Indian Americans having a ball for Obama inauguration

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 19, 2013 07:50 hrs

Washington, Jan 19 (IANS) President Barack Obama may not be there, but Indian-Americans are nevertheless going to have a ball Saturday night to mark the second-term inauguration of the man the community voted overwhelmingly for.

Rumour has it that former president Bill Clinton may swing by what has been billed as "Indiaspora 2013 Inaugural Ball", the first time the three-million-strong Indian American community has come out on such a platform.

Also expected are Ami Bera, the third Indian-American to enter the US Congress after Dalip Singh Saund and Louisiana's Republican governor Bobby Jindal, and Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu-American in the House.

Though not of Indian origin, Samoa born Democrat Gabbard from Obama's home state of Hawaii, who took the oath of office on her personal copy of the Gita, has been taken as one of their own by the Indian-American community.

Also coming are California's Indian-America Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and a number of top American politicians.

They include senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn, Democrat and Republican co-chairs of Senate Caucus on India and Indian Americans, House member Joe Crowley, co-chair, Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans and Delaware governor Jack Markell, chairman of the National Governors Association.

More than a thousand people are expected to turn up at the "black tie" or Indian formal attire affair for what has been termed by some as Indian-Americans' political "coming-of-age party" at Mandarin Oriental in the national capital from 8:00pm to Midnight.

The Indiaspora Ball will highlight the very best in Indian American cuisine, culture and music, promise the promoters and "guests will enjoy fabulous networking, cuisine from the four corners of India, delightful entertainment and Bollywood dancing."

Indiaspora founder M.R. Rangaswami, a Silicone Valley entrepreneur, says the organization is aimed at getting the Indian community together in all its facets and raise its visibility.

Counted as the most affluent and well-educated ethnic group in the US, Indian Americans have snapped up all the $300 tickets for the event.

But a few $1,500 VIP Tickets offering "exclusive lounge, red carpet photo opportunity and access to special guests and entertainers" may still get one entry at the to-be-seen event.

Sponsors of the event include Tata Consultancy Services, State Bank of India, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Aspen Institute India, Confederation of Indian Industry, IIM Americas, Alumni IIT, South Asian Bar Association, South Asian Americans Leading Together and US India Business Council.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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