Why Indians prosper abroad more than in their own country?
Indians have succeeded in countries abroad and have not done so well in their own. This fact would have shocked leaders of our independence movement. They had declared that Indians were looked down upon by foreign rulers and could flourish only under self-rule. The harsh reality today is that Indians are successful in countries overseas but failing in India. They are prospering in countries abroad.
The citizens who stay and work in India are pulled down by an unconscionable system that fails to reward talent. This outrageous system fails to allow people and businesses to grow and keeps real power with `netas’ and assorted hooligans and manipulators. Once Indians go abroad, they rise to peaks that were once occupied only by foreigners.
For example, Rono Dutta had become head of United Airlines from 1999 to 2002, the biggest airline in the world. Had he stayed in India, he would have had no chance in Indian Airlines or even Air India. Even if the top job there was given to him by some godfather, a team of `Babus’ and trade unionists would have ensured that he could never run it like United Airlines.
Rana Talwar was appointed Group CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Plc, one of the biggest multinational banks in Britain, while still in his forties. Had he been in India, he would perhaps be a local manager in the State Bank Group, taking orders from several Babus to give loans to politically favoured clients.
Lakhsmi Mittal has become the biggest steel baron in the world with steel plants in the US, Kazakhstan, Germany, Mexico, Trinidad and Indonesia. India's socialist policies reserved the domestic steel industry for the public sector. So Lakhsmi Mittal went to Indonesia to run his family's first steel plant there. Once freed from the manacles of India, he ruled the world.
Subhash Chandra of Zee TV has become a global media king, one of the few to beat Rupert Murdoch. He could never have risen had he been limited to India, which decreed a TV monopoly for Doordarshan in the days that mattered. But technology came to his aid and satellite television made it possible for him to run business in India from Hong Kong.
Apart from all these personalities, Silicon Valley alone contained over one hundred thousand Indian millionaires. Sabeer Bhatia invented Hotmail and sold it to Microsoft for $400 million. Victor Menezes is number two in Citibank. Shailesh Mehta is CEO of Providian, a top US financial services company.
While Indians have soared abroad, India has stagnated at home. At independence, India was the most advanced of all colonies, with the best prospects. Today with a GNP per head of $3500, it occupies a lowly 161st position among 226 countries of the world even though the total GNP at 793 billion dollars makes India the 10th largest. But poverty is by no means the only or main problem. India ranks near the bottom in the UNDP's Human Development Index but high up in Transparency International's Corruption Index.
The lack of transparent rules, properly enforced, is a major reason why talented Indians cannot rise in India. A second reason is the neta-babu raj, which remains intact despite supposed liberalisation. But once talented Indians go to rule-based societies in the west, they take off. In those societies, all people play by the same rules, all have freedom to innovate without being strangled by regulations. And this is why Indians like to hold a green card or citizenship anywhere else apart from Independent India.