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You are not Paraya Dhan for us Says New CG

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Photos: Bijay Dixit

By Manu Shah

HOUSTON: A soaking Houston officially welcomed the new Consul General Anupam Ray, his wife Amit Goldberg and family to the Bayou City at a community wide reception hosted by 22 Indo American organizations. Held on June 12, at India House, the CG met with leaders and key members of the organizations, delivered a brilliant address and in the words of IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia “bowled everyone over” with his demeanor.

Founding Trustee of India House Dr. Durga Agrawal introduced the CG highlighting his illustrious career and knowledge of the scriptures as well as referred to his work with the Ramakrishna Mission and the revival of the famed Nalanda University in Bihar. As Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, CG Ray played a key role in getting it off the ground in 2014 with 15 students. Dr. Agrawal also enjoined the CG to help bring PM Modi to Houston.

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Consul General Anupam Ray with his wife Amit Goldberg

“A man of action with a democratic purpose, very inclusive, focused and likes to get things done” were some of the descriptions that were used by IAPAC President Karun Sreerama in his remarks.

Consul General Anupam Ray’s address to the community members was, simply put, rocking. Peppered with slokas from the Gita, lines by Tagore and laced with humor, he brought the gathering to their feet in a standing ovation.

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Jagdip Ahluwalia

Some of the highlights of his speech are given here:
CG Ray described India as “a country that is one of the fastest growing and  most dynamic economies of the world; a country that is at the high table of International diplomacy; a country that is certain to acquire great power status and its imprimatur – a permanent seat on the UN Security Council; a country that is a beacon for liberty and freedom; a country that inspite of great challenges never deviated from the arduous path of representative democracy; a country that faces many problems; but never ducks them; never attempts to sugarcoat them; and never backs down. Whatever the odds, we said to ourselves… – Never despair”

“The famous Indian intellectual K. Subramaniam spoke to us during our training. He exhorted us never to accede to nuclear apartheid…We stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the African National Congress when it fought apartheid in South Africa. We will fight apartheid when it comes to international arrangements. Whether it comes to the nuclear non-proliferation order; whether it comes to World Trade negotiations; whether it comes to climate change talks; we will do what we think is right. We will not break the law. But we will not accept a law that we see as unfair. Even if we are alone. That is the way we are.”

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Dr. Durga Agrawal

“Openness, honesty, a proven track record – these make India a reliable partner. That is why there is recognition across the United States, across all shades of the political spectrum, across all barriers and fault lines, that the relationship between India and the US will be what President Obama described 6 years ago as the “most defining partnership of the 21st century.”

“I look forward during my stay here to build and strengthen the bridge that connects our two countries. The bridge did not appear. It was built brick by brick. Sometimes, painfully. Sometimes, joyfully. Through political understandings. Through business deals… Through yoga. Through Hollywood and Bollywood. Through Christmas and Diwali…Through grieving together when terrorists strike; through celebrating when Mangalyaan reaches Mars and when the latest model of the iPhone emerges.”

“All of you contributed. And I know that you will continue to contribute to strengthen this mighty bridge between two great nations, separated by the oceans but joined in mind and values.”

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Karun Sreerama

“Engagement with the diaspora is now one of the fundamentals of our foreign policy. When I began my diplomatic career, the only term that was used to describe an overseas Indian was NRI. The NRI of yesterday has been joined by the PIO and the OCI, and now the OI. The multiplicity of choice, I know, infuriates and confuses some of you…We are working within the limitations of law and systems…The determination of the Government of India to retain the affections of Indians everywhere is evident. We are determined to not let you go. You are not paraya dhan for us.”

“Stressed and challenged as our Governmental systems are, we have been able to create a network within the Government that engages the diaspora globally….All of us diplomats in the field are tasked with engaging you and working with you. We will continue to refine our thinking and improve on how we interact with you and include you in our national journey.”

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Swapan Dhairyawan

The Consul General concluded his address by assuring the community that he will always be available to them, add to the responsiveness, further improve service delivery and engage them more intensively.

In his vote of thanks, ICC Trustee Swapan Dhairyawan thanked the attendees for their support and cooperation as well as all those who helped move the event smoothly.

The gathering also observed a one minute silence in memory of Ashok Dhingra, a key member of the community who passed away on June 3, and for the lost lives in the chilling Orlando massacre.

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