Return to India : Articles and blogs on returning NRIs

Indians settled overseas frequently muse about “Returning to India.” Even the Indian media frequently runs articles about NRI returnees and their saga.

Here are a couple of articles are making the rounds among digerati.


You may also be interested in GaramChai.com Return to India Section

Nupur Dave, a Technical Program Manager, Google For Work posts an interesting article on LinkedinPulse, titled “Why I Moved Back To India after 10+ Years in USA”

I am, what they call, a US Return. After more than a decade living in the United States, I moved back to India for good.

When I announced I was moving back to India permanently, some of the responses I was given were
* “Are you SURE?”
*”Let’s see how long you last”.
* “I am happy to see you walk the talk”
*”OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG”
* and the insipid “Ok cool”
But why did i move back? Wasn’t it a normal, successful and happy life in the United States?
Yes, but on paper.
I had a job: I worked for Google, consistently rated #1 company to work for. I had status: active in the Indian Googler network, organizing events for thousands of Indian Googlers.

Another post by Mohan, who also contributes to GaramChai takes a more nuanced view of his experience returning to India in this blog “Return to India Musings: when a home becomes a golden egg”

The first thing that hits one after landing back from a stint abroad is the abundance of people. This mass of humanity is visible right outside the exit gates of the swanky Bangalore international airport and carries through on the ride out on the highway where the airport traffic merges with commuters and is magnified as one approaches Hebbal flyover into the city.

After making annual trips back to my hometown from my adopted homeland in America, I recently took a conscious decision to spend an extended period of time in Bangalore. My family story is not atypical of that of scores of other NRIs – aging parents unable to manage on their own due to flailing health, yearning for their offspring’s to be around. Rather than contributing to the emerging market of “old age” homes in India by coaxing my parents to spend their sunset years in one such institution, I thought spending quality time with them was more valuable. Thus my wife, son and I find ourselves back in the bedroom in a home where I spent college years.

Change.org petition: RBI, Please make it easy for NRI, OCIs to convert old rupee notes

 A note from GaramChai.com visitor prompted us to start an online petion on Change.Org
Please sign the petition and forward to your friends and others who can do so too.

Mail from visitor –
Dear GaramChai.com
Pls assist to put pressure on RBI to come to their senses
 
PIOs, NRIs feel heat of demonetisation; wait in RBI queues 
Tempers ran high outside the central bank branches as people coming from long distances were denied entry by guards on the grounds that they were not carrying the requisite documents. 
click here to read the full article on Economic Times 
 
====================================================
 
I wish to suggest that RBI allow banks to collect/deposit this small amounts of Rs25,000 only, as after all we already declared at customs & customs will update RBI & RBI can then cross reference with banks (banks to submit the forms to RBI upon receipt of the cash).
So many checks are already in place so why the fear.
RBI cannot cope with the load so be realistic and don’t hurt NRIs.
 
​Please use your influence to push RBI.
regards
Mayur Vora

Yet another Swedesi victory over a multinational : Amazon backtracks on Indian Flag doormat

A couple of days ago Amazon listed a series of doormats with Indian Flag on its Canadian portal.

Amazon.ca screen snapshop

A Non Resident Indian took offence and began tweeting about it to Indian Minister for external affairs. Interestingly, this news comes on the heels of the much lauded the Overseas Indian fest, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 that concluded in Bangalore this week.

With characterstic speed, Sushma Swaraj swung to action and tweeted.

Immediately after Ms Sushma Swaraj tweeted her “warning,” Amazon took down the offending doormats from its websites. And the Desi media and bloggers had a field day patting their backs over yet another “Swedesi victory over a multinational”

But Indians, perhaps rightly want more:

“Amazon Canada might have removed the offensive product — doormat bearing the Indian tricolour — from its listings but it must go the whole hog and apologise to India for the infra dig heaped on Indians who wear their National Flag and nationalism on their sleeves.

The manufacturer, XLYL, may be one of the thousands of suppliers using the Amazon Canada portal, but that does not mean the e-commerce giant should be allowed to wash its hands of the stinking mentality of its supplier. Earlier, images of Indian gods were emblazoned on doormats sold by a supplier on the Amazon US portal. One wonders whether the offender then was the same XLYL. Amazon would do well to investigate the antecedents of such India-phobes and rein in them. The fig leaf of a ‘marketplace model’ should not be used as a cover by e-commerce portals to escape responsibility.  said Firstpost

It is not just the flag. Indians have begun a renewed push to get citizen to respect its flag. NY Times reports – Indian Cinemas Must Play the National Anthem, Supreme Court Rules

India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered movie theaters to play the national anthem before each screening, asserting that doing so would instill “a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism” in Indians.

In an interim order, the bench said that the anthem must be accompanied by images of the Indian flag, and that all present in the hall must stand while it is played.

