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Doing good in spite of all the odds is what will make our own contributions meaningful in a troubled world! Let us accelerate the positivism and create new waves of growth and progress!

A few years ago, I made a personal resolve to commit my life to love and inclusion in all business and social endeavors and not allow opinionated one-sided arguments or actions to prevail, even if it meant putting friendships and authority in question. In a nation where there is so much fake news and indiscriminate allegations thrown at politicians, industry leaders and even common citizens, I have found this to be a tremendous foundation on which to work for the betterment of communities and society.

No better case to demonstrate the power of positivism than the city of Pune itself. Harvard Business School invited me to contribute a note and videos on any phenomenal work that is happening and I was immediately inspired to write and speak and request the leader of the Pune Platform for Covid Response (PPCR) to add his thoughts on the fifteen million dollars collaborative deployment in the city. PPCR has been nothing short of an exemplar, bringing together the Government, the corporate sector, civil society and citizens to chart out a collaborative agenda, provide funding for various causes and do strong advocacy for Covid causes in the city. At a time when we have successfully crossed the hump created by the second wave and are living with some trepidation at too many cases of Covid inappropriate behavior that might precipitate a third wave in the city, the state and the country, we are all trying to ensure that vaccination happens at a rapid pace and normalcy is restored.

A big shout out here for the local government too. When Additional Commissioner, Rubal Agarwal, heard about our initiatives, she made a specific request that Pune City Connect and other corporates should help with the funding of beds, ventilators and ICU equipment for the Covid-19 specialty hospital PMC was setting up in Baner in Pune. It was a proud moment for us and some of our partners from large corporates and the Pune-Austin Sister City Group to see the high-quality hospital that will soon be dedicated to the city. Besides our MPs like Vandana Chavan, Girish Bapat or the MLAs and Corporators, it is also a succession of IAS officers from Kunal Kumar to Saurabh Rao, Vikram Kumar and Rubal and the other members of the PMC and PCMC who are imbued with the sense of commitment and service to the people. This drives them to exceptional effort and achievement against all odds. When you combine that zeal with the willing and helping hands of the rest of the city, a positive wave gets generated that no amount of cynicism from fence-sitters can prevail against.

In our own work, at Pune City Connect, Social Venture Partners, the Rotary Club of Riverside, the MCCIA and the Pune International Centre and even the BIT Mesra Alumni Association in the city, we have seen this energy make great initiatives flourish in the areas of education, skills, digital literacy, and mentoring and slum community transformation. In fact, motivated by the extraordinary response we have seen, our new initiative the Lighthouse Communities Foundation has a set a goal of a million lives transformed in the country by 2030 and with partnerships already getting into place in the states of Delhi and Odisha and the cities of Aurangabad, Nashik, Kalyan, Thane, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Coimbatore, we are confident that our urban locations in the country will not just be Smart Cities but also communities transformed through the power of Public Private Partnership and collaborative action.

In a country where a lot of earlier good work has been derailed by nearly three years of economic sluggishness and poor job creation, many sectors are being battered, not least the SME sector, which has been the main creator of jobs anywhere in the world. There will be a renewed sense of optimism after this wave recedes, but a government desperately short of funds will need all of us to respond to that time-honored question, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Yes, yes, we pay taxes, we want our elected politicians to do their job etc. etc. but let us not forget that our country and our people are slipping in the league of successful nations and we all have to put our shoulder to the wheel and get the engines of growth to move again.

If one follows the Vedantic approach that one of my own myriad WhatsApp groups debates quite often, we all know that this life may be just a “Maya” and ultimately, all energy resides in the ocean of consciousness that we can delve into. Does that give any of us an excuse to fling accusations and negativism at people and occurrences? No, on the contrary, it is being and doing good in spite of all the odds that will make our own contributions meaningful in a troubled world. Let’s accelerate the positivism and create new waves of growth and progress.