I was in Kuala Lumpur last month attending the 9th GOPIO Convention. I would not say much about the convention itself, but for me one thing stood out. Dato’ Vijay Eswaran’s speech. He is the Group Managing Director of Qi Ltd, but his speech was not about business, it was not about networking. It was about an idea called India. At the end of his brilliant ocration that moved in parts from Rabindranath Tagore to Mahatma Gandhi, from Mother Teresa to Chandragupta Maurya, from Bollywood and NATO to Ramana Mahrasihi, and so much more, journalists were not the only one scampering for a copy of his speech. And I wasn’t the only one that gave him a standing ovation. There were ministers and GOPIO brass on the dias, there were very distinguished people at the crowded Putra World Trade Centre, including global business and political leaders, who stood up and couldn’t stop clapping.
I quote him briefly from his beautiful speech to say, “We are not here to build any single nation. Because India to me does not just span a geographical area, India to me spans the globe. The question for me has always been not what is India but rather what is not India. As Indians we have pervaded and permeated almost every nation on this planet. We have brought our cultural values, our music, our heritage, our language, our food, our philosophy and even in a lighter context our film industry as in Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood to every corner of the planet.”
“Indianness is a spirit and it lends itself to a myriad of interpretations. From banal inanities to world class achievements. But the essence of the spirit is captured in the lyric – Saare Jahan se achcha, Hindustan hamara… whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever you are, be proud to be Indian.”
We have dedicated this very special issue, our 40th since we started publishing this monthly in October 2004, to the Global Indians. If India shines today, if India is poised today, if India is emerging today, if India and its essence spans out rapidly across space, time and continents, we can be sure about one thing—it is the Pravasi with his multi-faceted, multi-skilled contribution as a global ambassador that is taking India to the echelons of universal stardom.
Take your pick. We can be proud of the PIO whose grandfather was a humble indentured worker, and whose grandson today has become a Prime Minister of his country and is the chief guest at the PBD. We can be proud of the NRI who is building his own space station in Canada, and to think he got rejected as an astronaut by NASA. If in the beginning of 2008, we need to do something, it is this—our hearts must clap in unison for the PIO and the NRI who’s done India truly proud.
Happy New Year.
Rakesh K. Simha
Vatsala Kaul, Dinesh Raheja, Indrani Talukdar (all India), Srikanth Beldona, Dharminder Diwan, Arnelle Hartenstein (all US), Rajesh Kumar (New Zealand), Ramesh Mathew (Qatar)
Correspondent: Ummul Saba
Art & Design
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Debashish Dutta (Consultant - Design)
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