POLITICS OF "DESI BOYZ PHOREN DREAMZ"

CNN IBN ran a 30-minute documentary on 21st Feb 2010 by this name (find the link here) and it did make engaging viewing.  I guess the 20 minute (30 minus adverts) doesnot allow sufficient time to the correspondent to do justice as it merely touches upon various leads that have led to this huge urge on the part of DESI BOYZ to take one way tickets out of India.

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Till this program stated directly, I did not know that the killed Ranjodh Singh had gone to Australia through “Contract Wedding” with a girl older than him (a NO NO in Rural Punjab). The girl went to study at a polytechnic in Melbourne while he went to a farm miles away in the Griffith town as a labourer where a fellow Indian killed him.  The program also indicates that even after the death, the girl seems to be staying on in Melbourne and hence we can assume has abandoned the relationship further substantiating the summarisation that it was a case of “Illegal migration using contract wedding”.
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Now the question all Indians need ask is as to why our Minister of State Maharani Preneet Kaur treated him as a martyr when he was clearly an illegal migrant who had been killed by Indians and had even been abandoned by his “so called legally wedded” wife. Why did she take the honour of receiving the body and then even be at the village for the last rites and placing a wreath on behalf of the Government of India. See the link that details this. It was here, in her constituency, that she had made a callous statement that gave an impression that a second advisory had been issued by India asking students not to go to Australia. (I have already detailed the faux pas in an earlier blog).
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“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind”
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The CNN IBN program also included two education advisors. Nothing negative about them and one of them is my friend, Naresh Gulati, certainly a hardworking entrepreneur. Naresh does well in detailing the marriage of shonky education colleges with shonky agents with shonky students all working in tandem due to bad government policies. He is right. However, I guess, absolutely no one can escape the blame. Wittingly or unwittingly, the PHOREN DREAMZ of the DESI BOYZ requires all participants to shake hands at least in the land of five rivers.
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The office of the other agent displays on the door a feature of the agency being MONEYGRAM. Moneygram is like Western Union Money Transfer and is used by students working as Taxi Drivers or other such jobs to send money back to India. This is one aspect that has not been unravelled till now. My guesstimate is that of the Vocational students, there is less $$$ travelling out of India as it is coming back in… A simple mathematics would indicate that about 50% of all students from India in Australia are undertaking vocational courses at small time colleges that charge hardly any fees. These students are working as Taxi Drivers or in Night Time shifts and hence are raising money far in excess to what they are spending. Very Often. If a proper study is done, I am sure all the experts will have to end up lowering the estimate that Australia earns $15 Billion from International students.
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Nilanjana Basu, the correspondent who had won the Ramnath Goenka Award for her Journalism in 1996, should be complimented in including some balanced view points including that of Arpita Dutta, a student who was counselled by me in Kolkata a few years ago and who studied at the University of Queensland. Arpita and another featured couple from New Jersey bring about the fact that the jury is still out on the “racial” factor in the attacks.
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However, for the program to get a 5* rating, the following had to be indicated by the correspondent:
  1. Almost all the students that were interviewed or referred to belonged to Private Colleges and Vocational level doing courses such as hairdressing or cookery. Not to the Universities at all.
  2. There was reference to visas to Australia being easy and that being the reason for the students choosing Australia. The reality is that PR was easy for “such” students and often those commenting mixed the two types of visas. The correspondent should have indicated that the visas have now been tightened to such a level that it is not going to be easy for these students to enter Australia. Since September last year, the students to such courses are interviewed and often refused entry. Yes, you can check.
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Now my main grouse is with the title of the program. While the intentions are right it should have been called PUNJABI BOYZ PHOREN DREAMZ instead of DESI BOYZ because there are many across our DES who have other reasons for the PHOREN DREAMZ. Even in Punjab and most definitely in Chandigarh, there will be students who have totally different reasons to those identified. It is a tad unfair to feature Punjab and call it India even though Punjab is my favourite state for many reasons that I may keep to myself.

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Indian students have been going to PHOREN lands for decades and study “real” degrees and then seek legal avenues to work and migrate or return back to build India. There is nothing wrong with this.  Almost all leading politicians, industrialists, bureaucrats and even journalists have studied in PHOREN lands and have had reasons very different to what has been shown in the video. In today’s globalised world, education in other cultures is the only way forward.  This needs to be addressed and appreciated by all.
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I mentioned “almost all Politicians” believing in overseas education since there was one Prime Minister who did not believe in “overseas education” for Indians.  My friend, Mr Paul Chellakumar, who  apart from being one of the more experienced student counsellors is also the President of AAAOE (Association of Accredited Advisors on Overseas Education)(www.aaaoe.org) and is currently quite active in putting some sense in the UK system, in one of his publication printed the following letter that he had received from Mr Morarji Desai in 1986. The late prime minister is quite clear in his few words…

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I have a different take on his belief that Indian students should not go overseas for studies.

