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NRI’s Become Involved for a Better India

By: Ravi R. Ponangi
July 2010
NRI’s Become Involved for a Better India

On May 29, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan (Dr. JP), founder and President of the Lok Satta Party, and member of the Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh, spoke in Atlanta. During a month long “Rejuvenate India” tour across America, he urged NRI’s to take politics as a calling. Quoting Margaret Mead, he said, “A small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world.”

Dr. JP noted that many of the leaders who fought for independence studied abroad. Although they were privileged, many came back to fight for India’s independence and to build the nation. Similarly, he asked today’s NRIs to join hands with people back home to work towards a better India, acting as a bridge between India and the rest of the world and being ambassadors of India.

Dr. Narayan emphasized the need to overcome the narcissism of small differences in the interest of the bigger cause of national reformation: “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.”
Emphasizing joining together, he gave the example of Mahatma Gandhi who fought to keep the country united, with decentralized power, and corruption free, but he could not succeed because the rest of the nation didn’t join. Change is not possible by a single person, but together we can bring change.

Dr. JP’s speech was inspirational and humorous. He talked about problems with the Indian political system and the roles of youth and the middle class in this fight to help India have a future in the hands of the people and not the politicians.

Topics included solutions to corruption, secularism, foreign policy towards Pakistan and China, women in politics, the Telangana issue, and establishing a national think-tank and a national judicial commission. Questions concerned how the party planned to address the issues, and the readiness of India for real change. Dr. JP replied that the secret to good governance is the creation of accountable local governments.
Dr. JP cited the Asian Development Bank’s assertion that India can become the second largest economy in the world by 2040. He said for us to reach that goal we need to get five things reasonably right: reform and empowerment of local bodies; administrative and police reforms; elimination of corruption; education to fuel technological development so as not to miss opportunity as we did in the Industrial Revolution; and finally, reform of the first-past-the-post electoral system to the proportional representation system.
He praised NRIs for the laurels they have earned for themselves and their country and pointed out that India requires their talent, leadership, commitment and participation, to create reforms in the next 10 years.

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