Editorial: Honoring an UNKNOWN and $10 Charge for Independence Day Celebrations
As usual it’s time for Friends of India to bring Indian community under one roof to celebrate India’s Independence Day. For the first time, as per the event flyer, Friends of India has decided to have a Guest of Honor – by honoring a member of the community.
However, the oddest part of the person to be a Guest of Honor in unknown to the community. It appears that someone with a personal agenda in the newly formed Friends of India Executive Committee has decided to honor an unknown individual – Dr. Rajesh Shrotriya. Many of the members of the Indian community are appalled by this nefarious decision of the newly elected FOI Executive Committee.
It seems that the executive committee has lost its vision and basic conventions of honoring a person of importance. First of all, celebrating India’s Independence Day is a momentous event for the local community and honoring someone eminent should be a part of celebrations. Honor should go to someone who is a philanthropist, a distinguished social reformer, a hero and/or someone who volunteers & commits his or her time for the betterment of the society. No one in the local community is aware of who is and what Dr. Shrotriya has done for the betterment of Las Vegas community.
Many community members have called me to find out – Why Dr. Rajesh Shrotriya? Who is Dr. Shrotriya? Does Dr. Shrotriya deserves this honor?
Dr. Shrotriya is an accomplished CEO of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals who became the highest paid individual in Las Vegas. In 2011 his total compensation was over $25 million, while in 2012 he made over $10 million. Mr. Shrotriya moved to Las Vegas when Spectrum moved its headquarters to Henderson from Southern California.
At the same time, Dr. Shrotriya is unknown in Indian community and hasn’t done anything significant for our community or for that matter for a Las Vegas community at large. The club should honor individual/s or a group who has dedicated their own personal resources – time, money, sweat, etc. for the betterment of human lives and community. Friends of India should honor individuals not on their wealth but on their commitment to the society. Some of the factors to be considered for honoring individuals should be –
Dedication and commitment by individual or a group, to fund raising activities for educational projects and scholarship – EKAL group volunteers have raised money for the underprivileged in India, Global Charity Foundation’s ongoing effort for at risk students in Las Vegas, copious amount has been donated by few individuals to establish and awarded a college scholarship for the local students, etc.
Free professional services to the underprivileged – Medical clinic, legal advice, financial advice, etc. – some of our community physicians have volunteered at the Volunteer in Medicine and also at local health fairs organized by hospitals and social organizations. Some of our community lawyers have done pro bono work for the under privileged. Bone marrow camps have been organized by the volunteers to assist members of the community. Some individuals were instrumental in organizing blood donation drive. Many of our community members including younger generation have volunteered at many national and local community groups like UMC and other local hospitals, March of Dimes, Susan Komen Foundation, etc.
Providing assistance to our seniors – On a regular basis, few members of the community have been assisting our seniors with their personal needs. Medical appointments, providing home cooked meals, taking them out, running errands, buying their groceries, etc.
Dedication and volunteering at Mandir, Gurudwara, Majid and/or at Church – There are numerous individuals who are volunteering their time on a regular basis at our places of worship. For the past couple of years, many volunteers have been cleaning our places of worship on weekends and also cooking for the Sunday luncheons. During mid-nineties, many individuals have sacrificed their valuable time to build these institutions for future generations.
Helping the homeless – Group of community members have been visiting regularly to the homeless corridor and providing food and water to the needy especially during the blistering summer heat.
Helping Students – In the past our community members have helped newly arrived students at UNLV by donating them with the household goods, etc. UNLV and CSN Professors of Indian origin have assisted newly arrived students with admissions, scholarship and on campus work opportunities.
Local Indian restaurants have regularly donated generously – from food to fund raising – for numerous community causes.
Cooking at the Ronald McDonald house – Member of a community has cooked dinner for families of the sick child residing at the local Ronald McDonald House.
Thanksgiving Dinner – Some individuals have donated copious amount to feed the homeless during Thanksgiving.
And what about Mr. Mohan Keta who was honored recently by The Governors’ Commission on Services – Nevada Volunteers, by giving him a certificate to recognize his outstanding community volunteer service to the people of State of Nevada. Mr. Keta has devoted thousands of hours to the Helping Hands of Nevada.
With all due respect to Dr. Shrotriya, Dr. Shrotriya doesn’t past the test of honor and should NOT get a privilege to be a Guest of Honor at the upcoming Independence Day celebrations. Dr. Shrotriya is welcome to attend an event just like any other attendees but honoring him without any contribution to the Las Vegas community will be painful to the many venerable individuals who have dedicated their resources and have worked tirelessly for the betterment of the community.
Believe it or not, pursuing this matter on a community forum like www.vegasdesi.com has caused a considerable amount of conversations with members of the community. The community decisively believes that NOT honoring unknown Dr. Shrotirya is the right thing to do and is in the best interest of the community and the Friends of India.
It’s deplorable that even after migrating to the United States, some of the executive members of the Friends of India have a colonial conviction of chasing the wealthy.
Now to another controversial decision by the Executive Committee – $10 charge for attending this event. Members are dismayed and have been complaining about this charge. Members have already paid their annual dues with a promise from Friends of India that all the events will be free to the members for one full year. It’s preposterous that the committee has decided to charge members again for an event which they have already paid for – in advance.
Readers, Any thoughts? Your comments, even anonymously, or emails are welcome.