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Christians face are creation of the Cong: Richard Hay

12-May-2016 / 6:23 pm
Kerala Updates: When Richard Hay was nominated to the Lok Sabha by prime minister Narendra Modi, he was an unknown quantity in Kerala's political scene, dominated by the UDF and LDF. But perhaps Modi could not have chosen a better man. Hay brings to the table a long track record of social activism and enviable administrative credentials, unlike most of Kerala's politicians whose expertise begins and ends with politics. Hay, who represents the Anglo­Indian community in the Lower House, is a self­styled “go­getter”, a believer in the power of youth. If Kerala needs to dig itself out of the mess the two­front politics has pushed it into, it needs people like Hay who can tap into the ideas and energy of the state's “very committed” youth. He thinks the politicians and the government, are not doing enough to take advantage of the youth power to bring about drastic changes, especially for greening the country. “The government of the time should inspire the young generations,” he told Onmanorama in a freewheeling interview in Thiruvananthapuram where he was to campaign for the state elections. The MP has already launched an outfit to motivate the young, the Campus Innovative Group. The group goes to colleges, interacts with the students there to “know about their aspirations for development of country, their suggestions and solutions to development issue.” “Wherever I got in India, I go to a college there, get as much ideas as possible,” Hay says, adding he plans to collate and publish the best ideas in the next few months. You were never associated with the BJP. So how did the PM select you? I was selected because I sent my biodata through the (BJP) state leadership to the prime minister. He selected me mainly looking at my biodata. I am an Anglo­Indian and I am a socially committed person, and I have done a lot of good things for the development of the community. My contribution to my field, as an educationist, was also a factor. I am a writer, and I was the principal of four government colleges for NAAC accreditation. It was a very challenging task, which I took up. Son of a planter, Hay has a long list of achievements to his credit. Among them, he was the first chairperson of the Special Olympics International, Kerala; chairman of Malabar heritage society; and during his academic career, served as principal of four government colleges to help secure NAAC accreditation for them. Hay was associated with several social and community organisations, which worked for the development of the poor and conservation of nature. Encouraged by him, students at Madapally government college planted what he says is the largest botanical garden in a government institution in Kerala, with more than 100 types of trees. He was also part of the group that runs the Jaycee Special School, the first such school in India to be run by a voluntary organisation. So what is your politics? I was enamored by the socialist ideals of Ram Manohar Lohia. My attitude toward society was to help the people. I have a concern for the poor even now. I was with the AKGCT (Association of Kerala Government College Teachers; a Left­affiliated teachers union). Basically I have a socialist bent of mind. AKGCT is of course leftist but they were the best organisation. I continued with them because I felt comfortable with them. When did you get the news of your selection to the Lok Sabha? I was in the United States, visiting universities there. It was about 2 am there, perhaps 4 pm in India. I got a call and was asked to answer a question in a matter of hours and send it by fax. We got it done, and within 10 minutes, I heard from the media that I had been nominated. How do you feel about it? “It is a god­given gift through the honourable prime minister. Of course, I am a Catholic, so it is wonderful for the Christian community also. I can work for the dalits and scheduled caste and schedule tribes people who suffer a lot. You belong to a minority community and the NDA government is widely perceived as inimical to the interests of the minorities. Your take? The NDA government is pro­poor. If one goes through (this year's Union) budget, you will find the thrust is on the development of the poor in the country. Poor means minorities also, the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes – the dalits. There are special packages for the development of the dalits of the country in the programmes. So this is a pro­poor and, in that sense, a pro­minority government. As a member of a minority community, what do you think of the common perception that the minorities are feeling threatened under this government? The prime minister called and told to me two things: Richardji, you work for your community; second thing he told me was his mission and vision is inclusive growth. Those two statements exemplify the government's approach toward the minorities. I think India is where we enjoy
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