Indian Diaspora: History, Complications, Role of Indian Diaspora

By Ritesh|Updated : November 24th, 2022

Indian diaspora is globally spread and is one of the largest countries of international migrants. Diaspora is a word that means people living in a different country leaving their original country. According to the UN (UNDESA) Report on International Migration 2020 Highlights, approximately 18 million Indian Diaspora reside outside India and are the largest in the world.

Know more about all related topics, such as the history of the Indian diaspora, its importance, and the role of the Indian diaspora in new India.

Table of Content

What is the Indian Diaspora?

Indian diaspora means the large heterogeneous group of people who have their roots in India but have migrated to other countries for some purposes. People of the Indian diaspora represent a wide spectrum of economic and social classes who speak various languages and adhere to various cultural practices. These people can be divided according to the year of their migrations.

  • Currently, the Indian Diaspora is about 20 million, which shows the multiplicity of the origin, culture, and religious ethics in the world.
  • The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs was established by the Indian Government that has successfully brought its estimated 25 million-strong overseas Indian community to the public's attention.

This has also assisted us in appropriate and calibrated institutional responses for increasing migration management capacity using bilateral and multilateral engagements.

Download Short Notes on Indian Diaspora

History of Indian diaspora

Indian diaspora has a vast history of itself. It has begun when during the time of the Indus valley civilization. It was used to refer to people who had to leave away from their homes. Indian gas refers to the group of various people belonging to Indian origin staying outside India.

Looking back at times, you may find Indians were posted to work and migrated to other countries. It was mainly during the British Raj that the Indians were forced to work in their colonies in other countries. Looking back more, we can find people travelling to different countries for trade and work. During Ashoka's period or Indus Valley, Harappa and Mesopotamia Civilization, or the Mughal Empire, the Indians had to go to different nations and trade; some Indian people were taken as slaves and sold as slaves in the market.

  • According to the Global migration report, most people of different origins living in different countries are mostly from India.
  • In early 1950, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru stated that India would not interfere and fight for any people of Indian origin living abroad.
  • However, later during the 1980s, Rajiv Gandhi added that though India will never interfere and remain dormant in matters regarding the Indian diaspora, every person of Indian origin was welcome to return to India if they wanted to.

Complications in Indian Diaspora

In today's time, if we look up the data chart, it goes up to 17.6 billion people migrated from here; it is not easy to say that it's not complicated to handle. I mean, these many people have been migrating to different countries, so the complications are normal to intervene.

  • Indian people mostly migrate in search of employment; the highest rate in which country they choose is UAE, Saudi Arab or Kuwait, etc. Only mostly those places where the money rate is high. So they can send money back home for their financial situation.
  • Here are some points to notice: sometimes the good can be used negatively, like if we take, eg. When the Kissan Andolan was in India, people outside the country had enormously supported the farmers. They have sent financial, nutritious, or any other type of help. So sometimes, these things turn into negative campaigning.
  • When a situation occurs in a different country where Indian migrants are living, it is the whole responsibility of the government of our country for their safety, eg. Recently when the war began in Ukraine, the Indian students were stuck there.
  • It massively affects the marketing sector of India too cause of the war and insecurity towards our people; two countries develop the trait of disbelief, and these issues create these barriers which affect the overall marketing and trading sector with them.

Role of Indian Diaspora In Building a New India

Indian diaspora plays an integral part in development. They live in a different country, which means they are the source through which we can solidify our connection with that specific country.

1. Representation

Indian diaspora is the representation of our nation living in another particular country. People over there who don't know about our culture, 1ethics, etc. They perceive them and understand them about our culture and society. And impression does impact development in specific ways, for, eg. On that, they will seek information from the Indian person living there to guide them or tell them about the country. So in many ways, it helps with tourism which affects the overall economy.

2. Economic Condition

Indian migrants who earn in dollars, or other different currency which is higher from the Indian currency rate will want to invest in India cause the lands, transport or any investing object is cheaper than the other countries it helps in overall economic condition, help to get jobs, etc.

3. Remittance

Now, this is a really interesting topic to know about. Remittance means the money Indian migrants earn in other countries is coming back to India for better understanding. For example, suppose a person goes to the UK and has a job to support his family in India financially; he will send money to their family. And this is how the money will come to our country cause, after all, it helps a family with their food, medicine, transport, etc., and other comforting stuff. This develops our country in poverty rate by decreasing it etc.

4. Technology Transfer

The main reason for the migration of a population from one country to the other is the latter being the developed one. India, although is constant on its way to becoming a developed economy, still comes under the category of a developing nation. Technology, in the context of development, plays a very important role. Technology in the developed countries is higher in that country compared to ours, so people living there the country would definitely want to bring those advanced modernized technologies to their country.

5. Spread Indigenous Culture

India has always been known for its culture. How diverse yet how beautifully handled it is. It attracts people towards our country, which we should count on in our development might not seem that big help towards our development, but if the right position been used for this thing, it does work out. E.g., the CEO of Google is Indian, and Kamala Harris, an American politician, is also Indian these things attract people living there. They feel about learning and understanding more about the culture.

