India Community Center (ICC), the largest Indo-American facility in North America formally opened its new 40,000 sq feet facility in Milpitas on Sunday, September 9 amidst customary celebrations and cheer. A large number of the who's who of the Indo-American community of the Bay Area, local politicians, and other community members attended the function.
The Center has two campuses in Milpitas and Sunnyvale, and smaller satellite facilities throughout the Bay Area. The nouveau Milpitas center has state of the art fitness and wellness center, a banquet hall and auditorium for weddings, concerts and conferences and will have free medical, legal and career clinics and numerous classes and events for people of all ages.
Beyond religious and regional affiliations, the center is exemplary of the coming of age of the Indo American community that is widely recognized as one of the most successful and prosperous Diaspora in the US. Varied Diaspora studies have shown that immigrants try to seek security in similarity and like to surround themselves with people and activities that have close regional and cultural affiliations of the nations that they have left behind.
In recognition of this strong need of the growing community, some of the most successful Indo Americans of Bay Area's high tech community initiated the concept of a community center over a decade back. They are the financial and moral supporters of the world- class establishment offering myriad activities.
Talat Hasan, the chairperson of the center in her opening remarks said: "the new facility is a dream cum true for many members. It reflects their desires and dreams to help setup a tryst to propagate and perpetuate the rich and diverse aspects of India's cultural, lingual, familial, performing and culinary arts heritage. Everyone has applauded the diverse activities of the center catering to people of all ages, interests and affiliations. The center is not only a place for classes for the second generation Indo American children and youngsters, but also a place for meeting and mingling of seniors for whom settling in a new place and cultural assimilation to the practices of a new land can be an overwhelming experience."
The facility is undoubtedly a matter of pride for the community and has fulfilled an important niche.
Beginning this fall, the high school students in the Fremont Unified School District can take Hindi to fulfill foreign language requirements for graduation to complete the foreign language requirement for admission to University of California campuses. ICC certified instructors would teach the curriculum.
Besides Hindi, the Center also offers language classes for both adults and children in Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. The classes are offered at ICC's facilities in Milpitas and Sunnyvale and in other smaller satellite locations throughout the Bay Area.
"The lingual classes are important not only for fostering communication between generations, but also for fostering connections to a culture," said Madhu Agarwal, ICC Director of Languages.
Besides gastronomic delights, live entertainment and class demonstrations, another highlight of the opening ceremony was a friendly match between Table Tennis superstar Ariel Hsing and India Community Center co-founder Anil Godhwani. Eleven-year-old Hsing of San Jose ranks number one for Under-16 girls in the US. In a friendly match last May, Hsing roundly bested Bill Gates and Warren Buffet at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' meeting.