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He had assumed power in 1977, post “emergency” from Mrs Indira Gandhi who had been educated overseas. Her father and India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru, had also had the same privilege. Interestingly both had even undertaken their schooling overseas. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had chosen to educate her sons at THE DOON SCHOOL before sending Rajiv Gandhi overseas. This is when Rajiv Gandhi met Sonia Gandhi. (Interestingly, the grandson, Rahul Gandhi too followed his father by going to Doon and then too studied overseas. Rajiv did go on to become a dynamic PM and I am waiting for Rahul now.)
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Morarji Desai’s Prime Ministership was short and he was replaced by Chowdhury Charan Singh who had also chosen to educate his son and the current Harit Leader Ch Ajit Singh overseas (Ajit Singh’s son too studied overseas.)
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Hence, in such a circumstance and seven years after his (brief) tenure as India’s first non-Congress Prime Minister, the comments made in 1986 at the age of 90, does sounds quite banal and like a “particular therapy” that Morarjibhai prescribed, completely impractical.
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“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind”

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Indian POLITICS in this too. My other blog of this day already details the OZ side of POLITICS over the DESI students.

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DESI BOYZ and GIRLZ will continue to nurture PHOREN DREAMZ for varied reasons that needn’t necessarily be SURREPTITIOUS. It is not just to USA, UK, Australia or Canada but also to New Zealand and more recently even to Singapore and Dubai.

8 Comments

  1. All of us attempt to THINK GLOBAL,ACT LOCAL. I too am western educated (LSE & US universities) and acquired skills & know-how (cutting edge expertise) and thereafter am able to provide world class service to my clients. I am a Desi who had Foreign dreams who after having experienced global thought process learnt how to effectively contribute to local.

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    1. Exactly the kind of Phoren Dreams that I am talking of. What we saw in the program doesnot apply to all over the country and there are other aspects to the desire to go overseas than just crossing the border.

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  2. Ravi Ji,
    Also tell me where a student from a lower midle class family (Family earning Rs. 10,000-20,000 per month) with 50% academic grades go to study???
    Kya inhe Phoren Dreamz dekhne ka haq nahi hai kya???
    Should these VET colleges lease an island for Aam Aadmi??
    Hahaha .

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    1. Venu, though with humour, you raise a very valid point. There is a lot that we have to all do. Not just those with 50% academic grades but even those with 85% are not able to get into top colleges in India for the undergrad degrees and they look at foreign pastures. These are also Desi Boyz with Phoren Dreamz.

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  3. Reminds me of the old saying “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy”. It’s a pity that our senior politicians are also on to it

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    1. Also either some of them have wrong advisors or choose to have wrong advisors by design. Anyway Nishi, Australia badly needs a sound and mature “Indian Community Leader”. Several contenders but our Indians are interesting taking the regionalism, castism and religion even there and pulling each other down.

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  4. WELL, this is the right time to remember the old quote A little knowledge/learning is a dangerous thing otherwise, a person holding the top most position of our country would not have commented that foreign education is not useful. You have correctly given enough example of the learned people who have traveled abroad to seek foreign education and without any doubt they all have excelled/marveled in their respective fields. Angoor khatey hai !! Also with Holi coming soon I was wondering if one can make Morarji Cola by adding dark colour to the WATER OF LIFE !!

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    1. Interestingly almost all the “sensible” politicians and leaders hold “overseas training”. May it be Comrade Jyoti Basu or PM Manmohan Singh… It is so so important. Even those who never went overseas to study chose it for their kids such as what Dhirubhai chose for Mukesh and Anil Ambani. One of the reasons why Omar Abdullah is my favorite CM is that he is so articulate and matches Rahul Gandhi in approach. How different to Raj and Uddhav Thakarey.

      Will not comment on Morarji Cola in respect for the man who was our PM. He was also instrumental for kicking out Coke and IBM and replacing it with Double Seven and a computer-less world… Now both these facts are history and forgotten. We are now the playing field for the FMCG companies and MNCs and known as the IT brain for the world. IBM, Microsoft, Google… are all back and back in a big way.

      Study Overseas is the new mantra to add value and add exposure and also to globalise.

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