Author's Note : Before liberalisation, it seemed that going abroad was the best thing to do. I questioned the wisdom of this approach.

Dec 31

Posted in: Archive Posted by: P S Billimoria

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The Brain Drain

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I was recently horrified to learn that one of the charitable institutions to which I regularly contribute gives donations for higher (??) studies abroad. Nothing saddens me more than to see young talent queing up to leave the country and the thought of my hard-earned money being used for such dubious purposes was most revolting.

It is true that perceptions differ but no one has yet been able to convince me as to why an intelligent individual with a bright future in his own motherland should seek to go to an alien land and live like a second-class citizen. It would be a different story if someone who has been an object failure in home conditions seeks to break away and start afresh with a clean state. What is however unforgiveable is that the cream of Indian talent seeks opportunities tried to make something of themselves here. Such attitudes are perhaps fashioned by obsessive materialism and the desire to reach the pinnacle without the necessary effort and diligence.

Unfortunately, however, there are no short cuts to success and those starry-eyes buffons who imagine that a foreign education and a job abroad is the key to happiness, often find that their balloon of dreams has been balloon of dreams has been pricked with the pinhead of reality.

Let’s leave that for the time being, with the footnote that individual priorities will always differ and no matter how irrational it may sound, people should always do what they think is just and suitable, for themselves. The real issue here is the mushrooming of several institutions and bodies which actually have the nerve to encourage talent to leave. One would imagine that exporting talent in as serious a crime as foreign exchange violations. Both result in the dissipation of a scarce resource and the enrichment of another country to the detriment of the motherland.

The matter would of course be entirely different if we are looking at areas where adequate opportunities do not exist. Nobody can deny for instance that in the field of scientific research. India has yet to develop the sort of culture and infrastructure which can nurture great scientists. In such a case, I would imagine that if he homeland cannot provide the necessary opportunities than it has got no right to expect brain power to stick on. I’m not asking people to put patriotism before career opportunities, What I’m questioning is the wisdom of those who have already made it big here (or are on the way, to do so), yearning to graze on Western pastures.

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