A real-life Swades movement is on.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A decade-old Shahrukh Khan movie is now inspiring a BJP leader to mount a campaign convincing Indian students in America to go back home.
Prodyut Bora, an Assamese BJP leader who is currently completing a fellowship at Yale University, has started the Swades movement, named after the 2004 Shahrukh Khan film in which Khan’s NRI character visits India and ends up staying there permanently because of the kinship he feels towards his homeland. Bora is talking to Indian students via cultural groups and even Skype to try and motivate them to go back home after completing their studies, rather than stay in the US.
As Bora sees it, how can India completely rise out of Third World squalor and into the 21st century if its smartest and most promising young people flee its borders for greener pastures abroad?
“Today some of our finest young minds come to foreign educational institutions to study and do research,” said Bora to the Press Trust of India. “Unless they go back and contribute to the country’s development, how can we aspire to global leadership?”
The idea is therefore to create completely student-run organizations at various universities around the country, each part of a larger Swades movement network, which would advocate going back to India once studies abroad have been completed.
Bora has already teamed up with University of Michigan Ph.D. student Priyamvada Trivedi and Yale University undergraduate student Suyash Bhagwat to help him with the endeavor. All three believe that the Swades movement will be critical to ensuring that India remains competitive as a global power in the coming years.
Born in Jorhat, Assam in 1974, Bora holds degrees from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad and the London School of Economics, where he attended as a Chevening Gurukul Scholar. He is currently at Yale as a Yale World Fellow. He joined politics in 2004, and has been affiliated with the Bharatiya Janata Party ever since.
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