After a Three-year Gap, IMAGH’s Eid Milan Comes Back in Style!

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: It’s been three years due to the COVID years, since the last time the Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston took on such a huge event but after the Eid Milan held this past Saturday, May 13, it was a happy déjà vu moment again!

The last time the Milan was held live was in 2019 and then the COVID pandemic put everything into a tailspin but the IMAGH held its course and went high tech, holding a virtual Eid Milan through Zoom in May 2020. As the health crisis worsened and lingered, the Eid function was scrapped for the next two years.

This year, with a change in the leadership that ushered in its first female president, Tasnim Vadva, the IMAGH returned to its favored venue, the Marriott Hotel in Westchase to once again hold a live Eid Milan celebration with all the hallmarks of the previous years.

The foyer to the Grand Ballroom was bustling with the nearly 400 guests attending the gathering, as they lingered to admire the oil paintings with an Islamic theme by artist Nizar Maknojia, mingle and have appetizers by Aga’s Restaurant (who catered the function).

The program was started off by emcees Dinaaz Vadva and Danny Uddin and blessed by a Quran recitation by Sana Rafi and Sofa Langha, followed by drumrolls and rousing musical renditions of the American and Indian National Anthems. Adina Nasir led the singing of the patriotic song, “God Bless America”.

This led into the opening remarks by President Tasnim Vadva as she welcomed the gathering. Chief Guest, Indian Consul General Aseem Mahajan spoke about the strong support that the Indian community has offered as India makes great strides in building a strong partnership with the Gulf Coast region in bilateral trade. He outlined the growth of all sectors of the Indian economy and its growing prominence on the world stage as a powerhouse economy and diplomatic leader.

US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, who is running for Mayor of Houston in the November elections, followed next and spoke of her deep roots among the South Asian community. She explained her decision to run for the seat as a way to better serve the city she loves in the latter years of her career. She presented a Congressional proclamation for Eid Milan to Vadva.

Others who spoke were past-president Munir Ibrahim and Texas State Rep. Gene Wu. Later, Grand Patron and a Keynote Speaker of the event Dr. Aziz Jamaluddin of Epcon Industries spoke of the great work that IMAGH had done in projecting a  positive image to the community and was presented with an award.

The Colonel Bhalla Award for recognition of their work went to Dr. Gaber representing Nora’s Home, a non-profit that offers a place for transplant patient families to stay while supporting their loved ones, and was presented by Dr. Raj Bhalla himself. The Latafath Hussain Award for exemplary community service went to Atul Kothari, who has worked tirelessly for building the Eternal Gandhi Museum, scheduled to open later this summer.

Vadva also recognized the dedicated organizers and coordinators of the seniors group, Club 65, Rahat Sultana and Farida Bandali who have made sure the group holds its popular regular meetings and functions.

Entertainment for the evening featured children enacting the true meaning of Chand Raat and Eid through two skits, choreographed by Naeem Vehvariya, showing the love between generations and the joyous celebrations held during the special occasion.