A Visit to the U.S.'s Only Secular-Based Indo-American Center, in Milpitas

August 27, 2006

Source: The Mercury News


On August 27, 2006 The Mercury News reported, "India's all the rage these days. It's on the cover of Time magazine. It's the subject of debate on whether to outsource jobs there. Doesn't it seem like everyone is taking a yoga class or watching a Bollywood film? So, as far as Anil Godhwani sees it, why not head to the India Community Center and see the sights and sounds of his home country right in the middle of Milpitas? 'People are curious about India,' said Godhwani, 42, who co-founded ICC with his brother, Gautam Godhwani, 34, both of Fremont. 'But India is half-way around the world. If you're living in Silicon Valley, or in Milpitas, ICC is that gateway to India, whether it be bhangra aerobics, eating some Indian food, listening to some Indian music or sending your kids to a different flavor summer camp. It's just very easy to get plugged in.' ICC, as it's called, opened in 2003 in a boxy brick building at 555 Los Coches Road, and is patterned after the nation's Jewish Community Centers, which serve as cultural and social hubs for the Jewish community but which open their doors to the mainstream as well. With an operating budget of $2.8 million and a paid staff of about 30, ICC is touted as the country's only secular-based Indo-American community hall. The center welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds to participate in Gujarati language classes, senior discussion groups and Bollywood aerobics classes... Traditionally, Indo-American activities have been held in conjunction with a mosque or Hindu temple, and therefore have some type of religious nuance, Godhwani said. ICC is purposely not that. And as the center enters its fourth year, visions of it growing to become a full-fledged athletic center with top-notch exercise equipment is in full thrust."