Interviewing Sunil Agarwal from Indian Association of Los Angeles
Q1) Tell us more about the Indian Association of Los Angeles?
India Association of Los Angeles was established about 19 years ago to bring the Indian community together and to celebrate India Independence Day and Republic Day every year. Every year, these two events provide local talent to perform on a big platform and celebrate Indian heritage and culture. This association caters the need of more than 60000 Indian American living in the valley.
Q2) What are your views on the current economic developments of India?
India is growing very fast, more than 7.5% per annum under the able and dynamic leadership of Shri Modi. GST is a milestone in the Indian taxing system, which brought all taxes under one umbrella in a simplified manner. "The ease of doing business in India" Rank is now 77 compared to 141 from a couple of years ago. According to American CEOs, Indian cabinet is corruption free for the first time after their independence. India's successful Mars mission and launching of 104 satellites using one rocket have shown what India is capable of today. In short "India has arrived."
Q3) What are the expectations of Indians stationed at Los Angeles from the United States? Indians have the highest household income in the United States. When it comes to educational degrees then again we come first. Our expectations are to get more representation in politics and delegations. We feel that we are underrepresented in political circles and the government.
Q4) More about your upcoming events? We will be celebrating Indian Republic Day 2019 on February 9th. This program is an indoor program where people enjoy Indian cuisine, dances, singing, and much more. We will be inviting some elected officials and officials from Indian Consulate. It allows us to be in touch with them as a community. In August 2019, we will be celebrating India Independence Day. That is our mega event, which attracts thousands of Indians and others to celebrate Indian heritage and showcase various Indian art forms. We will celebrate American Independence Day in July.
Q5) Sanatan Dharma is considered the most knowledgeable and science-driven Dharma- Give us some light on that. Over thousands of years, Indian Rishis and Munis accumulated knowledge and wisdom and made a system for the way of life called Sanatan Dharma. It is the most profound, scientific, inclusive, and ancient depository of knowledge. Rigveda is the first book of humanity. It is sad and strange that Indians do not celebrate their own first book by devoting one day to Rigveda and Indian philosophy. A person can change faith but not civilization and must celebrate heritage and culture. I hope one day should be dedicated and devoted to the first book of this world "Rigveda."
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 Modiji came into power?
President Barak Obama had an excellent relationship and understanding with Prime Minister Modi. They started a new era of Indo-American Relationships. Trump-Modi built further on this and took it to a strategic partnership. It seems both countries are heading in the right direction, which will be beneficial for both countries in the long run. We appreciate President Trump's bold steps against the nations who are promoting terrorism.
Q7) Unity in Diversity- India stands for that! How do you deal with the multilinguistic crowd in the Indian Association of LA?
In the USA, we all Indians are just Indian Americans. We never feel any difference. We enjoy our diversity very much. We never experienced diversity or language is an issue. We use English and Hindi to communicate. Hindi is a language of entertainment and used in songs, dances and all form of entertainments. We never see any language issue since coordination is mostly done in English, and entertainment in Hindi and other languages. Indian community feels very proud when we do anything collectively, which evokes emotions for mother India.
Q8) Looking forward, how do you wish to contribute to the bilateral relationship between India and the United States?
In India, negative news takes precedence and prominence over positive news. It affects India's image and tourism. Our efforts always to show what India can offer to the United States and its people. The influx of American tourists in India will definitely improve relationships and understanding between both countries. We would like to promote Indian tourism to improve bilateral relationships. Another area is Hindu Studies in American academia, which do not adequately represent the Indian knowledge system. Western Academic and scholarly world is full of colonized construction of Indology, which does not do justice to Hindu Philosophy and its knowledge system. I would like to contribute more towards the right presentation of Indic Civilization and Indic Value system in American academia.
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