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YEAR - 1996

A special dinner was hosted on 13 November '95 in honour of Mr. & Mrs. Hari N. Harilela, one of the most prominent NRI who has been doing a yeoman service to the Indian community and has been connected with internationally known organisations. He is the Chairman of Harilela Group of Companies, Hong Kong and Advisor to the People's Republic of China on Hong Kong Affoirs,. While thanking Mr. Rupani for hosting the dinner, Mr. Harilela praised the various activities of Piiyadarshni Academy and referred to Mr. Rupani as being the pride of Sindhi community.

Among the prominent guests present were : - Mr. Sudhir Joshi, Minister for Revenue, Maharashtra, Mr. Pramod Navalkar, Minister for Transport and Cultural Affairs, former Ministers Mr. Ramrao Adik, Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh and Smt. Prabha Rau, former Chairperson of Women's Commission, Maharashtra. Mr. Sharad Upasani, Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Mr. D. M. Sukhtankar, former Chief Secretary of Maharashtra. Prominent industralists Mr. Ashok Hinduja, and Mr. Hrishikesh Mafatlal, prominent NRI Mr. Gul Hinduja also graced the occasion.

A function was held on 17 November 1995 by Abhayraj Hirachand Baldota Samiti at Birla Kreda Kendra to felicitate Mr. Abhayraj Hirachand Baldota on his completion of 80 years and for the yeoman services he has rendered to the society. Mr. Baldota has been a leading businessman and a renowned social worker. Apart from other dignitaries, Mr. Nanik Rupani attended the function as the Guest of Honour.

University of Bombay, department of Sindhi literature, organised on 21 November 1995 a seminar on "History of Sindhi literature in India after independence". It was inaugurated by university Registrar Dr. Jairam Chavan. Dr. L. H. Hiranandani, Chief Guest, praised Sindhi authors for their work. Mr. Nanik Rupani, describing the inherent interest of Sindhi Community towards business, emphasised that they have also played their part in furtherance of Sindhi language and literature. Dr. Arjan 'Shad' also addressed the audience. Mr. Gobind Malhi presided over the function. Many noted scholars presented their valuable papers on the occasion.

On 23 December 1995 ISKCON celebrated one hundredth birth anniversary of the founder of "international Society of Krishna Consciousness, Mr. A. C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada. The inaugtiral function was held at Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Worli. It was attended by a large number of people from all over the country and abroad. Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Manohar Joshi lighted the inaugural lamp and delivered the inaugural speech. Cultural Minister for Maharashtra, Mr. Pramod Navalkar, famous industralists Mr. Srichand Hinduja and Mr. Hrishikesh A. Mafatlal, Mr. Sridhar Swami and a number of VIPs addressed the gathering. Many noted scholars and film celebrities also graced the occasion. The function was followed by cultural programmes and bhajans by prominent artists.

Mr. Nanik Rupani in his vote of thanks addressed to the august gathering said that ISKCON is doing a great service to humanity as they are the real ambassadors of ancient Indian philosophy, religion and culture, spreading a keen awareness about its deep reserviors throughout the world.

The Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishva Vidyalaya organised the 23rd All India Holistic Health Spiritual Fair on 27 December'95 to inculcate health awareness amongst people at Ulhasnagar. It was a unique and the first of its kind event in the township. The health exhibition was inaugurated by Rev. Dadi Prakashmani, Chief of Brahmakumari Mission at Sapna Garden Lawns. Eminent personalities from Bombay, Mr. Nari Gursahani, President, International Sindhi Panchayat Federation, Mr. Ram Jawhrani, Chairman, Sahyog Foundation and Mr. Nanik Rupani, graced the occasion as GUESTS OF HONOUR.

A Ruhani Sindhi Sammelan was also organised on the next day where Mrs. Jyoti Kalani, President of Cllhasnagar, Municipal Council, welcomed the dignitaries and felicitated Mr. Nari Gursahani, Mr. Ram Jawhrani, Dr. Dayal Asha and Mr. Nanik Rupani for their significant services to the Sindhi Community.

On 12 January 1996 Sahyog Foundation, a socio-cultural organisation, organised "Sur Chander Ja, Raat Chander ji", a musical extravaganza on the 89th birth anniversary of music maestro, Master Chander, at Rang Sharda Auditorium. The highlight of the function was that non Sindhi artists such as Anup Jalota, Sulakshna Pandit, Padmaja Phainani performed in Sindhi. Eminent Sindhi artists, Mahesh Chand, Gope Chander, Sheila Mangtani and others also regaled the audience.

