Appeal to TANA and NATS not to use Public Forum for Private gain
The Organizers of TANA and NATS July National Conference:
As you prepare the arduous task of arranging the mega events this July weekend for the entertainment of Telugu Americans and Students, we request you to not to use this public forum for Private gain by giving podium to India’s politicians who are morally and ethically bankrupt and are creating havoc in India. The organizing committees of organizations you lead are putting enormous amount of work to arrange these mega events and deserve the compliments for the hard work you are putting in, but we hope you recognize that some of the activities in the name of these public celebrations are not only unethical but also against the US laws if these forums are used for private gains or against the stated goals of the organization.
At a time whenIndia if facing enormous struggle of survival wreaked upon by the corrupt politicians, we as NRIs have an opportunity to take higher ground and be a beacon to improve things inIndia. However, there seems to be disturbing trend of inviting politicians with questionable record to the podium and even to the extent of honoring them as chief guests.
Just to give an example, Ms. Renuka Chowdhary is alleged to have been gifted Rs. 12 million diamonds from notorious Hassan Ali Khan who is subject to Supreme Court investigation. Mr. Lagadapati Rajagopal is a well known politician and member of AP State Assembly, part of the party that saw the biggest loot of Andhra Pradesh alleged to be running up to 78,000 crores rupees. Mr. Lagadapati is well known for announcing the election results before Election Commission makes the announcements and is alleged to have tampered EVMs. Interestingly Election Commission found 4000 EVMs stolen and sold as scrap from his constituency.
Another person, movie actor NTR son who is alleged to have been involved in murder but later hushed up is a chief guest in one of the events. (TV9 chief, Surya Prakash has series of shows berating the Hindu religious saints with total fabrications. He is the honoree to the event. What culture are you preserving by inviting such people?)
While these are allegations, it begs the question what are the contributions of these politicians that fit into the stated goals of the organizations you are leading? At a time when country needs NRI leadership to counter the colossal corruption by those in power, leaving 80% in poverty and fast turning India into another Africa, that which is being raised both nationally and internationally (e.g., World Bank Governance, Eurodad), on what basis your organizations are giving podium to the same politicians giving them limelight among the NRI community? What does it speak of our ethics and morals in joining hands with those people? Has Telugu Associations transcended caste based politics to now another disease of business based politics, using these forums to advance business relationships and political leverage in India, as many close to the events are alleging?
On the other hand we have the tragedy of our own Telugu American Mr. Dyapa Reddy murdered and the police have not apprehended the killer yet? Just last year Dr. Divyendu Sinha was brutally murdered not far from same place by five teenagers right in front of his wife and two sons. We need to build bridges with Politicians and Officials in US to strengthen our community so they also respond to our grievances. It is only the community unity in speaking against Dr. Divendu Sinha murder that today all teenagers are being effectively pursued by county prosecutors office. (It is our petition that got 10,000 signatures and hundreds of people calling the county and mayor office that made a marked difference). What goals are you achieving by dividing the community in the name of multiple organizations? When a problem happens, it is the Police, Fire in US who risk their lives to save us. Should we not be honoring them? Just last year one American in California sacrificed his life when three Telugu visitors were sucked into the ocean by a big wave. This man, a passerby, jumped into the ocean and saved two of them and lost his life in the attempt to save the third person. Should we not be grateful to the person’s family and the most deserving of the honor of our community? Where are your priorities?
When Dr. Divyendu Sinha was brutally murdered last year, the local state legislator and deputy Speaker Mr. Upendra Chivukula (who happens also to be a Telugu NRI) expressed in the news media how we flaunt our wealth when the country economy is doing poorly and thus inviting these brutal incidents. We have seen how many Indian students were murdered in the last few years. We need to make efforts to bring our community merge with larger community, use these occasions to honor those who lend us helping hand and contribute to those who are helping us. On the contrary, again and again these organizations are being used for political and business advancement by using the public forums. We benefit from and advance because of a clean and honest system in this country, we got free education and our values from India; is it not time to give back to India? It is wrong to think that we are doing some right things and expect that it gives license to do dishonest things.
For those of us standing by and watching these events go by, year after year, there is no choice to come together and collectively raise this issue with larger Indian American community through a common petition/letter of thousands of signatures addressing the appropriate US Government organizations about what these institutions are setup for and what they are being used for with all the necessary documentation.