19th Annual India House Gala: “Serving Communities Together”

India House officials with CG Aseem Mahajan and other local dignitaries.

HOUSTON: 19th Annual India House Gala was hosted on Saturday, October 22nd with lots of lights, dynamic speakers, numerous community leaders, friends, entertainment, and tasteful food.  The theme this year was “Serving Communities Together”.  It was another proud moment for India House where they were able to showcase the hard work that has been going on all year towards community service, fundraise, and also celebrate the festival of lights (Diwali).

The evening began with a social hour where community members mingled mingling with each other and partook in the silent art auction on display. Once the guests settled inside the elegantly decorated Ballroom, the event began with the singing of both the American and Indian National Anthems, by Ms. Nidhika Pillai. This followed the Mistress of Ceremonies, Ms. Pooja Lodhia, KTRK, and ABC13 Eyewitness News team reporter welcoming the guests and introducing the evening’s speakers.

India House President Manish Rungta and CG Mahajan present Lifetime Achievement Award to Brij and Sunita Agrawal.

The President of India House, Dr. Manish Rungta, welcomed the guests and shared his thoughts and appreciation for all that India House continues to do for the betterment of the community. He   thanked India House Trustees, Board, Volunteers, Donors and Staff who continue to work toward the betterment of the communities with exceptional compassion, innovative ideas, and inventiveness, together as one.

This followed the video messages from US Senator John Cornyn, and Noble Peace Prize nominee Dr. Peter Hotez, Founding Dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine.

India House Executive Director, Col. Vipin Kumar highlighted all the outstanding work being done, free programs that are offered, as well as the outreach and impact that India House is having on the community. He showcased how India House continues to distinguish itself for always lending a helping hand, and collaborating with other organizations towards betterment of the community members we serve.

Dr. Rungta with Volunteer of the Year Mr. and Mrs. Kantilal Mistry.

Consul General of India, Aseem R. Mahajan, who was introduced and invited to speak by India House Trustee Hari Agrawal, talked about the work being done at the Consulate of India, and expressed his pride and appreciation for the continued work and outreach at India House.  He stated that he looks forward to events and activities planned with India House. Commissioner Jack Cagle of Harris County Precinct 4 stated how proud was he of the relationship that India House has with the community and all the services that are provided to assist the lives of those in need.  US Congressman Al Green spoke about his appreciation and pride he has for all the work that India House continues to do, year after year, for the betterment of the community. He presented Congressional Recognition to India House.

Later in the evening, the Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Brij & Sunita Agrawal for their service to the community and for being a strong pillar of support to India House. Brij Agrawal is one of the Trustees of India House and has been mentoring and guiding India House to bring it to the forefront of humanitarian efforts.

The Keynote address was delivered by the Chairman of the Board of Houston Metro, Mr. Sanjay Ramabhadran.  His words were powerful and thought-provoking as he spoke of the importance of giving back to the community.  Mr. Ramabhadran shared information about many of the projects Metro is working on to alleviate traffic flow because of the increase in population in the years to come.  He said that India House is an example of what it is to be in service to others.

The Community Service Award was presented to Maharaja Bhog, received by its Houston owner Bhagwan Taparia,  for providing free meals to the first responders, healthcare workers at various organizations during the most difficult of times of Covid-19, and their continuous support to India House during its free food distribution and community service programs.

The facility was decorated in a rich and sophisticated manner by the Touch of Elegance team adding just the right ambiance for the event.  Darshak Thacker from Krishna Sounds Productions provided the sound system while Bijay Dixit captured all the memorable moments of the evening by his perfect photography.  There were delightful appetizers and delectable dinner from Narin’s Bombay Brasserie. The evening ended with live music performance by Payel Mitra & her band, and Sanjeev Kumar.

India House is a 510 ( C) 3 non-profit organization serving more than 10,000 people annually in the Greater Houston area. Most participants in these programs are families from economically challenged neighborhoods.  Their community support programs include bi-monthly free food distribution through which we serve 400 families every month, charity volunteer clinic every Saturday treating about 350 individuals each year, free family law & immigration law consultations and free relationship coaching to individuals and families. Their programs for children include free art classes, soccer and cricket coaching, and personality development workshop. For seniors, they have free technology classes, yoga classes and BollyX fitness classes. India House also provides free Sanskrit and spoken English classes to those who want to improve their communication skills. India House programs and services are open to all, regardless of religion, race, and ethnicity. As such, India House has become an avenue for our Indo-American community to give back to their city.

For more information on India House and its various programs, please visit www.indiahouseinc.org or email vipin@indiahouseinc.org or call 713-929-1900.