Published January 4, 2017 by vishalvkale

One of the most surprising aspects of our collective behavior, as collectively expressed through the organized as well as social media, is the ever-present phenomenon of the Abroad Dream… the dream of at least some Indian parents and children alike, to go and settle abroad, or work abroad. Another aspect of this is the penchant to give undue importance to NRIs / PIOs in our media; a third aspect is the near-devoted tracking of PIOs success-stories, especially in the realm of politics… the fact that the Media gives prominence to these is mute evidence of the fact that we, the people, give importance to them

Let us consider the third case, and examine it a little more clearly. It is near-certain that having a number of prominent PIOs in positions of power has been of benefit to us in the realm of Business, wherein it is a win-win situation… the PIO is better aware of how to do business in India, and can thus act as a bridge between two cultures. However, extending that to dream of improved influence politically in strategic matters is stretching things too far; Geopolitics is frankly not something that can be impacted by overmuch by such things.
Geopolitical decisions are taken on realpolitic, national aims, threats, plans etc– and are not so  very easily influenced by matters of culture. Sure, it  can get you increased approach to corridors of decisions makers {lobbying}, but that is about it. The decision wont be altered by mere lobbying; Strategic Decisions are born out of an entirely different set of parameters. That means that these PIOs in such places cannot be as critical as we may think them to be. Their increased presence in parliaments in the world is important fundamentally to the resident Ex-Indian population, who have their own issues, and are not Indian anymore…
It is a baffling scenario, when you consider it coldly – the undue and totally unwarranted focus on PIO and NRI population, whichever way you look at it. We are so blind to our own good stories and successes, that we notice them only when these people get an international recognition! I am yet to read many news articles on local success stories; and on the odd occasion they do appear – like as not they are buried somewhere; whereas the NRI – PIO story invariably finds its appearance on the first page, or the landing page of the website, prominently displayed!
We are a nation that wants to be a superpower; we are a nation that places due and correct emphasis on our glorious past and history; we are a nation that proudly lists achievements that are the stuff of envy; so how does the above behavior gel in with the above sorry scenario? In fact, we are delaying our own success by avidly following those who left us for other lands, we are setting the wrong example to our younger generation.
We should place far greater emphasis on Local Flavor successes, those that made it locally, by a local education, and succeeded. Doing so will give exemplars to the general society, and act slowly but surely to build a base that will act as drivers to the younger generation to follow- much as people follow IITs, NRIs, even IASs… the need of the hour for a strong, developed India simply has to be the encouragement of the local people, that it is eminently feasible to do it in India, that the rewards are far more encouraging here. This is currently absent in the present atmosphere, where there is a clear absence of attractive aspirational aura around the local story
Sure, Make In India, Developed India etc are great slogans – but they wont happen fast enough unless there is an aspirational halo around working in India, living your life in India. It should be a dream, a pull and an aspiration – landing a good job in India after studying here for the large part, if not all. Currently, there is no mention of it in a cultural sense; we ought to encourage and make being a resident Indian a matter of not just pride – but an aspiration, something to be vied for, something to be struggled for, something to chase with single-minded devotion!

I hold no grudge against those who left – God Bless Them, make them happy. There are manifest advantages to having a large expatriate population, and people of your culture. It will help build an aura around Indian Culture, much the same way that the West now enjoys a halo around it, an aspirational pull. That is the ultimate limit for the aspirational pull I referred to above. But, placing them on a pedestal is just plain inaccurate – they are the ones who left our lovely nation. Nations are not built by those who leave; they are built by those who have the courage, the guts to stand and fight, building a great legacy and country for all who follow!

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