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NRIs proud of Indian culture, history

Press Trust of India

Posted: Dec 31, 2006 at 1429 hrs IST

NRIs are often accused of forgetting their traditions, but a new study has found that they cherish the customs and cultural values of their motherland.

"The NRIs, both from the Gulf region and the rest of the world, very strongly perceive that the history and rich cultural values of India, its third-largest pool of scientists and engineers and technology are the major positive characteristics which make them very proud of India," said Dr P L Joshi, a professor at the University of Bahrain, who conducted the study "Gulf-based Indians' Perceptions About India: An Attitudinal Study".

"More than eighty per cent of the NRIs who participated in the study stated so," said Joshi. "It seems that although contemporary India has been gradually getting modernised, yet NRIs, wherever they live, actively participate in Indian traditions, customs and respect its cultural values."

A few respondents from the Gulf region said they maintain their social traditions, observe social rituals more zealously and have a strong bond with India in celebrating various important festivals like their counterparts in India. One of them stated that the children of NRIs also pursue Indian education and value system, as there are large number of Indian schools located in the region, Dr Joshi told PTI in an email interview from Bahrain.

"All these factors keep them very close to Indian environment. Many of them feel very proud to identify themselves with a country that is rapidly joining the ranks of the developed world and nuclear and military power."

The study which commenced in June this year, continued till October and Joshi said questionnaire was sent to 1441 NRIs by email in 29 countries. A total of 162 replies were received.

The NRIs have strong reservations about the deep-rooted corruption in public life in the country and other negative characteristics of "gross inequities and prejudices that are still prevalent in some of Indian life," Dr Joshi said.

"They strongly perceive that if India has to catch up with the advanced world and even with fastest growing countries such as China, corruption in the administrative machinery has to reduce significantly," he said.

At the same time, the attitude of Gulf-based NRIs was more positive compared to the rest of the world , particularly NRIs from Europe and North America, probably because they will not be naturalised in this part of the world and ultimately they will have to return to India.

Gulf-based NRIs have the advantage of proximity with India. Most of the NRIs in Gulf live in community (collective culture) and they have formed numerous clubs whereas NRIs in the rest of the world are segmented and scattered, he said.

Gulf-based NRIs perceive that India has become self -sufficient in agricultural food grains but NRIs from the rest of the world do not seem impressed very much with this claim.

The study also shows Overseas Indians want to play bigger roles in Indian affairs as the Chinese do in their country's economic boom. It suggests that in order to create more interest among NRIs in Indian affairs, the Indian government and its various agencies need to launch more awareness programs through seminars, conferences, cultural exchanges, instituting a number of achievement awards and recognition for the NRIs, Dr Joshi said.

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