Origin of desire for association:

We (Ram Randad and family) moved to Frederick in 1992.  As I remember, our first successful attempt to have gathering of Indians in Frederick was by Dr. Suryanarayan Kalachar.  Before this Dipti had organized a picnic in the Fort Deterick.  He organized India’s Independence Day celebration event in the Strough Auditorium in 1997, on the occasion of the 50th Independence day of India.  The event was extremely well organized, single handedly managed by Sury and the community response was tremendous.  The two and half-hour function included speeches, songs and dances, and most of all, all performers were localities.  All novices, no body was professional, no body was perfect, yet the talent was tremendous, energy level was extremely high and fun was never ending.  Kids and adults alike practiced a lot, the community came together, and people started remembering each other not just by names, but by much more.  The real relationship, kinship and caring started to emerge.  Lot of important Frederick dignitaries came to the function, and function also received a kind mention in the local news paper.  It was a grand success.  After that everybody went back to there own routine.

Initial attempts:

Sury along with Sathya and Sukanya had also organized biweekly the Bhajans.  We meet regularly and chanted the glory of the lord.  But the tremendous community response, encouragement of the 15th August had lasting effect, and would not fade away.  Bhajan’s per se have nothing to do with the association, but it severed a very useful purpose i. e. forum for discussions.  Additionally it provided an access to the volunteers (i.e. members of the Bhajan group) to reach out, disseminate information regarding upcoming planned events, recruit people to lead different events, and co-ordinate events.  Thus it is no surprise that during the first four years members of the Bhajan group were leading most of the different events.  At this point we did not had a list of people of Indian origin in Frederick.  We relied on each other to contact their acquaintances. We would call our friend to invite to a function and then ask him to invite his friends too (Ram latter, I believe in 1999 put together an excel sheet with names, addresses, e-mail add, and phone numbers).  On the side note, the roots of The Chinmaya mission can also be found in the Bhajan group. 

As mentioned earlier, bhajan group is where would regularly discuss the need for a place for people of common beliefs to come together, meet, show off their talent, discuss about ways to preserve and pass on our heritage.  I remember myself (Ram) Sathya, and Dave requesting Sury to lead an association.  He shied away from any idea of association.  Our first attempt to form association had clearly failed.  But all the while we new that it is very important to preserve and show case our culture.  During those days all the talk as we gathered at parties or Bhajans how the past event was a great way to preserve our culture and pass on to the generation.  

Sury was adamantly opposed to the idea of association (he said because of his past experience) and he did not want to be involved with any part of the administration.  Rajiv, Dave, Sathya and I continued to organize community function for next 3 years.  There was no real structure, it was a collaborative effort.  We organized picnic (on Fort Deterick pond) and at the picnic we would asked the gathered folks, “do you think we should have a Diwali function”.  Response was always was unquestionably “yes”, and “how can we help”?  We would quickly assembled co-ordination committee -Rajiv was always in-charge of cultural activities, Mrs, Kotrappa took care of the food, Ram was treasurer, Dave was administrator, Sathya was helping in some or the other way.  This was pretty much routine.  I have mentioned only few names but all these guys were supported by large number of volunteers.  We worried a lot about how we will be able to do such a program, where the money will come from?  But those worries proved futile.  Again the functions were grander and the community support was tremendous.  We normally organized one or two picnics, a Diwali function and may be one another function every year.  

One event in particular was always special, i.e. mothers day picnic.  There impromptu, we will ask kids to say something about their moms.  Kids were always ready with songs, essays, and many special and personal stories about their moms to share.  This event was always very emotional, because you would see lot of joyous crying by moms and kids, lot of hugging.  This event was very special, the words can not do enough justice.  

