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Some Indians Find It Tough to Go Home Again

Will you consider a career back home?

  • Most definitely. The future is there

    Votes: 8 32.0%
  • Maybe in 10 years when things improve

    Votes: 6 24.0%
  • If I can't find a job in the US, I will

    Votes: 4 16.0%
  • Never

    Votes: 7 28.0%

  • Total voters
    25
By HEATHER TIMMONS
NEW DELHI When 7-year-old Shiva Ayyadurai left Mumbai with his family nearly 40 years ago, he promised himself he would return to India someday to help his country.

In June, Mr. Ayyadurai, now 45, moved from Boston to New Delhi hoping to make good on that promise. An entrepreneur and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a fistful of American degrees, he was the first recruit of an ambitious government program to lure talented scientists of the so-called desi diaspora back to their homeland.

It seemed perfect, he said recently of the job opportunity.

It wasnt.

As Mr. Ayyadurai sees it now, his Western business education met Indias notoriously inefficient, opaque government, and things went downhill from there. Within weeks, he and his boss were at loggerheads. Last month, his job offer was withdrawn. Mr. Ayyadurai has moved back to Boston.

In recent years, Mother India has welcomed back tens of thousands of former emigrants and their offspring. When he visited the United States this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh personally extended an invitation to all Indian-Americans and nonresident Indians who wish to return home. But, like Mr. Ayyadurai, many Indians who spent most of their lives in North America and Europe are finding they cant go home again.

About 100,000 returnees will move from the United States to India in the next five years, estimates Vivek Wadhwa, a research associate at Harvard University who has studied the topic. These repats, as they are known, are drawn by Indias booming economic growth, the chance to wrestle with complex problems and the opportunity to learn more about their heritage. They are joining multinational companies, starting new businesses and even becoming part of Indias sleepy government bureaucracy.

But a study by Mr. Wadhwa and other academics found that 34 percent of repats found it difficult to return to India compared to just 13 percent of Indian immigrants who found it difficult to settle in the United States. The repats complained about traffic, lack of infrastructure, bureaucracy and pollution.

For many returnees the cultural ties and chance to do good that drew them back are overshadowed by workplace cultures that feel unexpectedly foreign, and can be frustrating. Sometimes returnees discover that they share more in their attitudes and perspectives with other Americans or with the British than with other Indians. Some stay just a few months, some return to the West after a few years.

Returnees run into trouble when they look Indian but think American, said Anjali Bansal, managing partner in India for Spencer Stuart, the global executive search firm. People expect them to know the country because of how they look, but they may not be familiar with the way things run, she said. Similarly, when things dont operate the way they do in the United States or Britain, the repats sometimes complain.

India can seem to have a fairly ambiguous and chaotic way of working, but it works, Ms. Bansal said. Ive heard people say things like It is so inefficient or it is so unprofessional. She said it was more constructive to just accept customs as being different.

Sometimes, the better fit for a job in India is an expatriate who has experience working in emerging markets, rather than someone born in India who has only worked in the United States, she said.

While several Indian-origin authors have penned soul-searching tomes about their return to India, and dozens of business books exist for Western expatriates trying to do business here, the guidelines for the returning Indian manager or entrepreneur are still being drawn.

Some very simple practices that you often take for granted, such as being ethical in day to day situations, or believing in the rule of law in everyday behavior, are surprisingly absent in many situations, said Raju Narisetti, who was born in Hyderabad and returned to India in 2006 to found a business newspaper called Mint, which is now the countrys second-biggest business paper by readership.

He said he left earlier than he expected because of a troubling nexus of business, politics and publishing that he called draining on body and soul. He returned to the United States this year to join The Washington Post.

There are no shortcuts to spending lots of time working in the country, returnees say. There are so many things that are tricky about doing business in India that it takes years to figure it out, said Sanjay Kamlani, the co-chief executive of Pangea3, a legal outsourcing firm with offices in New York and Mumbai. Mr. Kamlani was born in Miami, where his parents emigrated from Mumbai, but he has started two businesses with Indian operations.

When Mr. Kamlani started hiring in India, he met with a completely unexpected phenomena: some new recruits would not show up for work on their first day. Then, their mothers would call and say they were sick for days in a row. They never intended to come at all, he realized, but theres a cultural desire to avoid confrontation, he said.

The case of Mr. Ayyadurai, the M.I.T. lecturer, illustrates just how frustrating the experience can be for someone schooled in more direct, American-style management. After a long meeting with a top bureaucrat, who gave him a handwritten job offer, Mr. Ayyadurai signed on to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, or C.S.I.R., a government-financed agency that reports to the ministry of science.

