The idea of PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIWAS and Dual Citizenship for the People of Indian Origin was first mooted by the B.J.P. government, led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpaee. It was subsequently implemented by the UPA government, led by Dr. Manmohan Singh of the Congress. When the idea was first mooted, Non-Resident Indians ( NRI ) and People of Indian Origin ( PIO ), were ecstatic . At least there was one opportunity to get connected to your homeland. There was one golden chance to belong to the land of your forefathers. NRIs and PIOs started eagerly waiting for the coveted status of Overseas Citizenship of India ( OCI ) . It was decided by the B.J.P. government that the owners of OCI card will get life-long visa to visit India and can stay in India as long as they wish. They don’t need to report to police on arrival. Though PIOs wanted voting rights, right to contest elections and right to buy agricultural lands also but it was not agreed upon.
After B.J.P. government lost election, it was feared that the UPA government, led by the Congress, will not be agreeable to the scheme. Luckily UPA didn’t put the scheme on the back-burner and went for it. The enthusiasm of the PIOs should be gauged by the fact that within four years of its inception, more than 5 lakhs PIOs have got the coveted Overseas Citizenship of India. By the end of March 2010 , the government issued 5,73,324 dual citizenships in 91 countries. Among the Dual Citizenship holders nearly half are Americans. They are closely followed by Britishers, Canadians and Australians. There is a strong presence of registered PIOs in France, Germany, Switzerland and Kenya also. It is surprising to find PIOs in countries like China, Venezuela,Finland, Israel and Mexico.
Now comes the case of celebrated writer, winner of Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul. Born on August 17, 1932 in Trinidad, he is one of the most famous Indian of our times. His maternal father used to live in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh. He got Nobel Prize in the centenary year of the award. His 1957 novel ” The Mystic Masseur ” was made into a film in 2001. He also won Booker Prize in 1971. But all these credentials are of no significance to the mandarins of Indian Embassy of U.K. They refused OCI card to Naipaul due to lack of documentation. They sought documents to prove that the Nobel laureate’s ancestors lived in Gorakhpur , Uttar Pradesh. Being one of the most famous Indian in the world didn’t help Sir Naipaul. Instead of feeling pride that the Nobel laureate wants a PIO card, the government cast doubts on Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul’s Indian origin.
Incidentally my forefathers also hailed from Gorakhpur. My present district Deoria was carved out of the Gorakhpur district. I am honoured and feel proud that I, at least, share something with Sir V. S. Naipaul. But embassy mandarins of the Indian embassy of U.K. don’t feel so.I am so ashamed and shocked that I cannot express my feelings. It shows the values of UPA government led by 125 years old Indian National Congress.
Shame !! shame !!
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