Your January cover story Carat Czar shows just how powerful Indiaís diamond merchants are. The fact that Indians dominate the cutting and polishing side of the trade is a secret that these merchants love to keep because of the gazillon dollars involved. Most of the businessmen are Gujaratis who prefer not to flaunt their fabulous fortunes and hence keep a low profile. Itís not only a reflection of their power and influence that the Belgians have conferred the Baronetcy on Dilip Mehta of Rosy Blue. Itís also the fact that Indians are suddenly hard to ignore any more. Thatís not taking anything away from the merchants of sparkle though.
From Antwerpís glittering diamond district, Indiaís earthquake-prone areas may seem a million miles away. But it is heartening to know that Indian businessmen based in this Belgian city care for their people back home. That entire villages were restored to their former prosperity levels is an amazing achievement by these businessmen. With great wealth comes great power and with that comes great responsibility. These diamond czars have clearly passed the test.
The snapshots of the founders of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (Club India) was quite informative. These people took time off from their extremely busy lives and got together to form an Indian organisation that has its voice heard by the authorities worldwide. Where GOPIO plays an important role is not in upping the ante against tinpot dictatorships like Pakistan but in making the lives of the average NRI or PIO a wee bit easier. Issues like racism and discrimination in the workplace are real. India may be transforming from a developing nation to a mighty superpower, but that hasnít led to any lessening of racism. With larger numbers of Indians moving (besides migrating) worldwide for business, jobs and pleasure, there will be moreónot fewerórace issues. And thatís where GOPIO can make a difference.
Flightless In Kiwiland
The Indian community in New Zealand has done well despite a sea of problems. Itís true that most of the Indian immigrants are culled from the bottom of the barrelóas your story Not Quite the Promised Land correctly saysóbut it wrongly argues that life is a lot more forgiving in New Zealand compared to India. That speaking good English alone is the ticket to good jobs. Life isnít that simple.
I read the review of the book The Encyclopaedia of the Indian Diaspora in your January issue with interest. Why donít you publish extracts from it on a regular basis. I am sure it would make for great reading.
Sheikh Ali Akbar
The new section on young Indian achievers was cool. Indiaís youth are quite the rage these days, what with winning awards and accolades becoming a habit. They are typical of a resurgent India and they are propelling us to great power status.