Thirty delegates from California, Michigan, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington DC, New York and Maryland met on the campus of University of Maryland, College Park, near Washington DC towards the end of June 2002 for the Second National Meeting of NRI´s For Secular & Harmonious India, the idea of taking a Sadbhavana Mission to India for healing the Wounds of The People of Gujarat was proposed and accepted.
Everyone´s mind was focused on the question, How We Can help in the restoration of Peace, Communal Harmony and how to prevent occurrence of such violence in the future? . We are travelling to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Godhra, Vadodra, New Delhi and other cities of India to learn from political, social and religious leaders answers to these questions.
We are all deeply anguished by the senseless killing of innecent men, women and children in Gujarat in the aftermath of the Godhra incident of February, 27, 2002. Of course, everyone, Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Christians condemned the burning of women and children in the train near Godhra station. However, we strongly condemn the brutal retaliation of raping, killing and burning of thousands of innocent Muslims organized by the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, BJP and other Sangh Parivar constituents with the active connivance of the state machinery.
We wish to start a dialogue between people of India and the people of Indian origin living abroad for the purpose of restoring peace and harmony which has existed among people of different faiths in India for centuries.
You are invited to send your suggestions on positive ideas on how to rebuild A New India of Our Dreams possible. Send E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Are Sadbhavana
Mr. George Abraham, Queens, New York Chief IT Operations, United Nations Pension Fund New York. Social activist who has strong commitment to human rights issues. Founding General Secretary of the Indian National Overseas Congress Community Leader who served in various capacities with Indian Organizations in New York (Kerala Samajam, Federation of Indian Association, Indian Christian Forum) Student Leader and Treasurer of the largest youth organization (AKBS) in Kerala.
Dr. Satinath Choudhary, Bronx, New York Engineer from IIT Kharagpur and Masters and PhD from City College of New York and Polytechnic University of New York. Taught Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, joined Concerned South Asians,
Dr. Choudhary has done extensive research, analysis and synthesis of various kinds of election systems. He proposes an electoral system of proportional represe-ntation as practiced in Europe.
Mrs. Aditi Desai, Manhattan, New York Sociologist and UN consultant. Taught at Delhi University and did doctoral research on the Muslims in the Walled City of Delhi, living with Muslim families for two years during the Emergency. Was a student activist in the JP Movement and later deposed before the Shah Commission on the Turkman Gate demolition and massacre. During the Sikh riots in 1984, worked for victims´ relief. Worked with grassroots, national and international NGOs on issues of women, slum children, basic needs, and environment and sustainable development. Also worked in Geneva and New York with UN Agencies (UNV, UNRISD, UNFPA) as consultant on environment, gender, and civil society issues. Has published many reports and a book.
Mr. Gautam Desai, Charlotte, North Carolina Founder, Develop In Peace Forum. Volunteer, Association for India´s Development. Has three Masters degrees in Marketing, Global Finance, and Business Management from India, UK, and USA and ten years of professional career and parallel voluntary work aimed at India´s development and Indo-US relations. Raised in Vaishnav Gujarati family and worked most recently in the US as Marketing Manager for a European conglomerate. Currently working in Gujarat as a social activist to raise consciousness about communal harmony, and sustainable and equitable development.
Mr. Nandan Desai, Chicago, Illinois Economics student, University of Chicago. Has worked as a reporter for the Earth Times and Newsweek International on development issues, and as an investment banking analyst. News Editor of the newspaper of the United Nations International School in New York.
Mrs. Nishrin Hussain, Bear, Delaware Mrs. Hussain is the daughter of the former MP Ahsan Jafri. Her father´s liberal views and secular values had a profound influence on Nishrin´s formative years. Following her marriage to Najid Hussain, she lived in England for four years before relocating to the US. Nishrin currently works as a Controller in a fast growing printing company. Nishrin and her husband have given a series of talks on fostering communal understanding and raised funds for the relief and rehabilitation of the riot affected victims.
Mr. P D John, Washington, DC Chair, Governmental Affairs, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA), which lobbies international governments to protect the interest of the minority Christian community of India. Executive Director, Policy Institute for Religion and State (PIFRAS), a research and educational organization that studies and monitors the relationship between State and religious communities in South Asia, Middle East, Eastern and Central Europe and organizes conferences, seminars, symposiums, exchange programs, speaking tours and publishes reports on different countries.
Mr. Arjun Makhijani, Takoma Park, Maryland President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. He has authored and environmental, and security issues. He has consulted with several agencies of the united Nations, with electric utilities, and non-government organizations. Since the tragic events in Gujarat he has helped to mobilize NRIs for justice and for restoring and maintaining India´s secular traditions. He holds a Ph. D. from the Electrical Engineering Department of University of California at Berkeley, where he specialized in plasma physics as applied to controlled nuclear fustion.
Rev. Bernard Malik, Wilmington, Delaware Bernard Malik an Anglican Priest from Punjab currently settled in Delaware President of International Council of Evangelical Churches, Director of Global Center of Indian Christians. Deeply involved in the Human Rights struggle to ensure the impartial implementation of Constitutional guarantees. With All India Christian Council served in Gujrat at the time of earth quake with relief and medical missions. Saeed Patel, Englewood Cliff, New Jersey Businessman in information technology industry. Humanitarian Social Worker and Generous Philanthropist.
Mr. Shrikumar Poddar, Okemos, Michigan Acharya of Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment, Publisher, Seva International a Gandhian Trusteeship Business, President, International Service Society, India Foundation, Emergency Relief Fund for Bangladesh 1971 -72, Americans for Peace 1968-70, JP Movement 1974-1975, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, National Finance Chairman, McCarthy for President 1976 Independent, Advisor to (1) McCarthy for President 1968 & 1972 (Democrat) (2) McGovern for President 1972 (Democrat) (3) McCloskey for President 1972 (Republican) (4) Benjamin Spock for President 1972 (People´s Party), Founder (1) Bharatiya Temple of Lansing (2) Bharatiya Educational Foundation, (3) Indians for Democracy 1975-77, (4) Self Transformation Network for A Just World, (5) Nayi Azadi Andolan, (6) India Unity Group (7) NRI´s for Secular & Harmonious India, Play Author Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekananda, Acharya Vinoba, India of My Dreams, Victory To The World, Gandhian Vision for 21st Century, Life of Sri Ram, Life of Sri Krishna, Making A World of Our Dreams.
Mr. Raju Rajogopal, Berkeley, California Raju Rajagopal is a 1968 graduate of I.I.T. Madras, whose corporate career in the U.S. spanned over 30 years, culminating in the position of Chief Operating Officer of MECON, Inc., which is now part of GE Medical Systems. Over the past four years, Raju has devoted full time to non-profit work in the U.S., with focus on development issues in rural India. He is an executive member of Indians for Collective Action (ICA) in the San Francisco Bay Area, which supports integrated rural development projects in India. More recently, Raju has been an active volunteer with Coalition Against Communalism (CAC), an umbrella group in the U.S. dedicated to working with like-minded groups in India and overseas to work against the divisive forces of communalism both in India and among NRIs overseas. CAC stands for a Secular, Democratic, Pluralistic and United India.
Aman Ekta Manch