Thursday, May 01, 2008

NRI prejudice

NRI - Non Resident Indian

Can he/she write about the problems in India ? Can he/she write about corruption, quality of life and other such problems in India that bothers him/her ?

I've seen quite a few bloggers complain and even curse NRIs for doing the things above. Though it doesn't bother me a lot to see such comments / curses, it does hurt me a little.

I would like to iterate that a NRI and RI both have equal rights to write/complain about India just as they have the rights to be proud of their homeland ! I don't see anything wrong here.

I was born and raised in India and had to face problems that bothered me and affected me and my family. I got a chance to become an NRI and I live happily here in the USA. Yeah..I am really happy.

I love this country where I live. I don't have to face day-to-day problems that my beloved ones in India face. I must consider myself lucky !

But then, I do care about India just like an RI would do, heck I even care more. An NRI doesn't need to blow his/her pipes about what he has done/does for his/her homeland. Many take a cheap shot and ask me:

What are you doing about it ?

My answer to that:

I don't need to tell you what I did / what I do.
Tell me, what you are doing.
Don't tell me - I live in India. It means nothing.

Why don't you join the Indian army and serve the motherland ?


Narayanan Venkitu said...

Please feel free to comment. I appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

hi Narayanan,
I have always asked you what are you doing about it...and consider that its not the question i am asking you...i guess its you who should ask you are the one who crib...and it was never to point fingers at you or blame you or to redicule you just because you are an Non resident...the reason for asking is you crib/complain and ofcourse feel bad...i personally feel cribbing is the end product of feeling helpless..the only question one must ask oneself when they are helpless is what one must do...and probably you feel bad...and incase as you claim you do lot of things you can will be of great inspiration to a lot of people who are here ..atleast people who do something about it...if you really want to know what we do.... you can mail me...let me know if you would need my mail id...

Sumi said...

well, there is nothing wrong in pointing out the problems. But I guess the problem starts when we compare the US with India, the way you have written that you got lucky coming to the US.yeah, this is a great country so as India, or any other country.Each country has its own unique problems.The problems which might be intolerable to you maybe ok with people back home and the reverse is true.I know back in India, people just cannot tolerate certain things happening in the US whereas am ok with it.Its like this, I am ok when my parents say I shud improve but I dont accept when they compare me with my siblings, friends whomever they think are better than me and want me to improve the same way.And I also I dont think I got lucky having come to the US. People back in India are lucky too and yes there are issues but India aint a bad place that only unlucky ones live! Its just my opinion and certainly not to offend you or prove that you are wrong about this whole issue.

Mental yaaru? said...

I'll join you,Sumi.
NV ayya, can you return the degree /education that India gave you? Can you avoid eating Indian stuffs, stop watching Indian movies or interact with Indians whom you hate or even tell your colleagues that you are not from India or paint India as a country of filth,cesspool and shit.You can survive with your accent only in and around fair field or desi infested area.. you cannot become an American like with even when you are a naturalized citizen in few years from now.

God Bless You.

donthecat said...

Maams, I guess I know you for more years than any other visitor to your blog and so let me tell you something... You have every right to write the way you do, whether you were living in the US or 'lil P'galathur.

Most folks are missing the point here. You are actually doing something THEY should be doing from within India. But we are too busy watching cricket and Kollywood strip-tease and allowing our politicians to fuck the country in style.

mental>in the last 30 years I've known him, I havent heard Naani talk adversely about India with anyone. His pics and 'complaints' about India are genuine (how many open manholes and mounds of trash you have in your neighbourhood btw). He is comparing with the US only on areas of Lifestyle, Hygeine etc. What's frigging wrong with wishing that your country should be as clean as the one you are living in? Beats me why you should crib about it when Naani is actually cribbing about conditions that actually exist in India. well, he's not fantasising them...

And about that accent stuff, I think that was a cheap shot. You should prolly search his archives for his Audiocasts...

Sumi> surprising how you justify our tolerance for sub-standard conditions. Just because America tolerates Bush doesn't mean we have to tolerate filthy roadside booze shops and clogged rivers running through a state capital.

