CHICAGO: Silicon Valley will make its presence felt at the 2nd World Hindu Congress (WHC) with 200 technocrats registering for the conference. One of their own, Angel Investor Raju Reddy is Vice Chair – an invitation he accepted because he’s come to believe that it takes “scale” to make an impact.
WHC is, after all, scale in its truest sense – a gigantic undertaking that will seek to impact Hindus around the globe. Over 2000 prominent Hindus and 250 thought leaders will gather in Chicago from 7- 9 September to spark dialogue and discussion on how Hindus can make a bigger societal impact globally.
Heads of States, media personalities, top tier corporate executives and national community leaders will share the dais to discuss how Hindus can make their presence felt in seven key areas: education, economy, media, politics, greater visibility of Hindu women and youth and Hindu organizations.
Hindus, reflects Raju, are viewed as great doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs, as positive role models but they need to become “change makers.” This requires them to be organized. The release of a Diwali stamp by the US Postal service, corrections about Hinduism in California textbooks, the election of the first Hindu Congressman Ro Khanna are visible examples of the benefits of organization and would have been impossible “if Hindus had not organized themselves.”
America, he continues, is our “Karmabhoomi” and as proud Hindus and Indo Americans, we need to do more philanthropy in our local communities, be more active in public policy and more visible as people making a positive difference. WHC, according to him, is a perfect opportunity to elevate this goal.
Raju is from Nizamabad, Telangana. His father, an active leader in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), enrolled him in the Sainik School in Korukonda. Studying in a school that trained people for the armed forces proved invaluable in teaching him discipline, integrity, team over self and loyalty – values that helped the entrepreneur in him.
He is a BITS, Pilani and Virginia Tech graduate, worked at Intel for 10 years, then took his mentor Kanwal Rekhi’s advice and started Sierra Atlantic – an IT solutions company in 1993. It was a substantial company with 2500 people operating in 12 countries before it was bought by Hitachi in 2010.
Raju discovered a second calling with his newfound time – mentoring and philanthropy. He brings 25 startups from India to Stanford each year and invites senior executives from Silicon Valley to meet with them under the StartupBridgeIndia initiative. His second big initiative is Kakatiya Sandbox – a nonprofit that focusses on creating better economic opportunities and positive role models at the grass root levels in rural Telangana, his home state. RSS volunteers in the villages and small towns, he says, were “truly selfless, patriotic people” who helped him in this endeavor.
These initiatives require Raju to travel to India every two months but as he puts it, there’s no substitute for being there in person. He shares his optimism about India’s youth and its future and goes so far as to say that “India will produce global technology brands like Google or Facebook in the coming decade.”
He’s equally positive about the upcoming WHC conference and believes that every attendee will return infused with the confidence that they “can make a difference in their local communities.”