Today there are an estimated number of over 25 million Indians living abroad. Most fall in the category of NRIs or Non Resident Indians, a community often written off as disconnected or anti-Indian for they have, “abandoned the sinking ship” in search of greener pastures. This however is a very cold and one sided view of the situation. It is often necessity and circumstances that drive people away from home. Today, NRIs have come to be recognized as a group of people making their mark internationally, giving their country something to be proud of.
Over the years, the NRI community has been more or less ignored by India’s major political parties, which historically concentrate on the rural, uneducated masses that account for a sizeable part of their vote banks. The 2014 general elections in India have been the largest democratic elections the world has seen. I myself, “technically” qualify as an NRI having moved out of India little over a year ago. Like most NRIs who did not enjoy the luxury of travelling home to cast their vote, I was left full of opinions, but no real choices.
Where’s My Country Headed?
It may seem that a lot of us are confused about the political situation back home. One is bombarded with information through various news agencies and social media, which is often lopsided and driven by TRPs. The minute you start forming a political opinion, you read or hear something contrary. There is a growing fear in the minds of some, who being so far away from home, imagine that India will break into a civil war of some kind, leading to anarchy, economic and social collapse. I guess too much information is not a good thing.
On interacting with this breed of desis you would realize that they are divided in their political stance. Broadly they can be divided into the idealist, the pessimist, the realist, and the optimist.
The idealist, who has been living outside far too long, has lost touch with India and dons a judgmental hat, about the way things ought to be. The pessimist who thinks India is doomed and there is no hope.
The realist who sees it, and says it, as it is. Not surprisingly, with the events that have unfolded in the recent past there is very little room for the optimist.
In the last couple of years, India has seen what some term as the second freedom struggle. A struggle for freedom from the shackles of corruption. The birth of a new political party and ideology came about which threatened the prevailing order and gave hope to many disillusioned Indians. This new party dubs itself as the crusader for the common man and its supporters believe it has the strength to be a credible opposition, if not more.
The fact that this party finds a lot of its support from overseas Indians proves that NRIs do care and like all Indians want change! Maybe it is the idealist in the NRI that sees substance in this crusade. But, in a land as diverse as India, it will take more than a broom and propaganda to fix things. The peoples’ faith in the system has to be restored.
The Watchdog of Any Healthy Democracy is Its People
The people are the governments’ checks and balance. The power to be able to criticize the government is our biggest strength and asset. I think we can safely say that Indians are good at complaining about things. If we as Indians stay loyal to our duty to criticize and check the people in power, things can improve.
It seems that the people in power do realize that change is the need of the hour. Whether they deliver on it is yet to be seen. If the future government fails to bring in the change promised through the myriad of election campaigning, India stands to lose and keep losing scores of people every year, who leave India for foreign shores. This brain drain is something India should try and curb. Many NRIs who left India, never to return did so because foreign countries gave them more than what their own country could.
The bottom line is that the NRI wants to have more to come home to and less to be ashamed about. Indians everywhere are tired of making excuses for and on behalf of an administration that has left them shame faced in front of the world.
I, the NRI, am the Indian living outside India. As an Indian, whether resident or non-resident, it is exciting to be a part of what seems to be a game changer for the face of Indian politics. As of now the votes are in, and all we can do is wait to see what the new order has in store for us Indians everywhere.