An Indian is an Indian, whether in the villages of the Punjab, the hill stations of the North, the verdant greens of Kerala or the cooler climes of the West! A great poet said, “Sare jahan se achha, Hindustan hamara”. So is it any wonder that NRIs or members of the Pravasi Bharatiya community feel an immense urge to do something for the land that has nurtured them?
The Pravasi Divas is very popular today. First celebrated in the year 2003, it is hosted by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce. The themes are larger than life – the global Indian family, new policy initiatives, business opportunities in India, and so on. Eminent NRIs are felicitated with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President, and the event has speeches, conferences, good food, entertainment, and exhibitions.
The idea is to integrate the expertise and knowledge of the NRI community to benefit the Indians back home. While there is much fanfare about the mammoth event, there are also brickbats galore being thrown at it. The reasons for this are many:
The concept doesn’t have much to offer to the small businessman.
The message sent out is that NRIs have their uses as attractive investors and little else. This in some ways takes away from the spirit of a genuine homecoming to the diaspora.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman is an honor indeed, but the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan could also be conferred on NRIs who have done the country proud, to make them feel closer to their motherland.
Illegal immigrants suffer many hardships while trying to eke out a living abroad and the Pravasi Divas could be a platform to understand how the economically backward could be helped.
However, there is no denying the fact that NRIs today have turned into outstanding ambassadors for their country. They have kept India within their hearts and it is for us in India to keep the relationship alive, and embrace these achievers wholeheartedly. In fact, if the few hiccups can be cured, this could bring together the largest global Indian family, with a vision to making India a global economic superpower.
What do you feel about the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas? Do you consider it elitist and if so, why? Share your views.