Based in Columbus, the Gujarati Mandal of Central Ohio (GMOCO), wishes to cultivate an understanding and appreciation of Gujarati culture, language, music, arts and cuisine amongst all Central Ohio Culture. It organises functions such as Holi Mela, Navratri, Natak, Picnic and the Diwali Festival where Gujarati traditions are on display for all to experience and enjoy. The GMOCO allows the dissemination of matters that affect the Gujarati community everywhere.
The New world? Yes! Since the early 1950’s the United States of America, the new world, has become an attraction of aspiring young Indians as a center of achieving a higher education in the science, engineering, management, economics etc,. Those Indian students came to U.S. In the late 1950’s and thereafter witnessed opportunities to utilize their education and better themselves by accepting employment with different companies.
In spite of the self satisfaction experienced from work and the adopted life style, a sense of emptiness was experienced on occasion by those new settlers and their families. They were earning for an occasional social gathering with individuals who could relate to one another about the social life and the traditional social celebrations which they knew. Merely gathering together with individuals of similar backgrounds brought joy to all involved for several days.
While reminiscing of such feelings of emptiness, a thought came to Mr. Vinubhai Patel about forming a group of people speaking the Gujarati language. Vinubhai put the thought before his wife Taruben and three other families namely, Raoji and Lila Patel, Sudhanshu and Rekha Patel and Sarvabhaum and Jyotsna Parikh. They gladly concurred with the suggestion and that born, in Columbus in 1967, the GUJARATI MANDAL organization which today has expanded to more than five hundred families. Anybody who could say “Kem Chho?” (How are you?) gladly joined the organization. As the membership increased, the place of getting together moved from private homes to public places like parks and community centers. At the present time the number of community members attending the Navratri celebration swells to as high as 700 to 900 people.
All the activities of the organization are administered and organized by energetic and enthusiastic volunteers from the community. In order to bring a formal objective order into the working of the organization, a constitution was presented to the general body and was passed in December 1982. Committee members are elected each year for a two year term.
Since 1983, Gurjari, an annual publication is published by volunteer editors. Over the years the Gujarati Mandal has attracted outstanding scholars, writers, teachers and educators to speak before interested community members. The organization has participated several time in “Raas and Garba” competitions held every year in different cities and has won prizes. In 1989, the Gujarati Mandal hosted the regional “Rass and Garba” competition at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Columbus. This competition is organized yearly by the FOGANA (Federation of Gujarati Associations of North America).
It is satisfying to see the progress made by the organization in the last twenty five years (from a modest and simple beginning). While enjoying this celebration, the community must reaffirm to work towards achieving fully the objectives laid out in the constitution. They are:
- To promote the welfare and assimilation of Gujaratis in the main stream of American life.
- To foster friendship and understanding among its members and to develop common loyalties and mutual interest through literacy, social, educational and cultural activities.
- To cooperate and participate with other organization in program of common interest.
- To sustain and perpetuate the cultural heritage of Gujarati.
- To promote and assist activities and projects in furtherance of any or all the above.