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Reply to "Silence?": On the NRI/POI Institute




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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
are likely to be summarily rejected. Thanks for your understanding. IPI
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>Dear Professor Roy,  >I think you have not spoken much in the last few
days/ weeks.

Dear Mr. Sabhlok,

Thanks for your note.    Please ensure my reply reaches the whole IPI forum.
I have been silent, and intend to remain so with exceptions, as I said I
would for the following reasons:

1.   Your efforts and those of your colleagues appear to be headed to become
on behalf of a legitimate political interest group in India, one to which I
have myself belonged in the past, but one which has little to do with
defining the public interest in India, namely, the interest group of
Non-Resident Indians/Person of Indian Origin, or a subset thereof.    This
interest group has of course powerful allies in New Delhi, namely, all the
folks who want to become or have children who are NRI/POI's themselves --
let us say, all the people who think Star TV's Good Morning India is better
than Doordarshan's Subha Sabere.

2.   Even there, the contributions being made are not by those familiar or
having access to genuine political or policy-making circles in their adopted
countries, but by persons, by and large, who are in professions, careers and
jobs unrelated to public policy formation.   E.g. while it may be
interesting for Indians to learn from, say someone interested and well-known
as a scholar of American federalism or race relations,  I cannot see see why
the opinions on federalism or secularism in India expressed by, say, an
Indian-American  engineer in California or Michigan should receive any
publicity more than that of, say, the man on the street in Hyderabad or
Lucknow.     The man on the street in Hyderabad or Lucknow is going about
his own business and not going about interfering in local politics or
writing manifestos for the good States of California or Michigan, and so I
cannot see what interest there would be in Hyderabad or Lucknow for the
opinions of the ordinary citizens of California or Michigan.     My
suggestion, as you know, has been that IPI genuinely become Indian, namely,
that the NRI/POI origins allow seed money and institutional infrastructure
to allow quick and extensive decentralisation so it becomes a genuine
citizens' forum or electronic townhall for the average Indian in India.

3.  The private interests of NRI/POIs is something distinct from the public
interest of India, for example, on issues like dual nationality or capital
account convertibility or direct foreign investment or nuclear defence.
Specifically, I wrote on December 24:

"In discussing Indian policy, the interests of the Indian Republic may
diverge from those of the major powers, for example on issues of defence
and national security.  For example, Mr. Guptara's statement yesterday:
>     If India had indulged in such systematic non-cooperation with the
       UN on a point as sensitive as the manufacture of chemical and nuclear
>     weapons, and that too in an area of the world as sensitive as the
>     Middle East, I am sure that it would have been bombed long ago
is not likely to find much sympathy in India at all. Mr. Guptara is no
longer an Indian national, and has not responded to my request to kindly
identify his adopted nationality".

4.    This is a small forum of a few dozen people.   It ought to be open and
not have any "Management Council" defining rules, deadlines, topics for
discussion etc. , let aside being involved in "summary" censorship of emails
and opinions.   As a result, we get treated to all sorts of quite hysterical
opinions, often amounting to a new form of India-bashing spam.

Best regards,

Sincerely

Subroto Roy.








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