As far as revolutionary movements go, the Ghadar was one of a kind. It inspired a generation of Indian immigrants in the USA, Canada and the U.K. to come together to overthrow the British regime in India. The numbers for the movement were made up by immigrant Indian farmers, essentially from Punjab who had begun to settle in the west in the early 20th century, amid, of course, a great deal of hostility and furore. The leadership, though, was mostly in the hands of Indian students who had migrated to study at top American universities. The fire of youth fuelled the desire of freedom and liberty, and Ghadar was born.
The movement may have been eventually crushed brutally by the British establishment, many of its leaders were hanged, some sent inside prisons for life. Yet its romance with patriotism has become abiding and part of folklore. In 2013, the year of the Ghadar Centennial, India, and indeed the Indian Diaspora, has plans to celebrate and remember the lives and times of the Ghadar-ites. At the forefront of this Centennial celebration will be the GOPIO, and we at India Empire have decided to do a series of Ghadar-related articles in forthcoming editions.
Another area which has acquired considerable significance for the Diaspora concerns Social Security Systems. India is a major source of migrant professionals due to its vast reservoir of technically qualified manpower in sectors like IT, engineering, health, finance and management. Indian workers sent on deputation by their Indian employers are subjected to double contribution insofar as social security is concerned. They have to continue to make social security contribution in India as per Indian law and are also compelled to pay contribution under the host countries’ legislations as well. In case of relocation to India, the workers do not get any benefit from the social security contribution made abroad, because the host country legislation would not allow export of social security benefit. In such circumstances, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has come up with a series of social security agreements with different countries to alleviate matters for overseas Indian workers. We take a look at this.
We have a series of interviews with relevant Diaspora people and those who are handling Diaspora affairs. And there’s a feature woven around a book launch by thespian Tom Alter, an American who made India his home—it may be fair to describe him as a member of the American Diaspora in India.
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