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Youth movement to build new India with self-help reaches US

August 02
21:52 2013
Darshak Hathi (right) with Vinesh Virani, an activist associated  with Art of Living

Darshak Hathi (right) with Vinesh Virani, an activist associated
with Art of Living

CHICAGO: Volunteers for a Better India (VBI), an organization inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has come up with a novel idea of rejuvenating India not by blaming any person, group or organization but by creating awareness among the masses. The masses can bring about major changes by themselves, without looking up to the government or help from outside sources.

This movement has gained hefty ground in India, says Darshak Hathi, the Chief architect of VBI, currently on tour of USA for enlisting the support of segments of NRI community, principally the youth. Hathi was in Chicago and met representatives of Indian ethnic media last week and sought to explain the basic philosophy behind this new movement which has no political bearings.

In his brief address Darshak said that one may hold an American citizenship or may have spent years away from India but one still has a deep connection to the country of origin. We still get affected by the current situation in the country of birth be it the news on corruption and scams, terrorist strikes, women’s issues or suicide by farmers or the continuing water shortage or power cuts or calamities and disasters, but blaming the government is not the right solution, he said.

Not content to watch passively, over 100,000 youth from all over India gathered together at the Ram Lila Maidan in New Delhi on February 3 to participate in the launch of the Volunteer for a Better India (VBI) movement inaugurated by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
They had a very simple goal – to inspire millions of Indians to give just one hour a day for the nation. This call for action resulted in implementation of several projects all over India and finally reached NRI youth. Many UN agencies, Indian Medical Associations and many Not for Profit organizations have joined hands with VBI to become a party to transform India.
A few NRI and PIO youth, not willing to be left behind, decided to start the Overseas Wing of the Overseas Volunteers for a Better India (OVBI). Over 1800 youths have already joined OVBI since its launch in May 2013. “We found to our utmost happiness that being Indian goes beyond the geographical boundaries of the country and there are many overseas Indians who want to be part of re-building and strengthening of India,” Hathi pointed out.

Hathi has traveled to 21 cities in USA and plans to go to New York, New Jersey, Washington, Houston, Bay Area and few more before flying back to India. He said that he was overjoyed with the amazing response among the Indian community in USA. During the brainstorming session with leaders of the community the following key points were identified: To support the projects related to rebuilding India; the need to organize and mobilize the NRI community; effectively highlight issues that concern the NRIs in USA in their day to day life; rectify the incorrect projection of India and Indians in the mainstream; Need to voice the issues of the homeland India in USA.

OVBI seems to bring a ray hope for development and transformation of India and Indians.
Darshak Hathi, the socio-spiritual activist, previously a core member of ‘India Against Corruption’ (IAC) movement led by Anna Hazare, spent two days with Annaji in Tihar jail in August 2012. Darshak has initiated and participated in various service projects and civil society movements such as conflict resolution, rehabilitation, a peace initiative program in North East India, the creation of model villages in various districts of Maharashtra, child protection in Uttar Pradesh with UNICEF, Bharat Jagao Abhiyan, Meri Dilli Meri Yamuna and Jal Jagriti Abhiyan.

He is the strategic advisor for ‘Together Reform India’, a Times Foundation initiative. Based on his self-less service to rural India, Darshak was awarded the ‘Servant of the Poor’ award by the confederation of NGOs of Rural India, in 2010.

Ramesh Soparawala
India Post News Service

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