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The Global Indian

KOCHI, INDIA – No other country has anything like it – an annual jamboree of its diaspora, conducted with great fanfare by its government. India has been doing it, with great success, for a decade, timed to recall the return to India of the most famous Indian expatriate of them all, Mahatma Gandhi, who alighted from his South African ship in Bombay on January 9, 1915. As I write, the southern port city of Kochi is overflowing with expatriate Indians celebrating their connection to their motherland.

India is the only country that has an official acronym for its expatriates — NRIs, or “Non-Resident Indians.” In my book India: From Midnight to the Millennium, I suggested, only half-jokingly, that the question is whether NRI should stand for “Not Really Indian” or “Never Relinquished India.”