Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Awaken Ye “Little India”…... India’s Intellectual Capital!!

hi all!!

here's an article published in the March issue of "Focus Global Reporter".

and mind you, this one is really hard hitting (hitting both the head and the heart at the same time) and provocative.
actually it was written some 5 years ago, but still holds water.

it was done for a magazine which wanted a very realistic, provocative and hard hitting article , but probably it hit too hard and the magazine refrained from publishing it.

anyway, those of you who can tolerate it are most welcome to read it!! //best//mg


Awaken Ye “Little India”…... India’s Intellectual Capital!!
Manisha Gupta

Come on dear NRIs, it is time to now think a little and wake up to the fact that you are not just a “Little India” in a huge expanse of some foreign land, but a huge part of the “Major India” on this side of the globe! Non-Resident-Indians, Non-Returning-Indians, Not-Reliable-Indians, Not-Required-Indians or whatever else has been coined for the acronym NRI, I define them as “Non-Returning-Intellect” or “Non-Returning-Intellectual-Property” of India. The Brain-Drain has drained away our precious intellectual capital.

I firmly believe in the adage “pen is mightier than the sword”. For the sword only pierces through the physical body but the pen can pierce your heart. The sword kills the body at once and once and for all. The end! But the pen pinches the heart, kills the negatives and awakens one to a new thinking and a new beginning. And of course, since giving “life” is greater than giving “death”, the pen emerges victorious, serving a much higher purpose. This piece may be hard hitting- both intellectually and emotionally- hitting hard on the head (read “mind”!) and the heart at the same time.

You’ve proved beyond doubt that you have talent, mind, intellect and an intellectual capacity that can delve into beyond the so many beyonds. But isn’t it time now to prove that you have a heart as well. India is a very activity oriented country and so “motion” in every sense of the term is an integral part of India and Indians. Be it commotion or emotion, motion is there writ allover us. So where are your emotions? When your old mother slips in the bathroom, are you there to pick her up and carry her to the bed? When your aged father stays up all night due to an asthma attack, are you there to sit up with him in the scary night? Where are you? On the phone, on the e-mail, on the web camera? That’s it!! But they were very much there for every fall and every scary night of yours.

Think with your heart for once, because the mind is very smart. The heart is what makes you take the right decisions. The art of living is just fine but what about the art of “giving”? Don’t come here just as guests- part of a Diaspora to attend the “Pravasiya Bhartiya Divas” or a conference delegation- on a whirlwind tour to tire all your loved ones in trying to catch up with all the missed moments of the innumerable years since you last came. Even now it is they that give, with you at the receiving end as always. Whether its love or emotions or giving you every favorite dish of yours in that long awaited 3-4 day trip. So aren’t you still “taking” in the guise of “giving”?

Don’t you want to be part of “The Real India”? And help make it so attractive that we can have “little….whatever country” right here? Why try getting patents and royalties on your own country’s Traditional Knowledge base such as “Haldi”, “Neem” or “Yoga”? This doesn’t sound “Royal” in any way. And after all you should be crusading against misuse and exploitation of our ‘National Intellectual Property’, which you too are a part of. Why should someone else earn royalties from exploiting ‘Indian Intellectual Property’? All those talented Indian doctors out there, are you “really needed” where you are? And talking of community service, which community would you like to serve? Then why not come serve the people in your motherland who desperately need your medical expertise and dexterity. And don’t worry India is rich enough to compensate you for your services.

And neither does this sound loyal .Because it’s not just a question of royalties alone, but a bigger question of loyalties. Where do your loyalties lie? If they lie with the country that you are living in, that is giving you your bread & butter and honey & money and all the other materialistic pleasures, then you are not Indian. If things materialistic are your first and only priority, how can you call yourselves true Indians, because India is all about spiritualism, which other parts of the world are embracing?

