America

iMahal Interview Series: Rahul Roy
August 22, 2002

iMahal: What would you say to an IIT student whose sole purpose in coming to America is to get rich fast? And what do you have to say about the issue of the brain drain from India?

..There is nothing wrong with having some desire for material success..

Roy: I’d tell them, sure, come to America. There is nothing wrong with having some desire for material success. We welcome the ‘quick buck’ people. The US should bring in educated immigrants. Ideally they would be good citizens. The US should also, of course bring in political refugees, too. But the arrival of immigrants who are criminals is not a good thing in my opinion.

As far as the brain drain is concerned, there is no such thing. India has enough brains. And at this time India still does not have enough opportunities for the brains it has. Why are so many Indians who are outside of India so successful? Because that is where the opportunities are for talented people. The wealth of the NRI population is huge. When Atal Behari Bajpayee, Prime Minister of India, asked the NRI community for cash to help with the national foreign exchange reserves, it took only 2 weeks for $6 billion to make its way to India. Half of that came from people in the Middle East.

Oddly enough, now many Indian Americans see India as the next big opportunity for business. Some of the American-trained Indian brains are returning to India to make their fortunes there! India may soon have a Renaissance; it’s possible. It has been postponed so long because of poor economic conditions and Marxist elements in the government.

iMahal: When advising these students in India, how would you describe the most obvious advantages and the most obvious disadvantages of the culture here?

..the business environment is much more professional..

Roy: The advantages: I would say that here the business environment is much more professional. There is more economic value to business here. And they will be extremely well educated in that they will have experienced the best of India and the best of America. One thing they don’t expect is that here in the US they will find more temples than they had near them in India. Also they find every ethnicity living side by side in relative peace.

The disadvantages: One thing I don’t like is the lack of employer loyalty. They always have a smiling face, even when they are giving you your final paycheck and showing you the door. And then there are all the attorneys; it’s a curse: they protect us but they also get us.