By Mahreen Saleem
The desire for sufficient education has greatly influenced us and our parent’s decisions to leave our motherland for life in the West. Millions have resettled for more prosperous futures for their families.
Here, their children reap the benefits of top quality schooling and access financial assistance to pursue post secondary education which inevitably provides higher salaries and very comfortable living styles.
With endless possibilities, US second-generation Indian women have had the opportunity to pursue careers in various fields: Medicine, Law, Business, IT, Teaching, Psychology, Engineering, Communications, and Social Work. We’ve worked hard and invested top dollar to earn the satisfying careers that we uphold today.
But sometimes even a stable career and comfortable living doesn’t create the meaningful path to self fulfillment many of us expat women long for.
We all reach a point in our life when we seek change and we long for more. You may not have considered moving back home to India, but it might be worth seriously considering if advocating change is something you truly desire.
India is the world’s second most populous country with over a billion inhabitants, and a booming economy. Although the opportunities are ever growing, the fact that poverty, crime, illiteracy and other serious issues are still prevalent in its society indicates that it continues to be a place in great need of help.
Yes, we ache when we hear news of the innocent lives lost, and we passionately discuss the issues brewing up in India with our family and friends but we continue on with our lives thousands of miles away.
It doesn’t have to be this way if you seriously want to see change in India. You are bright, intelligent and career driven, a lethal combination that can do wonders for your native land.
Your knowledge and skills can drive serious change if you put them to great use. Your work in India can change lives, improve communities and most of all inspire other NRI’s to do the same, thus potentially create a multiplier effect hence a more prosperous India.
Use your law experience to defend those legally, whose rights have been infringed. Teach children or adults who don’t have access to adequate education. As Civil Engineers construct better infrastructure, as Doctors diagnose and treat patients at over flowing clinics/hospitals.
An IT expert can create greater internet access for under-funded schools, a PR professional can heavily promote work of local charity organizations. Meanwhile, a journalist can work with news media to cover urgent issues (i.e. farmer’s suicides, sex trafficking, abused/raped women with no support).
Regardless of your occupation, your skills can be of tremendous use if applied to meaningful causes. Indians abroad are known for their brilliance, high IQ and innovative minds. Is it not time that we invest this brilliance back into the Indian economy? Isn’t it time we realize how much we can give back to the motherland if we tried.
You may have seen the Shah Rukh Khan starrer, Swades. He is a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) NASA engineer who comes home to India for a visit but decide to reside there permanently after seeing the needs of the village. He helps generate electricity to the rural area and realizes his potential to make a difference.
The film’s real life inspiration was a US based micro finance expert, Vikram Akula, whose microfinance company now provides small denomination loans to over 1,700 000 people across thousands of villages in India.
Like Khan’s character in the film, Akula’s application of his knowledge and expertise has changed the lives of millions. They now have enough for survival – they now have a future.
The same brilliance, innovation, passion and drive resides inside us all. The choice is ours, whether to utilize our strengths to combat many evils of society or continue to their use for our financial rewards.
Photo source yomovies