As the election was approaching, I was thinking what could be our way of participation in the biggest election event of the world. Given that as NRIs we cannot yet cast our vote at the embassies of our host nations, we had the option to going to India to vote. However, given that this is resource intensive (one needed to find both time and money to invest), I was thinking ways to find alternatives which is less ressource intensive and where we could still contribute to the election.
The idea of making videos for candidates of our own constituencies struck my mind, and I felt that instead of promoting a party of our choice which most NRIs do across the world, a more affective way could be to make videos of support for candidates of our respective constituencies, in our own local languages, while standing infront of important monuments of our host nation. I felt that this could create some affect, some buzz in our own home towns and local candidates can use or mention these videos during their own local campaigns.
The first person I shared this idea with was Vedananda Gowd, OFBJP convenor of Germany and a friend since many years. Later, I shared this idea with community leaders of Paris as well as with Samarasam Taniga - the convenor and president of OFBJP France and Vijay Chauthaiwale - the foreign affairs in-charge of BJP.
My idea was to gather near well known monuments of Paris, where each person will address people of their own constituency in their respective languages, supporting candidates of their choice. The rest of us would be behind and supporting the person speaking. This way, each person can be seen as a leader by people of his / her own constituency and will listen to perspectives of their NRI friends.
Later, we were to share our respective videos in our respective constituencies, through local whatsapp and facebook groups and by tagging local leaders in twitter.
As per plan we met on Place du Trocadero on the 15th of April, the same place where we gathered to protest against terrorism a couple of months ago.
Gokul Shivananda from Karnataka, Avinash Mishra from Bihar, Madhusudan Sukhwal from Rajasthan and Rajaram Munuswamy, Gunasekaram & Madhumithaa Dhineshkumar from Chennai attended the event and we all made videos for candidates of our respective constituencies. Later we were to share them through our channels. The video that I made supporting my hometown candidate Rajdeep Roy of Silchar, was shared to a long-time friend Jhalak Chakraborty, a municipality ward councillor for BJP in Silchar, who shared it to his network. I twitted the video, mine and of the rest, from my account, tagging local and national leaders.
A second similar meet was planned the next weekend at Arc de Triomphe. Present were Sachin Dev Sadh from Delhi, Avinash Mishra and Rajesh Kumar from Bihar and Madhusudan Sukhwal from Rajasthan. Videos were made and shared as the last time.
Sourav Choudhury is a social entrepreneur working for the cause of Indian community living in France, since 2003. He is founder of multiple projects: the largest social network of the Indian community of France, a French language school for english speaking expatriates, this website, and several other projects.