9th January is celebrated as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India. It was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever. The first PBD was held in January 2003 in New Delhi. So far 13 editions of the PBD Convention have been held, the last in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in January 2015 which coincided with the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention is the flagship event of the Ministry organized every year since January 2003, with a view to connect India to its vast Indian Diaspora and bringing their knowledge, expertise and skills on a common platform. From 2003 to 2015, this was celebrated like a festival commemorating the Indian Diaspora and dedicating it to them. This year the 14th PBD Convention is to be held in partnership with Karnataka on theme “Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora.” Indian youth and their Diaspora counterparts should come together in developing strong networks, to lead to partnerships in trade, industry, entrepreneurship and social work. The event also serves as a platform to discuss concerns and issues related to the Indian Diaspora around the globe.
The little-known event is also known as ‘Non-Resident Indian Day’. It also acknowledges the contribution of Indian community living abroad in the development of India. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated over three days from January 7-9.
According to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi Indian immigrants went abroad looking for opportunities, but today, that situation had changed drastically. In the global context today, India has huge strength and capital. PBD is the most suitable time and hilarious atmosphere to all Indians in India or abroad to come together and work together for strengthening the nation’s economy. It’s good to have such gathering of NRI but it should have long term results for the working class who bring foreign remittance.
The event holds much importance as it also helps in extensive networking among the Indian community who attend it from various parts of the world. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas programme serves as a platform for them to share their valuable experiences in various fields, be it economic or social. The point of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is to showcase India’s unity and present the country as a transnational nation that incorporates the 30-million strong Diaspora and is built upon supposedly shared cultural values in a fictional historical continuum. India can become a superpower and had the potential to become a spiritual and cultural hub. Today India has changed and there are many new opportunities available for everyone to earn and make a very good living. Let us on the occasion of Pavasi Bharatiya Divas; pledge to make our contribution towards the development that is taking place in India.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)