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GATS Diwali Celebrations Showcase Tamil Culture & Heritage 

The Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam (GATS) dedicated to serving the Tamil community in Atlanta, recently hosted its annual event at Berkmar High School recently to celebrate Diwali while commemorating the dedication and the commitment of GATS in service to the Indian American and mainstream community in Atlanta.

GATS has grown from a local, grass-roots nonprofit founded in 1981 to a premiere organization striving to serve the Georgia Tamil community with the flair of celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Tamilians with continued emphasis on the education and richness of Tamil language for the children, adults and families residing in the USA.

GATS has strived hard through its Charity and Education committees to bring the Tamil camaraderie and culture increasingly into the mainstream of the harmonious and ethnically diverse population of the USA. The Charity Committee regularly helps local community through Med-Share and the Atlanta Food bank. In addition, this year this committee endeavored to raise funding for worthy causes such as Haiti relief, supporting Shankara Netralaya (a not-for-profit eye-care center in India), supporting the Children’s healthcare of Atlanta by organizing a 5K GATS walk and also conducted a chess tournament to support the CNN hero Mr. Narayanan Krishnan who cares for the forsaken, mentally ill, old and sick homeless people in India.
The Education Committee provides Tamil language education to the children of Atlanta Tamilians. This committee supports sustenance of three Tamil schools educating over 150 children learning Tamil. This year the Education Committee organized meaningful programs such as Tamil competition and talent show for youth. 

GATS Diwali celebration, saw its President Indira Balakrishnan and her Executive Committee all dressed in traditional attires, welcome the gathering with fanfare and hospitality. The program started with a festival of lights dance, setting the tone for the rest of the day. This was followed by programs performed by children/youth of the Atlanta Tamil community. Attendees were then treated to a traditional and relishing Tamilian lunch served on disposable and bio-degradable Banana leaf platters. The bewildered guests wondered for a moment if they were in India re-living the nostalgia of the vibrancy and exoticism of Tamil culture! The afternoon’s programs included traditional elements of Indian and Tamil culture including a scintillating classical performance by Mr. C. V. Subramaniam and various other programs that enthralled the audience. 

During the program, awards were presented to select Tamil community leaders for their self less service to the Community.

This annual event of GATS also provided for the Executive Committee to showcase their achievements/accomplishments of their term. The beaming President, while recognizing Diwali as a festival of socio-religious significance symbolizing hope and togetherness, exclaimed, “We have come to the end of an interesting and successful year in GATS as I take this auspicious opportunity to thank every member of the executive committee for their tireless work and service during the year.”

The GATS Diwali festival was well-attended by many members of the Indian American community. Presence of number of well-known community leaders, especially the youth who took part in cultural performance, made the occasion suitably festive and memorable!

Anyone interested to know more about GATS can contact, contact or visit their website

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