Friday, May 21, 2010

Transformation of India: only stuff worthwhile, worth living for, worth fighting for

“When I see the disruptive technologies promoted in this city and the work done by many of you in this city, I feel privileged to be part of this era. In a place like this you feel like there is no limit to our capacity and you can achieve almost anything. What you can achieve is only limited by what you can dream” Dr. JP started his speech with these remarks at Rejuvenate India program in Seattle organized by young energetic volunteers of People for Lok Satta, Seattle Chapter.

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan and Mr. Vijay Anand, the President of Tamil Nadu Lok Satta Party, participated in a public event attended by 300 NRIs from Greater Seattle area and nearby Portland.

Addressing the gathering on “Transformation of India”, Dr.JP said, “I believe it’s the only stuff worthwhile, worth fighting for, worth living for and we will achieve that”. Deeply enthused by the Rejuvenate India campaign so far he said, "I have not come to inspire the young people of Indian origin, but I have come here to be inspired by the young people of Indian origin. They are truly inspiring. The amount of energy, enthusiasm, optimism, ‘we can do’ attitude, and a spirit of service that they bring is unmatched. If anybody has any doubt, whether India will be transformed in the next few years or not, they have to see the young people of Indian origin in the United States.”

Dr. JP explained technology can be transplanted easily but building institutions and practices takes time. He said, Emergency Response system in Andhra Pradesh setup in a relatively short time is good, however we are unable to provide proper healthcare yet. He referred to a line from Tagore’s poem “Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into dreary desert sand of dead habit” and asked every Indian to take to the heart. He mentioned we continue many practices and institutions in India for no good reason but they were there like that for so many years. Quoting an example of the time taken by a country like US to bring campaign finance reform, he reiterated the importance of building institutions.

Dr.JP called everyone to work together to bring changes in India. An individual cannot bring about change no matter how worthy or meaningful the person is. He gave the example of Mahatma Gandhi who fought very hard to keep the country united, fought for an India with decentralized power, fought for a corruption free India, but he could not, because rest of the nation didn’t join. Change is not possible by a single person, but together we can bring change.

When asked about how he would change the current politics if he had 2,000 crore rupees with him, Dr. JP replied that he doesn't need 2,000 crore rupees but needs about 10,000 determined and willing people with excellent leadership skills who can take the movement forward.

He had one favor to ask NRIs, “You are not recognized as Telugus or Tamils, Northerners or Southerners, Hindus or Muslims, and not on any linguistic basis or caste basis, but, as Indians. For heaven’s sake, do not forget that” and the crowd responded with a tremendous applause. Vishal Joshi, a software engineer working for Microsoft said, "The situation out there is very difficult. We need extremely intelligent and honest people to simplify and make things happen. I hope there will be a change happening soon"

He urged the NRIs not to lose heart and some of it takes time as it is still a nation in progress. With the technology and resources we now have, he was hopeful that it can be done in 10 years and not 100 years. Finally to conclude, he said, “I ask of you to give a bit of your energy, your time, your organizational ability, your technological capability and your resources, most of all, your passion, your love of fellow human beings and your country of origin, a bit of it for the next 10 years so that the country can be truly transformed, much taller and much prouder”

Vivek Mandava, an organizer at the event said he learnt something today, not from Dr. JP directly, but, from the inspired audience, “Donations like $1116, $51, $11 is something that we see only in the temples. Today, I witnessed it in this elementary school auditorium, but, for a different cause. The overall amount is not that important. It is these odd numbers that convey a lot more meaning to it than meets the eye. To rejuvenate India, we need to propagate such religious beliefs and not just the traditional ones. When you are religious about your belief system, you can power through problems and overcome seemingly unsurpassable obstacles much more easily"

Earlier, Mr. Viay Anand appreciated the efforts of People for Loksatta in organizing the Rejuvenate India campaign and made a special mention of the video compiled with a selection of Dr. JP’s best speeches, which built a grand tempo for the evening. The last question from the audience was from the youngest person in the hall, a 2nd grade student, Nithya. Referring to the young generation, Dr. JP said that today we are discussing the problems of past 60 years, 30 years from now when he comes back; he wanted them to discuss problems of their generation.

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