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“Unity in Diversity” bridging North East with the rest of India

North East Region consists of Eight States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya & Sikkim. High mountain ranges, dense forests, giant rivers and beautiful lakes make India a literal heaven. A young man in the 1990s saw the pain of its people and decided to work for the brothers and sisters in this region of India.

India is a land poetically described as ‘Sujalam Sufalam’, which depicts a land bountifully endowed with natural beauty and richness of resources. However, the North East Region of India suffers from serious problems like Bangladeshi Infiltration, the threat of expansionist China, the illegal trade of weapons sponsored by foreign forces and the trafficking of narcotics ruining the people, particularly the youth. The negligence had led to insecurity, unemployment and existential crisis amongst locals, forcing them to move to other parts of the country. Individuals like Sunil Deodhar have been associated with various welfare activities in the Nort East for many years. His profound skills, selfless efforts, and speeches at various forums have inspired countless people to this cause. He has worked extensively towards integrating the “Rest of India” with our beautiful North Eastern states. “Our main area of focus is working for the interests of the people of North East and their complete integration with the people living in all corners of India,” says Sunil Deodhar, Founder, My Home India. Deodhar holds a Master’s Degree in Inorganic Chemistry and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the prestigious Mumbai University. He became a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member in 1985 and a full-time Pracharak in 1991. On his first project with RSS, he was sent to the Khasi and Jaintiya hills of Meghalaya, a North Eastern state. While working assiduously for RSS, he realised that some regions in North East were plagued by insurgency, terrorism, Infiltration & drug trafficking.

So he took the initiative and took locals from these regions to various parts of the country to introduce social projects that could be executed in Meghalaya. Projects like ‘Seva Bharati’ gave vocational skills to the female population of Meghalaya since it is a ‘Matru Sattak’ society. He chose the model of approaching society through educational, vocational & cultural activities to broaden local people’s thinking. After 11 glorious, hardworking years as Pracharak, Sunil Deodhar returned to Mumbai in 2001. He opted out of full-time work as Pracharak; however, he remained committed to the ideology and conducted various educational activities for underprivileged students. In 2005, he initiated My Home India with seven other noted personalities and social workers from 10 states. Since then, Sunil Deodhar has been working to sensitise the rest of the country about North East India and has expanded the scope of activities to include children welfare programmes, prison reform activities, health-based activities and activities to create a society free of barriers like caste, class, religion.

Deodhar, since the foundation in December 2005, has been Trustee Member, but due to other engagements, he resigned from the Board of Trustees of My Home India in December 2019. The area of focus of My Home India is in the interests of the people of North East and their complete integration with the people living in all corners of India. The efforts of My Home India have helped people all over India look at the similarities between their culture and traditions with that of the North East. Anything which seemingly looks different in the culture or traditions becomes an opportunity for learning and appreciating the beauty of diversity.

This has been made possible by My Home India by organising various events which bring people of the North East and the people from the rest of India on a common platform where the culture and tradition of the North East become a huge occasion for celebration and appreciation by the people from all over India. My Home India 24 x 7 helpline for the North East has increased the confidence of the people from the North East living in various parts of the country. Each call on the helpline is responded with a great deal of commitment by its volunteers to help the people from North East.

My Home India provides immediate assistance on various issues reported on the helpline: medical emergencies, cheating, unpaid salaries by employers, disputes with landlords, discrimination, loneliness etc. My Home India has successfully launched a project called ‘Sapno Se Apno Tak’, where children who have unfortunately got separated from their parents and are living in Children’s Homes are reunited with their parents. An intensive effort by its volunteers by talking to these children and then tracing their parents based on these clues have resulted in the reunification of 2700+ children with their parents this year. This has been the most satisfying experience in My Home India.

They have decided to intensify further efforts to help children living all over India in various Children’s Homes by reuniting them with their parents. Deodhar urges all Indians to visit North East part of India and enjoy its beauty, proactively search for opportunities to build bridges with people from NE, be instrumental in promoting the concept and convey this message to more and more homes across India, invite and host North East Students at your home or organisation. “Ages ago, Bharat Varsh (India) heralded “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” (The entire world is one big family). India is a living example of “Unity in Diversity”, where numerous religions have been coexisting peacefully for centuries,” says Deodhar. In the coming year, My Home India has decided to redouble our efforts in all areas where My Home India has been working so that we succeed in turning India into an integrated entity and Indians look at each other as Indians and not based on their ethnic and linguistic identities. This would make a stronger, prosperous and peaceful India.

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