The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2006 at Hyderabad in January turned out an event that one’d like to remember. It began with a riveting, inspiring speech by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The audience sat in rapt attention listening to a man who several summers back had set the wheels of liberalization truly rolling. Singh termed the NRIs and PIOs as the most significant elements in India’s globalization process, and the most important links in reconnecting with the rest of the world.
There were some other outstanding speeches, including one made by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, and a couple of chief ministers. Even Bihar’s newly sworn chief minister Nitish Kumar was determined to make the diaspora see his State in a new light. The valedictory address at the conclusion of the three-day meet by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam left the audience applauding repeatedly. “It is in the empire of the minds that India leads today,” Kalam was to say, emphasizing more than once on how the diaspora had built empires through its vision across the world.
From among the diaspora delegates who attended the PBD 2006 and the preceding GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) meet, also held at Hyderabad, we chose two men for our cover. Both will be heard a lot more in days to come, especially in connection with India. One of them, Brookline, Massachusetts-based Amit Kanodia is a venture capitalist (he’s named his firm LincolnVentures, inspired by Abraham Lincoln). Kanodia works closely with a team of Harvard and other top American B-school graduates, and with those very intimately networked in the American establishment. He’s invested around the world in areas like retail, real estate, broadband, I.T., wireless technology, biotech, sports goods, mobile phones, coffee. In India his eyes are on real estate projects. One could see that each time he chose to focus on India, Kanodia became intense, passionate, and deeply patriotic.
Diljit Rana, an MBE, was conferred a community service award at the GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) meet which preceded the PBD 2006. As President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he’s led several trade delegations to India from Belfast. He’s made considerable investments in the education sector at Sanghol, his native village near Changidarh. He’s exploring education partnerships to develop university linkages between India and Northern Ireland.
Besides, these two, several others have been discussed in our special follow-up issue on the two most important diaspora meets in our country—PBD 2006 and GOPIO. Our package on global Indians too has been strengthened, and from the forthcoming issue we’ll take a look at the diaspora a little more closely.
Rakesh K. Simha
Vatsala Kaul, Dinesh Raheja (all India), Srikanth Beldona, Sagoree Chatterjee, Dharminder Diwan, Arnelle Hartenstein (all US), Rajesh Kumar (New Zealand), Ramesh Mathew (Qatar), Shuchi Sinha (Switzerland), Indrani Talukdar
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