By Pradip Rodrigues
India has 15. 6 million NRIs scattered around the globe, it has the distinction of having the largest diaspora population in the world, a staggering number by any standard and that number is only set to grow. But while you can take the Indian out of India, getting India out of the NRI Indian is often next to impossible. The internet and satellite TV has kept NRIs tuned in more keenly than ever on all things Indian, be it Bollywood, business and politics.
It is the fascination with politics that can be tricky and can make politicians like Goa Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte allege that those who’ve left Goa (and for that matter India) have no love for home. This criticism was a result of NRI Goans who’ve been overly critical of the BJP-led coalition government.
Some South Asian Canadians Can-India has spoken to admit to have had similar feelings about NRIs when they lived in India. On condition of anonymity, one said, “I would get really mad when our NRI friends and family came and criticized everything in India and praised everything in America. They acted so superior that it irritated me.”
Another one-time Delhi resident and now a Toronto resident observes that when India was stagnating economically and the country was being written off in the past, NRIs wanted little or nothing to do with India, but times have changed and India’s economy is doing well and suddenly more NRIs are professing great love for India.
Indians who had the choice of immigrating but chose to stay in India through good times and bad point out that NRIs want the best of both worlds and have divided loyalties. “When an NRI says they love India but refuse to move back ever, I laugh to myself,” says Sharmila from Mumbai in an email. “It is like saying ‘I love my parents but have chosen to live with a more affluent family in a great neighborhood’.
Can-India decided to ask around what the diaspora here thought about Minister Rohan Khaunte’s observations.
Anju Rajan, Brampton
Whenever there is a need or a crisis situation in India NRIs all over the world are first to come up with aid efforts and help out financially and otherwise.
There are countless NGOs in India which largely and sometimes solely dependent for their funding needs on their NRI counterparts.
Nearer home almost every single NRI is supporting at least one if not more family members on a regular basis. In some cases, there are families sitting in India living off the money sent by their NRI children or siblings.
NRIs also pump a large sum of money into the national economy, be it investment in real estate or the industrial sector NRIs support a major chunk of that infrastructure as well.
Last but not the least the importance of NRI support politically is evident from PM Modi’s penchant for travelling.
Aleya Jung, New York
There is a definitive line between a Jingo and a Patriot. Unfortunately, we Indians are not known for nuances, thump our chest and we love our country. Proof of that love can be seen in our Independence Day parade, our temples, our mosques, we celebrate our festivals with as much fervor if not more, we wear our ethnicity with pride. A host of reasons compel us to move to a foreign land, hatred is not one of them.
Anu Vittal, Mississauga
I think we love India and feel proud of our heritage however it’s sad that when you visit India it’s not really “changed” that much. What I mean by change is the dirt on the streets, the mentality of people and changes in the general approach to things by the common man. I see the heart of India is still in the rural areas where the systems are organic and they are less affected by the greed of wealth and the more money “maya”! I remember that India!
Ravi Shah, Mississauga
How can we not love the country of our birth? Canada is the place we chose to work and make our money. If I had the opportunity and where I lived had the infrastructure, I would not have come to Canada. Here is where we have made our money. I bought a house in Ahmedabad and that is where we plan on retiring. – CINEWS