And yet another question mark is loyalty in relationships. Living in the age of fast foods and instant gratification, there are some who apply the same rules in their relationships also, jumping from one marriage to another to another, generally in each case with a foreigner. At times it may be for a Green Card or for a foreign passport or for some other selfish motive but seldom for love or passion. Has living away from your homeland also reduced your level of selflessness, patience and tolerance and increased your level of self-oriented narrower virtues in life?
Why come to your own home as a guest. If you are Indian, you are the host here. And do you realize that wherever you are at present, there too you are just at best a guest. So what do you get being a guest in both countries? This only reinforces the fact that you have become “rootless”. NRI or PIO or whatever, but your roots are not grounded in “any soil”.

And why do you consider the NRI community as “Not Respected Indian” because they’re not given some special treatment by the “local Indian community” even though they pay fares at different flights, hotels or tourist spots in dollars? Because when you say you are “Indian”, then you are treated just like any other Indian. As per the Indian tradition-“Atithi Devo Bhavo”- and that’s why foreigners are respected more. On the one hand you want to be an NRI and a “real Indian” and on the other you want to be “respected” like the foreigners. If you really are an Indian, as you proclaim from all rooftops of the world, then why be hurt at being meted out the same treatment as we Indians do day in and day out and still stick to our “origin”, and don’t keep switching from one to the other for selfish purposes. We are Indian and remain so, for better or for worse. I think you yourself are quite confused about your identity. Aren’t you going through an “origin identity crisis” of sorts? For different selfish motives you want different privileges at different places in different circumstances. So if “being” Indian has its advantages of shelling out lesser notes or paying in rupees instead of dollars while traveling in India, you assume that role, when being an NRI gets you mileage and benefits of the Diaspora community, you assume that role. And since you have acquired the acronym “NRI”, it is always going to begin on a negative “N” note. Now whether it stands for non or not, or whatever, much can’t be done. Had you remained just an “I”ndian, you would have had the advantage being “I” all your life. Life can be what you choose it to be- simple or complex – “samajhnewalon ke liye ishara hi kafi hai, aur jo na samjhe wo ‘aNRI’ hain”!

India can do without NRIs but the big question is can they do without India? Experiences in Australia, Great Britain, Malaysia et al have highlighted the naked truth. India has always been a sleeping giant elephant, with long memories, patience and the ability to take sustained deprivation. But the giant is now up and about, moving with the energy, grace, pace and agility so truly the trademarks of a wise elephant.

It has “arrived”, driven by its own native resources and intellect, its own sweat and youth, not to forget the sleepless nights. It is an economy which has evolved with deprivation, scarcity and shortages but retained the fabric of tolerance and happiness. It is a thriving democracy on the threshold of becoming a global super power, the fastest growing economy in the world and soon to be a part of the select nuclear club and member of the UN security-council. We are proud when we go abroad as tourists, respected for being one of the highest spending community. Foreign universities pitch to attract us and, unlike the past, we seldom stay back. We want to be part of the Greatest Drama – “A Super Power India”. Indian companies have started attracting foreign students because they want to see the future global corporations from inside out and have the Indian experience on their CV.

There is no dearth of any form of capital in our country. We were a rich country, we are a richer nation. Whether its natural resources capital or human capital or heritage capital or Intellectual Capital, we are well endowed and a tough competition for the globalized world. And if you, the “Non Returning Intellectual property” of India do finally return, I think the whole world will be no match for our massive wealth of Intellectual capital.

How about a ‘reverse brain drain’ phase taking the globe by storm………???

1 comment:

  1. This has to be seen in the perspective of a young Indian who for greener pastures went abroad and since was not thoughtful enough about the various stages of life and emotional bonding did not weigh all the costs and returns i.e. mental, physical, emotional and financial. Once having crossed the bridge or the sea, did not realise that if relations are not consciously retained and invested in, they may become weak and ultimately die. And the bridge may then become a one way street and then only running up and down. Your article thus sensitises the young to see the foreign opportunity in a life cycle concept.