney Ellis, presented proclamations in recognition of India House. Special guests at the gala were University of House Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator and her husband Dr. Suresh Khator. India House used the occasion of the gala to present its annual achievement awards

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This year, the Woman of the Year award went to Pallavi Thakur Dinesh, owner of Fommy.Com, a mobile telecommunications and software provider and Rishi Bhutada, vice president at Star Pipe Products for Young Leader of the Year. Nikki Vedi accepted the award for Outstanding Community Service on behalf of her father and former India House President Ashok Dhingra and the Outstanding Phlianthropist award went to Dr. Stephen Golden of UH Board of Regents. The evening ended with Bollywood dance entertainment by Naach Houston.

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