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Connect to your villages, Kalam tells NRIs

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January 09, 2006 20:52 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Monday called upon overseas Indians to provide leadership for transforming India's villages with their experiences and knowledge.

"India has got 600,000 villages. You can certainly help the leadership transform these cluster of villages around your village with your experience and knowledge connectivity," the President told the gathering of NRIs and PIOs, at the end of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad.

Complete Coverage: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

The President said overseas Indians had been successful thanks to their foundation in education and the heritage their home country has provided them besides the opportunities that the country has given them.

"Seventy per cent of Indians live in villages. It is important not only for NRIs to repay the debt to their motherland, but also for everyone living here," Kalam said.

The President said the people of Indian origin worldwide represent four waves of migration in the past.

First, it was the Indians who went forth in search of knowledge and opportunity as travelers, teachers and traders. Indians went to China and around Indo-China.

The second wave was one of enforced migration of indentured labour, a legacy of colonialism. Indians were taken to Africa, West Indies and England.

The third wave was a product of partition.

The fourth wave and the most recent wave, the President said, has been that of Indians empowered with skill and knowledge seeking various types of opportunities and challenges.

"The destination of Indians these days is the US, Canada, English speaking European countries and West Asia. Will there be a fifth wave?" Kalam asked.

Yes, he asserted.

In the fifth wave, Indians may participate in the planetary civilization that may result many resourceful Indians inhabiting Mars and entering the space industrial establishment on Moon.

He said January 9 marked the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India, 91 years ago.

"When Gandhiji returned, he traveled from one colony to another; the sun would never set at that time. Today, the sun can never set on the empire of Indian mind. Some children of mother India are always working wherever the sun is shining on this planet," the President said.

He observed that overseas Indians living in foreign societies would have realized that each of them is a member of the extended human family. "India seeks your knowledge, experience and the art of success you have learnt through your struggle abroad," he added.

George Iype in Hyderabad