The agency is responsible for creating a new company, called C.S.I.R.-Tech, to spin off profitable businesses from Indias dozens of public laboratories. Currently, the agency, which oversees 4,500 scientists, generates just $80 million in cash flow a year, even though its annual budget is the equivalent of half a billion dollars.

Mr. Ayyadurai said he spent weeks trying to get answers and responses to e-mail messages, particularly from the person who hired him, the C.S.I.R. director general, Samir K. Brahmachari. After several months of trying to set up a business plan for the new company with no input from his boss, he said, he distributed a draft plan to C.S.I.R.s scientists asking for feedback, and criticizing the agencys management.

Four days later, Mr. Ayyadurai was forbidden from communicating with other scientists. Later, he received an official letter saying his job offer was withdrawn.

The complaints in Mr. Ayyadurais paper could be an outline for what many inside and outside India say could be improved in some workplaces here: disorganization, intimidation, a culture where top directors decisions are rarely challenged and a lack of respect for promptness that means meetings start hours late and sometimes go on for hours with no clear agenda.

But going public with such accusations is highly unusual. Mr. Ayyadurai circulated his paper not just to the agencys scientists but to journalists, and wrote about his situation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. India is sitting on a huge opportunity to create new businesses and tap into thousands of science and technology experts, Mr. Ayyadurai said, but a feudal culture is holding the country back.

Mr. Brahmachari said in an interview that Mr. Ayyadurai had misunderstood nearly everything from his handwritten job offer, which he said was only meant to suggest what Mr. Ayyadurai could receive were he to be hired, to the way Mr. Ayyadurai asked scientists for their feedback on what the C.S.I.R. spinoff should look like.

To prove his point, Mr. Brahmachari, who was two hours late for an interview scheduled by his office, read from a government guide about decision-making in the organization. Mr. Ayyadurai didnt follow protocol, he said. As long as your language is positive for the organization I have no problem, he added.

As the interview was closing, Mr. Brahmachari questioned why anyone would be interested in the situation, and then said he would complain to a reporters bosses in New York if she continued to pursue the story.

For Indians Trained in the West, It Can Be Hard to Go Home - NYTimes.com
 
The NYT seems to have got it wrong in saying he was on the MIT faculty (so low have the standards of journalism fallen), but the man himself seems to be for real (see here). Many of the problems described in the NYT article also ring true: stultifying bureaucracy, dishonesty in day-to-day trivial matters, and lack of standards and norms we take for granted in the West.

To prove his point, Mr. Brahmachari, who was two hours late for an interview scheduled by his office, read from a government guide about decision-making in the organization. Mr. Ayyadurai didn’t follow protocol, he said. “As long as your language is positive for the organization I have no problem,” he added.

As the interview was closing, Mr. Brahmachari questioned why anyone would be interested in the situation, and then said he would complain to a reporter’s bosses in New York if she continued to pursue the story.

Typical Indian bureaucrat. Western journalists -- particularly shills like Tom Friedman -- continue to extol the virtues of India, but they keep their eyes studiously averted from the serious cultural and political problems that afflict the place. India is a place of problems and frustration.

In no way can India be compared to China, which is streets ahead. This article lends some perspective on the matter:

China’s literacy rate is 90.9%; India’s is 61%. 95.1% of Chinese males are literate and 86.5% of females (2000 census). But only 73.4% of Indian males and 47.8% of the females can read and write. This last is quite astonishing – less than half the female Indian population can read and write in the 21st century.

At that time (1949) India’s GDP was estimated to be about twice that of China’s. But today China’s GDP is about 3.6 times that of India’s. The per capita GDP’s for China and India are $6000 and $2900, respectively, as estimated by the CIA in 2006.
 
The article exemplifies the problems many people try to ignore. It's not an Indian problem, nor China's problem but a rather how the East and West operate.
While a desire to find work to help develop motherland is noble and heart warming, it fails to account for the realities. While it's true people can get jobs moving back East, their expectation should be set to a lower level.
Sometimes, the better fit for a job in India is an expatriate who has experience working in emerging markets, rather than someone born in India who has only worked in the United States, she said.
This is a rather interesting point for people who has no working experience in India but only studied or worked in the US. I sometimes ponder the "what if" scenarios of working in my motherland but if India's bureaucratic problems are any indication, the ones I will face will be of multiple of that.
 
