Collective concerns of the youth, and leading role models like Mr.Narayana Murthy of Infosys, serve to change India’s image in climate change. DEEPA GUPTA
My experience of the climate movement in India in the six weeks I was here was amazing and intense. To physically meet and work with young people around the country, all itching to see India change, uniting, sharing and inspiring, was absolutely mind blowing.
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As an Australian-born Indian girl, I would always visit India wanting to make a difference and being told “no, you can’t do anything in India, nothing ever changes, everything is too corrupt”. This trip, especially the summit, absolutely broke down that image. I now truly believe that we can change India for the better, that the youth of India cares about the progress of the nation and wants to give back to its people. It’s not just those struggling want to see the change in development and environment, but also the rich, educated and famous.What was powerful was the intense discussion and debate that took place, discussing issues of equity, development, the impacts of climate change; the belief that we could be pioneers in our country and the willingness of one of the biggest Indian companies and Indian role models to offer us their support.
Hence I met Mr Narayana Murthy, and the green initiatives team of Infosys, I saw their dedication and commitment to stopping climate change, empowering youth and leading by example. What was striking about Mr Murthy? Firstly, his humility and down-to-earth attitude in wanting to support the cause of climate change was amazing. How many billionaires do you meet that use only half a bucket of water a day to bathe with? And then openly announce it with pride? It requires a strong set of morals, and true leadership to do this. I’ve always associated leaders and billionaires, with people who make empty commitments or people who take action only if it makes money or makes them look good. So it was striking to meet him and see his desire to make India a powerful nation.Secondly he emphasized action instead of simply talking. Mr Murthy’s favourite quote is “Performance leads to respect; respect leads to recognition; recognition leads to power.” He doesn’t believe in talking excessively as is common amongst the world’s leaders, suggesting that mere words will not suffice. “I have always believed that the most powerful instrument that a leader has is leadership by example.”
Thirdly, the fact that we only asked him to speak the night before, and that he said yes without hesitation. He went on to thank us for giving him the opportunity to address such an intelligent and motivated group of young people. For a person of his status and background to be so giving and so humble, spoke volumes about his attitude towards people and his values and equality. Finally the fact that he cared about what we were doing and believed we could build a youth movement and actually make a difference. He said: “We have a population of 650 to 700 million people under the age of 30. If we can mobilise this force, we will have enormous power for change to address climate change.” This was proof that he believed we were on the right track and that the youth of India can change climate change.
Deepa is a third year B.Com student at the University of Technology, Sydney
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