Who is an NRI
The term NRI refers to Non Resident Indian or basically it means someone who is living or working outside of India. If you want to take a look from a legal perspective it refers to someone who hasn't stayed in India for 182 days in an year or for 365 days in four consecutive years. The term NRI is usually referred to when the tax status of a person is in question but we all usually associate it with our parents, siblings, relatives or friends who are working abroad and visit us occasionally.
People usually go outside of India for mainly good job opportunities or higher education. Out of those some may settle there permanently while others may come back after a while or in between for vacations or for other reasons. In our society NRIs are often viewed in high regard. They are often portrayed as the hard working people who sacrifice the comforts of their home country, near and dear ones and go to a foreign country to earn big and support their family back home.
Characteristics of a Typical NRI
He is Broadminded
NRIs have travelled the world and have met people from different countries during their stay in the country. This has led them to come in close contact with people who are from different cultures, traditions, caste, religion etc…As a result they become more broadminded in their views and opinions than the traditional Indians and this is often reflected in their activities and thoughts such as allowing their children to marry foreigners or practicing traditions of people from other countries.
He treats others with more respect
NRI's stay in foreign countries has taught them a lot about the life experiences of themselves and the people around them. They have seen and been through innumerable hardships. Because of this they become more understanding and are often sympathetic to the sad plight of others. This has enabled them to treat others with more respect than the usual Indian who often treats others on the basis of religion caste sex etc…in their own country.
He takes care of the family
One of the main reasons a person goes outside India is to get a job with good prospects which will enable him to save money and support his family back home. Usually in a family if there is an NRI he is the first person the family members look up to when there is a problem that needs to be solved or especially if it involves a lot of money. He is often seen as the go to person for things because he is valued for his experience and opinions which he had gained in the other country. It is also because of the fact that he takes care of the things that require attention often during his short visit back home.
He is expected to bring back gifts
An NRI is often pictured as a very rich man who brings back a lot of gifts and things for his family and friends each time during his visit home. Slowly it has become a tradition and a symbol of status in our country. He often has to struggle to find money to purchase all these things and there are even people who think it is an embarrassment to come home empty handed. Due to this they may be tempted to take loans, borrow money from friends or even postpone their visit to home in order to save up the required money to buy all these and satisfy others.
He is an expert in saving money
During his stay in a foreign country an NRI often has to struggle to earn a good amount of cash especially if it is his initial years in that country. As a result he often looks for ways and means to save as much money as possible. This trait has allowed him to become an expert in certain matters in which others have limited knowledge. Examples of this can be seen in booking low fare flight tickets, buying food or dress cheaply ,saving on unnecessary costs by exploiting the laws and policies of that country etc. People back home often have little or no idea about the great lengths to which an NRI goes to save money.
He is often expected to make a show of power with money
Due to the rich label status of an NRI he is expected to show the power of his money in various ways. He is often compelled by his family or friends to buy real estate, luxury items like high end cars or invest in businesses. Many parents often look for an NRI groom or bride for their children and that trend has not yet changed in India. Even during his short visit home he is hounded by representatives from the banks and various other financial organizations to part with his money in the form of deposits, investments or life insurance with heavy interests. An NRI is often expected to have a wad of cash ready at his disposal and he is not allowed to grumble at the expenses.
He is an expert on international matters
The long years spent in foreign countries has made an NRI aware about a lot of things that is happening in the world. Being in a new country naturally makes one curious about the laws, customs and cultures they practice there. He always gets a chance to meet and talk with nationals from other countries which shed a lot of light on various matters of world politics, geography, country policies and traditions. HE also gets the opportunity to visit many places, see a lot of strange new things and learn the stories and facts behind it. This makes him knowledgeable about many things that is happening in the world currently which he shares with his family and friends back home.
No matter what the benefits are, leaving one's own country and staying away from dear ones for long periods is definitely hard for anyone. All such NRIs deserve our respect for the sacrifices that they make and for the nostalgia and loneliness that they compete with daily. But just like the old proverb says, you can't achieve anything worthwhile if you don't take the pain for it.
I started reading the article with interest, however after completing the article I find that it is a generalisation of the NRIs. We must understand that India has almost one crore of NRIs . Their attitude towards life, mentality, personality, everything would be different. Sweeping generalisation would not be correct. My comments in respect of the points mentioned by the author are as under:-
1. "He is Broadminded''-Many NRIs living in middle-east, Hongkong, Singapore and many other countries (including western countries) live in ghettoes. It can never be said that those NRIs living in ghettoes are all broad-minded.
2. "He treats others with more respect''-Most of time, the converse is true. Many NRIs are stinkingly arrogant. Many people would vouchsafe this.
3. "He takes care of the family''-Again a general statement which many a times is not correct. Many NRIs, after landing in foreign countries, simply forget their families in the country.
4.''He is an expert in saving money''-I don't agree. I have seen some cases when the NRIs became pauper in foreign land due to their bad habits.
5.''He is expected to bring back gifts"-As I have already stated that many NRIs simply forget their families in foreign land, it can't be expected that they would bring gifts for all of their family-members at the time of coming to India.
6."He is often expected to make a show of power with money"-It is true in some cases, not all. I have seen many NRIs live a very simple life in India because they are afraid to show off their money. They feel that if they show-off, their relatives may seek monetary help from them.
7. ''He is an expert on international matters''-On thee contrary, most of the NRIs are blissfully ignorant about the custom and culture off their host countries. They go there to earn money and they do only that in the foreign country.
Concluding the response, I must say that NRIs are a diverse lot. We can't generalise them so easily.