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Boman Irani- Gandhigiri isn’t easy, but works in the long run

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View Munna Bhai M.B.B.S Movie StillsIn an eloquent display of 'Gandhigiri', unhappy Indian green card seekers sent hundreds of flowers to the US immigration agency to protest a last minute reversal in policy that would impede their way to permanent residency. Last week, the agencies- the Department of State & the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service- involved claimed that a communication gap and an overzealous attempt at reducing backlogs caused them to use up all available Green Cards for the current fiscal year by Monday, July 2, 2007, contradicting an earlier press release that they would honor applications through July 2007. The resulting discontent among applicants gained significant media attention across the United States and abroad, even striking a chord in Bollywood, the world’s largest movie industry.

Scores of highly-skilled professionals in the United States are sending flowers to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service in a symbolic act of "Gandhiism" or Gandhigiri, to demonstrate their displeasure and to request honoring of their Green Card applications filed in July. In response to this event, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who produced the run-away successes "Munna Bhai MBBS", and "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" stated, "Mahatma Gandhi has influenced several personalities, including American Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr. These young, law-abiding professionals have set out to strive for reform the right way- the Gandhigiri way." The theme of “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” centers on the usage of non-violent principles to win over difficult and non-co-operating entities. In the movies, character Munna Bhai wins over the tough Dr. Asthana by means of chain deliveries of flower bouquets. The sequel has revived Gandhian principles and popularized the concept of Gandhigiri- literally meaning a symbolic act of peaceful protest across South Asia and the UK.

Rajkumar Hirani, who has directed the Munna Bhai series, added "When you feel you have been wronged, you feel angry. The best way to overcome what you think is unjust, is to protest peacefully. Be nice to your opponent and let him see your point of view. My well-wishes go out to these educated, highly-skilled professionals who have abided by the law and have been eagerly waiting in line for their Green Cards for nearly ten years."

View Lage Raho Munnabhai Movie StillsBoman Irani, who plays hardball in the popular series, shared his views – “Gandhigiri is a strong tool to protest. You make your opponent see your point of view without losing your dignity. With aggression, one usually loses focus over the main issue, whereas good behavior makes the other person open up a dialogue. What’s key is to keep the efforts ongoing – Gandhigiri isn’t easy, but works in the long run!”

In the series, the film personalities shared their solidarity with Immigration Voice, a not-for-profit organization started by Aman Kapoor that strives for employment-based skilled immigration reform in the United States. The group has grown to over 15,000 members since its inception in Dec 2005. “Expectations ran high among applicants. Says Kapoor, "Disconcert among highly-skilled professionals grew exponentially in the last few days. Several members, out of their own initiative, as part of discussions on our bulletin boards, decided to organize a peaceful protest in the Gandhigiri style to display their resentment.”

Dr. Emilio Gonzales, Director of the USCIS, announced in a press release on Monday that the agency would arrange for the flowers to be sent to recuperating service personnel.

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