Melba Pria is Mexico’s young and dynamic Ambassador to India. She draws attention for several reasons, one of them is she is the only ambassador in India who uses an auto rickshaw as her official transport! She also plans to run Berlin marathon in September for the Indian Cancer Society. Obviously, bilateral trade and ties between India and Mexico have never been better. It is the largest source of FDI for India in Latin America and a growing number of Indian companies are investing in Mexico.
“Before becoming an Ambassador, I had travelled in India and I had always travelled in an auto rickshaw. So I thought, why not? Millions of Indians use an auto rickshaw, why wouldn’t an ambassador use an auto rickshaw?” Melba Pria
As compared to the pollution spreading luxury cars and Sports Utility Vehicles used by most foreign delegates, Melba Pria’s auto rickshaw, like other auto rickshaws in Delhi, runs on CNG, a more eco-friendly alternative to fuel.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Melba Pria told Indians sometimes call her ‘Priya’ meaning beloved. She shares important lessons on how Mexico solved its major pollution problem and became the manufacturing hub of Latin America. There will be a series of high level visits starting with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in September and Prime Minister Narendra Modi next January are scheduled to further boost scientific, space, trade, business and cultural ties between the two G 20 emerging economies who have been close friends for 65 years.
Referring to Delhi’s alarming pollution levels and use of auto rickshaw Melba Pria says “And for a city like this, why not use it?” The auto rickshaw will help reduce emissions and by using it, Melba Pria is doing her bit for the environment.
“This is the way that I want to contribute to the city that today is also mine. I am also a Delhite.”
But her decision to use an auto rickshaw as her official vehicle wasn’t welcomed initially. She told told 101 India, “It wasn’t easy to buy an auto. We had to get permission from the Ministry of External Affairs.” She also had to persuade the drivers to drive an auto rickshaw instead of a luxury car for an ambassador. “When you are the driver of the ambassador, there is a certain status in it. So how do you go from being the driver of an ambassador to being an auto rickshaw driver? What I tried to tell them is, you are still the driver to an ambassador, but the ambassador chooses to have a different vehicle.”
Mexican street artist Sanko worked his magic on the auto, transforming it from a drab green and yellow auto to a beautiful white auto with colourful designs and motifs. Keeing up the tradition started by Melba Pria, when Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs visited India, he gladly used the auto to get around. “It is our official vehicle,” Ambassador Melba Pria states humbly. Jagadish Duggal, driver at the Mexican Embassy raises a valid question-
“If the Mexican Ambassador can travel in an auto rickshaw, why can’t India’s elite?”
For starting something new, unconventional and bold you need a lot of courage and determination as has been shown by the bold and beautiful Mexican Ambassador to India Melba Pria. She is rightly called Priya (Beloved) by the Indians. After all, she being a guest in India is doing so much for our country which even we Indians fail to do. Doesn’t she deserve a big round of applause? Moreover, we can honor this Wonderful Woman by contributing our in reducing pollution in our country in whatever way we can.