1. Comparison of China - India: Neither Indian companies or the people claim India is a China. It is only in the minds of people like bigbadwolf, who elevate India as a competitor to the USA, China and then go on disproving that notion :)

2. Cultural Differences: Cultural differences are going to be there anywhere between USA and Japan, USA and Germany, USA and France etc. So if there are cultural differences working in India/China/SouthEast Asia then that is no big deal.

3. The story below points to one specific bureaucratic encounter. I completely agree that India Bureaucracy has an extremely long way to go. Bureaucracy is there in every country and many emerging and even some advanced economies have it even worse.
Most Indian youngsters(including those who study and return) do not aspire or work with the govt. Most of them work with Western firms or Indian firms which have/aspire western work culture. Please understand development in India is not controlled by the government like other countries(probably it happens due to the lack of it!)

Some other points about India:
1. You have many articles(like the below) which highlight the horrible bureaucracy and other problems. I do not wish to dispute the facts and is moot anyway. To some extent that is because Western(US/UK) reporters are able to go easily and talk to people because of the usage of English language. It becomes very tough to do the same with many other countries because of the language barrier, so you never know what kind of incidents could be happening.

2. The statistics about India:
-True India has huge illiteracy compared to many countries. But even assuming 10% have reasonable levels of education, that is more than the population of UK/Germany or France.
It is a big problem and there are several initiatives to ameliorate them, but it does take time..

- High levels of illiteracy among women relative to men: It is a major problem, but India has made huge successes at atleast the top levels. We have two out of four deputy governors of the RBI(Federal Reserve eqvt in India), CEO and many high level executives of ICICI Bank(one of the largest private banks) as women, many high level political posts(chief ministers of states, speaker of the parliament, president, ambassadors to different countries).
I doubt if even the USA has so many women at the top levels.

-Facts comparing China/India GDP in 1950 to now: Please keep in mind that both the countries tried a failed communist/socialist model, till they realized enough was enough.
While China opened the economy in 1978(Deng Xiaoping's initiative), India did not do so till 1991(under the govt of PM P.V.Narasimha Rao), so it is going to take India more time for the results to show up.


It is easy to highlight facts which can increase news readership for NYTimes and easily start a debate, but without getting a complete picture, you are just hitting the wrong targets.
 
1. Comparison of China - India: Neither Indian companies or the people claim India is a China. It is only in the minds of people like bigbadwolf, who elevate India as a competitor to the USA, China and then go on disproving that notion :)

There's a book that came out a couple of years ago titled "Chindia," which conflates China and India. And corporate shills like Tom Friedman keep conflating the two as well. In casual conversations, people frequently talk of India and China together, suggesting perhaps that they're on the same level.

2. Cultural Differences: Cultural differences are going to be there anywhere between USA and Japan, USA and Germany, USA and France etc. So if there are cultural differences working in India/China/SouthEast Asia then that is no big deal.

Ah, but it is a big deal. The cultural differences between USA and Europe are not that great -- which is perhaps why we refer to them collectively as the "West." In India you have to beg, supplicate and bribe for routine signatures, routine authorisations. Bureaucrats don't come to work on time, or are inaccessible, or are arbitrary in their judgements. The court system can be inefficient, ineffective. Contracts are frequently not honored. People con one another frequently on trivial matters. I assure you that you won't have this problem in Germany or Sweden.

Please understand development in India is not controlled by the government like other countries(probably it happens due to the lack of it!)

But you still have to deal with those monkey bureaucrats -- if you're not Tata or Birla, when they're eating out of the palm of your hand. In certain areas like chaotic traffic and poor infrastructure, bureaucracy is probably one of the causes.

2. The statistics about India:
-True India has huge illiteracy compared to many countries. But even assuming 10% have reasonable levels of education, that is more than the population of UK/Germany or France.

There is a large population of literate people willing to work for low wages -- that is a large part of the so-called "economic miracle" in India. But as a caveat, one is comparing apples to oranges here: what is called "literate" in India may not be called literate in Germany.
 
There's a book that came out a couple of years ago titled "Chindia," which conflates China and India. And corporate shills like Tom Friedman keep conflating the two as well. In casual conversations, people frequently talk of India and China together, suggesting perhaps that they're on the same level.

