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American India Foundation expands reach

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Washington: The American India Foundation, dedicated to catalysing social and economic change in India, launched its eleventh chapter in the historic city of Philadelphia. The foundation is one of the largest development organisations in the US dedicated to helping poor and marginalised people in India.

AIF was founded by the initiative of former President Bill Clinton after the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake following a suggestion from then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Nearly a hundred people from the Greater Philadelphia region attended the event held at the downtown Loews Philadelphia Hotel Oct 2, according to the American Bazaar.

In the keynote address Al Jazeera America host Ali Velshi, whose great grandparents moved to Africa from Gujarat a century ago, recalled the struggles his forefathers had to endure in their adopted land.

He praised the work AIF is doing to provide opportunities the less privileged in the Indian society.

Chief guest Raj Gupta, chairman of the board of directors of Delphi Automotive, stressed the importance of philanthropic work organizations such as AIF is doing in the US and India.

“A dollar and 25 cents can make a difference,” he said, urging everyone to share their wealth.

AIF CEO MA Ravi Kumar spoke about the mission of the organization.

Other speakers included the chapter founding members Sanjay Gupta and Kavita Gupta, AIF Senior Director of Philanthropy and Development Venky Raghavendra, and Deepak Jolly, a vice president at Coca-Cola India.

Philadelphia being the city of firsts and with the huge potential that it holds, it is important to have a strong presence and chapter here,” Sanjay Gupta told the American Bazaar.

Greater Philadelphia region, comprising of City of Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware, is home to leading universities, businesses and a population that has strong ties to India. AIF hopes to tap these resources.

The ten other cities and regions AIF has chapters are Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New England, New York Tristate Area, Orange County, Richmond VA and Washington DC.

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Narendra Modi Releases Rs 100 Coin To Honour Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on August 16 at the age of 93 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here following a prolonged illness

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India, elections, vietnam, BJP
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a gathering in New Delhi, India. VOA

A day ahead of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his successor Narendra Modi on Monday released a commemorative Rs 100 coin to honour the late leader, who passed away in August.

Addressing a gathering at the Parliament House Annexe here, Modi said Vajpayee never compromised on the ideologies of the party and always spoke about national interest.

“For some people, power is oxygen…they can’t live without it…A long part of Atalji’s career was spent in the opposition benches but he spoke about national interest and never compromised on the ideology of the party.

“For long, the voice of Atalji was the voice of the nation,” Modi said.

“I assume that there must be invitations from other ideologies for joining hands to remain in power. Such things must have happened. But he never compromised.

“He was among those who could die for the nation, but would never compromise on the ideologies,” Modi said.

Vajpayee wanted democracy to be supreme. He built the Jana Sangh but when time came to rescue democracy he and others went to the Janata Party, Modi added.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

“Likewise, when the choice was between remaining in power or comprising on ideology, he left Janata Party and formed the Bharatiya Janata Party” which “has become among the largest of political parties”, the Prime Minister said.

Hailing Vajpayee as “the best orator”, Modi said “the mind is not ready to believe that Atalji is no longer with us. He was a stalwart loved and respected across all sections of society.

Modi said e would go to Vajpayee’s memorial on Tuesday — his birth anniversary — to reiterate his commitment to the ideology and path shown by the leader.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma, BJP national President Amit Shah and veteran BJP leader and Vajpayee’s contemporary L.K. Advani were also present at the event to release the coin.

Commemorative coins are usually issued to celebrate some special occasion or to mark a special event. They also have been issued as a mark of respect towards some distinguished individuals or monument.

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The coin, Modi said, is a small effort to show our respect to the former Prime Minister, “whose life is a message for all of us”.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on August 16 at the age of 93 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here following a prolonged illness. (IANS)