FORDS, NEW JERSEY – The India Global Foundation held its first annual Global Peace Conference in New Jersey where the highlight was a panel discussion addressing the role of youth, culture and media in a global movement for a ‘New India.’
The event was hosted by Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, and Albert Jasani, owner of Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, New Jersey.
Among those who spoke at the conference were Dr. Udit Raj, a national executive member of the Bharatiya Janata Party; Ajay Bhatt, the president of Uttrakhand BJP; Chintu Patel, CEO of Amneal Pharmaceuticals; Ashok Shrivastav, a news anchor with Doordarshan; Sneha Bhatt; Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ); Ravi Parikh, son of Dr. Sudhir Parikh; Dr. Purvi Parikh, daughter of Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, and others.
The conference started with a Vishwa Kalyan Shanti Yagna where Dr. Sudhir Parikh along with his wife Sudha Parikh, Dr. Bharat Barai and other prominent community members joined in praying for world peace.
The Yagna brought upon an inner peace and self realization for all that were present. In fact, Bhatt told Desi Talk how the concept of self realization is very important because, “you never know what course your life is going to take. Today, you may be living with negativity but then all of a sudden tomorrow you may get killed in an accident; then what?”
“You can make as much money as you want, but it won’t matter because you never know when God will call you to him,” he added.
Eliminating greed from life is a topic that Dr. Raj touched upon as well.
“Global peace is disturbed today precisely because of the craving for wealth everywhere in the world. In India, there is too much imbalance in the distribution of wealth; only one percent of the population owns 73 percent of the wealth in the country,” Dr. Raj told Desi Talk.
Dr. Raj also talked about how the media in India is putting the country in a bad light, something which Shrivastav agreed upon, telling the audience how the Indian media is trying to set India on “fire” by exaggerating facts and making common people celebrities.
“Have any of you heard of Mahendra Singh Makrana? Probably not because he doesn’t deserve to be known. Mahendra Singh Makhrana is the guy who said he was going to cut Deepika Padukone’s nose off when they released the film Padmaavat. The media made him into a star overnight while he took over most news channels for the next two weeks,” Shrivastav said.
In speaking about what Indian Americans can do for India now, Patel said, “I think all of us can do something for our country. I always think of India as our Devaki Maiyya and the U.S. as our Yashoda Maiyya. Both of these countries have so much to offer for world peace and prosperity going forward. In India we are always blaming everything on the government but we as citizens of India, global citizens of India, we all can do so much to make sure that every citizen of India has access to food, clean water, shelter and basic healthcare.”
He added: “The money from the NGOs are not even scratching the surface of India as the money is only reaching a total of five percent of the needy population. We have these huge problems but we have a strong heritage and culture. We can come out of this and one day India can truly become a powerful world leader.”
Dr. Purvi Parikh said: “Both me and my brother are really lucky that we grew up in New Jersey, a state that is so densely populated by Indians because we were not exposed only to our culture on a daily basis but also to what our parents’ generation and family friends were all doing to give back to India, and when you grow up in that type of mindset, it teaches you subconsciously to give back. Both my brother and I have tried to do that and follow our parents’ footsteps as we were growing up.”
Dr. Sudhir Parikh, in his speech, talked of the need for philanthropy to contribute to the welfare of India, and to highlight India’s progress and development globally.
“Recently, I launched a think tank, based in New York, Parikh Foundation for India’s Global Development, that seeks to put the spotlight and focus on India, its achievements and challenges. How it’s fighting hard to become a developed nation,” he said.
“Over the years, I have been very impressed by the commitment and dedication of India World Foundation to seek redressal of issues that sometimes gets pushed to the back burner.
In 2015, India World Foundation held a seminar and panel discussion to discuss the challenges of women in the Himalayan region. This year, the stage is even larger. The multi-faceted focus in New Jersey is to promote peace, through prayer, and yoga. It’s critical for the world, at a time when conflict is growing in every part of the globe,” he said.
“Such initiatives will go a long way in not only projecting India as a nation with a global agenda for peace and harmony, but assure our friends and allies that friendship with India makes the world a better place for all,” he added.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh advised the Indian American youth to step forward and help out India like their parents are already doing.
“If we nurture all three aspects of youth, culture and media to its fullest potential then the effect will be felt globally in a very short time. It is critical for the second generation of Indian American youth to stay connected to their motherland and show the commitment to develop and help India,” he added, saying how he is happy to see a lot of young Indian Americans take interest in India philanthropically.
Kumar Rakesh, Founder, Global India Foundation, emphasized the movement for a new India, in an interview to News India Times. He said it’s vital for the participation of youth, culture and media to promote the vision of a modern India.
“Global India Foundation is premised on promoting national resilience, economic prosperity, liberal values and principle of social commitment in national life, as espoused by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
Rakesh said that Modi had given his blessings for the initiative of Global India Foundation, and to promote it in all the G8 countries, when he and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, had met him in Delhi, in January.
“We will soon put out our agenda to promote the vision of a new India in all the other G8 countries, and try involve the youth of Indian-origin there, to participate in our mission and objectives,” he said.
“Brand India”, as Kumar, a veteran journalist based in Delhi, put it, would encompass Indian-origin people, regardless of religion, around the world.
Congressman Pallone (D-NJ), who founded the India Caucus in 1993 which now has approximately 170 members, pointed out how nonviolence is in the spirit of India and Indians everywhere.
“The theme of nonviolence that is so part of the Indian spirit coming from Gandhi and others is very important as a value,” he said. “We also need to invite the diversity that India has with its languages and ethnicities to the United States,” he added, while talking about the importance of immigration for the US.
“Many of you who came here are first generation immigrants, you serve as an example of how first generation Indians have contributed greatly to our society in terms of your work ethic, in terms of your education, in terms of to the way you bring up your children and so you serve as an example of why immigration is important and why it should be valued in this country,” he said.
The conference ended with honoring the speakers and select guests.