RAJASTHAN ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA (CANADA)

RANA Was Formed In 2007. A Group Of Indo Canadian People Of Rajasthan Origin Residing In Canada, Inspired By RANA (USA), Met in 2007 To Form The Rajasthan Association Of North America Canada (RANA Canada). The Purpose Was Preserve And Propagate The Rajasthani Heritage And Maintain Its Identity. Goal Was To Provide A Forum To Its Members Of Rajasthani Cultural , Educational, Social And Charitable Interaction.

The Rajasthan Association Of North America, Canada (RANA Canada) Was Thus Incorporated In The Province Of Ontario As A Not-For-Profit Organization Under The Relevant Rules Of Business Corporation Act. 

With Yogesh Sharma As Founder President, The first Board Of Directors Consisted Of Savita Mehta , Nidhi Jethoo, Neelam Rojara, Kuldeep Singh, Dr. Gordhan Jethoo, Sukhlal Patel, Jagdish Yadav And Bhupen Rojara.

  • To preserve and to promote the culture, values, heritage and traditions of Rajasthan, to instill Rajasthani values in the current and future generation by exposing them to deep-rooted Rajasthani heritage and values.
  • To promote rich, vibrant, exotic and colorful culture of Rajasthan by sponsoring and regularly organizing traditional Rajasthani festivals in Canada.
  • To provide a platform for the Rajasthani community residing in Canada so that they can strengthen bonds among themselves by participating in social, cultural, religious festivals and business events together.
  • To encourage and provide platform to the children and youth of Rajasthani families in Canada to promote their talent and achievements through RANA Canada. To recognize their academic excellence and encourage their brilliant performances.

A Journey from 2007 to 2016

By: Yogesh Sharma

RANA was formed in 2007, since then I served the organization as President till May 9, 2016. A group of Indo Canadian people of Rajasthan origin residing in Canada, inspired by RANA (USA), met at my residence in 2007 to form the Rajasthan Association of North America Canada (RANA Canada). The purpose was preserve and propagate the Rajasthani heritage and maintain its identity. Another goal was to provide a forum to its members of Rajasthani cultural , educational, social and charitable interaction.

The Rajasthan Association of North America, Canada (RANA Canada) was thus incorporated in the province of Ontario as a not-for-profit organization under the relevant rules of Business Corporation Act. 

With me as founder president, the board of directors consisted of Savita Mehta , Nidhi Jethoo, Neelam Rojara, Kuldeep Singh, Dr. Gordhan Jethoo, Sukhlal Patel, Jagdish Yadav and Bhupen Rojara.

As a natural process of building an organization the board contacted community and soon Rakesh Goenka, Rajendra Kothari and Sampat Poddar agreed to join as patrons. They provided guidance and help to enlarge the organization with Satish Mehta, who at that time was Consul General of India, Hon. Deepak Obhrai, PC MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs became our honorary patron in 2008, and also Ram Kalwar, Rakesh Vijay, Yatendra Shah, Gauri Goel and Anu Jain joined board as executive officers supported by a team of directors and conveners consisting of Gyanesh Paliwal, Meghna Gupta, Naval Bajaj , Rajendra Pahuja , Anshu Paliwal, Arvind Arya, Dipak Mantri, Dilip Sharma, Mahesh Gupta, Nidhi Jethoo, Prerna Khandelwal, Ritika Shah, Sunil Sharma and Anamika Vaish.

Indra Singh, Pinky Jajoo and Dr. Ramdev Mehta were also appointed as directors outside for promoting vision and mission of RANA in community living outside GTA.

Several activities were organized by RANA in the year 2007, 2008 and 2009. Some of the widely appreciated and well attended events are as follows:

  • Diwali (festival of lights)-RANA Diwali has become well awaited event in community since 2007. RANA also started participating actively in National Diwali celebrations at Parliament Hill Ottawa since 2009, RANA was co-sponsor in 2010. The National Diwali is organized by RANA Canada’s honorable patron  Hon. Deepak Obhrai MP.
  • Holi (festival of colours)- Four to five hours long celebrations at Hindu Sabha / Bharat Mata Temples are attended by more than 150 people and enjoyed by all . Gulal (coloured powder ) thandai , Rajasthani songs and  Dances  and a sumptuous lunch consisting of mouth watering Rajasthan style food.
  • Annual summer Picnic – a full summerday in beautiful lake site or park setting up-north annually attended by more than 250 people with non-stop sporting and recreational activities like cricket, tug –of –war , volley balls ets, variety of food items mainly Rajasthani dishes Dal Bati Churma , hot jalebies. Picnic starting with a typical Rajasthani Breakfast and then day long feast , including lunch, snacks, fruits , ice cream/ kulfi , pakoras , samosas  and tea.
  • Gangaur- A popular colourful religious festival for women folk celebrated in Rajasthan 16 days after Holi festival. The Gangaur festival is sponsored and organized by RANA ladies annually . As per our tradition, on this occasion , Rajasthani Ladies wear Gangaur costumes and worship colourful images of Gauri \ Isar ( Goddes parvati and Lord Shiva) the traditional Pooja is followed by colourful traditional dances and a traditional sumptuous feast.

