Decades after we outgrew what used to be an annual begging bowl exercise to extricate foreign aid from developed donors, India this week returned to the Begging Bowl syndrome; this time with prospective NRI donors during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas extravaganza.
Chief minister after chief minister, central ministers and bigwigs of India Inc. presented the NRIs with a smorgasbord of investment options of every variety. They cheerfully ran down each other to get ahead of the pack, extolling their own backyards, conveniently forgetting the sorry record of both state and private enterprises.
Nary a word uttered on what the NRIs might want or need, any problems they might be facing in their own homelands with their respective administrations. Don’t we all know how little India does for its citizens abroad; what of Persons of Indian Origin scattered around the world?
Do those persons actually consider themselves Indians first, after generations in far-flung posts? Or Guyanians or Fijians or whatever? The speaker sonly focused on their chequebooks: exhorting them to shell out big bucks for India. Not a word on what they’d get out of it.
Methinks the emphasis on the Kennedyesque “Think of what you can do for your country” was pretty farfetched!