As CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi had already laid down solid foundations for a far greater involvement of NRIs turned OIs in nation’s development through series of investment conclaves. As PM he continued his legacy of involving PIOs in the nations development. Consequently PIOs had exercised an important role in mobilising support for Narendra Modi in 2014 and during the Lok Sabha polls of 2019 their involvement was far deeper and extensive.
- Ramakant Tiwari
PM Narendra Modi is extremely popular with the Indian diaspora worldwide. India has largest diaspora population in world.
By the conclusion of 17th century, pastures in Bharata were dense, deeply green and well forested. So much so that British envied prosperity of Bharata in all respects while Mughals, dreamt and longed to have all that for themselves by any means. In spite of exercising whatever efforts they were aware of by then, fair or foul, they could not attain even a fraction of what Hindus in Bharata had attained by then in all aspects of life. When fair means failed to elicit desired results for them, they resolved to indulge themselves with foul rather brutal means. By the dawn of 18th century, deeply green pastures in Bharata began withering as Mughal and British brutalities climaxed. Every vertical of knowledge, wisdom, prosperity and affluence was either destroyed by Mughals or plundered and carted away by British invader-occupiers to their country which they ironically call ‘Great’ Britain !! As manuscripts and scriptures were plundered by British bandits and shipped to shores where sun never set down (because it had never risen before !!), concurrently came to the fore their advances in Science and Nobel Prizes in Physics / Chemistry started pouring on them liberally !! If ‘Lord’ Rutherford cornered Nobel Prize for deciphering atomic structure, it was because it was already explained in Samkhya Darsana !! If Marshall Nirenberg and Francis Harry Compton Crick could corner Nobel Prize for unravelling structure of DNA, it was already mentioned in Veda-s !! If Albert Einstein could formulate General and Special Theories of Relativity, it was because he had studied Patanjali’s Yoga Darsana !! If Isac Newton could discover gravity by asking an apple to fall on his head leisurely, it was because gravity was discovered centuries earlier by Maharsi Bhaskaracarya…as contribution of nation’s GDP began declining from 26% till 17th century to 3% by 1947, GDP of so-called ‘Great’ Britain began rising from the pathetic level of 2%, almost on the verge of starvation of masses till 18th century.
Greener pastures in the country withered as green leaves were mercilessly plucked, snatched away from us and shipped to the western world. So pastures across the ocean in west gradually turned greener attracting people from ‘backward’ and ‘developing’ economies to infiltrate and finger the pie even as dirt cheap manpower. From Bharata too, people jumped the ocean in large numbers chasing Green Bucks and Green Cards while the phrase of ‘greener pastures abroad’ gained momentum of sorts. Also came into existence innumerable rounds of debates on issues like ‘Brain-Drain vs. Brain-In-The-Drain’ or even ‘Drain Becomes Glacial After Brain-In-The-Drain’ in several quarters spanning decades. Irrespective of all that brouhaha, they were all deified and adored as NRIs !! Within confines of homes of mostly upper middle class families, an air of festivities used to engulf entire household at least a week before scheduled date of landing of NRI kin at one of the two international airports (New Delhi and Bombay, now Mumbai). Finally their eagerly awaited arrival with bulky suitcases sporting multi-coloured stickers and tags, used to be followed by distribution of variety of gifts viz. perfume, nail-cutter, jeans etc. targeted for all, from family members to relatives to neighbours to household maids !! Every such heigh ho holiday visit back from greener pastures to home used to witness fresh rounds of intense discussions on life-style back at ‘home’ in west, toughening competition, social disintegration, rising divorces, growing significance of Bharatiya Samskara-s, our unique family system if not joint family system, showing ‘selfies’ standing by the side of Cadillacs / Impalas in front of their villas etc. while not to be left out by younger ones, how to secure admission / Visa into universities in that country. Interestingly, they never vividly described humiliation of racial discrimination or discriminatory compensation that they were compelled into. Every such phenomenon added a few notches to the Aspiration-Index of all those having such cozy ‘duologues’ and pow wows. Some of us, a few enlightened ones, drew relief from the fact that Bharata was not a Stalinist USSR or Mao’s China !!
While politicians and bureaucrats fawned upon NRIs obsessed with expectations of all hues on both sides of the ocean, ‘Desi Bhumi-Putras’ griped and grumbled over extra-ordinary favours scorned as ‘royal treatment’, accorded to them owing to mighty Green Bucks earned in greener pastures. I have witnessed in conferences / seminars, our politicians instantly striking warmest rapport with NRIs while cold-shouldering ‘Desi’ earners of depreciating rupee quite disdainfully. As cosmic laws do not allow any glory to last eternally, turnaround in their ‘fortunes’ was heralded in last decade of previous century by a non-dynast Prime Minister PVN Rao who methodically dismantled Nehruvian Leftist economy by demolishing outrageaous restrictions imposed on economic freedom, foreign exchange, travel, imports and abolished industrial licensing etc. That led to shifting of the ‘Centre of NRI Gravity’ from New York / London to New Delhi, much to the pleasant surprise of so many. Thereafter, decline in the aura of NRI ‘sanctity’ (euphemism of NRI snobbery) had been steep, so much so that they had to scramble around to redefine their identities, societal longitudes / latitudes and altitudes too. Much to my subtle amusement, NRIs now preferred to be known as Overseas Indians !!
PM Modi addressed 60,000 PIOs at Wembley in November 2015
An altogether new era was heralded in nation’s life when a simple, humble RSS Pracaraka was installed as Prime Minister of the country. He had already laid down solid foundations for a far greater involvement of NRIs turned OIs in nation’s development through series of investment conclaves designated as Vibrant Gujarat during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat. His overseas visits invariably dedicated ample hours to the diaspora of that country being visited. The two way multi-dimensional interactions allowed several more opportunities to the diaspora to contribute to nation’s development in various ways. Recently it culminated into their participation in Prayagraja Kumbha-2019 before embarking on journey to New Delhi to witness Republic Day Parade. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2019 was held at Varanasi, in Prime Minister’s Lok Sabha Constituency wherein he personally evinced keen interest in their involvement. Their interactions with the country have been continuously aggregating since then. For Lok Sabha-2014 elections, PIOs had exercised an important role in mobilising support for BJP / Narendra Modi. Now for Lok Sabha-2019, their involvement is far deeper and extensive. It was indeed a long journey for NRIs to evolve into PIOs i.e. Persons Of Indian Origin, in a sense ‘Associate Citizens’ and it has been accomplished by them quite successfully with the optimism that it continues uninterruptedly in future.
Green pastures that had withered in the country under onslaughts from abroad, are now blooming once again.