RANA started participating in India’s Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations as a major partner on annual basis. 

In 2008 RANA contingent represented Rajasthan in the Independence Day parade for the first time at annual celebrations organized by Indian Consulate and Panorama India at Dundas Square, Toronto. Our float with Snake dance troupe on the float became the main attraction at Dundas Square celebrations  

RANA also joins Republic day celebrations organized by Panorama India and another event organized in Markham jointly by community organizations ie: Agarwals based in Canada, Sanatan Mandir, Arya Samaj and Patanjali Yogpeeth.

As a part of Diwali celebrations RANA recognizes outstanding contributions by its youth in academic , sports , extracurricular activities  and contribution to RANA activities. RANA members were also recognized for their outstanding contribution . These awards were started in 2009. In 2009 RANA academic excellence awards were given to : Manisha Gupta, Harsh Heda, Rahul Singh, Anant Vijay, Mayank Gupta and Dipika Sharma. Yashowardhan Paliwal was awarded for excellence in sports and extracurricular activities.

This year (2009) the awards for outstanding contribution to RANA activities were given to Akanksha Paliwal, Apar Vijay, Anant Vijay , Harsh Heda, Manisha Gupta, Manogya Tekriwal, Meghna Gupta, Mohit Bhalla, Richa Krwal, Samiksha Singh, Yash Heda and Yashowardhan Paliwal.

The president’s award for the member of the year 2009 went to Anshu Paliwal.

RANA organized community service event at Scott Mission in 2010 and supported an eye camp in India in the same year. 

First issue of RANA Magazine was also published in 2009, Rajni Tekriwal did a commendable job as Chief Editor, she was ably assisted by a great editorial board having Ram Gupta, Mahesh gupta, Anamika Vaish, Anu Jain.

Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Hon. Ashok Gehlot very kindly consented to be our Life Patron in 2009.  Our delegation of nearly a hundred delegates to Rajasthani International Convention in 2010 at New York, prompted the Chief Minister of Rajasthan to suggest that the next convention should be hosted by us in Canada. He also had a special session with delegates from Canada during this convention. Our youth mesmerized the gathering at convention by its performance during cultural evening.   

During 2010-11, I had the privilege of being on Prime Minister’s economic round table. RANA sponsored National Diwali at Ottawa in 2010. 

The Ramleela performed by our members during our Diwali 2010 celebrations earned kudos from religious, literary and political leaders of our society. 

VIP’s which included Jason Kenney, Tony Clement, Julian Fantino, Tim Hudak, Wladyslaw Lizon, Hon. Deepak Obhrai, Dalton McGuinty, Amrit Mangat & Ruby Dhalla.  Arjun Raj Meghwal MP from Bikaner, Rajasthan (India) attended our events.    

Our first attempt (in 2009) to publish RANA magazine got an overwhelming response from community. The RANA magazine was liked by BOLLYWOOD also. Actor Sunil Shetty and Singer Shreya Ghoshal, both took a copy.  

 2010-11 RANA Magazine was again published by Rajni Tekriwal as Chief Editor and Ram Kalwar,Anamika Vaish, Dr. Renuka Sharma , Aseem Malhotra as editors 

In year 2012, our members had occupied important positions in various business and social organizations such as ICCC, Hindu Awareness, NCIC, Jaipur Foot and Rajasthan Foundation. I am proud to say that this year; the oldest Senior Citizen’s Club of GTA also became a part of RANA. 

We organized a fusion cultural event with an Israeli group.  

The same year myself and Alok Goel were awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. I received my award from Prime Minister at Calgary. 

I went to India as a member of Prime Minister’s delegation.

This year, we were the main organizer of National Diwali at Parliament Hill in Ottawa Prime Minister of Canada, Senior Ministers of his cabinet, Diplomats of various countries, Heads of temples from all over Canada and Heads of various business and social Organizations attended the event. 

This year RANA honored following for their talent/service to community during RANA Diwali Gala.

  1. P. Mansaram – Artist/Painter
  2. Padam Mehta- Publisher in Rajasthani Language
  3. Vijay Virmani- Art & Acting
  4. Dr Amit Arya-Indian Classic Music
  5. Hemant & Vaishali Panwar- Kathak Jaipur Gharana
  6. Senator Don Meredith- Public Service
  7. Senator Dr (Mrs) Asha Seth -Public Service

In a span of only five years, we had attracted an array of outstanding talent from our community of Rajasthani Canadians. Given their inspirational vision, idealism, creativity, dedication and organizational skills, I can easily say I am really proud of our members and our community. Now we have RANA (Canada) in Calgary as well. This was a great initiative, which was led by Yogesh and Anita Paliwal, who moved to Calgary from Toronto just few months back. 