My point is not whether one is an NRI or an Eskimo, I'm just glad someone is spening some time to publicise the short-coming of our governance and our apathy in letting it happen for donkey's years.

carry on Naani machan... You Rock

Sumi said...


am certainly not justifying our substandard living conditions in India.yes, I dont know who NV sir is, but I do like his blog and find his writings sensible. Thats the reason I visit his blog and also comment on his writings.also i am not saying he should not comment becos he is an NRI.all that am against is about comparison.yeah,u maybe all right, but when you point it out why compare??I do look upon people as role models and get motivated but all these comparsions had never worked out for my betterment.I do understand NV sir's genuine intentions.

nameless anonymous said...

Here is the point Don..Donot compare apples to oranges..Apples are apples-Oranges are Oranges.If India is fucked up, its the way of life there.You are a part of it. You can crib if you live there and that you don't have a choice to change.A NRI cannot sustain himself in India, distressed with the living and opportunities and seeks living in another country.The person cannot withstand or sustain the pressures and wants an easy way out by running out of the country.If he thinks conditions are bad in India for living,he can float a organization or a club or such with fellow cribbers to give something back or do good to the unfit place where he was born. Atleast, thats some good one can do to honor their place of birth.

Narayanan Venkitu said...

First, thanks all of you for your comments

Nameless anon - We only live once my dear !

Sumi - Liked your thoughts, I am sorry please don't take 'Lucky' the way you've taken it. I didn't mean it that way.

Mental Yaru - Returning degrees? Why? It was not OC my dear...I had to pay for it ! You deserve to be a talk about accents etc...and I like your language too...! Way to go.!

Narayanan Venkitu said...


Thanks da...I know you'll understand where I come from. I am glad I have friends like's a true blessing believe me !

Naren's said...

well well...the point is not the discrimination of an RI or an is about complaining about India...and that of the difference of one who cribs and one who with spirits try and fight those, even if it is about including all those complains of yours as a part of your life...i would like to quote a real example..itz a known fact that the flyover work at the busy panagal park is leaving everyone and everything in shambles, with traffic management being the worst problem (and as ever traffic is a problem here is a different case)..and this situation would have at the most uploaded as ur sunday shames with a the most rightly captured wrong moment ...but here there are group of citizens who share a apartment in North Boag road (which is not more than 2 kms from panagal park) and would count anything easily to 200-250 people sit in their regular monthly association meeting and come up with this decision .."that we th e people of this apartment will try our best to reduce traffic problem of panagal park by,if required take a walk or at the most use public transport to go to pangal park for shopping needs rather than each individual taking his own vehicle and adding the vehicle count on the road" might sound silly, funny, exciting as per se persons...but that that small things we sit here and do ..not that you won't be doing the same if you are stationed here...well but we are here and we are doing away with the problems...the bottom line your cribbings doesn't move a cheese here...and as i have always mentioned cribbing and complaining is the most easiest part.for a fact don't ever think about complaining to be a act of bravery and responsibility. responsibility is trying as much to redress the problems first as much possible from a personal level ..and by virtue of being an NRI u definitely miss that mostly...and worst of the problem of your blog is u write with a tone like "there is this problem. i can identify it sitting in the US and there are fools who actualy live around that and yet don't care". Thats where all your blog looks like bullshit. So you can be assured that every problem in India is being identified very much by the RIs and aptly taken care.any help from any one on the right spirit would be much welcome But not the ones like your cheap silly vent outs which are existing just as a reason of existence of internet and some english knowledge. and if you thought if any of the above was harsh you have to understand i have very much controlled my words so as to not hurt anyone.

Jo said...

There is nothing wrong in an NRI complaining about India. But then I have seen it as a common practice amongst most of the NRIs. I can understand the furstration that the NRIs have, because they get used to so many conveniences in the country they live in, corruption is not a huge social issues as it is in India, roads are good, public services are superb, life is convenient in general. But when an NRI comes to India and start companing about everything they see, people take it in a different way.

