The Indian Association of Greater Bostoncommonly called IAGB, has been serving the needs of the Indian diaspora for over 60 years, providing cultural, educational and civic platforms to the Indian community. The Republic Day and India Day celebrations were highlight events, invoking a gathering of up to around 20,000 people.
Founded in 1962 as a socio-cultural organization, the IAGB has played an important role in bringing together the Indian communities of the region. In its early years, the IAGB brought together the then small Indian community to celebrate Indian festivals and special occasions.
The IAGB is governed by an Executive Committee made up of professionals who speak different languages, come from different backgrounds and are a microcosm of the unity in diversity that is India. The IAGB thrives on the dedication and hard work of its volunteer leaders and trustees and the enthusiastic and continued support of Greater Boston communities. He looks forward to continuing to work in the spirit of his mission for years to come.
Q&A with IAGB President Vaishali Gade.
INDIA New England News: How has IAGB contributed to the community?
Vaishali Gade: The IAGB began in 1962 to meet the needs of the community and has been a community-focused organization ever since. During its early years, the IAGB played an important role in bringing together the then small Indian community to celebrate special occasions and two main events, namely Republic Day and India Day.
IAGB has grown by leaps and bounds since then. It has not only contributed to the community by focusing on the need to stick together and stay connected, but has grown into a deeply rooted Indo-American organization that has now become a “go-to organization” for exploring the Indian origin and membership of others. American Indians in New England. The IAGB proudly represents all Indian and Indian associations in the Greater Boston area to the people of the Commonwealth.
The IAGB is home to all lovers of Indian culture and heritage in whole or in part by bringing together all regional organizations and regional Indian communities in Greater Boston under one platform to serve and promote culture, community and socio-political activities in order to demonstrate “power in numbers” and thus achieve the visibility that the Indian community deserves.
The IAGB has also been the starting organization for many other charities
like Saheli Boston, an association fighting against domestic violence in the South
Asian and Arab communities.
Today, the IAGB stands tall with Native American pride due to its iconic civic effort of holding flag-raising ceremonies in more than 50 New England towns honoring
Indian and American flags; provide various cultural and educational platforms for
Indian community and young people of Indian origin by carrying out information activities
workshops such as estate planning, financial planning, college readiness and conducting visa camps, as well as pioneering social service initiatives such as senior care webinars
and in-person briefings; other social services such as food and clothing
collections, vaccination camps, face mask collections and many more. The IAGB continues to be the face of the Native American community and has also hosted many dignitaries and diplomats, giving them the opportunity to be face to face with the community.
INE: Key programs carried out by the IAGB?
o Boston India Day Celebration
o Indian Republic Day Gala
o Visa camps
o Raising the flag in multiple cities provides an opportunity to participate face-to-face with government officials, including senators, state officials, mayors, city councils, policymakers, and decision makers.
o The Discover India series in collaboration with many libraries in the New England area excite and ignite the community and raise awareness in an engaging way
o Civic workshops to engage the Indian American community in local governance, introducing and pitching Indian American candidates
o University workshops
o Community Giving Days, providing an opportunity for the community to come together and serve
o Fundraisers to bring the community together and give back to our adopted land
o Elder Care Awareness
o Blood donation collections
o Food and clothing drives
INE: In a rapidly changing world and demographics, how do you engage new
GV: With the changing world, expanding horizons and the impact our vibrant American Indian community can have – IAGB has played a leading role in bringing together not only Indians but also Asians with many grassroots initiatives like invite Chinese, Filipino and Korean performance groups to our signature India Day event at Hatch Shell, Discover India Series, forming cultural exchange partnerships and showcasing the strength of unity through efforts unique such as Unity Rally,
Unity Gala, Youth Engagement, Celebrity Fundraising Concerts.
INE: How did you get involved in the IAGB?
GV: Like many other Indian immigrants, I first came across IAGB while looking to celebrate India’s Independence Day. This relationship continued as a patron until 7/8 years ago when I volunteered for the first ever IAGB (and New England) Antakshari. This allowed me to get even closer to the organization. Seeing the impact of IAGB on the community and having experienced connectivity myself, I officially joined the IAGB Board of Directors. The IAGB has evolved over the years and broadened its horizons while maintaining its core values of preserving our culture and heritage. It is a grassroots organization that works with the community and for the community with many generous and selfless volunteers and fearless leaders.
INE: What other organizations have you worked with?
GV: I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the great nonprofits here in the US and back home. I have been a volunteer for Shishubharti for over 12 years, teaching the language and culture program. I am also a long time volunteer for the New England Marathi Mandal (NEMM) and have also served on their board as Vice President. I also serve on the advisory board of ‘Anubhuti’, a non-profit school in western Maharashtra for underserved communities.
INE: How have these organizations enriched your own life?
GV: As Winston Churchill said “We make our living by what we get. We create life through what we give. And that’s exactly the feeling I share. These organizations I have worked for have made my life more beautiful, meeting other like-minded people, broadening my skills and challenging me every day to do more.
See also some remarks from the current IAGB EC below:
“IAGB has influenced my personal and socio-cultural life in a beautiful way” – Tanu Basu
“The IAGB opened up many avenues for me on a different level where I was able to connect with our Boston community and work with great people from diverse backgrounds” – Asha Thotangare IAGB EC
“IAGB is a pan-Indian organization, so volunteering for IAGB gives me the opportunity to work for the entire Native American community” -Santosh Salvi IAGB EC.