What can Anushka, Amitabh Bachchan, Akkineni Nagarjuna and 19 others in the film industry in seven Indian languages have in common apart from the fact that they are all celebrities, being tinsel town stars?
A step further, how does one account for actor and animal rights activist Amala Akkineni too, throw in her hat to help a Stanford University lecturer in a social awareness project?
It actually does not end here. Even the Dalai Lama has expressed his support in the form of blessings.
All this support is for TeachAIDS India Trust, a voluntary agency founded by Indian American social activist and Stanford lecturer Dr. Piya Sorcar, daughter of the legendary magician P.C. Sorcar. It is the Indian version of TeachAIDS, a social venture that was spun out of Stanford University, officially in the year 2009, started six years ago.
In what is undoubtedly a first, a set of animation content created in seven Indian languages and 12 chapters was released nationally here, on the eve of the World AIDS Day.
Considering the alarm over the prevalence rate and havoc it has been wreaking across the globe, she took up the project to prepare digital content to spread awareness among people about the dreaded HIV-AIDS.
The India was in focus because the country was becoming the second ‘hot spot’ for the virus after the Africa continent.
Even before the actual recording of the voices was taken up, a dedicated team of social activists, who volunteered and consulting experts in different fields delved into reports of the prevalence of AIDS, including animation, sound recording, mixing and the like.
“The fact that millions of dollars were being spent on printed material, including pamphlets and booklets were not having the desired effect was what made us choose the animation medium,” she said.
Nudge her about how she could rope in the actors and ignite the passion to lend their voice to help a social cause, she smiles modestly and looks at Ms. Akkineni, sitting in the room.
The actor also dons the hat of an active anti-AIDS crusader and has taken on the role of Trustee for TeachAIDS India.
Interestingly, it is not as it is about AIDS as is found in the name, but it expands as Teaching Aids, as in teaching tools.
“It actually expands as ‘Teaching Aids’ and now that this project is over, it is time to go to the next, but I will take a break before I move on to the next,” she said.
And what could the next be ? “We could zero in on climate change, about nutrition levels or any other subject depending upon its relevance and seriousness at that point in time, to society,” Dr. Piya said, signing off.