INDIA GUEST COUNTRY OF HONOUR AT 10TH NATIONAL TRANSPARENCY WEEK IN MEXICO, 2- 4 October 2013
The Federal Institute of Access to Information & Data Protection (IFAI) held its 10th National Transparency Week at its brand-new premises in Mexico City, also marking the tenth anniversary of its establishment. India was chosen as the Guest Country of Honour this year. Participants from India included the Chief Information Commissioner of India Mrs.Deepak Sandhu, the former Chief Information Commissioner Mr.Satyananda Mishra, Founder member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) Mr.Nikhil Dey, RTI Activist and Former Information Commissioner Mr.Shailesh Gandhi and Founder member of the Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) Mrs. Anjali Bhardwaj. Participants from many other countries attended the conference. The themes covered by the three-day Conference from October 2-4, 2013, covered constitutional reform, public money, transparency in governance, the power of an informed community, India’s experience in right to information, good practices, the role of the media, privacy and protection of data, and, the role of civil society. The Closing Ceremony was addressed by H.E. Mr.Sujan R.Chinoy, Ambassador of India to Mexico, and, Mr.Gerardo Laveaga, President Commissioner of the Federal Institute for Access to Information & Data Protection.
In his remarks to the large gathering, Ambassador Chinoy welcomed the opportunity to exchange experience and information between India and Mexico in regard to the right of information and transparency in governance. He emphasized that transparency and accountability in governance were the key to empowerment of the individual and added that even democracies needed to constantly evaluate their shortcomings and improve themselves. Ambassador Chinoy drew attention to the rapid changes in India’s economy and society in recent decades, and the need to ensure inclusive growth, gender equality and to bridge the rural-urban divide through equal opportunity and a fair and transparent system that could bring the fruits of development to all the people. He pointed to India’s vibrant parliamentary democracy, and the system of checks and balance in place with an independent judiciary, the activism of the media, NGOs and civil rights organizations and widening political participation across the country. He also touched up the ongoing debate about the need for balance between the right to information and privacy, and the scope of the RTI Act in India.
Ambassador Sujan Chinoy's Address at Closing Ceremony of National Transparency Week, Mexico is available at
Ambassador Sujan Chinoy's Homage on Sitar to Mahatma Gandhi
on Gandhi Jayanti, 2 October 2013, Mexico City
This year Gandhi Jayanti, viz. Mahatma Gandhi’s 144th birth anniversary, was celebrated at a solemn function at the Embassy of India auditorium in Mexico City on 2 October 2013. Addressing the audience, Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy observed that we were paying homage to a human being that had perhaps touched, and continued to touch, more lives than any other, how Mahatma Gandhi is synonymous with our very existence as a proud and independent Republic, that he was actually part of the collective consciousness and heritage of humankind, and that his values of “truth” and “non-violence”, long part of India’s composite, cosmopolitan and secular culture, had helped India achieve freedom without bloodshed. He observed that he was touched by the deep affection and reverence that many Mexicans have for Mahatma Gandhi and that his legacy was the patrimony of the whole world. Ambassador added that, like him, we have to learn to turn the mirror inwards to look deep into our own nature, to deal firmly with our fears and negativity, and to discover and appreciate the infinite potential that we all have for peace and universal brotherhood, and that that realization is certain to help societies overcome propensity for conflict and violence and reduce contradictions.
Ambassador Chinoy then paid homage on the Sitar to Mahatma Gandhi, playing two of Gandhiji's favorite "bhajans" or prayer songs: ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ & ‘Vaishnava Jana to’, accompanied by Ustad Ilyas Khan of the Gurudev Tagore Indian Cultural Centre of the Embassy on the Tabla. A video recording may be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_YSJht6aUo.
The function concluded with an audiovisual presentation and a short film on Mahatma Gandhi, followed by a sitar recital by Maestro Hollving Argaez, Sitar teacher at the Gurudev Tagore Indian Cultural Centre.
2 October 2013