Planning for 2047 (while Uncertainty Looms for Tomorrow)
By A.H. Cemendtaur
Glimpses of the Vision 2047 Conference om San Jose
When Farrukh Shah Khan, the executive producer of World Business and Technology Television (WBT-TV), San Jose, conceived the idea of a Vision 2047 conference and gathered the community members to rally support behind the concept, he met a lot of cynicism. People wondered how could there be a conference on the year 2047 when the present day issues of South Asia make any casual observer’s faith on the next year shaky - separatist movements raging from Assam to Balochistan, identity crises seen from Telangana to Kashmir, and frustrated people espousing ideologies that embattle existing concepts of nationhood, from the Maoist corridor to the Taliban strongholds.
But Khan stood his ground and it was the tenacity of his beliefs that ultimately made the Vision 2047 conference a reality. Khan had a point: no matter how the South Asian geography would be dissected, fractured, or unified in the coming days, there would still be a South Asia. Vision 2047: First 100 Years Conference took place on December 25, at the Chandni Restaurant in Newark, California.
The conference started with Farrukh Shah Khan explaining why having a vision about the future is important. He said that even with all the bad news coming out of South Asia, we should focus on the year 2047 when the region would celebrate one-hundred years of independence, and we should think of forming a better future for South Asia.
Khan’s introductory remarks were followed by Imam Bilal Muhammad’s short speech that described the structure of the program. Along with Farrukh Shah Khan, Imam Bilal Muhammad, producer of Universal News TV, San Jose, was the main organizer of the conference. Muhammad explained to the audience that every society stands on the four pillars of i) religion and culture, ii) government and other political structures, iii) science and technology, and iv) trade and business. He said that in order to have a clear vision of the future, there got to be frank discussions on the four pillars elemental to the existence of a society.
The first panel discussion of the conference was on ‘Cultural Development.’ Ajit Dongre and Hafiz Mohammed Rehman Aejaz spoke on the topic and answered the audience’s questions. Ajit Dongrewho in his professional life held management positions in the high-tech industry is a student of the holy scriptures of Hinduism. Hafiz Mohammed Rehman Aejazof Hyderabad, India is a student of Islamic literature including Tafseer and Fiqh. Dongre said Hinduism was a set of beliefs that encompassed a lot of different faiths; he wished India to remain a secular country. Hafiz Mohammed Rehman Aejaz said Islam being a logical religion would ultimately take over India.
The next discussion on ‘Leadership in Science and Technology’ had Amjad Noorani and Narpat Bhandari as the panelists. Amjad Noorani is on the advisory board of The Citizens Foundation (TCF), USA, a non-profit organization working for the education of underprivileged children in Pakistan. Narpat Bhandari, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has a strong interest in the Indian education system.
Amjad Noorani expressed optimism that e ven with over forty million Pakistani children not going to school and half-a-million kids being added to this figure every year things would ultimately work out. Narpat Bhandari saidgood teachers can bring the changes India’s educational system needs.
The panel on ‘New Governments of Ethical Values’ had Javed Ellahie and Gopa Periyadan as the speakers. Javed Ellahie is a prominent lawyer of the Pakistani-American community and a close friend of many lawyers who were at the forefront of the Pakistani lawyers’ movement. Gopa Periyadan, a Silicon Valley professional, is a student and observer of Indian politics.
The last panel discussion — and the most animated one among the four — was on “Tomorrow’s Business: Commerce and Trade.” The two experts on that panel were Naeem Zafar and Rohit Chandra. Naeem Zafar teaches at the University of California, Berkeley and has experience in mentoring and coaching businessmen. Rohit Chandra is an entrepreneur and the host of Sapne Salamat, a radio talk show on entrepreneurship.
Vision 2047 conference’s panel discussions were moderated by Zainab Jeewanjee andDr. Rafae Bhatti. A ghazal program featuring Kuldip Singh followed the conference.