From time immemorial, people have been migrating from one country to another. When India was ruled by the British, thousands of poor Indians were taken to African countries, Caribbean countries, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and other places to work in plantations, construction activities, etc.
Most of the Indians agreed to go to serve the British masters, as they were living in deep poverty conditions in India or due to coercion or temptation by middlemen. Most of them did not return back and finally settled down in the countries to which they migrated and after a few generations, the descendants do not have any empathy for India and perhaps, they do not even recognize India as their original motherland.
However, in recent decades, Indians have been migrating abroad not due to coercion or compulsion or poverty conditions but out of their own will to seek greener pastures. A number of them have a reasonable level of skills and therefore, find it easy to get jobs abroad. There are also quite a number of students who go abroad for higher studies and finally settle down there.
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How should the resident Indians who still live in India view those migrating abroad, give up their Indian citizenship, and willingly become citizens of other countries?
Should they be viewed as self-centered people seeking fortunes for themselves elsewhere, with least regard for the interests of their own motherland? Or should they be viewed as persons who feel that they are not getting an adequate opportunity in the motherland or feel unhappy about the government policies and conditions in the society and go abroad? Or is it possible that quite a number of them have gone abroad thinking that this could be a status symbol and working abroad would be a matter of pride for them?
The ground reality is that most of the Indians who migrate abroad and become citizens of other countries do not have a particularly great interest in happenings and problems faced by India, except some sort of cursory interest from time to time.
This question has particularly arisen now, after seeing the way that the resident Indians are overjoyed about Kamala Harris becoming the Vice President of the USA and around twenty American Indians being appointed for top and key positions in Biden administration.
Kamala Harris is a case study to analyze the scenario.
Her mother was originally an Indian who migrated to the USA long back at the age of 19 and married a Jamaican and they were the parents for Kamala Harris. Should Kamala Harris be described now as an American Indian or American Jamaican?
The fact is that Kamala Harris is no more an Indian and her loyalty and priority are for American interests. She does not even know any Indian language.
However, when she became the Vice President of the USA, the people living in the village, where her ancestors once lived in Tamil Nadu several decades back, celebrated the event with great fanfare. Special prayers were offered in temples by the people, though Kamala Harris does not claim that she is a Hindu and though her mother is a Brahmin. Section of media in India published the photographs prominently of the villagers celebrating the event as if it is of national importance. True to the statue culture of Tamil Nadu, one need not be surprised if someone would erect a statue for her in the village in the course of time!
While Indians claim that the country of origin of Kamala Harris is India, Jamaicans claim that the country of origin of Kamala Harris is Jamaica. In several of her earlier pronouncements, Kamala Harris always said that she is an American Jamaican, though in the recent election campaign she claimed that her country of origin is India and her mother was born in India, to impress the American Indian voters and get their votes in her favor.
In the same way, among the twenty American Indians who have been appointed for key positions in Biden administration, most of them have left India long back and the next generation of people belonging to their families may not know anything about India at all. However, many resident Indians seem to imagine that Indians are in charge of part of Biden administration!
The issue is not about Indians migrating abroad and becoming citizens of the country to which they have migrated.
The point that needs attention is the way that most of the Indian media and resident Indians celebrate the success stories of American Indians as if the Indians have got the prestigious positions, which is not so. They are full-fledged Americans and not Indians.
Want to read articles in Hindi? Checkout: जो बाइडेन प्रशासन में बढ़ सकती हैं अमेरिका-भारत की रणनीतिक साझेदारी
After Modi becoming the Prime Minister of India, he has been treating the Indians who have migrated to other countries including those who have become citizens of other countries with great consideration and they are now popularly known as diaspora. Every time Modi goes abroad, he has made it a point to address the gathering of diaspora and talk to them as if they are Indians.
Most of them are not Indian citizens anymore and have become the citizens of other countries to which they have migrated. Obviously, in viewing them, Modi does not make a difference between those who are Indian citizens now and those who have migrated abroad to become citizens of other countries. Further, the government has offered a sort of “dual citizenship” to the Indian migrants abroad who are citizens of other countries, providing the best of both worlds.
Watching the above scenario, a discerning observer in India cannot but wonder as to whether the resident Indians suffer from inferiority complex vis a vis those who were once Indians and now become American citizens. Are resident Indians view as glorified Indians?
The second generation of American Indians would certainly be surprised to see the glamorous attention that they get in India, though they may not have even seen India. They would find it difficult to understand the mindset of the resident Indians towards them.
(Disclaimer: The article is written by an outside author)