No real ceremony in NRI ceremonies

It has always been a cause of concern that far too many individuals are seeing the NRI camps as an easy target for what is becoming a mini-scam.

By Bharatbhai Shah (Issues)

Published: Tue 28 Dec 2010, 8:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:18 AM

The strategy is simple. They co-opt some well-known names, find sponsors, institute some meaningless award and then hold this meeting where the idea is to make money and not really care about the feelings or concerns of NRIs anywhere in the world. Most of us are aware of those annual rackets and in many cases they have become regional exercises in sheer futility. By appealing to the ego, the organisers believe they can make them part with their money. No one asks who has authorised these sessions and what is the value or the sanctity behind them?

It makes sense that unless they have the backing of the government and there is a time bound agenda that addresses genuine issues the point of rushing about calling these conferences fancy names is utterly pointless. They neither serve as a forum for discussion since no one is really interested except the half a dozen doyens of the NRI community who are being given some award and the tame elements in the media who will dutifully carry the photograph the next day.

All too often the nexus becomes more profound since high profile politicians are brought into the picture and made to serve as chief guests. They come, say exactly the same things and disappear in half an hour but their presence confirms media coverage and gives legitimacy to an event that doesn’t deserve it.

There is an irony in this because none of the organisers are NRIs themselves nor do they ever ask the authentic millions living outside the home country to be part of the panel and guide them on the right path. Over the years I have watched many of these ceremonies and always been non-plussed that they are allowed to be staged without any verification of the bona fides of the ones making the arrangements.

On one occasion L K Adavni was the chief guest and he came in and said he strongly felt he had no cause to be the chief guest since he did not deal with NRI affairs.

The most logical move should be to ensure that the relevant ministries endorse such projects before they are allowed to be a free for all to obtain publicity for unknown people.

The sad truth is that in spite of requests from the NRl communities worldwide to the organisers of such seminars, conferences to involve eminent and activist NRIs in the preparation of memorandums and representations regarding NRI issues, they have not made any concrete effort. Instead they make some clumsy statue or plaque with the catchwords Hind or Bharat in them and make a mockery of the NRI as an entity.

Bharatbhai Shah is a senior Indian social activist

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