Did you know that the greatest brain drain in the world is – and has been – that of Indians?
What started as a migration of coolies or indented labour from India towards Mauritius, Fiji or Madagascar, turned into the Great Brain Drain from the 60‘s onwards. Scientist, engineers, doctors, all looking for better salaries or opportunities, started immigrating to the US, UK, Canada and others countries, when it was still easy to obtain visas and eventually citizenship. In turn, in the 70’s till now, Indian students applied for scholarships from great American and British universities – and often got them – as Indians are good students, capable of memorizing pages and pages of study materials (see how they always win the Spell Bees competitions). It therefore became a fashion to study in foreign universities for children of upper class and even middle class families.
Today, though India is doing much better economically, this trend is still going on and the best brains of India are still deserting their country. Did you know that 75% of British doctors are of Indian origin – and that the whole system would collapse if they would leave? 60 % of the engineers of the famous Silicon Valley are Indians, and in the last 10 years, the migration of Indian engineers and scientists to the United States has increased by a whopping 85 %!
In 2019, under Narendra Modi’s rule, when you meet any official in Delhi, bureaucrats or politicians, even from the BJP or RSS, and you ask where are their children, the answer will be: “Harvard, or Cambridge, or even McGill University in Canada.” The sad thing is that these children and their children and their grand-children will never come back to India and are a loss not only to India, but even to the US or the UK, as they quickly lose their Indian-ness and bring nothing novel to their country of adoption.
They often do not have even gratitude towards India, who gave them education, most of the time free, and become more Americans than the Americans, more British than the English, sometimes even ashamed to be Indians. This Great Brain Drain MUST BE stopped. Indians, who have succeeded abroad, MUST be coaxed back to their native country and contribute to its present development, economical, political and even cultural.
How to do it? Well first, there is the negative indirect consequence of this tightening of visas in the US and elsewhere, because of the refugees problem. This is unfortunate but the consequences can be seen as positive, as it lessens the Brain Drain. Good too the fact that westerners, Americans, particularly, are sometimes not able to differentiate between Arab refugees and harmless Indians. It will help Indians in the US to start thinking about immigrating back to India, even if it is out of fear.
On the positive side, Mr Modi should facilitate the coming back of NRI’s. What he has done so far: the OCI, tax rebates, liberalising the economy, is good, but not enough. Indian Scientists in the NASA, for instance, researchers in American universities, teachers, doctors, which India needs so badly, should be offered more incentives to come back home: on par salaries and perks, affordable homes, and other facilities.
What the Chinese have also shown is that nationalism and the PRIDE to be Chinese, is the biggest incentive to come back. Thus, in the same way, the Indian Government should induce a feeling of duty and nationalism in NRI’s: “Come back to your own country, help to make it a great nation, India is the future super power of Asia – of the world even…”
As a westerner, when I see those long queues in Delhi in front of the American embassy, I find that it is demeaning to this great nation that is India. And I dream that one day westerners will also queue to apply for working visas in front of Indian High Commissions into their own countries, because India will have become a land of opportunities. Thus the Great Brain Drain will be not only stopped, but also reversed.