I salute the overall educational achievements of Indian diaspora and their professional and financial successes. And I take the opportunity to commend Dr. Kumar Mahabir for focusing on early Indian intellectuals at his 100th Indo-Caribbean Community zoom edition last Sunday with VS Naipual among those featured.
There is an estimated 30 million ethnic Indians in the diaspora (outside of India), about half of who are descendants of indentured laborers (grimits) spread across all continents. The diaspora, especially those in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, is perhaps the most economically successful of all immigrant groups or diasporas.
Overseas based ethnic Indians are more likely to be enrolled in higher education and to be involved in gainful employment. They tend to dominate businesses, engineering, IT, medicine, and sciences. Some also head companies or are in management of major companies, and in academia at universities especially in the sciences, medical fields, and engineering and some are financiers or entrepreneurs. In spite of their dominance in several fields, only a handful of Indians in the diaspora have been recognized (won prestigious international honors) for their achievements and works such as by Nobel Committee in Norway. The most well-known recipient of the Nobel Prize was V.S Naipaul, Trinidadian born. He was also honored by the government of India with the Pravasi Samman Award in 2003 for his literary achievements and his writings on India. Naipaul has remained the only person of indentured or girmit origin to be honored by the Nobel Committee. He was honored for his contribution to Literature. He was perhaps the best writer in the English language. He was admired globally.
We ought to be proud of and salute the achievements of this descendant of girmits – especially being a recipient of the Nobel Prize. He remains the only one to be so honored.
By Vishnu Bisram