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Calcutta Diary

In a large number of middle class homes, the children have departed for foreign shores, a fair majority to the United States. Their parents had devoted the best years of their lives and the bulk of their resources to turn the children into finished products. The children are, really and truly, the intellectual property of the parents and the country. But for this intellectual property neither the United States nor the west European countries are prepared to pay the proper price to the parents and the nation.

The phenomenon is widespread in the metropolitan cities, and not just in the metropolitan cities; the contamination has affected the small towns too in most states. In a large number of middle class homes, the children have gone away. They have departed for foreign shores, a fair majority to the United States. These boys and girls were outstandingly meritorious students, and have earned a piping first class either from one of the Indian Institutes of Technology or one of the Indian Institutes of Management. Perhaps some of them have top degrees in physics and chemistry. It is even possible to come across young people who, after graduating from an Institute of Technology, have undergone a course at one of the accredited Management Institutes so as to further strengthen their academic credentials. They are excellent professional material for transnational companies and such like. A market for their talent exists particularly in the United States, and also in west Europe and Japan. No sooner than they offer themselves to a foreign firm, they are snapped up. It often happens that, even before they receive their degrees, they engage in correspondence with foreign companies who wait anxiously for them to complete their course and then fly away to their assignments in Europe or America.

The allure is easily understandable. A corporate unit in the United States will perhaps offer a salary 10, 15 or 20 times higher than what the young boys and girls could hope to obtain in the Indian market. There is, in addition, a large array of perquisites. The young flock therefore go away. A generation or two ago, young people would grow up in a milieu where ideology and patriotic emotions weighed a great deal. These attributes are now safely dead. The youngsters fly away and enjoy high living in the United States or elsewhere.

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