Ruby Dhalla is a Canadian politician. She represented the Riding of Brampton-Springdale in the Canadian House of Commons from 2004 to 2011 as a member of the Liberal Party. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to an immigrant punjabi family from India, she is being honoured by our government for making history for being among one of the first Indian origin women to be elected to parliament in their host country. NRI Achievers met her at new Delhi, when she was here recently to take part in the 2014 Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas (PBD 2014), and talked to her. Here are the excerpts from that conversation …

“I think PBD 2014 has been a sumptuous success. It was indeed a great opportunity for thousands of Indian Diaspora and NRI’s from all across the world to come together and not only share ideas, but also to learn about new initiatives of the resident government and collaborate on initiatives to help build the future India.

“I would like to first of all congratulate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Minister Vayalar Ravi for organising this PBD. I think he has to be congratulated along with his entire team for this, and I would also thank the whole lot of volunteers and the media. It’s great to see so much support for PBD here. I have been coming now to the PBD for many years now, because I think it’s important for the Indian Diaspora and the resident Indian community to be united, and I think this serves as a great bridge between them. All NRI’s are perforce very attached to India. Even my own mother who left India 40 years ago is still very much attached to India. People all watch with great interest on television, they read newspapers, listen to radio programmes, keen to know what’s taking place in India.
“I always say that we very proudly call Canada our home, but it is India which is given us our roots and heritage. I come quite a bit to India, and I am keen on philanthropic pursuits here as I have deep desire and passion to give back to my motherland. I would like to help the Indian women, daughters, sisters. So we have launched this charity called “Dreams for You,” which is the first of its type in the world, that deals with the vexing issue of fraud marriages. We have lots of NRI men marrying girls in villages for dowry, then the newly-wed brides stay with them for a week, sometimes for months, and then after the guy returns back to his host country, he cuts off all contacts with the women. Thousands of Indian women have been abandoned like this. Technically they are indeed married on paper, but they don’t know where there husband is, and sometimes some of these women even have kids out of this sham wedding. So this charity we have launched intends to provide them counselling and legal services, and help empower them with skills and training.

“According to me, the last two years have ushered in a tremendously change in Indian politics. I want to congratulate and commend young people who were driving this change forward. Lots of people have asked me how I got into politics, and I always tell them that I belong to a very simple family and I was not born with any famous last name, but i did work very very hard indeed to make my dreams come true and make my name worth it. So I hope my story can contribute at least in part to encourage youth in India to enter politics and make a difference.”

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