Desh Videsh Media Group Recognizes Outstanding Contributions of 15 Community Leaders

October 14, 2015 – On Saturday, October 10, 2015, Desh Videsh Media Group honored 15 accomplished members of the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities in Florida at the first ever 2015 Community Leader Awards Banquet.

Over 250 South Asians and Indo-Caribbeans came together in South Florida for this memorable event, the first in the community to include members from differing faiths and nations under one roof. Hosted by Desh Videsh Media Group, the awardees included community members from India, Pakistan, Trinidad, and the United States.

Founded by Raj and Aruna Shah in 1993, Desh Videsh Media Group has been a staunch supporter of community activities and cultural enrichment from the beginning. Desh Videsh Media Group’s governing principle is to focus on the positive achievements of the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities living in the United States. The Community Leaders Awards Banquet was an opportunity to honor individuals who embody those same principles as well as to “recognize the many active participants in our community who help bring spiritual and cultural guidance to our youth locally and in our native countries,” said Mr. Shah.

The inaugural Community Leader Awards Banquet, held at the Sawgrass Inn & Conference Center in Plantation, Florida, began with four prayers (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Catholic) chanted by South Asian and Indo-Caribbean youth. Mr. Shah, who is also the Managing Editor of Desh-Videsh magazine, welcomed the audience with a touching speech, while Fareida Rajkumar, emcee, announced each awardee and kept the program moving along smoothly. Mrs. Shah, also the publisher of Desh-Videsh magazine, congratulated each awardee and presented the individuals with an award plaque.

During the program, 15 community members in seven different categories were honored: Philanthropy; Religious; Arts and Culture; Education; Women’s Empowerment; International Social Services; and Local Community Services. “The evening brought together so many different people who give of themselves in so many different ways. I was among some very distinguished and accomplished members of our community and was truly humbled by the recognition,” shared awardee Smeeta Patel.

For more information about the 2015 Awardees, read their profiles at The 2015 Awardees are:

Awardee (Category)
Shekar Reddy (Philanthropy)
Dr. Ramanuja Iyengar (Religion)
Neil Persad (Religion)
Dr. Chander Shaykher (Religion)
Bharti Chokshi (Arts and Culture)
Revathi Iyengar (Arts and Culture)
Dr. Durgesh Thaker (Arts and Culture)
Smeeta Patel (Youth Education)
Manju Kalidindi (Women Empowerment)
Michele Renee (International Social Services)
Virginia A. Vaidhyanathan (International Social Services)
Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal (Local Community services)
Shahid Barry (Local Community services)
Syed S Jafri (Local Community services)
Prèét Sahí (Local Community services)

To learn more about Desh Videsh Media Group or Desh Videsh magazine, visit, call (954) 784-8100, and follow on Facebook.

About Desh-Videsh Media Group
An active part of the South Asian community in the United States, Desh Videsh Media Group aims to keep traditions alive and instill new generations with a sense of cultural awareness. Through Desh-Videsh, a community magazine in print for over 20 years and a 75,000 readership, MyShadi Bridal Expos, and, Desh Videsh Media Group focuses its attention on the positives of the community.

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The Arpan Group
Rina Shah at (703) 651-6670