The ongoing 17th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) Convention in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, from January 8 to 10, 2023, is witnessing a strong diaspora presence from the UK. On the second day of the convention, hundreds of British Indians could be seen to form a significant part of the 3,500 delegates from 70 different countries worldwide attending this year.
FISI-UK (Friends of India Society International), Sardar Patel Memorial Society, IISFA (Indian International Student Federation), Indian Diaspora in UK (IDUK), IIW (Inspiring Indian Women), UPCA (Uttar Pradesh Cultural Association) are some of the prominent diaspora groups amongst others that are being represented at the PBD convention.
Notably, veteran media owner and community leader CB Patel, who is also one of the Sardar Patel Memorial Society, UK trustees, is being awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman at the convention on January 10.
On reaching the venue, FISI spokesperson Amar Trivedi shared his experience with iGlobal.
"The delegates are getting a great reception, and the people from Indore are wonderfully warm and welcoming. Even the security and police smile at you," he said.
Almost echoing a similar vibe, Hridesh Gupta of IDUK mentioned that all the delegates received a grand welcome from the Government of Madhya Pradesh and the locals.
"Indore residences have opened their doors and hearts to the delegates visiting from overseas," Gupta said.
"People are so humble, warm and welcoming here. Can you imagine a local eatery being so graceful, even though he's aware that we are NRI and earn in foreign currencies! He could have asked double the price and still would have gotten paid. But instead, he earned our respect," exclaimed Gupta while trying to contain his emotion.
Earlier, during his speech, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, had left a hint of this admirable hospitality that the diaspora is to expect from Indore.
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"I feel that 'Amrit' is showering on Madhya Pradesh during Azadi ka Amrit Kaal. You have arrived in Madhya Pradesh, but even Indore and Madhya Pradesh have left no stone unturned. It has opened the door to its heart and home," the Chief Minister had said, addressing the diaspora.
However, at the heart of the convention was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech and interaction with the diaspora.
"There have been several significant moments, but none bigger than hearing Shri Narendra Modi Ji's speech. It was inspiring and welcoming of NRIs. It is clear that the Honourable Prime Minister and India want the diaspora to be part of India's growth story - by investing, coming on tours to India and more," mentioned Amar Trivedi of FISI-UK.
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"Additionally, other highlight moments have been an interaction with External Affairs Minister of India, Dr S Jaishankar, the information of India's G20 presidency and how they're taking the idea of India to the world by over 250 meetings touching every corner and celebrating the unity in diversity of India. Also worth mentioning are the exhibitions, particularly 'Ekatma', a Rs 2000 Crore initiative by the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, celebrating the life and works of Adi Shankaracharya," he added.
Trivedi also thinks that the PBD is a fantastic event to meet old friends and connect with others in the diaspora from across the globe.
"The Convention presents an exciting opportunity to learn more about India and scopes for the diaspora to be more involved and contribute to our matrubhoomi's continued development and rise globally," he said.
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Besides the convention, the UK delegates also enjoyed the blissful darshan at Mahakal Lok. According to many, after the convention, trips to Sarafa night bazaar were a sensory overload with amazing flavours of food and drink that Indore offers - from Fire paan to Jamun fruit shots.
Overall, it is apparent that the British Indians will be returning to the UK content with memorable experiences, knowledge and more love for the motherland.