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Indian nationality & nationalism

Our email crashed badly after a virus attack and we have only just =
recovered.   I have  been able to read messages without being able to =
send any.  If anyone woould like my opinion, I'd be happy to send it.  =
Otherwise, this is all that came to mind on the subject of nationality =
and nationalism.

We may congratulate everyone perhaps whose work requires so much =
international travel that he or she finds the Indian passport a =
liability.   In 1995, I was told by a close collaborator of Professor =
Jagdish Bhagwati, among economists formerly of Indian nationality, that =
he too had given up his Indian nationality apparently for similar =
reasons.  Many others in the USA and elsewhere gave up Indian =
nationality for such or other job-related purposes, such as getting =
security clearances for defence sector jobs.    Nationality contributes =
to one's sense of identity, who one is in this world or in this life, =
and I am sure giving up Indian nationality was a wrenching decision in =
many cases, though perhaps not so wrenching in many others.
It would be too glib, however, to fail to recognise that others have =
sacrificed greatly simply for wanting to remain Indians by nationality, =
for wanting to have the Four Lions of Sarnath and Satya Meva Jayathe =
inscribed on the document which most readily identifies their =
nationality in international law, namely, the passport.=20

In taking up another nationality, say, that of the United States of =
America, one must naturally swear allegiance to that country, and =
furthermore swear to uphold it against all its adversaries, real or =
potential.  This implies that in any conflict whatsoever between the =
country of adopted nationality and the Republic of India, the most that =
such a person can do is disagree with the position of his adopted =
country vis-a-vis the Republic of India, unless he or she chooses to =
betray his adopted country on India's
behalf which the Republic of India surely would not want him/her to do.  =
One really
cannot have it both ways without being hypocritical about it.   =20

As a matter of fact, of course, many people renounce Indian nationality
= and adopt another without fully, heart and soul, swearing allegiance
to = their new country.  That in many cases leaves them and their
families inevitably = in a state of confusion, but it is a result of of
their own choice.=20

As for the Republic of India re-absorbing many of its former nationals =
abroad, I have argued for some time that such a move, properly carried
out, ought = to be a tool of Indian foreign and economic policy.  It
ought to be obvious = however that it cannot be carried out right now
since India, as a country governed by = the Rule of Law, would have to
have sorted out her relationship with Pakistan and = Bangladesh before
that.  In short, it depends on a proper, permanent and peaceful =
resolution for J&K and similar problems.  =20

If the IPI or a similar forum wishes to be genuinely effective, it will
= have to have participants willing to identify themselves fully by
name, = address and nationality.  It may also need to be understood that
while = India may be helped by any number of her friends abroad,
ultimately = Indian law and Indian policy must be by Indians and for
Indians.  Just = as I would not presume to advise the USA or UK or
Switzerland on their = societies without being invited to do so, we in
India do not really = expect uninvited advice from foreign nationals, no
matter how = well-intentioned.  To take the Japan/USA situation as an
analogy, it may = be known that the isei, nisei and sansei, i.e. first,
second and third = generations of Japanese immigrants to the USA are
very different in = respect of their relationship with Japan and
Japanese culture.  Most US = citizens of Indian origin are today isei or
nisei; by the time the = sansei generation comes around, their
connections with India will be at = most slight.  All Indians should of
course genuinely wish success and = happiness upon their cousins and
kinsmen who have chosen to live away, = and welcome them back freely
whenever they wish to return home to India. =
 India as a civilization is large enough with a long enough history to =
absorb everyone and everything without too much difficulty, even while =
the Republic of India as a well-defined nation-state must be run by =
Indians and for Indians in the first instance.


Subroto Roy, 
Professor=20 Vinod Gupta School of Management
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India 721 302.  
91-322 55221/4 ext 4273/7273.

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