The government of India has dedicated the 9th of January to celebrate the overseas compatriots. The story goes back to the BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) Government that was defeated in 2004 general elections. When in power, the BJP Government approached the Indians abroad, using the word NRIS (non-resident Indians) to seek their help to save India from bankruptcy.
They played on their nationalistic sentiments to motivate them to play a major role in the economic landscape of India. The BJP Government and other Hindu nationalist parties were already collecting funds from the nationalists abroad for political activities, including their elections.
Encouraged by the initial results, the Government of BJP set up a Committee in September 2000 under Dr. L.M. Singhvi, an M.P., to woo all twenty-two million of its overseas Indians. The Committee asked NRIS to suggest ways to develop their meaningful relations with India. The real motive was to find out ways to attract their money. The 9th of January was set aside to observe Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (India Day for the overseas Indians) every year. That is the day when Gandhi returned to India from Africa to lead India?s freedom movement. The word NRIS was gradually replaced with Diaspora.
Every year, mostly business and other rich people of Indian origin, attend this day to shake hands with the ministers and other high profile Government officials. On this day, some overseas Indians, who have the means to buy tickets, are invited to lecture and dine with ministers. Several minor groups with affiliations with the same committee that makes arrangements to celebrate this day, connected directly or indirectly with the Government of India, have sprung up and also hold gatherings to recognize overseas Indians with pieces of paper, called awards, for which invitees pay handsome amounts. What connection these organizations have with the government and where those monies go is a mystery. As far as writers and artists are concerned, they are usually ignored, because from the point of investment and purchase of those awards they are unusable cars and old cows.