Formation of Association:

The event were almost exclusively held in Fort Deterick.  You may now ask why?  The answer is very simple, convenient to everybody, great place, very nice auditorium and most of all free.  In 2000, because of the heightened security [due to the event which I do not remember, does anybody know?], we were unable to secure auditorium in the Fort Deterick.  As usual we had agreed during the picnic that we would have a Diwali function.  The kids and adults were busy practicing.  Diwali was approaching fast, and we had no place for function.  We pulled all the stops.  Dr. Praful Dave, Dr. Kotrappa and others worked tirelessly to find a place.  But all in vain, only places we could find were too small for the function.  The reason for our inability to find place was, we had no organization and no insurance.  The time had now come to form an organization.  One day we had assembled in the Dave Swaroops place and this was not a meeting, but just casual get together, it is there and than we decided to form an organization.  We named it an Indian Association of Frederick (IAF).  We nominated an Ad Hoc committee that consisted of Mrs. Janaki Vaman (president), Dave and Sathya (secretaries) and Ram (Treasurer).  Drs. Praful Dave and Kotrappa, and Mr. Rajiv Paul were always involved and very supportive of IAF initiative.  Since I was associated with the money, I was made responsible for registering the organization.  I do not understand this logic.  But any way, I did not know were to begin and how was I to accomplish this task.  As you say when there is will there is way, I was introduced to Ms. Alice, who literally guided me on how to do this, like one shows a way to a blind man.  Organization was registered with IRS (2000), bank account was opened, and insurance was secured.  This gave legitimacy to our cause and opened many doors and that year’s Diwali function happened on time, not only it was grand success but some TV personalities from Washington DC area were there too.  On a side note: because of the lateness, we were only able to secure Gym in 7th Adventist church.  One issue was how to decorate gymnasium.  As you know by now that Sury was a very talented person.  The responsibility of decorating gym fell on him.  Which he took upon himself very graciously.  This was the last time he would be involved with the organization.  Shortly after that he had health complication from which he never recovered. 

The nominations of the Ad Hoc committee were never ratified, and the ad hoc committee functioned for one year.  It was the responsibility of this committee to write the mission statement for the organization and come up with the bylaws by which it will govern/conduct itself.  This was accomplished through a committee that included several prominent members in addition to the Ad Hoc office bearers, like Dr’s. Kotarappa, Praful Dave, Vaman, and Mr. Koman, among others.  We had several meeting, and after several rounds of modifications the missions statement and bylaws were adopted in a general body meeting in 2001.  We had a long discussion on the stated mission and the bylaws.  Following this, elections for the new committee took place, which were the 1st elections.  On march the 15th we had our second elections. 

Personal Thoughts:

One event led to another.  There were many problems but they presented solutions too.  It was not one person or another, rather the desire of the whole community that resulted in the formation of IAF.  Although, it took us about four years, but everyone associated with IAF formation is nothing but proud, and very happy for their contributions and effort towards this common goal. 

I believe the tremendous success and the generous community support that IAF has received so far is in large part due to our special emphasis on kids and principle of no micro-management.  All activities were centered around kids.  We made every effort to encourage maximum kids participation.  Nobody was turned away.  This is important because there are many organizations around metropolitan DC.  There we were always felt as outsiders.  So, this is our organization, our opportunity, and our moment to show case local talent.  

Principle of no micro-management:  We made it a point that once an volunteer/co-ordinator for the particular event has been identified, the event is a sole responsibility of such person.  The IAF executive committee members took care of logistical issues such as place, sound system, e-mail, advertising etc. 

 

Members associated with the formation of IAF (listed alphabetically)

Members associated with the formation of IAF

1st Ad Hoc Committee

Mission statement and bylaws

Mr. Rajiv Paul

Mrs. Janki Vaman

Ad Hoc Committee

Dr. Ramnarayan S. Randad

Dr. Ramnarayan S. Randad

Dr. P. Kotrappa

Mr. Davendra Swaroop

Dr. B. Sathyanarayan

Mr.  Koman

Dr. B. Sathyanarayan

Mr. Davendra Swaroop

 

Name: xxxx

Title: xxxx

text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text




Name: xxxx

Title: xxxx

text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text




Name: xxxx

Title: xxxx

text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text




Name: xxxx

Title: xxxx

text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text text