They are not on the same level but I am sure US will like to see them at the same level sooner than later. More power to them. :)


There is a large population of literate people willing to work for low wages -- that is a large part of the so-called "economic miracle" in India. But as a caveat, one is comparing apples to oranges here: what is called "literate" in India may not be called literate in Germany.
And what about the Chinese literate ? They are literate w.r.t to Germany ?
And why do you believe all the numbers that come out of China anyways ? What is the level of freedom of press in that country ? There have been numerous instances of Chinese modifying the numbers in a HUGE way to be creditable. Remember the SARS outbreak ? Remember what numbers they gave for the official dead ?;)
 
There's a book that came out a couple of years ago titled "Chindia," which conflates China and India. And corporate shills like Tom Friedman keep conflating the two as well. In casual conversations, people frequently talk of India and China together, suggesting perhaps that they're on the same level.

Using both in the same conversation does not mean they are the same. Yes they have some similarities, like both are in Asia, both have 1 billion + people, got free from western rulers/political influence around the same time, they both experimented with varying degrees of closed economies. Both are currently pursing free market policies. They both want better lives for their people etc. Hence due to those similarities they will be referred together in many contexts. That is no means gives any conclusion that they are at the same level.


Ah, but it is a big deal. The cultural differences between USA and Europe are not that great -- which is perhaps why we refer to them collectively as the "West." In India you have to beg, supplicate and bribe for routine signatures, routine authorisations. Bureaucrats don't come to work on time, or are inaccessible, or are arbitrary in their judgements. The court system can be inefficient, ineffective. Contracts are frequently not honored. People con one another frequently on trivial matters. I assure you that you won't have this problem in Germany or Sweden.
I clearly mentioned that bureaucracy has a long way to go. It is also a pretty much well know to the Indians as well as foreign investors. That being said, I believe there have been lot of improvements esp in the states that care about development. Also the main point is for an average person interaction with bureaucrats is not part of the daily routine. I hate to compare any other country when talking about India, but even in China without having "Guangxi" it is tough to do business.

India has a good legal framework comparable to any western country, granted that courts can be slow, but that still there is some order in the system.


But you still have to deal with those monkey bureaucrats -- if you're not Tata or Birla, when they're eating out of the palm of your hand. In certain areas like chaotic traffic and poor infrastructure, bureaucracy is probably one of the causes.

I have lived in India and have tonnes of family and friends, and you do not have to deal with bureaucracy everyday, so much so that it is a pain(from the way you describe it). Yes, there are an unfortunate few who have to deal with them on a daily basis, but that is their job. Certainly by being a software engineer or a bio scientist, you do not have to deal as a daily routine.

Infrastructure has been steadily improving in India, despite the wonderful;) bureaucrats. you can visit the new airports like in Hyderabad, travel by the new metro trains in Delhi or Chennai, or travel by the new highways. Certainly a lot more needs to be done, but good progress is being made.

There is a large population of literate people willing to work for low wages -- that is a large part of the so-called "economic miracle" in India. But as a caveat, one is comparing apples to oranges here: what is called "literate" in India may not be called literate in Germany.

Yes, what is literate in India will be different from what is literate in Germany and that is why i used a figure of 10% and used the term "reasonable levels of education" and not literate(%literacy according to you stand at 50-60% in India).
I hate to bring other countries(Malaysia, Vietnam, China etc) into the conversation again, but even their parts of the economy that relies on exports relies on large mass of people working for relatively low wages. If you look at India, India is not that export dependent anyways.


But, what I am trying to understand is what your complaint and rant is about or what are you trying to prove?

Each country has its own problems and successes. India being no exception to the rule.

It is accepted that India is not a rich country by any figment of imagination, bureaucracy is a problem. There are other problems like illiteracy, nutrition and chaotic traffic. But the point is everybody is working to improving these problems and every Indian wants to better life for themselves. All these facts are understood and priced in by foreign investors who are still investing in India.

I might be a little off track the original topic which was "Some Indians find it tough to go home again", Apologies, but I needed to set out some facts straight.
 
Related to the Chinese so called growth (I'm not even sure if numbers are accurate), but it seems certain that they have 2T of US dollars. Why is anything you look in stores in US is made in China? Why can't all those things be made in US and give jobs to American people? I understand that those products are cheap (not necessarily safe for health, e.g. lead in Toys, dry wall etc.) and folks in US can't make it that cheap but does that mean that we continue to buy Chinese products and keep the dollar flow into China and support their export dependent economy? That results in the largest women army and so on. I'm no trade expert but it seems counter intuitive to export mundane manufacturing jobs to China while American people need them.
 
But, what I am trying to understand is what your complaint and rant is about or what are you trying to prove?

