CANADA GOES PUNJABI
I think your November cover story Balle Balle in Canada was superb. I canít find any other Indian publication which was splashed this very important diaspora event on its cover no less. Itís a sign of the growing importance of Indians worldwide but more significantly it is a sign of their growing confidence. As India succeeds in all fieldsóscience, sports, education etcóthe diaspora gets a boost too. Similarly, Indians back home can learn from the achievements of these Indian Canadians and strike success in other countries.
Auckland, New Zealand
The achievements of these nine Indian origin people is amazing because going by the appearance of most of them, they look very much Ďethnicí with turbans and Indian attire. Which shows that race has not affected their chances in Canada. While surely they must have won from areas where there are sizeable Indian communities, they would have got white votes too.
Calling it a success for Sikhs is more like it. Iím sure the celebrations taken out in some parts of Canada on the anniversary of Indira Gandhiís assassination must have been noted by diaspora watchers. Letís see how many of these nine MPs actually do something for India or even for Punjab.
Last year I read a report about a Sikh being denied entry into a Canadian night club because he was wearing a turban. It became a big issue in that country because the guy sued the club and the judge awarded him a good sized compensation. But more to the point, Sikhs and other Indians in Canada have to face a lot of discrimination, especially when it comes to jobs, entry into posh restaurants etc. While these nine MPs have indeed overcome ingrained racial prejudices that whites are notorious for, the fact remains that nine seats out of 300-plus amounts to precious little. Indians will forever remain a community that remains Ďcolouredí in the eyes of the elites that rule Canada. I donít mean to rain on the Punjabi parade, but just offering a sobering thought so Indians worldwide donít go off balance while celebrating. Sure, Iím celebrating, their success, but Iím not going overboard.
GOPIO FOR KIWIS
The arrival of GOPIO in New Zealand is timely and excellent. Former prime minister Helen Clark is indeed a liberal politician who has wisely allowed immigration into the country from all corners of the world. It is indeed a vinidcation of her stand that Indians are one of the biggest wealth creators in this isolated outpost located right below Asiaís belly in the Pacific. Sure, the bright Indians donít come hereóbecause of the limited opportunities hereó but among the lot that have dared to strike new roots, many have prospered and done wonders. Indians and Chinese are the two communities that go into business and trade on a large scale because they normally donít get many white collar jobs. Today while other communities are dependent on the government for bailouts, Indians have high savings rate and are among the top homeowners. There is a lot of resentment of Indians among the locals but thatís mainly because Indians are slowly aiming for the few white collar jobs. Hopefully GOPIO will foster friendships with the locals here.
Auckland, New Zealand
From russia with love
Game Changer was an extremely informative story on world affairs. For those who talk about a unipolar world, the arrival of Russia is an eye-opener. The Russians are Indiaís only friend and the same holds true vice-versa. Both nations have stood by each other over the past 50 years and the resurgence of Russia should be welcomed by all Indians. As a pilot in the 1990s, I used to meet a lot of Russian pilots and they are among the worldís bravest. The MiGs and Sukhois are amazing flying machines designed by some of the most astute minds on the planet. Also let me tell you that Russians may design the best military hardware but as a people they love peace. Perhaps because of the sacrifices they made in WWII. Remember, 8 out of 10 German soldiers killed in that war died on the Russian front.