 

This recent issue issue brings forth bigger questions:

  • We live in a globalized world but respect for individual cultures and social values are still paramount
  • Multinationals and even digital content aggregators and marketplaces cannot hide behind their suppliers and vendors. They need to take accountability for governance
  • Sovereign countries offer multinationals a “license to operate.” Such license to operate can be questioned if it conflicts with the values of the host country.
    • In this case, Amazon listed the flag-doormat on its Canadian website.
    • Indian people took offence and used social media to petition the Government leader took swift and decisive action, threatening Amazon with retaliation

Links to other media articles and blogs:

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2017

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9 January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.

Ministry of External Affairs | Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 | Redefining Engagement with Overseas Indians

PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003. These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.

During the event, individuals of exceptional merit are honoured with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to appreciate their role in India’s growth. The event also provides a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.


Here is an interesting question:

I was born and brought up in India, and like so many of my countrymen, I now find myself enjoying my work and life here in the US. I am on the standard H1B->GreenCard->Citizenship path that many follow.

But I love my country and until recently I could not imagine living permanently elsewhere. I was wondering what it’s like to give up Indian citizenship and accept American citizenship? Was it a hard choice? Did you have regrets?

Response from our editor, Mohan, Naturalized American, OCI, Lived and worked in a dozen countries:

For many of us who have lived overseas for extended periods of time, a western passport is a practical tool to have. Traveling back to India every so often is made easy by having an OCI.                  

Take my example: The decision for me wasn’t hard. I naturalized as an American in 2012, after which I had to have my Indian passport cancelled and applied for an OCI. This was a very practical decision since I lived in the US and worked for a European multinational. I was expected to make frequent business trips from the US to the European HQ. As Indian Passport holder (even with a US Green Card) I was required to apply and renew a Schengen visa. A US passport allows a visa-free travel.

There are few professions like Government service, holding a Political office or military where nationalism and patriotism are kind of a “Bona fide occupational qualifications” For the rest of us in professional services or business, nationalistic sentiments take a back seat to one’s family and friends, and life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

One way of looking at Naturalization and giving up a birth-citizenship to acquire another one is similar to the “Flag of convenience – Wikipedia.”

So, how does it feel?

  • Does my heart flutter every time I hear Lata Mangeshkar’s “A mere watan ke logo” or Mahendra Kapoor’s “mere desh ki dharti…” Sure it does every time!
  • Do I feel a sense of pride standing up for “star spangled banner” or when I hear “America the Beautiful.” You Bet !

Yet another Child custody story: NRI parents protest as Norway takes custody of child

The NRI media is focused on highlighting the plight of the Non-Resident family in Norway, where their 5-year old child was taken into custody in December 2016.

Here are a facts you should know

  • Indian governement is involved. Thanks to lobbying by the parents, India’s External Affairs minister has got involved
  • This is the Third case in 5 years: earlier examples
    • In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya. The then UPA government took up the issue with the Norwegian government. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.
    • In December 2012, a court in Norway convicted an Indian couple in a child abuse case. Anupama Vallabhaneni was sent to jail for 15 months, and her husband, Chandrasekhar, got an 18-month prison term. The children, 7 and 2 years, were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Incidents like these makes one wonder if there is there is a fundamental social issue at play here – Indians going overseas are expected to live by local values and mores. Disciplining children  the “Indian” – spare the rod and spoil the child – way is a big no-no.


 

NRI couple in Norway lose custody of child, seeks Sushma Swaraj’s help: (Firstpost):  “A five-and-a-half-year-old boy was taken away from his NRI parents by Norwegian authorities on Wednesday, reports said. The officials accused the parents of beating the child. This is the third such incident in the past five years where a child was taken away by the Child Welfare Department of Norway.

NRI parents protest as Norway takes custody of child (Indian Express): Speaking to The Indian Express, the father of the boy, Anil Kumar said that the authorities did not even give them prior information. The child, Aryan, was taken into custody on 13 December from his kindergarten school at 9.30 am. “They did not give us prior information. At 10 am, the same day, four policemen came to my house, took my wife into custody, and interrogated her from 11.15 am to 2.45 pm,” said Kumar. Kumar, who is a citizen of Norway, moved to Oslo 26 years ago from Punjab and is a owner of an Indian restaurant. Speaking to CNN-News18, Aryan’s father said that the authorities had absolutely no evidence against them and that the authorities did not have summons to take Aryan.

Kumar and his wife met their son at the welfare home on Monday. “He was wearing the same clothes and undergarments in which he had gone to school a week ago. He is not receiving proper care from the child welfare department. He hugged us and cried a lot… he is our only child…why would we torture him,” he said.

“He is an active child, and is very fussy about eating… He likes to eat Indian food… he is being given bread and porridge, and has not been eating well,” he said. “I have never even raised my voice at him, how can I beat him up? His mother spent sleepless nights taking care of him as he is an asthma patient. How can we physically hurt our beloved son,” said Kumar.