President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said the Indian diaspora has made our nation proud through the significant contributions that they have made to the development of the nations, which they have chosen to make their homes.
"It is a matter of pride for every Indian that today there are at least 5 Heads of States or Heads of Governments and over 70 senior political leaders such as Deputy Heads of State, Speakers and Ministers in various countries who can trace their roots to India," said President Mukherjee in his address at the 11th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas here.
" Rajkeswur Purryag, the President of Mauritius is one such eminent personality. He epitomizes the spirit of leadership and public service that the people of Indian origin have so famously exhibited. We are delighted and grateful that he is here with us today as a shining symbol of the Indian diaspora in the world and as the representative of the two-thirds of the people of Mauritius who are of Indian origin and Mauritius," he added.
President Mukherjee said India has a deep and enduring relationship with Mauritius.
"India-Mauritius relations continue to grow on the bedrock of the historical and cultural links between the diaspora and India. It is of particular delight that 12th March that is celebrated as the National Day of Mauritius is also the day that marked the beginning of the Dandi March of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi had too made a brief stopover in Mauritius in 1901 on his journey from South Africa to India," he added.
Pointing out that the Indian diaspora has today grown to an estimated 25 million in as many as 110 nations, President Mukherjee said: " It is a story of many geographies and many histories. The vast and diverse overseas Indian community grew for a variety of reasons attributable mainly to mercantilism, colonialism and globalization."
"The divergent patterns of settlement, the varying degrees of integration with their new homelands and the emergence of new identities and ethos make the Indian Diaspora unique in many respects. It epitomises a saga of trials, tribulations and the eventual triumph of the will and hard work. There is virtually no field of human endeavour that does not have your imprint," he added.
President Mukherjee said the Indian diaspora is present in significant numbers in Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, the USA, the UK, the Gulf nations and the countries in the West Indies.
"I am told that in Bahrain, every established business organization in that country has an Indian employee in senior or middle management position," said President Mukherjee.
"Some of the brightest minds from the Indian diaspora have also been able to make their mark in the field of high technology. Late Dr. Har Gobind Khorana was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1968. Late Dr. S. Chandrasekhar, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983, has the premier X-ray observatory of NASA named after him and the latest addition to the list is Dr. Venkataraman Ramakrishnan who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry," he added.
President Mukherjee also pointed out that 'while we celebrate the accomplishments of the diaspora, we should also not forget that many of them are struggling to establish themselves and many are facing hardships'.
"Some of them are working as labourers and domestic helps. Many of them face difficulties on account of stringent labour laws, difficult working conditions, non-receipt of salaries, premature termination of contracts, change of contractual obligations amongst others," said President Mukherjee.
"Our missions abroad have been working hard to solve many of these problems. The diaspora can also lend a helping hand in this regard. They too could share information with the various organizations under the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs on the change in laws and conditions of employment and help those in need in times of crisis such as bereavements, etc.," he added.
President Mukherjee further said 'there is an important role that each one of you can play in India's journey to becoming a strong, just and equitable society and taking its rightful place in the comity of nations'.
"I am sure that the various seminars and sessions that you have attended over the last three days would prove useful in many ways. Besides giving you more information on the opportunities that India offers you, they would have also given you an insight into the several initiatives that have been taken to ensure social development and inclusive growth in the country," said President Mukherjee.
"With the knowledge and experience you have gained as academics, scholars, scientists, technologists, professionals and businessmen, you can play a decisive role in the development of India. I have no doubt that together we will keep our 'tryst with destiny'. I wish you success in all your endeavours and join in celebrating and acknowledging that we are proud of your achievements and the invaluable service that you have rendered India, the nation of your roots," he added. (ANI)