I hosted Justice Mathur (who comes from Jodhpur), retired Supreme Court Judge at my residence. He was very pleased to see our magazine.   

Mahraj Narendra Singh & Princess Diya Kumari consented to be our Honorary Patron, after meeting members of RANA family at the reception organized by me at my residence.

RANA magazine found it was way to Singer Pankaj Udhas, Actor Anupam Kher, Royal Couple from Jaipur, Mr Amir, Consul General of Israel  

By 2013 end RANA had amazed the Canadian society, by creating number of new landmarks. In 2013, Naval Bajaj, Rakesh Goenka, Sampat Poddar, Raj Kothari and Kant Bhargava of our community received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. 

The culture of hospitality of Rajasthan gains strength here in Canada, when year after year the international and national dignitaries from India visiting Canada are hosted by RANA. This year we had the privilege of hosting sitting Judge of International Court of Justice at Hague, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, he made us all proud to let us know that at one time, when he was a sitting Judge at Supreme Court of India, two other sitting judges of supreme court were from Rajasthan, at one time three sitting judge in supreme court of India were from Rajasthan. 

Justice Bhandari was very kind to accept our request to be our Honorary Patron. 

We continue to grow our efforts on our vision of upholding our culture and heritage and keeping our younger generation to connect to our roots.

The Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce became the richest beneficiary of talent from RANA, when chamber members decided to elect six of its directors from members who are also member of RANA, including its President, Secretary and Treasurer.

RANA was the key organizer of the 13th National Diwali celebration held in Toronto on November 9, 2013. The Prime Minister Rt.Hon. Stephen Harper was in attendance. I was the chief coordinator for the event, hosted by our honorary patron Hon. Deepak Obhrai. Prime Minister in his speech called it the best and biggest National Diwali event attended by him. More than 3000 guests attended the event.

Sadhna Joshi received Female Professional of the year award from ICCC, while our another member Nilesh Bansal got the Technology Achievement Award. 

Dr Joshi also received Pride of India Award in Jan 2013.

This year we found a noble way of honoring our seniors, by requesting senior most attending the RANA Diwali to be the Chief Guest for the event. K.C.BHATNAGAR a life member was thus was chosen to be the chief guest for RANA Diwali 2013.       

A new editorial with Dr. Sadhna Joshi as Chief Editor and Brij K. Sharma, Anamika Vaish, Nidhi Jethoo, Hansa Heda, Dr. Renuka Sharma, Prof Saran Ghai as editors took over the responsibility to publish RANA 2013. They did a great job.      

Year after year RANA had been uninterruptedly contributing to Canadian Society. 2014 was no different. 

This year 5 of the 9 Directors of The Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce are from RANA holding the positions of President, Corporate Secretary, VP Finance, VP events and Immediate Past President. This is direct reflection of recognition of RANA’s positive contribution to society.

At Board level Prem Bhandari of New York was appointed International Media Advisor.  

I feel proud of our members, as they excelled in every sphere of the social activities.

In 2014, Anil Purohit was honored for his literary work. Dr. Sadhna Joshi received the 25 year service award from President of the University of Toronto & Naval Bajaj was enlisted in the list of top 25 immigrants of the year 2014. 

In 2014 RANA (Canada) has played an important role in ensuring safe return of workers from Rajasthan working in Saudi, who got stranded in Saudi due to sudden change in rules about foreign workers. Our international media advisor Prem Bhandari spearheaded our efforts to ensure safe return of more than 280 such workers.

An award function was jointly organized in India at Jodhpur by RANA(Canada) and RANA Calgary, honoring writers of Rajasthani language and those relentlessly campaigning for its recognition under Constitution of India. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Judge International Court of Justice at The Hague, Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, Rajasthan High Court; Judges, MPs were among the guests at award ceremony. Once again, it happened only because of sincere efforts of our international media advisor Prem Bhandari.

Once again we were one the main sponsors of National Diwali organized at Hindu Sabha Temple, The Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper attended the event hosted by Hon. Deepak Obhrai.     

This year a new element was added to RANA Diwali we had a fashion show by our own members, mainly kids, youth and ladies. This year also, a senior member who is also a veteran of 1965 and 1971 war, Major J.P. Singh was chosen to be chief guest for RANA Diwali Gala.       

For 2015, Anil Purohit joined the editorial board. 

RANA Diwali once again proved that our kids and youth is committed to follow the  path laid by their elders so as to achieve Vision and Mission of RANA.  

The performance of our kids in dance, depicting 5 elements of life was just wonderful. 

We also celebrated Holi, Gangour, Republic day, Independence Day. RANA annual picnic was again great fun with our traditional food.

In 2016, the change of guard took place a new BOARD OF DIRECTORS was elected unanimously. The elected director selected Mahendra Bhandari as their leader and new President of RANA(Canada) in AGM held on May 9.