Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NRI = Never Returning Indian

Whenever NRIs who have migrated abroad complain that life abroad is tougher than in India – or – whenever I meet an NRI with a guilty conscience” who says he feels homesick about India – I remember this article I had written a few years ago.

A Conversation

A few days ago I met an NRI.

You know what NRI means  don’t you...?

Of course you do – NRI means NON RESIDENT INDIAN.

Of course  there is a RESIDENT INDIAN Friend of mine  who jokingly says  that NRI means: NEVER TO RETURN TO INDIA

In a nutshell – my Resident Indian Friend defines NRI as:

NRI = Never Returning Indian

What my Resident Indian friend says has a ring of truth about it – none of my classmates who went abroad (mostly to the USA) for higher studies returned home to India. 

They all settled down in America

I think almost all of them are American Citizens now. 

So since they have relinquished Indian Citizenship and taken up citizenship of their chosen land – and now they consciously and willingly pledge allegiance to their chosen country and not India  it may be apt to call them American Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) rather than NRI.

I met one such PIO the other day. 

I was surprised that after enjoying the fruits of living abroad (in the land of opportunity and prosperity) for more than 30 years  he still seemed to have a guilty conscience about leaving India (and “abandoning” his parents and loved ones – leaving them behind to fend for themselves).

I asked him a simple question: “Why don’t you come back...?”

He gave me all sorts of excuses which were far from convincing (in his heart I think even he knew it).

To cheer him up  I told him the following:

1. No one forced you to go abroad (like the indentured labour sent by the British from India to other colonies when thousands of Indians were transported to various colonies of European powers to provide labour for the sugar plantations). 
You migrated to the USA by your own free will
Like so many others you went to the land of opportunity  USA  to realize your American Dream.

2. In fact  when we were studying engineering in the 1970s  it was you who was desperate to go to America for higher studies – and you were running from pillar to post to get admission to a good university in the USA and arranging finances (scholarship and loan) despite the fact that you were getting a good job in India in campus placement.
Even if you wanted to study more and do your postgraduation  you could have easily got admission to the best of IITs in India. 
On the other hand  persons like me stayed back in India – despite having an excellent opportunity to go abroad to America – you know that.

3. Obviously – you felt that America is a better place than India to live in
Otherwise  you wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of migrating in the first place. 
If you had really wanted to  you could have come back to India on completion of your studies. 
With your qualifications  I am sure you would have got a good job here in India. 
But – you continued staying there – you relinquished Indian Citizenship  and – you acquired American Citizenship.

4. Till now you have prospered in your adopted country and enjoyed the fruits of living in America
The main reason you left India and migrated for “greener” pastures abroad was to have a “better” life since you felt that you could achieve that “better” life by migrating abroad rather than staying back in India. You have achieved your life’s aim. 
So  in hindsight  what are you feeling guilty about?

5. There is no need to have a guilty conscience about leaving India (and your near and dear one’s) for a better life abroad. 
Forget about us. 
Stop feeling guilty and enjoy the “better life” out there (the very reason for which you migrated).

6. And  if you truly love India so much – then –  just pack your bags and come back forever
But – remember one thing. 
Come back because you really love India and only if you honestly want to come back and serve your motherland. 
Do not come back for some selfish reasons of your own (materialistic, economic, career ambition, “greener pastures” etc) 

My NRI friend smiled like a Cheshire Cat. 

I knew he was never going to come back. 

He was just faking homesickness.

He was just trying to put on a false pretence of guilty conscience for our consumption. 

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