Endemic Indian backwardness that is ignored by Western shills (er, journalists) like Tom Friedman. Plus I think it's on the wrong path in the first place -- the neoliberal growth model is not working for most of the people. India has been sucked into being a low-cost producer for Western markets (in areas like software and call centres) and is being used as a vassal by the US, both economically and politically (as a counterweight to China). The real problems of India -- e.g., the inequitable distribution of land -- have not been tackled historically and discreetly brushed under the rug. But now I am going way off-topic.

There are other problems like illiteracy, nutrition and chaotic traffic.[/QUOTE]

To tackle these problems, the neoliberal model adopted by India will not work. Again, I am going off-topic with regard to the original post.
 
Endemic Indian backwardness that is ignored by Western shills (er, journalists) like Tom Friedman. Plus I think it's on the wrong path in the first place -- the neoliberal growth model is not working for most of the people. India has been sucked into being a low-cost producer for Western markets (in areas like software and call centres) and is being used as a vassal by the US, both economically and politically (as a counterweight to China). The real problems of India -- e.g., the inequitable distribution of land -- have not been tackled historically and discreetly brushed under the rug. But now I am going way off-topic.

There are other problems like illiteracy, nutrition and chaotic traffic.

To tackle these problems, the neoliberal model adopted by India will not work. Again, I am going off-topic with regard to the original post.[/QUOTE]


Surely you don't think there is equitable growth in China ?
And isn't China too a low cost producer vastly dependent on US/West. The difference being that China manufactures tangible goods and India does software and back office.

I am willing to go on a limb here and say that the disparity of wealth in China is defiinitely on the same scale as India. I don't know the fancy name for the growth model of China, but whatever it is, it isn't doing much for most people of China.
 
Again, I am going off-topic with regard to the original post.

There is nothing new in it.

And pointing out the problems is not a solution. Nothing is perfect but it tries to move towards that is something better. Everything in this world is heuristic. If it was perfect there would be no opportunities. The world keeps on moving because of these disparities.
 
Surely you don't think there is equitable growth in China ?
And isn't China too a low cost producer vastly dependent on US/West. The difference being that China manufactures tangible goods and India does software and back office.

No, you are correct, China also has grave problems.

I am willing to go on a limb here and say that the disparity of wealth in China is defiinitely on the same scale as India. I don't know the fancy name for the growth model of China, but whatever it is, it isn't doing much for most people of China.

That is not correct. The last I read, the number of billionaires in India was roughly double that of China. And the richest Indian billionaires are far richer than the richest Chinese billionaires. The wealth and income distribution is lop-sided in both countries but more so in India than China.

Anyway, I have just started reading Minqi Li's The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy, which I recommend, and I shall be a wiser person after I have finished it.

I would also recommend an essay in New Left Review, which was published about five years ago:

Social and regional inequalities have worsened, with the consumption expenditure of the urban top two deciles rising by a historically unprecedented 30 per cent in the six-year period 19972002, the material basis for claims of Shining India. By contrast, the rural top two deciles had a consumption rise of 10 per cent but the remaining rural populationthe vast majority of Indianswitnessed a consumption decline. [2] More striking still is the relatively jobless character of current growth patterns, even compared to the 1980s. The number of unemployed was nearly 35 million in 2002, and is expected to be over 40 million in 2007. The employment elasticity of output has fallen from 0.52 for the period 198394, to 0.16 for 19932000. There were 740,000 applicants for 20,000 posts in the lowest, Group d category on the Indian railways last yearessentially, gangmens jobs. Among the applicants were mbas, post-graduates and engineers. The outsourcing of us white-collar work to Indian call centres, etc., currently exercising American voters, accounts for a tiny drop in this ocean. There were approximately four hundred call centres in India in 2003, employing around 100,000 people; 40 per cent of their business is domestic. [3] It is here that the political weak spot of Indian neoliberalism resides: in the not-too-distant prospect of a substantial layer of youth from the low-to-middling echelons of the middle class, mainly educated in provincial colleges, becoming disillusioned with the heady promises of a neoliberal project that currently still retains its appeal.

I concede the essay is somewhat dated but its arguments remain valid, in my humble opinion.
 
No, you are correct, China also has grave problems.



That is not correct. The last I read, the number of billionaires in India was roughly double that of China. And the richest Indian billionaires are far richer than the richest Chinese billionaires. The wealth and income distribution is lop-sided in both countries but more so in India than China.

Anyway, I have just started reading Minqi Li's The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy, which I recommend, and I shall be a wiser person after I have finished it.

