Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thatched hut to American Legislative assembly


A rags-to-riches story

It has been an eventful journey for Upendra Chivukula from a thatched hut in Chromepet to the portals of American Legislative Assembly.

FROM A thatched hut in Chromepet to the portals of American Legislative Assembly, the story of Upendra Chivukula is one of rags-to-riches kind.

Born in a Telugu family that migrated to Chennai for a living, Chivukula became the first South Asian to win the legislative elections held in New Jersey in November 2001, defeating two whites with a margin of 13,000 votes.

For a man who came up in life by his sheer dint of determination and hard work, the visit to the city to meet his aged parents was a homecoming of sorts. In an informal discussion with the press at Amethyst, Chivukula spoke at length about his foray into the American political arena. Luck has played its part in his life. After completing his graduation in electrical engineering from the city, he got an offer from a leading firm in America and grabbed it. There he started working for the welfare of the Asian community.

According to Chivukula, South Asians are the fastest growing racial group in America. "In fact, a census conducted in 2000 has shown that nearly six per cent of the total population in New Jersey comprises South Asians."

Though issues relevant to South Asians are important to him, he stresses that he wants to do more for his community. He noticed that though there were many Indian cultural organisations in America, there was no real political empowerment among the Indians. Thus Chivukula worked with Congressman Frank Pallone to constitute the `India Caucus'. This Caucus, he says, is the driving force in forging better relations between the U.S. and India. Today as a representative of the Democratic party, Chivukula handles many an important task dogging the minorities in his State like stereotyping, lack of communication skills, housing, education, etc. "But there is still a lot more to be done," says this Telugu politician, who's climbing the echelons of power in a white man's land. Slowly, but steadily.

Story taken from internet

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