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NRI teen to contest Finnish polls

india Updated: Nov 01, 2006 13:00 IST
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Alisha Hasan, 18, is quite unlike other teenagers in Finland, not because she was born in India and is a member of the small Indian community here. She will be one of the youngest candidates contesting Finland's parliamentary polls next year.

"I will be contesting polls from Helsinki. I am hopeful of being backed by one of the prominent political parties. I think I can win if I can get a good campaign manager," said Hasan.

"I am trying to raise funds needed to contest the polls, and the response so far has been quite encouraging. I have already started my campaign," she added.

Incidentally, politics is not the only passion this teenager has. "I am already a film director. Last year I directed a Finnish film. I am working on another project," Alisha said.

Alisha's father, Najmal Hasan, who teaches business management in the University of Tampere here, is quite supportive of her daughter. "If she wants to join politics, it is her choice. I think this is another way of contributing towards the welfare of society," said Najmal.

"Our community is so small; there are not many people here who speak for us. It will help if people of Indian origin can raise our concerns at appropriate forums," added Najmal, who migrated from India to England and then to Finland a couple of decades ago.

Alisha, however, lets out that her father was initially reluctant to allow her to join politics. "But I was quite sure what I wanted to do."

Interestingly, while pursuing her political career, she wants to continue her studies also. "If I get time, I would like to study further about filmmaking," Alisha said.

Paul Naresh, a family friend and a prominent hotelier of Helsinki, feels Alisha's bid for the Finnish parliament should be seen in a larger perspective.

Naresh, who originally belonged to Punjab, says: "Young people like Alisha can help build new bridges between India and Finland. Unlike many other countries, very few Indians are here. There are about 500 Indian families in Finland."

"There is a lot of focus on Asia, and especially India, in this part of the world. But there is not much information about the country available here. There is a need to fill this gap. I am trying to educate myself more about India so that I can help fill this gap," Alisha says.

Alisha's political agenda is, however, clear. "The tax rates here are quite high. They need to be rationalised. I would take up this issue strongly during my campaign - and in parliament if I get elected."

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