Dear Members and Friends of the Mukti Community,
It is with deep gratitude and humility that I write this column for Muktibarta. As the newest member of the Mukti Board of Trustees, it is an honor to be among such dedicated leaders, all committed to creating opportunities and transforming lives.
The seeds of my involvement were sown during a conversation in Kolkata back in 2018. I shared my dream of building a self-sustaining model village, encapsulating pillars of societal advancement – quality education, employment opportunities, energy independence, food security, and state-of-the-art healthcare – a holistic, circular development plan. This vision was inspired by the work Mukti had done in the Sundarban region of Bengal, which I was introduced to by a close friend. This synergy between Mukti’s work and my own ambitions resonated powerfully with me.
I reached out to Sankar Halder, the inspirational founder of Mukti, after returning home to the United States. That two-hour phone call was a turning point. We shared our visions, discussed the potential for expanding Mukti’s model outside India, and explored ways to align our objectives. As an entrepreneur who had weathered failures, I understood the value of collaborating with the experienced and the impactful – Mukti was that ideal partner.
With newfound purpose, I initiated the groundwork to establish Mukti’s presence in the U.S. Understanding the urgent need to connect with donors and partners in the U.S., I quickly plunged into building relationships, earning trust, and carrying forward Mukti’s mission. The necessity to formalize Mukti’s U.S presence as a non-profit 501c3 organization became evident, ensuring smooth operations, tax-exempt donations, and a solid foundation for future growth.
2020 proved to be a baptism by fire. As COVID-19 gripped the world, humanity’s very existence hung in the balance. Mukti’s mission evolved overnight. Our focus shifted from long-term development to immediate survival – protecting lives and livelihoods. Despite the daunting circumstances, Mukti’s reputation and years of hard-earned trust led to recognition and collaboration with global organizations like the Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata Foundation, ASHA, AID, and several others. It felt like humanity had handed us the baton of service.
Amidst these challenging times, projects like Egra Sahara Integrated Development initiative found their grounding. What began as a conversation with Bani, our current president of Mukti USA, about his dreams and ambitions, soon transformed into a thriving initiative under Mukti’s umbrella. This created a framework for others with similar aspirations – if you have an idea or a project, Mukti could provide the infrastructure, compliance, project management, and fund-raising assistance, while the originators maintained leadership roles.
In 2022, we presented our work at the North American Bengali Conference. Following this, Sankar Halder, Bani Maiti, and I embarked on a road trip across the U.S west coast, meeting with partners and discussing new initiatives. This journey helped solidify our vision to expand Mukti’s impact beyond Raidighi, offering a model for others to follow.
That year, we onboarded three more programs. The Prerana Project, led by Rajib Maitra and supported by BayBasi, focuses on creating audiobooks for visually impaired students. Dr. Suchandra Brahma leads the A View Project, dedicated to establishing a transformative home for mentally challenged homeless women. Pathshaala, spearheaded by Biplab Chattopadhyay and Sujoy Saha, focuses on science-based education for children in Purulia and Bankura.
As I look to the future, I am eager to continue working with the Mukti teams in both the U.S. and India. With each new project, we learn, improve, and continue to make a profound impact on our global community. I am incredibly proud to be part of the Mukti family and remain committed to upholding the trust placed in me.
I am hopeful that through our shared efforts, we can continue to make positive, lasting changes in people’s lives. Thank you.