The programme commenced with the lighting of traditional lamp by Maharashtra Minister of State for Home, Mr. Gajanan Kirtikar. Music Maestro Naushad, Mr. Nari Gursahani, President, 'International Sindhi panchayats' Federation, Mangharam Sipahimalani, honorary Editor-inchief of Hindvasi, a Sindhi Newspaper and Mr. Nanik Rupani, also graced the occasion. In his speech, Mr. Rupani observed that the contribution of Sindhis to the nation building was significant and called upon the community brethern to organise more and more cultural melas to keep Sindhiyat alive,

Brahmakumaris Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya invited Mr. Nanik Rupani on 25 Feb1996 as the Guest of Honour at their Diamond jubilee Celebrations held at Sarita Park, Ghatkopar (East). The theme of the celebration was "spirituality and human life." Dr. Prakash Mani welcomed the Chief Guest, Mr. Prakash Mehta, Minister of State for Rural and Housing Development, Maharashtra and the august gathering. Distinguished guests were introduced by State Secretary Mr. Brij Mohan. Key note address was by hon'ble Dr. S. K. Somaiya and welcome speech was given by Raj Yogini B. K. Nalini.

A special dinner was hosted on 26 Feb'96 for Mr. Bob Harilela and Mrs. Sushi Harilela on their visit to India at the residence of Mr. Nanik Rupani. Mr. Bob Harilela, a prominent NRI is also a winner of Priyadarshni Academy's Overseas Indian Award in 1993. Mr. C Mrs. Shashi Prabhu, a leading Architect and Gen. Banga, Chief of Hinduja Hospital were among the distinguished persons who attended the dinner.

On 18th March International Sindhi Panchayats' Federation, Bombay Presidency Radio Club and Sindhu Cultural Association invited Mr. Nanik Rupani as the Guest of Honour at their Cheti Chand and Gudi Padwa Mela at Radio Club Pier, Colaba. Ma Haridevi P. Vaswani was the Chief Guest. Mr. Ramanand Sagar, Mr. D. M. Harish, Sr. Income Tax Advocate, Mr. Adhik Shirodkar, MP, and leading industralist Mr. Ashok Hinduja were also Guests of Honour. Among other distinguished persons, Jhulelal Awardees - Hon'ble Mr. Prabhakar B. More, Minister of State for Home, Law G Industry, Maharashtra, Justice S. C. Pratabh and Mr.. Suresh Keswani, MP also graced the occasion.

On 21 March 1996 ISKCON invited Mr. Nanik Rupani to be the Chief Guest at Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra at Cross Maidan, where thousands of devotees had gathered to celebrate the Hare Krishna festival. Many beautiful Krishan jhankis were staged. Mr. Rupani was received by Mr. Sridhar Swami and introduced by Mr. Suradasa. Mr. Suradasa praised Priyadarshni Academy's various socio-cultural activities.

In his address, Mr. Rupani praised that activities of ISKCON and said that india is a land of Sadhus, Mahatmas and Spiritual Gurus, blessed by Lord and proud of its ancient culture and heritage. In developed countries, people may be owning material comforts but in India we have a tremendous cultural and spiritual wealth. According to him ISKCON is the universal cultural ambassador of India. Mr. Prabodh Thakker, Gen. Secretary, Priyadarshni Academy, was also present on the occasion.

On April 14th, Priyadarshni Academy sponsored and co-ordinated a laughing competition which was held at Priyadarshni Park, Napean Sea Road, Mumbai. The Competition with a unique concept was the first of its kind to be held in India and was conducted with the aim to fulfil one of the most relevant needs of today's urban population; a release from stress and depression which a fast and hectic life style inevitably leads to. Apart from the laughter clubs of Priyadarshni Park, Hanging Garden, Tata Garden, Bandra and Lokhandwala Complex, more than 700 people and about 100 children participated in the programme.

Mr. Kishore H. Kuvawala, Convener, welcomed the audience and explained the procedure of the competition to them. Mr. K. Kanan, Chairman & Managing Director of the Bank of Baroda, Senior Vice-President of Cadbury India, Mr. Rajiv Bakshi and Mr. Nanik Rupani, addressed the gathering. The competition was a great success and was widely covered by International TV channels like the BBC, CNN, ATN, IN MUMBAI, ZEE TV, Sky TV and Doordarshan National Network. It also received wide print media coverage.

Sindhu Kala Mandir celebrated on 25 April a "Grand Drama Festival" for completing 35 years of existence at Jai Hind College auditorium. Noted leading personalities from Sindhi community were present at the inaugural function. Mr. Subir Kumar Chaudhry, Sheriff of Bombay, inaugurated and Mr. Notandas Jagwani presided over the ceremony. Mr. Ram Jawhrani, Mr. Ram Moorani, Mr. Devandas Mulchandani, Mr. N. D. Golani, Mr. Murli Adnani and Mr. Nanik Rupani were the Chief Guests of the function.

While lauding the efforts of Sindhu Kala Mandir, Mr. Subir Kumar Choudhry also praised the activities of Priyadarshni Academy. He said that the Academy is a premier organisation and pride of Maharashtra. It has not only contributed a lot to Mumbai city in terms of working for the cultural and educational causes but also to the entire country. He also praised Mr. Rupani's efforts to serve the society.

A meeting to discuss the success of "Amrut Mahotsav" was organised on 26 April by Swaminarayan Mandir, Dadar and many prominent personalities were invited to discuss the same. Pujya Kothari Swami thanked all the sponsors, volunteers and well-wishers of the Amrut Mahotsav festival. Many prominent persons like Mr. Mohanbhai Patel and Mr. Nanik Rupani, were asked to speak on the occasion.

