Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor has said that at a time when all manner of ethnic and religious conflicts threaten to tear the world apart India’s heritage represented by its diaspora has reinvigorated civilization values of openness and tolerance and set an example to the world.
Delivering the opening remarks as the moderator of a plenary session on Indian Heritage and Diaspora at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Kochi on Tuesday, Mr. Tharoor said India stands in the threshold of an historic opportunity and the Diaspora has a unique role to play in realizing the potential of that opportunity.
The cultural continuity of Indian civilization, its resilience in the face of foreign invasion and its capacity to absorb foreign influences has few parallels in world history. “Its resilience is evident in the cultural experiences of our diaspora. Wherever they have gone they have taken more than a bit of India with them in tangible and intangible ways,” the minister said.
He said Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag’s observation earlier in the day that one can take an Indian out of India but not India out of an Indian remains very much true in the case of its diaspora. “Indian Diaspora has been a faithful ambassador of all things Indian,” Mr. Tharoor said. To drive home this point he pointed out how the numerous Indian restaurants in the UK employed more people than the combined staff strength of the iron and steel, ship building, and coal mining industry.
What is also unique is that for the most part the spread of Indian heritage has been largely friction-free. There have been cultural and political fault lines in some places from time to time as South Africa, the Caribbean and Fiji. “The liberalization of the last two decades has unleashed the productive and entrepreneurial forces of our economy which coupled with the demographic dividend that a young workforce can provide can transform India’s standing in the global order,” Mr. Tharoor said.