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Home > Business > Pravasi Bharatiya Divas


Mahendra Choudhry flays Pravasi meet

Josy Joseph in New Delhi | January 10, 2003 13:33 IST

Should the Indian government's interface with its diaspora be limited to pleasantries, recall of the shared past, and discussions with the dollar rich pravasis from the West?

As the first day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas came to a close, there were several unhappy faces in the crowd: some recognizable, others innocuous.

Most direct and high profile criticism of the diaspora meet was served by none other than former Fijian Prime Minister Mahendra Choudhry, whose overthrow in a coup two years ago led to major media attention on the travails of the Indian community in the Pacific Ocean island.

Choudhry warned the audience this afternoon that the diaspora meeting was threatened by the lack of attention on the plight of Indians in several parts of the world. And the meeting would be a measuring scale on "how India and its affluent section of diaspora" dealt with other Indians in the rest of the world.

He expressed frustration over the lack of serious concern about people of Indian origins who are suffering from human rights violations around the world.

He said the Indian diaspora's first duty was to "stand up to assist those of us who are under oppression." But, he lamented that Indians are often seen as materialistic and single-minded.

There were several delegates who were unhappy with the way the government was going ahead with dual citizenship. C S Pitamber, a businessman from Sudan said, the dual citizenship was most needed for people from countries such as Sudan or Kenya. And other nations, which are facing "political uncertainties."

"But it is being offered to people who actually don't need it," says Pitamber, who believes that the government was trying to look for "an easy way out" and thus has offered dual citizenship to people from affluent and politically stable nations.

Sunny Kulathakal, an NRI from Bahrain, said the government needs to be more aware of the problems that the non-resident Indians in the Gulf region face. And Gulf has the highest concentration of Indians who could face uncertainties, Kulathakal pointed out.

Bharat Shah, a leading NRI businessman from Dubai, in a written statement distributed to the press said LM Singhvi, chairman of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora and NRI secretary JC Sharma had understanding of only the Western nations.



Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

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