Indians returning to the motherland: Not as Easy as it Sounds?

1 Dec

I read a great article in the NY Times,  “For Indians Trained in the West, It Can Be Hard to Go Home” this weekend, about an issue that has been swirling in my mind for months.

NEW DELHI — When 7-year-old Shiva Ayyadurai left Mumbai with his family nearly 40 years ago, he promised himself he would return to India someday to help his country.  In June, Mr. Ayyadurai, now 45, moved from Boston to New Delhi hoping to make good on that promise.

As Mr. Ayyadurai sees it now, his Western business education met India’s notoriously inefficient, opaque government, and things went downhill from there. Within weeks, he and his boss were at loggerheads. Last month, his job offer was withdrawn. Mr. Ayyadurai has moved back to Boston.

This case is not unusual, as the article goes on to describe, citing several cases similar to Ayyadurai’s above. And the rebuttal by an Indian government official is unsuccesful in repairing the image, even slightly threatening.

No Indian women were profiled for the article, which I consider an egregious oversight.  I have heard from several Indian women about the sexism faced in the workplace though I don’t fully know how I would be affected.  I’ve only been in the workplace for a few months, in a half-female training class at that. 

However, the author also cites a study in which 34% of “repeats,”as they are referred to,  faced difficulty in the workplace upon returning to India.  Are the other 66% happy with their new surroundings? And I wonder if this issue is more prevalent in government/technology fields where the cultural differences are heightened, as opposed to non-profit organizations, where I hope to work.

An interesting issue from all sides. It was even on the most popular tab on the Times website this weekend – this phenomenon is gaining worldwide attention, always a good thing.

2 Responses to “Indians returning to the motherland: Not as Easy as it Sounds?”

  1. awakeindian December 9, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    I have worked at both places in India and West as well. Although it is subjective, but I didn’t notice sexism at workplaces. However my work experience is limited to Indian MNCs only. Regarding the ultimate question if moving to India easy enough for someone who lived in west for better part of their lives, I guess it is not. But thats not entirely to blame people to India only. I remember Danny Boyle (Acclaimed director of Oscar winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire) once said India is difficult if you look it from Westerner’s point of view. But if you change your attitude as an Indian as soon as you hit the airport boarding desk, you will love every bit of India.


  2. that brown girl December 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Thanks for the comment! I should clarify that I heard about sexism in Indian workplacs second hand and I have experienced what I consider sexism in American workplaces as well. I worry sometimes that my view of India is colored too much by my parent’s experiences and the India THEY grew up in, which is obviously different than the country today. Thanks again for your views!

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