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I am spiritually connected to India: Ashley Judd

Hollywood actor Ashley Judd, who's in India for AIDS awareness, speaks to Princy Jain about her itinerary.
None | By Princy Jain, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2007 06:14 PM IST

In the gallery of do-gooders we have another kindred spirit in form of American actress Ashley Judd who is known for her work in supporting AIDS awareness.

Judd, who landed in Mumbai on Thursday for a three-week long visit across India, talks to HT City about her itinerary and her spiritual connection with our country.

This is your first visit to India. How are you looking forward to it?
India is colourful and a land of lovely people. Though it is my first visit to India, it is not foreign land for me.

I am spiritually connected to India, as it's the land of Mahatma Gandhi, who has influenced me highly over the past 20 years. You are also a yoga enthusiast.

You are also a yoga enthusiast. How has it helped you?
I have been doing yoga for more than a decade now. I would love to go to the Himalayas to learn more about it.

But there's no time during this visit, so I'll stick to my daily routine of meditation and asanas. I will follow a pure vegetarian diet during my stay I feel it will help improve my spiritual values.

As the board member of Population Service International and the global ambassador for Youth AIDS, what, in your I opinion, is the area of concern in India?
The situation in India needs to be tackled with a balanced approach, and a partnership between the government and private sector can be immensely advantageous.

In India, both the high risk and average group need a serious dialogue about safe sex, woman empowerment and education.

What do you have on the itinerary during your stay?
I'll begin with a visit to the red-light areas and brothels of Mumbai. When it comes to sex workers, it is imperative to make them understand the importance of safe sex, including their reproductive health and the way men perceive them. On the other hand, men who pay for sex need to be educated about their actions.

What about Delhi and Jaipur?
My next destination would be Delhi. My objective for the Capital is to harness the corporate association and money in spreading AIDS awareness. Then, I'll visit the rural areas in Jaipur, where I'll be working with a grassroots NGO called Apne Aap, to spread awareness about human trafficking and family planning.

Any plans to meet Bollywood stars?
I'm meeting Sushmita Sen, who is going to accompany me on my visit to the red-light districts of Mumbai. I am really excited about meeting her, since I have heard of her work and achievements.

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