Going Abroad Vs. Staying in India!

In the seventies and eighties, going abroad was a very attractive option for IITians. The reasons were evident-it was very easy to get aid; there were good prospects for employment and, most importantly, there was job satisfaction. Indian industry was conservative, salaries were low and jobs were few. What has happened in the nineties? The US has been hit by recession. People who finish their M.S. face unemployment and are forced to choose between a programmer’s job and doing a Ph.D, a five-year commitment at the end of which you can’t even be sure of a teaching job (A typical Ad. for Asst. Professor’s job attracts 350 applicants from Ph.D. holders).

So ask yourselves: ‘ What do you want to be in life?… Five years hence…, Ten years hence,…. and in your mid-forties… If you have romantic ideas of becoming a researcher, I have this to point out, In thirty years of ‘manpower export’ to the US, I am yet to hear of a single IITian stud in any field of engineering. WHY? Every IITian who goes to the US discovers, sooner or later ,that one cannot progress in an organisation beyond a stage without an MBA . One discovers that there is more money in Wall Street than in Silicon Valley.

And so, the tragic ending to the story is that many a brilliant brain has been lost to lure of the lucre. If money is what ultimately matters you can get it by going to the IIMs (multinationals pay salaries in lakhs) or to software jobs (dumb thing to do but, at least, you make a lot of money and escape gheraos and sweat and toil in the factories for a pittance of a salary). Exceptions exist for a few branches of specialization. Consult your friends in the US for more information on these. For a majority of specializations, what has been said is the bitter truth.

Finally the question that comes to the mind is-‘ Who should go abroad?’ If you are seriously committed to hi-funda research then, depending on your field, you may still have opportunities. A warning: Do not fall for these fields, which, dole out aids by the dozen. It is quite possible that you are being lured because the Native American is too smart to step into a potential career doom.

Another question that needs to be answered is: ‘What has changed in India?’ Economic liberalization, competitive business, growing awareness of the need to be competitive at a global level, growing importance of manufacturing management (many consulting firms are picking up Engineer-MBA’s for such jobs) and higher salaries for jobs are just a few facets in which India is changing. A typical 21-year-old IITian simply cannot visualise life in the mid-forties. I hear that people want to return to India, particularly if they have teenaged daughters – that is when the difference in culture and values hits you. You will not understand unless you actually talk to people in this age group.

So think…, think beyond the immediate goals of affluence, hi-tech life, spicy surroundings, instant telephone connections, multi channel televisions… think beyond affluent universities, hi-funda facilities, dream world libraries and hi-tech research. At 45, you cannot,or rather, should not feel empty even after you get all this. Nobody tells you that there is a glass ceiling beyond which you cannot rise in your profession. Nobody tells you that the choice is often between second-class citizenship, first class standard of living in the USA and first class citizenship, second-class standard of living in India. Nobody tells you that it feels awfully lonely out there or that many of them feel within months of reaching here that the massive investment of time and money on ‘apping’ was perhaps not worth it.

Do you now that much of teaching in the US universities is done by graduate teaching assistants and by Ph.D. students and not by the Profs.? Do you know that a few research supervisors may even stoop to the extent of publishing your research work in their name with your name deleted? Remember, you need a certain level of maturity to think of your priorities-not in today’s context but in the context of two decades hence.

Remember your mom and dad are desperate to send you abroad because they belong to a society which thinks that anything from the land of the white man must be superior. Remember you do not have to go abroad simply because your friends did so, your cousins did so or because your parents want you to do so.

Go, if the dirt and squalor of India repels you, Go, if you want to do nothing about it, Go, if the corruption and politics make you puke, And if you do not want to become another T.N.Seshan Go, if you think your future is doomed because of the reservation policy in the country, turning a blind eye to the fact that no upper middle class kid is doing menial labour.

TAIL PIECE: Go to the US if you are despo. Xerox this article, seal it in a cover and take it with you. Open it on Jan 1st 2015 and send us your feedback.



10 Responses to “Going Abroad Vs. Staying in India!”

  1. balaji Says:

    Wow…great article. i have met many Indians ( normal non-IITians) in the US, who crave to see India. Much more than they craved to be the US, before they left India.
    In my experience nothing in life comes in nice packages, there is always something to complain. Its always a compromise…

  2. Sriram Venkataraman Says:

    Really nice blog..

  3. Vipul Mehta Says:

    Nice blog but i think u i think u got too emotional!

  4. Praveen Narayanan Says:

    This is a ridiculous article and I see it as totally inaccurate.

    Firstly, you use sophomoric IITian jargon which is to be wholly avoided by every IITian and anyone who speaks English.

    Secondly, your claim that there aren’t any ‘studs’ in the academia is inaccurate. IITians rule the academia. Also, although teaching is indeed a part of the system, the article goes too far in that respect, and I don’t see it as making any point in the end. The case of professors stooping to publish your papers is a general case of human psychology and might happen anywhere.

    Thirdly, I don’t believe that you are a second class citizen in the US. If one is smart, one may do well everywhere, and it is always respected. It has been a belief of mine that most people are stupid and the alienation resulting thereof is just reactionary, part of the lower animal cunning that every stupid guy pocesses.

    Although it is not difficult to empathize with your views here as a failed intellectual (indeed, that is the most dreadful nightmare for every smart person, including myself), you need not make a big deal of it-it is offensive to people who still have hope in life. Just take your failures to the grave and stop bad-mouthing everything around you! You choose satan and feel guilty later.

  5. Pintoo Says:

    Upto the 90’s it was a no-brainer for any college graduate with decent grades to try to go to the U.S. Not, not so much. Jobs in U.S. are not as plentiful as they used to be, and there are really good opportunities in India if you can put of with all the overpopulation, reservations, etc. Most of these issues do not affect you all that much if you are in a good job in a private company.

  6. Pravesh Kothari Says:

    Well…from the specific point of view of university research the opportunities are way greater in the US than in India. The kind of remuneration they offer is much better than the best here and the environment is much more conducive for research.

    The second rated citizen thing sounds too stretched.An able person is always respected.Those who don’t understand this thing are probably the ones who you wouldn’t care about.

    Thirdly, India is a hell right now in terms of its degrading socialistic policies and petty vote-bank politics.These issues are definitely not the ones that are too far away from you. Even in the education of one’s children the question is grave as the standards that the highest educational institutions in India offer are currently shaking.

  7. mridu Says:

    i do not know about engineering but as a doctor this question always haunts me… should i go abroad or stay in india.

    staying in a familiar place with parents and relatives around, doing the same kind of job , earning a decent income is a secure option i guess.

    going away from ones home n parents for a little more income ( however huge it is) and finally beginning to like the luxuries offered by the other country( in all aspects) n ending up complaining and foulmouthing about everything in our own country is too immature n uncultured i feel..

  8. abhishek Says:

    vry gud blog…….its gr8…..

  9. Ritzs Says:

    Life is more than enjoying luxuries offered by developed countries. Happiness is being together with your own people. Staying with wife and kids abroad may look ok now but hurts big time in future. Probably at a point in time when you can’t even turn back to Home mostly by then you would have lost most of your own people back Home.

  10. raghav Says:

    The article was nice until the TAIL PIECE. Why abuse someone who wishes to be in a better place?

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