Editorial: A Call for Action to Revive the Indian American Forum for Political Education-MA

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Photo courtesy: IAFPE website

BOSTON—On rare occasions INDIA New England News writes an editorial. This is one of those times. This is the time we feel that the Indian American community in Massachusetts needs an organization like the Indian American Forum for Political Education-MA (IAFPE), which has been defunct since 2019.

While there has been phenomenal growth in the number of Indian cultural and community organizations, the number of political organizations have diminished, especially at a time when it is needed the most.

Why do we need the IAFPE?

First, there is a lot of momentum on both local, state and national levels for Indian Americans trying to make a difference in their community, by seeking political roles or offices. Second, the rising racism and violence against ethnic minorities calls for a united and cohesive political response. Third, the younger Indian American generation is getting ready for an active role in all spheres of American society and should be encouraged and provided full support in their endeavors by the elder generation. Finally, the Forum had played an important role in the placement of political internships in the past, and now it needs to be revived.

IAFPE has seen its worst days in recent years. Sonali Lappin, who was appointed acting president first and later was elected as President of the organization, resigned in 2019. Her term was scheduled to expire in January 2020. The position of the president has been vacant since then.

In December 2019, IAFPE-MA appointed Dr. Monie Malhotra, MD and Gope Gidwani as interim caretakers of the organization until February 2020, with a planned election of a new president and other office bearers of the organization. But nothing has happened since then. The organization has not held a single event or forum or meeting in recent years. No elections. No General Body meeting, and not placement of interns. According to its website, the organization planned a general body meeting on Feb. 23, 2020, but it never happened.

It is not clear if the IAFPE, its officers and members of its board or trustees are following the organization’s constitution, which is not even posted on its website. When you click on the IAFPE Constitution tab, it gives a message: “The requested URL was not found on this server.”

IAFPE website lists the following as its team members:

· Vacant: President

· Vacant: President-elect

· Monie Malhotra: Interim caretaker leader

· Gope Gidwani: Interim caretaker leader

· Kumkum Mathur Dilwali: Treasurer

· Raminder Luther: Secretary

· Prady Tewarie: Member-at-large

As a community newspaper, INDIA New England News urges Ms. Malhotra, Mr. Godwani, Ms. Dilwali, Ms. Luther and Ms. Tewarie to call a General Body meeting of the organization as soon as possible with a single agenda: Elect officers and board members/trustees and empower them to revive this organization.

INDIA New England News also urges past leaders of the IAFPE to re-engage with organization again and provide a much-needed direction so that it can stand on its feet again and encourage a new generation of Indian Americans to lead this vital organization.

In the past, the following have played a very important role in the formation and growth of the organization: Ramesh Advani, Narain Bhatia, Bharat Patel, Dr. Dinesh Patel, Kaplesh Kumar, Vinit Nijhawan, Dr. Janine Rodrigues-Saldanha, Ravi Sakhuja, Vanita Shastri and Triveni Upadhyaya. The forum needs their guidance to train the new generation of Indian American leaders.

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