There might be more disparity in India than China. Anyway I dont want to debate that.

But your point about billionaires is plain naive.
I really do not like getting into comparing India and China, but this point needs attention.

I read somewhere that number of billionaires in China are double that of India. If they are rich the Chinese do not show it. I guess it is partly cultural and maybe because they are afraid that they might be caught etc.

India is a more open society and hence the count of the rich people is more closer to reality.
So just looking at the Forbes list does not get the complete picture.

As I said before, with English being more common in India, it is easier to get information, and distort them to suit the reader's tastes. A real picture is harder to get and needs more careful thought and analysis. To just base conclusions on some media reports will not give the truth.
 
I read somewhere that number of billionaires in China are double that of India. If they are rich the Chinese do not show it. I guess it is partly cultural and maybe because they are afraid that they might be caught etc.

And your source?

India is a more open society and hence the count of the rich people is more closer to reality.

Any support for this assertion?

For my part, I recommend this article by James Petras:

The concentration and wealth of the Indian billionaires ($191 billion dollars) far exceeds the wealth of their Chinese counterparts ($28.9 billion dollars). In fact the total wealth of the top two Indian billionaires is $52.1 billion dollars, almost double that of all 20 Chinese billionaires together. The world’s greatest inequalities are found in India where the wealth of 35 billionaire families exceeds that of 800 million poor peasants, landless rural workers and urban slum dwellers.

In fact, I recommend the article be read in toto, as it explains what is going on in China and India (in my opinion, of course).
 
I dissent from some of the opinions expressed in this thread. My contention is not with the content per se, but rather with the tangential nature of the arguments with respect to the original issue. It is counter-productive to engage in a comparison of India and China to find a solution to the problem at hand. Each nation is unique and the same issue will have varying ramifications across borders. And by this very disposition, the solution to this problem in any country is sui generis. Consider the fact that in most of the Asian countries, the usual indicators of economic success are not representative of the true mesaure of progress (or the lack of it) of a nation. While the GDP and PCI may be perfectly acceptable signals of progess in the west, many countries in the east need a more robust framework inclusive of socio-political factors while attempting to gauge progress. Take India for instance : A per capita GDP of USD 1016 doesn't convey or capture the state of affairs of the rural majority. Infact, it may be misleading.

Any solution or analysis of a problem in India needs to be ruminated entirely in an Indian context. And once we dwelve upon the "returning scientist" problem from this
perspective, perhaps we will develop a better understanding of why the erudite and accomplished choose to return to contribute to their roots and what if any are their motivations/impediments etc.

The first wave of returning scientists arrived at the shores of India via a scientist pool scheme initiated by the late prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. These were heady days for a young nation - fresh from independence after centuries of colonial rule with almost unlimited potential for growth. It is pertinent to note here that some of the cultural and ideological biases which exist in India predate Christ. However, in the earlier years of the post independence era (50's and early 60's), these biases had taken a back seat (relatively) and everyone was united by the common ambition of nation building. The IIT's, IIM's, AIIMS (All India Inst. of Medical Sciences), REC's (Regional Engineering Colleges), ISRO and several other first rate institutions of international repute were set up during this period. Skilled Indians living abroad had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the growth of their nation. In a way, it was a noble pursuit of science - the impact was both tangible and beneficial. These individuals had either to join an existing competent set-up (one of the many mentioned) or pioneer new ones from scratch.

A lot has changed between now and then though. In the interim, while India was experimenting with its predeliction to pseudo-socialism, unknowingly, there ensued a lop sided distribution of authority and resources. And needless to say, some felt there was much to be had by the misemployment of their vantage. A description of this is unnecessary as similar circumstances prevails/ed in many nations. However, coupled with the dormant biases mentioned before which slowly came to the front again, the problems became more severe. A lot of the returning scientists now, in vast contradiction to their predecessors, need to join an institution to change it - and change is resisted vehemently.

I do not know anything about either Mr. Ayyadurai or Mr. Brahmachari to offer specifics about their case. In my opinion though, the claims against Mr. Ayyadurai have been purely Ad Hominem. We need to understand that he at some point too felt that he was confident and willing to invest his time in initiating a change. His accusations should be reviewed carefully, dispassionately and objectively ; they must not be dismissed on the grounds that he is a sham nor must they be given undue importance because he was on the faculty at MIT.

The poll here is an excellent idea. But of course, we must understand that often, the choice to leave or return is a deeper, more thought provoking issue. The decision could be as emotional as it is logical.
 
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