- He was a dominant figure in the Federation of Indian Associations and other community organizations.
Ramesh Patel, chairman of Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (FIA-Tristate), died on June 6 due to complications from Covid-19. He was 78. Patel struggled against the deadly infection for exactly two months, having been admitted on April 6 at Hackensack Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey.He is survived by his wife Sucheta, son Suvas, a cardiologist, and two daughters Manisha and Kunjal.
Fondly known as “kaka,” Patel was a force to reckon with in the FIA, one of the largest umbrella organizations in the Indian community.
In the past 50 years, Patel has held various positions with the FIA, including president from1988 to 1990. He is instrumental in establishing a several events in the Tristate area that promoted the culture and heritage of India, including FIA’s flagship event — India Day Parade in New York.
“Patel’s passing away leaves behind many of us with whom he had been spending so much time with,” says FIA President Anil Bansal. Bansal said Patel was kind, supportive and strong, and was always on top of what was needed to be done. “The void is too big to be filled,” Bansal says. “Our most sincere condolences to the family and prayers for peace.”
Patel born in Gamdi, near Anand in Gujarat inn1942. He came to the U.S. 53 years ago when he enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, to study polymer science and chemical engineering.
Patel sowed the seeds of FIA as a student at Stevens, when he started screening Hindi movies for a group of Indian students and formed the Indian Students’ Association (ISA).
After graduating, Patel started brining various Indian ethnic groups under one platform and formed the joint committee of Indian Associations. In a few years, the committee was transformed into Federation of Indian Associations (FIA).
Today, FIA is one of the largest umbrella organizations in the Indian community. From the 1980s Dotbusters era to post Sept. 11, 2001, the FIA, under Patel’s leadership, has played a significant part in mobilizing the Indian American community.
Patel worked in the forensic investigation division of the NYPD. He retied almost 12 years ago. He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2013.