Date: 27th Jan 2013
Topic: Swami Vivekananda’s message for the Youth of India
Today was indeed a special day. I had been to H.D.Kote to inaugurate the Jagruthi Vedike, a Community Based Organization of young men and women who had come together to spread the message and use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. These were rural people who had been trained by the dedicated team of SVYM led by Poshini in using the RTI as a tool to fight corruption, to ensure that people get their entitlements and to usher in a new development paradigm. They have come from tens of villages with the desire to participate in our evolving democracy. They are not only asking questions, but are also training and empowering other fellow villagers in using the RTI as a ‘Development Instrument’.
It was a pleasure to see these people share their stories with me – stories of courage and conviction. These people are an inspired lot who believe that they can be harbingers of change. It was refreshing to see them so positive, which was very different from the urban youth that I also meet with. These are young people who not only believe that they can build a better nation, but are actively participating in this change. Godspeed to them all…
This is a post written by my son Aniruddh. He is studying in 9th Standard in Mysore. He plays the tabla, loves to watch movies and is passionately devoted to everything Indian.
There are some questions that have definite answers and some questions with infinite answers. These questions with infinite answers make you think, consult, consider and conclude. One such question that I have been asked many times is “What does it mean to be a patriotic Indian?”
Patriotism is the love one shows for his country or ones devotion to the welfare of his country. A patriot is one who refers to his country as his mother and serves this mother in every way possible. According to me, patriotism is an emotion just like happiness, sadness, love and anger.
Some philosophers have believed in the goodness of patriotism whereas some have referred to it as an evil. A philosopher named Leo Wiener wrote the following lines in his article titled ‘Patriotism or Peace?’: “Patriotism cannot be good. What produces war is the desire for an exclusive good for one’s own nation – that is called patriotism. And so to abolish war, it is necessary to abolish patriotism, and to abolish patriotism, it is necessary first to become convinced that it is an evil”. Whereas another philosopher from Czechoslovakia wrote the following lines in a local newspaper: “The most extraordinary positive development in Czechoslovakia since its creation in 1918 is the growth of patriotism among its young students and soldiers”.
So, what do I think about patriotism? What does it mean to me to be a patriotic Indian?
I being an Indian citizen believe in goodness of patriotism because in a secular country like India it was patriotism that made all of us united and fight against the British for freedom. To me patriotism means to be willing to serve the country expecting nothing back from the country. It means to be willing to protect the motherland with one’s own blood. It means to be proud that I am an Indian. Most importantly, it means to love and respect the motherland.
After this, another question arises in my mind – ‘Am I a patriotic Indian?’ For this my answer is ‘yes’. I have an infinite amount of love and respect for my country. I am willing to protect the country with my blood like the soldiers who fought the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-China wars. Most importantly, I am proud to be an Indian.
“Bharath maatha ki Jai”
- Aniruddh Balasubramaniam
My talk on ‘Enlightened Leadership’ at the SVYM fund-raising dinner at Mysore on 28-Oct-12.
My talk on ‘Development Journey of the last 25 years’ at the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, USA on 05-Oct-12.
An article in Cornell Chronicle about my appointment as Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of ’56 Professor at Cornell University.
Aug. 16, 2012
International development expert named Rhodes professor
By Susan Kelley
International development expert Ramaswami Balasubramaniam has been named a Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of ’56 Professor at Cornell. His three-year term began in July, and he will be in residence Sept. 23-30.
Balasubramaniam is a physician, public health advocate and nonprofit leader based in Mysore, India. He is founder of India’s leading nonprofit development organization, the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), that was launched nearly 28 years ago when he was a 19-year-old medical student. SVYM develops local, innovative and cost-effective programs addressing health, education and community development issues from civic empowerment to microfinance, soil conservation and nonprofit management.
Balasubramaniam has been affiliated with Cornell since 2008, said his academic sponsor, Joe Grasso, the ILR School’s associate dean for finance, administration and corporate relations.
“He is an excellent choice for this professorship because of the breadth of his experience and accomplishment, his role as an emerging national leader in India and his engaging style of interacting with faculty and students,” Grasso said.
Balasubramaniam, who goes by “Balu,” has guest lectured in Grasso’s course on nonprofit finance and management, in other ILR courses, at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA), the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, the Global Health Program, and the Samuel C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, among others. Through the ILR School’s global service learning program, ILR students spend two weeks at SVYM learning about Indian politics, economics, culture and public health issues and four weeks working with SVYM or other nonprofits in Mysore. CIPA students have consulted with SVYM during their capstone course. And several ILR professors have served as fellows with SVYM’s policy research and advocacy institute.
His appointed positions within India’s government include seats on the National Planning Commission, the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the National Rural Livelihood Mission; he consults with the World Bank. A special investigator of the Lok Ayukta anti-corruption agency, he investigates government corruption in the Indian state of Karnataka.
Balasubramaniam has a medical degree from Mysore College of Medicine and a Master of Philosophy degree in hospital and health systems management from the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences. He also has a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard University, where he has been a Mason fellow in public policy and management and a midcareer fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations.
Rhodes professors are appointed for three years with the possibility of a renewal for two additional years and are considered full members of the Cornell faculty. The purpose of the professorship is to strengthen the undergraduate experience by bringing to campus individuals from every walk of life who represent excellence of achievement, and to create opportunities for interaction with undergraduates. During each year of their appointment, Rhodes professors visit campus and are typically in residence for a week.
Previous Rhodes professors include architect Peter Eisenman ’54, B.Arch. ’55; civil rights activist Robert Parris Moses; hospitality venture capitalist Leland Pillsbury ’69; and Spencer Wells, explorer-in-residence and director of The Genographic Project at the National Geographic Society.