“PM’s interactions have increased diaspora confidence”

Dr D.N. Mulay who has overseen the preparations of the 15th PravasiBharatiya Divas Convention in Varanasi spoke to India Empire Magazine’s Editor and Publisher SayantanChakravarty on a range of issues concerning overseas Indians. This is the second PBD in a row under his charge as Secretary in the MEA ...

Coming back to Varanasi, this particular PBD is very significant not only because it is in PM’s constituency but also because this is a three-in-one event attached to the PBD. You have the PBD in Varanasi—the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world. That being the case, the PM’s constituency has also become an important place to showcase the development that has taken place. So, it will be a kind of a presentation of heritage alongside modernity. For Hindus, Varanasi has been a great pilgrimage place but it is also so for Muslims, Buddhists and Jains which is not so well known outside. Varanasi also typically represents theSarva Dharma SamaBhava which is a core Indian value. Also alongside the PBD we are also organizing a visit to the Kumbh. Those who wish to see and feel the Kumbh, have a snan, all of that will be facilitated. And thereafter all those who will be going to Kumbh will be brought by special Pravasi trains to participate and witness the Republic Day Parade. So these are the three elements, and I think it is a unique thing among all the PBDs so far. Republic Day is very important because that is where India showcases its development, its strategic power, socio-economic and cultural development. For us it is a very prestigious event. So, all in all this will be very, very unique. It is also the first time it is being held outside the Metros. Yes, PBDs have also been held at Kochi and Jaipur, but those are bigger cities.

You are overseeing preparations for the second PBD, following the one in January 2017. In between what has been the engagement process with the diaspora like? Have you had interactions with the diaspora on an ongoing basis?
Indeed, yes. We’ve interacted at different levels. As I mentioned, Prime Minister is addressing the diaspora wherever he goes. External Affairs Minister ShrimatiSushmaSwaraj has also been meeting with communities wherever she goes and has been holding her own interactions. We have also been celebrating International Yoga Day, big time. On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary we’ve brought out a musical on Vaishnav Jan to TeneKahiye in several languages of the world. The singers are all local people, in one case it is the President of a country who has sung. It’s gone viral on YouTube and is worth watching.