In his address to the august gathering, Mr. Rupani complimented the Swaminarayan Temple management for organising the giagantic Amrut Mahotsav, where more than eight million people including VIPs have visited. He praised the exhibition included in it which was aimed at invoking awareness about the harmful effects of drugs, smoking and excessive TV watching and inspired many to give up these addictions. Mr. Rupani further said that India has much to offer to the world. The western world may be rich in the materialistic sense but they look towards India to draw inspiration from its philosophy and culture.

"Clean Mumbai Foundation" under the chairpersonship of Ms. Kunti Oza held a Press Conference on 26 April 1996 at Marathi Patrakar Sangh Hall. In keeping with its committment to work for the people, Priyadarshni Academy has supported some of the foundation's projects aimed at cleaning the city and containing pollution levels. Among other things, the gathering was informed about Academy's participation through the projections on the slides and the accompanying description.

Kalasadan, society's Chintamani Ashram of fine arts held an inaugural function for starting its first batch of Bharatnatyam and Sanskrit classes at its Titwala Ashram. Famous Hindi film star Ms. Hema Malini inaugurated the function by performing a puja amidst the chanting of sacred shlokas and lighted the lamp Veteran actor Mr. P. Jairaj was the Guest of Honour and Mr. Nanik Rupani who is also the Chairman of Kalasadan Society presided over the function. Guru Chintamaniji and Guru Mahalingam Pillai also graced the occasion.

In her speech, Ms. Hema Malini said that it is the duty of everyone concerned with the project to work together and make the beautiful dream of establishing this ashram of fine arts come true. Mr. Jairaj said that with everybody's co-operation, this concept of Guru Chintamani will surely go a long way in imparting teaching of our culture and arts to the young generation.

Addressing the gathering Mr. Rupani who has already provided an assistance of Rs. 1.00 lakh to the Chintamani Ashram for its Titwala branch in his personal capacity, said that the ashram was a result of Guru Chintamani's dedication and hard work, but now it was all the concerned people's duty to contribute to its growth, and beautify its environment by planting trees. He said that Priyadarshni Academy will always do its best to assist in the realisation of this dream.

On May 22, 1996 Mr. Nanik Rupani was invited to address the members of Rotary Club of Bombay Mid-town on the subject "Success is our birthright." In his talk, Mr. Rupani said, "one should follow the theory of Gita of Karma. Success is not in one's hand but if you have a burning desire and follow the path of dream, think, plan, organise, implement and supervise, nothing can stop you from making great achievements in life." He cited the example of Priyadarshni Academy, which since its inception has been constantly setting higher goals for itself in its quest to serve the society and today has succeeded in making a significant contribution to it.

Mr. Nanik Rupani participated in Dr. Yusuf Merchant's TV Chat Show on 6 June 1996 for children called "Hamari Duniya." He was introduced by Dr. Merchant as a successful person who has devoted his life for the welfare of others. Mr. Rupani was asked various questions by the children about the defination of success and how to achieve it. In his conversation with the children, Mr. Rupani told them that a firm belief in one's own capability and concentrated hard work was the only way to success. He said that success is our birth right but there is no shortcut to it. All of one s emotional energy and intellectual power should be motivated towards achievement. He emphasised that as we take so much from the society, it is our duty to pay it back to the best of our capacity.

Priyadarshni Academy held a press conference, on 26 June 1996 at Radio Club, Mumbai to announce the opening of its new division, Priyadarshni's Laughter Club International, to promote and spread the benefits of the wonderful nature cure of laughter therapy the world over.

Dr. Madan Kataria, Chairman, Mr. Kishore Kuvawala, Vice Chairman of the new division; Mr. Nanik Rupani and Ms. Meenakshi Sheshadri addressed the Press Conference. The new division aims to work to increase awareness about laughter therapy all over the world, have maximum number of people participating in it with the ultimate objective of forming a research wing to closely monitor its numerous positive impacts on a person's physical health and psychological well-being to further consolidate the scientific base of the concept of laughter therapy with the aid of practical evidence of its workings at our disposal.

Priyadarshni's laughter club international is co-ordinating to form new laughing chapters in different areas with the team of experts providing necessary guidelines and information about its methods, benefits and all the related aspects.

At present there are about 100 laughter clubs all over india including 30 chapters in Mumbai, 4 in Ahmedabad, 2 in Candhinagar Baroda, Delhi each and one each in Calcutta, Nasik and Patna, with many more chapters opening frequently. An overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from the citizens of various countries like U.S.A., England, Italy, France and Germany has been received. The group of experts have already assisted in the opening of laughing chapters internationally in places like California and London.

Consistent with his comittment to encourage and promote upcoming artists, Mr. Nanik Rupani attended the Bharat Natyam Arangetram on 29 June 29 of Dr. Rina Jagasia, daughter of Mrs. Geeta and Nari Jagasia as the Chief Guest of the evening. The function was organised by "Mr. Rajrajeswari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir at Nehru Centre Auditorium, Mumbai.