Non Resident Indian.
I always thought that the difference was only in the residence but now realise that a large section of our countrymen think that we have become ‘Non Indians’ as we have left the ‘Residence’ in India.
Or do we actually stop being ‘Indians'” and have actually become aliens ourselves?
It is an important question on which I have pondered in the last few days since my last article was posted in Times of India and other than the positive responses got, there was also a barrage of responses which questioned my alliance to India and declared that I was writing to prove my loyalty to my new “White” masters and that I was more Canadian or American than Indian !
Well perhaps it is true my friends ! I am as human as any other person who has left Indian shores and am actually astonished to see that as a common man, I do not need to grease the palms of a government servant to just try and run my business honestly, that my daughter can actually walk or drive on the streets without being forced to face continuous male stares, that I can actually lodge and win a case in a landlord and tenancy court and get my house vacated within a span of two months, without fixing judges or even hiring a lawyer! That all these good things can happen and more and I should not be surprised by all this but consider this as a normal way of life !
And what exactly is meant to be an Indian?
If being an Indian means bringing pride into play when ever any Indian leader, bureaucrat or celebrity throws tantrums in a foreign land just because his or her highness’ stature was not recognized and questioned like a common person for any of his or her acts, then yes, I am a ‘Non Indian ‘ now. I will follow the law of the land where I live and consider it supreme over, even the Indian deities who tread on its soil from time to time.
If being an Indian means I need to endorse the society, the judiciary, the political parties who peep inside the bedrooms of its people and declare acts of homosexuality, of oral sex as ‘unnatural’, ‘illegal’ and ‘punishable’ and at the same time continue to endorse a system which has allowed the whole of India to become one large open bedroom full of horror stories of ‘natural’ acts of sexual intimidation and horrifying aggression by males on females backed by carnivorous law holders who would further feast on the leftovers, then yes, I am a ‘Non Indian’ now. I would rather accept a society which, even though may not fully accept the views or sexual preferences of some of its members, yet, allow them to live their own lives while focusing on ensuring that the law is feared and not the male raw libido.
If being an Indian means that I should consider India as ‘superior’ over others just because in the days of yore, Mr. Aryabhatt gave zero to the world and forget the stupendous advancements made by the modern world which recognizes, respects and develops talent and research unlike India which still adores the number of degrees a person has in his kitty, then yes, I am a ‘Non Indian’. I would rather let my children get sucked into a system which nurtures them to think and be creative than focusing on collecting degrees as family trophies.
I may love my Indian food, my Indian cinema and its melodious music, my Indian ‘gaalis’ and the pleasure in using them with my Indian friends and social contacts, I may follow all Indian rituals and traditions and yet, yes I am ‘Non Indian’ now, since I will not accept India with all its baggage and would always compare it against the new found barometer of my adapted country.
Sure enough there are a lot of problems we face in our adapted lands including at times, racial discrimination, non recognition of education and experience leading to building lives from scratch….. Sure enough we miss being close to our parents left behind, of losing our support base of brothers and sisters. Sure enough India lives and breathes inside our heart where it will permanently reside even though we may pick up citizenships of convenience.
Yet, yes we have changed and are ‘Non Indians’ now to the extent that we are definitely not willing to accept all the negativities of India but would love to add the positives that we have picked up to the systems back home.
It is a known fact that NRIs/ PIOs and the likes have always stood for India in thick and thin, when ever required and are a major contributor to the Indian cause not just in terms of the dollars they get or in terms of creating a worldwide ever improving image of India but by actually using their skills and mindsets and have also contributed in a major way in India achieving milestones in its success.
After all the journey towards our freedom was also ably led by our most loved citizen, Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who also, at one time was also an NRI. And he did not start his battle by fighting the British only but by recognizing and fighting the evils of our society including untouchability, caste system and the likes.
Yes we have changed and yes our differences are growing and we may disagree with your views at times, yet my brother back home in India, our love for our Mother India has not receded but has only grown with the extra longing which distance brings. We were and will remain always remain committed to the India that lives in our heart and always will, till our last living breath !
Posted in Times of India on 3rd February 2014. Link below-