Diaspora youth search for roots via Indian internship
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Diaspora youth search for roots via Indian internship

It was a chance for 24 Indian origin students to discover India, the land of their parents and grandparents.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2005 18:52 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

They don't call themselves Indians, but it was a chance for 24 Indian origin students to discover India, the land of their parents and grandparents, through an internship programme.

During a three-week programme of the external affairs ministry, 24 students of Indian origin from nine countries experienced different facets of the country including culture, society, business, media, politics and science and technology.

The programme held Aug 22-Sep 11 had interns from the US, Britain, Canada, Bangkok, South Africa, Israel, Fiji, Malaysia and Zambia.

"The aim of the programme is to bring the Indian diaspora closer to us and intensify the links between the two sides. During the programme, the students were taken to different places, institutions and organisations in different fields to give them a feel of how India functions," said Malay Mishra, joint secretary (overseas Indians), ministry of external affairs.

The interns told reporters here that the country has its foundation in culture and traditions. However, they admitted that there was much more to India than just culture or traditions.

"India was supposed to be a dirty land of snake charmers. But, it's not like that. India is far better than what we thought it would be," said Lavisha Kapoor from Bangkok.

Bharatramesh Gordhan from South Africa, said: "I am not an Indian. But this is the country of my parents and grandparents. I can say that I love to see it moving in the right direction with so many development activities taking place."

The interns had a first-hand account of Indian governance in Uttaranchal state where they spent 10 days seeing the implementation of different development projects by the government. They also interacted with NGOs and other civic bodies.

They watched parliament proceedings to get a feel of the country's political system.

To apprise the interns about the developments in medical science and research in the country, they were taken to institutes like the National Brain Research Centre and Spinal Injury Centre here.

They had a taste of desi spirituality as well when they spent three days in an ashram in Rishikesh in Uttaranchal.

"The stay in the ashram was amazing. We had heard a lot about India's spirituality, but we experienced it ourselves. India has the potential to develop as the spiritual centre of the world," said Baiju Shah from Britain.

The interns Saturday met President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who urged them to contribute to the growth of the country.

The internship programme was the third of its kind, with two other groups of Indian origin students having visited earlier. However, they had come as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebration.

"This was for the first time that we invited a group of Indian origin students for internship without any occasion. We intend to carry it ahead and have two-three batches of such students each year," said Mishra.

First Published: Sep 12, 2005 18:47 IST