Fifty Years in the Making, ICC Celebrates with a Blast

By Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR  LAND: There’s an old saying in some quarters of economic supply-demand management that talks about “Critical Mass” and how things get so big they take on a life of their own. That’s kind of what has happened to India Culture Center, the Grand Daddy of all the other Indian (or for that matter, South Asian) organizations in the Greater Houston area, and this past Saturday, August 19, the venerable non-profit with a splendid pedigree of over 43 presidents threw a huge bash at the Marriott Hotel Towne Center to mark its 50th Anniversary.

As Past President Jasmeeta Singh pointed out later onstage, “The ICC serves as a bridge connecting all major Indian organizations and individuals of Indian origin in the greater Houston area. Our goal is to promote educate and unite India’s diverse cultures and values for the benefit of all communities.”

Present President Malla Makela, a direct man of few words, hammered home the message in his speech. Judging from the huge turnout of over 550 people, these were the movers and shakers around town (mostly Desi) who have been connected to the ICC at one time or the other. They came to congratulate the ICC Board and Trustees, they came for the venue and excellent food from Mahesh’s Kitchen, they came for the high touch of décor and the opening music by Indian and Western Fusion Band Sitarji playing a blend of ragas, rock, jazz, and Bollywood.

But mostly they came for special guest Bollywood actor Sonu Sood who has made a second career for himself as a philanthropist who found his calling in serving the distressed in dozens of crisis spots across India and the globe. Sonu stayed around to attend the ICC’s Independence Day program the following day too. Sonu also met the other special guest for the evening, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who presented Sood with an award from the city. Local artist Nizar Maknojia, a huge fan of Sonu Sood, presented him with his hand-painted portrait on behalf of the Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston.

There were other dances, lots of on-stage group pictures, and superb singing by Sharmistha and Subrata, a dynamic husband-wife team as the evening ended. But the ICC Board and Trustees could rest on their laurels, knowing that in 50 years their work has been appreciated for the two flagship celebrations they do each year — Indian Republic Day and Independence Day – even as they branch out into others. You see, they have achieved “Critical Mass.”