Interviewing the President of Indian Association in Los Angeles, Manmohan Chopra, I was able to draw insight into the ideology, working and support this non for profit association provides to the Indians.
Here is the interview with the president.
Q1) Tell us more about the Indian Association of Los Angeles?
India Association of Los Angeles is a 19-year-old Non-profit organization bringing people of Indian Origin together by way of organizing a big event of India Independence Day Celebrations every year in the Los Angeles County. Thousands of people come to that event, where IALA gives a chance to small businesses to advertise their goods and services to a huge audience.
Meanwhile, it also encourages children to show their talent and the fascinating Indian Cultural Heritage to the world. It helps to imbibe and transfer the rich Indian culture to the next generation of Indians living abroad. That is IALA's way to thank everyone.
Q2) What are your views on the current economic developments of India?
What is happening right now in regard to Economic Developments in India cannot be described in words. It is just phenomenal. The things which people did not even comprehend in the past and the Governments did not even care about, are happening in such a fast pace right now, that it is just amazing. It is about very basic things like Reforms in the Society / Business, Civic Sense, Taxation, taking pride to be Indian, Infrastructure, Agriculture and so on.
This can only be achieved, the way it is being achieved now because the Leader does not have mean self-objectives.
Q3) What are the expectations of Indians stationed at Los Angeles from the United States?
EXPECTATIONS? What expectations? The expectations of Indians were just lost in the past.
Most of the Indians who came to Los Angeles or for that matter who migrated to any other place in the world were looking for the better opportunities, which they could not find in India, because of corruption, Reservation issues, and Political meanness. As per their thoughts, India at that time for the past 70 years could not give them much, in the way of opportunities. Most of the people hated the rampant corruption in the bureaucracy.
However, it is so amazing and a 'feel good' feeling that, that because of the current scenario, a lot of NRI's now feel proud to be called Indians.
People like me, want to go back and do things for our motherland.
Did people (NRIs) had the same feeling a few years back?
I don't think so.
Even if they had, they would kill it, as they did not want to get a headache dealing with the corrupt environment.
It is an old saying 'Yatha Raja, Tatha Prajaa'. That is holding true in the current scenario.
Q4) More about your upcoming events?
IALA has been organizing the event of India Independence Day celebrations in a big way year after the year. People wait to attend this event.
However, being the President of India Association of Los Angeles this year, I wanted to do something more.
So, I invited the Consul General of Israel and Sri Lanka to start with to bring more flavor to the event. It was also a gesture to create a bonding between our neighboring country and a friend (Israel). I invited the Jewish community to come and celebrate with us, through their biggest organization called the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
It is a way of connecting and building relationships.
My idea is to make it bigger next year by inviting more non-Indians to celebrate with us and be a part of Indianness.
Q5) Sanatan Dharma is considered the most knowledgeable and science-driven Dharma- Give us some light on that.
Sanathana Dharma is so deep, that I feel like a little child even to think of something to say about it. I am nobody to say even a word. However, to me, Sanathana Dharma is a way of life. It is an Ocean of Knowledge.
What little I could learn about the deep ocean called Sanathana Dharma is that it teaches you to be humble and feel that every human being and the life for that matter is a part of you and the Almighty. So, Love everything, as everything is a part of that whole Universe and the Almighty.
Q6) The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, has been a friend to North America since 2014. What changes do you see after Narendra Modi ji came into power?
Indians, in general, have made their place in the society anywhere they have migrated in the world. They are treated respectfully in general and considered to be educated and intelligent.
However, on the other hand, people overseas also think that Indians lack hygienic and civic sense.
The positive about the negative here is that Modi ji's Swathch Bharat is not just changing the minds of Indians in India, but overseas also.
Also, there is a whole paradigm shift the way India was seen overseas by the non-Indians. People have started talking about MODI and modern India.
They no longer see India as a corrupt country. They see India as a changing country.
Modi ji has projected the new India showcasing himself as a CEO of the country and not as a puppet Prime Minister. I was fortunate to attend the event at the Madison Square Garden, where Modi ji entered like a Lion. It was mesmerizing and the American Media called him the 'Rockstar'. It was not a reflection of a person. It is a reflection of a society and the Country.
News / Media / TV Hosts are talking about it, and it is a proud feeling.
Q7) Unity in Diversity- India stands for that! How do you deal with the multilinguistic crowd in the Indian Association of LA
At IALA, we are all Bhartiya, before anything else. Regions do not matter to us. That is why we have people from all the areas of India as active members of the Association. We believe that the regions create differences. So we see everyone as Indian first.
Q8) Looking forward, how do you wish to contribute to the bilateral relationship between India and the United States.
First of all, I myself is seriously considering to go back to India to give back to the motherland, who gave me so much.
I am very much involved with the American Jewish Committee, where they honor me as a respected Indian Community Leader. I am also a Charter Member of the well know TiE (The Indus Entrepreneur). I believe there's a huge potential not just with the USA, but bringing and fostering the relationship between the USA / Israel / India.
The sky is the Limit, as to what can be done in Technology, Environment issues etc. I am planning to work on the issues of harvesting water, through my non-profit organization 'Help Save A Village', which is not going to be restricted to villages only.
This item was posted by a community contributor.