Indo-Americans biggest success story

Indians in US have been the biggest success story of diaspora, says Lalit Mansingh.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2004 18:18 IST

Indians in the US have been the most important and biggest success story of the Indian diaspora, says Indian Ambassador Lalit Mansingh said."They have the highest per capita income, and also have the highest educational qualifications among all communities."Mansingh said this at the release of a new book "NRIs - Pravas Bhartiya" on expatriate Indians that chronicles the success stories of people who have left their country's shores to make a big name for themselves internationally.

Those profiled in the book who were present were tabla player Zakir Hussain, fashion designer Anand Jon, actress Madhur Jaffrey, surgeon V.A. Subramaniam, Columbia University professor Sreenath Srinivasan and owner of Royal Albert's Palace Albert Jasani.

The book has been published by CineMaya media and the Indian Express Group.Among the guests at the event were India's Representative to the United Nations V.K. Nambiar and India's Consul General in New York Pramathesh Rath.Mansingh said: "The NRIs (non-resident Indians) were unsure (at one time) as to how they would be welcomed. However, over the years, from Not Really Indians to Non resident Indians, they have now become Internationally Respected Indians." But the mysteries of migration remain, the ambassador said.
"In Africa, the Sindhis settled in the west coast, the Gujaratis in the east coast, and Tamils and Telugus in the southern and central parts." Why it was so is a mystery, he said, and added that if poverty was a reason, then Orissa, the state Mansingh is from and one of the poorest states in India, should have seen large scale migration, but that did not happen. Likewise, Punjab and Kerala, which are affluent states, have seen huge migration, said Mansingh, rejecting the myth about poverty being a driving force for migration.

He described migration as being of two kinds, the forced and the voluntary, and said "of the 22 million people of Indian origin settled abroad, 18 million are descendants of forced migrants sent out by the British about 100 years ago. And the maximum success stories have been among these 18 million people. They have become prime ministers and presidents in Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad, Mauritius." From 2,000 people in the year 1900 to 1.8 million now, Indian Americans in the But now, it is time the community asserts itself in the American political mainstream by encouraging the youth to enter politics, the ambassador concluded.

Nambiar said that from being described as "brain drain" once upon a time, NRIs have now become an "external resource". Apart from influencing their adopted countries, the NRIs now exert important influence in various fields in India, and there is a political impact of their presence abroad, he said. A short film, describing the success stories of some of the people profiled in the book, was screened.

First Published: Jan 06, 2004 13:47 IST