Role of Government in Engaging Indian Diaspora to Their Roots

Indian diaspora or migrants are a good helping hand in development. But it is tough for them to be connected with their roots and for the government also it is difficult to maintain the connection with them. For them, it is more about how to evolve with foreign nature and culture; with time, they forget about their cultural ethics. So, for this, we celebrate " Pravasi Bhartiya divas" it is the day we celebrate on the 9th of January.

  • It was the day when Mahatma Gandhi came back from South Africa. We celebrate it to engage all the migrants of India to engage again with their country and participate in its welfare. We celebrate this day once in two years. Many different types of activities have been put over there like Indian culture questionnaire, awards distribution, etc. Just so that they be engaged and connected to their origin in India.
  • Even from Mr Narendra Modi has become prime minister. He was travelling the world untiredly. Many might have criticized him for that. But what people don't understand is that when you try to contact Indian people overseas, it gives them a sense of diplomacy in a good that they met someone of their same culture. Mr PM continues these visits cause he already recognized these long-lost assets of ours.
  • But here is the thing you know it is never late to find your assets. To make as our favourable opportunity to engage with those people and encourage them to be a part of our development by sharing, spreading their views, and keeping connected to their roots.
  • In this previous year, 2021, we celebrated our 17th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas. As I mentioned above, it is the day we celebrate to engage our Indian diasporas. But this year's campaign was a little too special cause of what theme it was based on, " Atmanirbhar Bharat".
  • At this moment, they had honoured many selected overseas Indian diaspora who made us proud and recognized their name in specific fields by their work. And, honestly, these small gestures are really important to show affection towards them and how important they are to us.

Role of Indian Diaspora

As we discussed above, we count the Indian diaspora as our subtle assets, but why do we give them that importance, and from the past few years, why have we been trying to engage with them that much? It is cause we never before ever cared about them that much when they leave our country; we don't look at them as our people.

  • Indian diaspora plays the role of a corporate leader. They play this leadership has helped in many ways. It strengthens the people overseas to put their words and feeling. When they all came together, they made the whole situation change, e.g., in 1991, when LPG reformers happened, it changed people's perspective towards Indian people.
  • The Indian community is known for its fluidity and decent nature. This nature attracts people to India and its community. It leads people to invest in our country. And Indian diaspora had invested many times and still invests in many different projects led by India.

Indian Diaspora UPSC

Indian Diaspora topic is an important topic constituting the UPSC syllabus. The topic is described and explained in a detailed manner in UPSC books. The UPSC aspirants practising to appear for the upcoming UPSC Exam must have comprehensive and detailed knowledge about this topic and its related current affairs.

Download Indian Diaspora UPSC Notes PDF

Indian Diaspora UPSC Sample Question

Aspirants can also download the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to practice UPSC Answer writing.

Question - Indian Diaspora is an asset to India. Justify. (250 words)

Answer - Indian Diaspora is quite influential in different parts of the world. For instance, 285 migrants or people of Indian origin are leading various sectors across the globe, such as government, senators, members of parliament, etc.

Furthermore, the Indian Diaspora is spread worldwide; most countries have an Indian Diaspora residing there.

Indeed, the Indian Diaspora has become India's asset in the past few years.

  • Indian diaspora plays the role of a corporate leader. They play this leadership has helped in many ways. It strengthens the people overseas to put their words and feeling. When they all came together, they made the whole situation change, e.g., in 1991, when LPG reformers happened, it changed people's perspective towards Indian people.
  • The Indian community is known for its fluidity and decent nature. This nature attracts people to India and its community. It leads people to invest in our country. And Indian diaspora had invested many times and still invests in many different projects led by India.
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Mauryan AdministrationInternational Court of Justice
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Comptroller and Auditor General of IndiaJudicial Review


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FAQs on Indian Diaspora

  • Indian diaspora is the people who live outside of the country for any particular purpose like education, finance, international, etc., but their roots are Indian. Indian diaspora holds great importance to India as it helps in the economic state, decreases poverty, intellectual and technology sites, and in many other ways.

  • Indian diaspora is in itself complicated yet strength full. People here had already created a great perspective of others toward India. They contribute to India in many ways remittance, lobbying for India and creating a good image, etc.

  • Over 18 to 20 million people in India live in different countries outside India. It in itself is a huge thing cause an immense number of people living outside of the country does affect that particular country in many ways through their culture, ethics, vulnerability, etc.

  • In the time of the British ruler, they used to trade Indian people From our country to where they needed to send cheap labourers. That this was done forcefully to people, they used to send them to different countries where labour was needed for construction, plantation or factories, etc. They realize it is a better choice cause they are getting employment and wages too, which were higher than the Indian currency then.

  • Indian diaspora of over 18 million are in different countries, but the countries with the highest Indian diaspora in UAE are the USA and Saudi Arabia. These are the countries people more often choose the cause of their higher money currency, which is higher than the Indian currency.

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