Message from Gaddam Dharmendra, Consul General of India, on the occasion of the 63rd Republic Day of India
印度駐香港及澳門總領事 Gaddam Dharmendra 獻辭
On the occasion of the 63rd Republic Day of India, it gives me great pleasure in extending warm greetings to the people of the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China and to members of the Indian community.
We live in an era of unprecedented globalization whose characteristic feature has been the global movement of labor. There is no better illustration of this development than Hong Kong, “Asia’s world city”, which plays host to people from all over the world.
Indians make up one of the largest diasporas not only in Hong Kong but across the world. Globally, the overseas Indian community is estimated at over 25 million. The Indian diaspora is the result of waves of migration spread over several centuries. At various points in history, this migration was driven by a variety of reasons – starting with mercantilism in the early part of the preceding millennium it was subsequently driven by colonialism and is now being driven by globalisation.
A remarkable feature of the Indian diaspora in almost every part of the world is the fact that Indians are recognized and respected for their hard work, their discipline, and the ease with which they integrate and contribute to the local community. Overseas Indians have made significant contributions to the economy and communities of the country of their residence and have played important roles in the fields of knowledge and innovation. They nevertheless continue to share a strong bond with their motherland. This is reflected in their language, cultures and traditions that they have been maintaining, often over several generations and, in fact, even over several centuries.
To commemorate the Overseas Indian community, the Government of India instituted the “Pravasi Bharatiaya Divas” (the day of the Overseas Indian) which is celebrated every year on the 9th of January. The date “9th of January” was deliberately chosen as this marks the occasion when India’s founding father, Mahatma Gandhi, returned to India from South Africa in 1915 and led India’s non-violent struggle for freedom, a journey that changed the lives of Indians. Gandhiji’s message of non-violence has inspired and continues to inspire freedom movements everywhere.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has become an important event because in this era of globalization and instant and constant connectivity, the bond between India and her children across the world has been renewed. It is a bond based on India’s pride in the achievements of people of Indian origin worldwide and their pride in India’s re-emergence as a cradle of tolerance, creativity, innovation, and enterprise.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas provides a platform for the overseas Indian community to engage with their motherland for mutually beneficial activities. During the event, individuals of exceptional merit are honoured with the prestigious “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award”, to appreciate their role in India’s growth.
It is a matter of great pride for all the Indians living in Hong Kong, that there are four Pravsai Bharatiya Samman awardees amongst them. Hong Kong has for long been home to a large Indian community, many of who arrived here more than 150 years ago. Indian traders and defence personnel were with the British when they raised the Union Jack in Hong Kong in 1841. The Indian community continues to pro-actively contribute to Hong Kong’s emergence as a hub of global finance and trade. Members of the Indian community helped establish well known institutions in Hong Kong, like the Hong Kong University, the Ruttonji Hospital and the Star Ferry. Equally well recognized is the philanthropy of the Indian community organisations in raising funds for charity in Hong Kong.
As we enter the year 2012, it gives me great pride to say that India’s message for the world is the message of pluralism, of tolerance, of the balance between individual rights and collective responsibilities. It is this message that every daughter and son of this great country symbolizes. Every overseas Indian – irrespective of their faith, language or belief – is a symbol of the great idea that India represents - of “unity in diversity”.
Best wishes in the year of the Dragon.
Consul General of India
Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR People's Republic of China