First, the NRI complains like a foreigner. As if he had never seen any of this in his/her whole life, even though he/she would have lived many years of his/her life in India and in perhaps very difficult conditions. This comes out of their frustration of lifestyle difference in India and other developed countries. The listener is an RI who might be complaining the same everyday in his office, bus, public space or even to himself. But he lives in India and has learnt to adjust with what he has and at times also react. When the NRI begin complaining like a foreigner whenever and whereever he/she travels in India, the RI gets irritated. The main reason is, like someone else mentioned here, the comparison between the countries (There can be other reasons like Jealousy, inferiority complex etc). There is also a common notion like "You come here, you complain and you go back to your comfort zone. What have you done for your country?" but you can ask that back to your critics. At least you must be contributing a good sum to the dollar collection for India. :-)

So if you say "India is fucked up man" seeing a pothole on the road, it is often received with so much anger. But if I, an RI, say the same it is received with a "Yeah, such a pitiful system of ours". The reason is your NRI tag. :-)

Bu then, is this complaining thing comes from NRIs only? No. I want our resident foreigners to ask this themselves. The chaps from the metros come to small towns or villages and begin to act more foreign than George Bush. They complain about the low-voltage, unavailability of heater in bathroom, lack of highspeed Internet, food joints etc etc. I hate these RIs than NRIs.

To conclude, I suggest all NRIs and RIs watch a wonderful movie called Swades. It has some good suggestions to both. To those RIs being proud of sanskruti/sanskaar but ignoring the basic responsibilities and to the NRIs who complain about anything and everything in India. A must watch.

Suchin said...

Till a flat TV was designed and productized elsewhere outside India, our BPL, KEONICS or dozen electronic companies never even attempted to think of one. But a flat screen is let out and every other company in India makes it. I get irritated at their ads claiming its most sold TV in India.

Have you read this most often used line in ads? "...Now in India!" Whatta shame! The product has been everywhere in the world, they have all used/owned it. Now the last resort is India. Our Indian companies bring them into India at the cheapest rate probably. Think of the Hyundai Elantra and the likes which was a failure in US (they sold this fully loaded cars, everything in it, for a dead cheap price in year 1999-2000. I had driven this and had fear for my life)

We Indians wake up to a call like Gujarat/Orissa floods, Kargil war like we have no tomorrow. The true patriotism from every Indian from every corner of the world becomes very visible. Nothing else than a disaster can wake up Indians :)

We just live with whatever doesn't require an attention for now. We put it off. But...

To learn every damn thing viz the expressions, body language, fashion, music, technology, science from the US and to portray a mastery over them in a much higher level than the inventor/discoverer/scientist is something frustrating about our Indians.

But look at this. S. Chandrashekar was a scientist in India. He imbibed most of his education in India. But he moved to US. Got an opportunity to work on his experiments with space. Today, the Nobel Prize he earned does not belong to India, it is for US. Sunita Williams is much worse. Kalpana Chawla and her hardly have any connections with India except that they were probably born here. They lived most of their lives in US. You cant expect them to do any good for India. We Indians quickly cling to their achievements even, I can bet, against interests of those people.

At every such event in our life, "looking up" at success of Indians (like Sanjiv Sidhu of I2) or remotely Indian (like Bobby Jindal)Indians feels the (false) pride, even when having contributed nothing to their successes.

Very few NRIs have 'come back' to India for good. Others, I know them from close quarters, DO NOT like to come back for all justifications they have ready up their sleeves. I term these people as those who have 'escaped' from problems because they CANNOT simply 'face it' being in the situation.

I usually relate this like:
If I find my mother has no money, she can't provide me food, or my father can't build a neat house for us, or my brother can't help me with my morality, I just go away and find another mother father and brother!!! This is what precisely most of them have done going away from India and look back and talk about the problems back at who live here.
I am sorry but most of the commentors here are right about this part. When we learn the 'other side' of a better world, we realize where we were missing. But then, we do not think we have not done anything to improve our environment here.

I am very lucky to have been associated with organisations which has instilled a very high strong love for my country. Even if the US economy had permitted me to stay in US for more than a H1B time, I wouldn't have stayed there. I could never relate myself to even our own Indians in US (their shift of mindset!)

I definitely do not put Venkitu in it. But I am only justifying my thoughts on the NRI and RI comparisions. We gotto feel positive, optimistic and good of EVERYTHING about INDIA. If we do not know what can be better for India, how can we ever device to come out of the 'filth'?

GiveIndia said...

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Thousands of RIs and NRIs appreciate the work we do -- no debates there :-)