A report by Nirmala Garimella
Developing a scenario of ‘building bridges of communication’ B.K. Agnihotri, Advisor and Ambassador at large for NRI’s and PIO delivered a talk at a function organized by Sangam, FISI, IAGB and IMANE on 9th February at the MIT campus. Among those present at the meeting was the Mayor of Cambridge, Mr. Sullivan, Steel Magnate, Mr. Lakshmi Mittal, and members of various regional organizations in the New England Area.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Agnihotri stressed the need of developing a powerful voice to educate and influence public opinion in the US on the various issues facing India today , be it a political issue like the Kashmir turmoil or a natural calamity like the Gujarat Earthquake. In this effort he called on all local organizations to pool in their time, money and energy to rally for common issues such as these, while maintaining their regional identity for other interests. He also urged Indian parents living here to open the lines of communication with their children and involve them in such a manner that they are proud of their Indian heritage while respecting the opinions and the choices that they will make in their future.
Mr. Agnihotri also called upon all Indians to assimilate and enter into the mainstream of America, participate in the social and cultural process of this nation, volunteer in community programs, provide support, service and aid to the aged and the elderly. He also hoped that they could build an effective PR that would invite investment from companies abroad and help in boosting India’s economy. Lastly he hoped that in his role as Ambassador at large he will be able to build a Global Indian family of NRI’s all over the world and bring everybody together in a manner that it would be like an “India away from India”
During a question and answer session, Mr. Agnihotri spoke on the recommendations made by the Committee on Dual citizenship offered to some nations wherein you can have an Indian citizenship as well as the citizenship of the country you are residing in. He also elaborated on the creation of a single window method by the Indian Government by which the red tape and bureaucratic hurdles will be eased out for foreign investors. An MIT faculty member noted on the 8 weeks detention faced by a student studying at the campus as a result of the inquiries made by law enforcement after the Sept 11 incident and the treatment meted out to him as a cause for concern. Another participant requested for an exchange program for Indian students here to be able to travel to India for studies. Mr. Agnihotri invited the people to send in their ideas and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ambassador and his wife visit Shishu Bharati in Burlington and speak exclusively to Lokvani
On a bright Sunday morning, eager kids and their parents assembled at the Burlington middle school for their regular Indian school schedule. On this day, however the atmosphere was different as they were anticipating to meet a prominent Indian couple who had lived in this country and believed as they did in the importance of teaching values and traditions of the Indian way of life. This couple were no other than Mr. B.K. Agnihotri and his wife Krishna who had come to share their experiences with the children., The children listened attentively as the Ambassador at large spoke simply about who he was and why he was here and appreciated the work done by Shishu Bharati. Many children were curious to know the meaning of what the definition of an ambassador was and Mr. Agnihotri patiently answered all their questions.
Excerpts of his interview with the Lokvani team
You talked a lot of having a common voice to influence the US policymakers. Could you tell us how we can improve that communication ?
As neighbors, don’t you think that Pakistan and India must open a dialogue of communication ? What have been your efforts in this area?
How different is the Dual citizenship from the PIO.
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