April - May 2004
Significance Of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Celebrations
This year the second Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas
celebration took place between January 9 and January 11 at New Delhi.
The first celebration was held at the same time last year. Areport on
this years celebrations was published in the Feb/March issue of this
magazine. January 9 is very significant because it was on this day that
Mahatama Gandhi returned to his homeland from South Africa to start the
movement for Independent India. As a participant in this year's event
I feel it was a great success. I understand that it is going to be an
annual event. If one considers its aims and objectives, it deserves to
be celebrated every year.
|It is an event designed to bring about get together
meetings between people of Indian origin from all over the world. It is
estimated that the Indian Diaspora will be more than 20 million spread
over 100 countries in five continents. Many of them were transported as
indentured laborers as far back as 1845 in far flung places like Trinidad
and Guyana. Because of atrocious conditions of the journey and the harsh
treatment they received from their masters, some of them never arrived
at the place they dreamt of. They were perished on the way and their bodies
were simply thrown overboard.
|Today the situation is very different. Their
third and fourth generations are proud citizens of their adopted homelands.
Many of them have done very well indeed. In laces like Trinidad, Guyana
and Mauritius they are in control of their country's economy. Educationally
they appear to be the most advanced amongst all the people that inhabit
these places. What is most astonishing is that despite being separated
form their place of origin for such a long period of time they have retained
the Indian culture and heritage from their forefathers. This is a direct
proof of the greatness and resilience of all things Indian!
|The story of recent arrivals form India to countries
such as Canada, Australia, the UK, USA and indeed other western countries
is very encouraging. In the UK, Indians are amongst the highest in educational
achievement. The average Indian income is almost the same as that of the
indigenous British and in some specific cases it is even better. In the
USA, the average Indian income is 50% higher than the average American
income, 37% of the Indians living there hold higher educational qualifications
such as MA, Ph.D., MEng, MBBS etc. The same figure for the whole of America
is about 5%. These are staggering statistics to say the least.The statistic
for immigrants of Indian origin living in other western countries are likely
to be similar if not the same.
|People of Indian origin visit India regularly on an individual
basis; however since Independence there has not been any formal interaction
between India and the Diaspora as a whole. It needed a BJP leader and prime
minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee to initiate such an event bring
together the entire Indian Diaspora, irrespective of their religious affiliation
and political orientation. The so called secular and progressive political
leaders of India have ignored the Diaspora for the last 50 years..........
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