Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Request to NRI Punjabis- An exchange

My advice and request to NRIs: "Please never part with a penny of your hard earned money as donation to any politician or political paty. If you really love your state and want to do something for it, invest your money in projects which may generate emploment, add to the overall economic health of the state and benefot your children in future enterprise.You can perhaps pick a leaf out the books of your compatriots from the South, especially Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnatka, Andhra and Gujrat.

But do not befool yourself: None or very very few of you and us love our state and country enough to make our children starve for it, except in the event of an external threat to our sovereignty and independence. Our patiotism is pathetically limited and confined merely to fighting the external enemy. It shouldn't be so, but it is. The NRIs can keep their money - and their sermons -- safe and secure in the lands of their adoption. We are quite happy fighting our own problems , our handicaps, our weaknesses, our backwaqrdness and our sad destiny here on our own, thank you. But we are proud of you for having done as well as you have wherever you have dug your flag poles. And we will be content to take vicarious pride in your achievments. We do not want youto come here and fight our wars for us -- wars against poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, corruption, injustice, inequality of opportunity, nepotism and stuff like that. But like most of us, you want to reserve the right to preach without parting with any of your well earned comforts. We are happy in your success because that certainly decreases the number and magniude of our problems.And we pray for your success and happiness wherever you are.

DrNirmal S Dhallu I agree with every thing in your note except that its tone is mildly patronising, perhaps. But credit to you style you have done it nicely………
Lets face it, contrary to what our relatives think back home, most NRI’s do not have cash to splash, if they want to maintain a standard of living that’s worthy of their status in forign countries.
Who gives donations to politicians?
Needs some favour in return.
Ego for pictures in news papers (see Ajit Jallandhar or any foreign paper).
More money than sense.
Naturally, some of our community have done exceptionally well and there are success examples in every field. However, our first generation was so busy making money that they did not fully integrate with local social insitutions. As a result they don’t have activities to keep them occupied and business are now run by next generation. They want to go back and show off their wealth……….. It is up to them how they spend their hard earned $ or £. Except, sooner they realise that their kids will not be interested. And if they are, relatives not going to let them come anywhere near………..
Majority of imigration to England started in early 1960’s. Almost everyone came here to better their family’s life style in India. After 5 yrs, they collected their British passports and went home with small savings. After paying the family debts taken to go to England and helping brothers and sisters they soon ran out of pocket and returned to start life all over again. Saved for a house and called their family and kidds over. No money for next few yrs. However, the desire to retire back home was still their. They never bought big houses and many never bought a car.
They started to retire in early eighties which coinsided with a very tragic period in Punjab history. It was no longer considered safe. After June 1984, there was a major shift in spending by Punjabies in England. They emptied their deposit accounts to buy bigger and better houses bought cars and started sending their kidds to better schools.
There lies a real tragidy for both NRI’s and India, Punjab in particular. These NRI’s were not only going to bring investments to Punjab, they were going to settle with their industrial exeperiences which I feel would have turned Punjab into California of India. In longer term that would have given continuity to the next generation Punjabies.
Also there is a little sentimental problem for mainly jatts as they have inherited land. Commercially, it makes no sense to keep it but its in the genes………………
Bains Ji, do not worry about any threats from NRI’s. They may like to come for hols untill links die out. They have got used to creature comforts which will be hard for them to give up. In this age of internet, we can all have our say without having to leave our front door. I also believe it is easiy to criticise than be at ground level and make difference. Likes of Jassi Khangura are rare example. He would have become MP in UK too. Few educated people also returned in 1960’s when they felt they were better of in India. In fact, Prof of Punjabi at PAU and I know two others who later became Principals also had brief periods in UK.
In hot Indian summer, even all the BABA’s leave for foreign lands

Harcharan Bains DrNSD: I fidn your analysis of NRI issues absolutely brilliant. It gives me lots of new insights into their situation. Must say it is one of the finest summings up of the issue. Thanks for that.

But worry about threats from NRIs? What thre...ats ? And who feels threatened? I did not quite follow the context.

I can perhaps lay some claim on understanding the NRI mind. All my brothers , my in laws and many of my relatives are in that category. My wife is a British national of Indian origin. my son was born in London. It is quite another matter that I did not apply for a passport till my age 50 - nearly two and half decades after my marriage - when I had to get a temporary travel document to accompany the Chief Minister on his trip to the Middle East.

And Dr. Sahib, no, how can I afford to sound patronising towards my NRI compatriots, almost all of whom have done much better in life than I have. And they have done it the honest hard way, deserving every penny they earned. I have a lot of respect for them for another reason too. They did it in countires they were not even vaguely familiar with. Like most of the people here, I am proud of what our people have done in foreign lands.Yes, there are times when I find their sermonsiing a bit insufferable but that may be becasue we don't like to hear too much truth about ourselves. The second reason may be that in my present position, I have seen too many of these sermonisisng NRIs seek the same undue favours which they criticise others for. Having said that, let me add that, like in anything else, there are some honourable exceptions to this.

Plus, I do not subscribe to this "them versus us" equation.

Thanks again for your highly perceptive observations, which I repeat, are among the best I have ever read anywhere. (And thanks also for the kind words you have spoken about my style.)

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