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Amartya plea to open doors

New Delhi, Jan. 9: India has always believed in openness and avoided a frog-in-the-well attitude towards outside influences, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said here today.

The Nobel laureate said the country should continue with this tradition.

Sen was speaking on the first day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), here.

According to Sen, India should encourage a certain level of internal openness and be open to dialogue with other countries. Such interactive openness would enhance its position in the world and ensure success for the country.

“We have to celebrate an integrated Indian identity and not one that is divided on the basis of being Sikh, Hindu, Muslim or Parsi,” he said. “We have a tradition of being one inspite of belonging to different spheres.”

Although Sen did not refer to the riots in Gujarat or the Sangh parivar’s attempts to whip up communal passions, his comment was an expression of the anguish the Indian diaspora felt.

“The history of Indian democracy has always seen this kind of dialogue-ic openness where different points of views have been given importance,” he said. “One should remember that disputes can be resolved through discussion, rather than violence.”

Sen emphasised that Indians have reason to be proud of its tradition of accepting the world’s influence. “There is a clear sense of celebrating interactiveness and net closeness. We are a very dynamic country with diverse achievements, history and heritage.”

Sen attributed India’s success in various fields to its openness and interactiveness. The country, he said, was not a “self-confined society” as many overseas Indians saw it.

He cited examples of India’s success in information technology, software and science that was achieved through its basic interactive attitude. Sen, who won the Nobel for economics in 2001, is working on the history of Sino-Indian culture.

McKinsey CEO Rajat Gupta, who also was present, said: “I think the pravasis (Indian diaspora) should at least have four basic characteristics which will help them build this extended family. They should have a sense of wholeness despite existing diversities and have a good internal community with provisions for forming organisations with meeting grounds.”

Pravasis should work as a team on a common task while pooling their talents and resources. I would like the young generation to grow up with a sense of obligation to this community and help in their own ways,” he said.

“A labour of love is very rewarding in itself. I feel very proud to find Indians spread all over the globe having the same spirit of enthusiasm and commitment to family and the yearning for India. We all want to give back something to our country,” Gupta said.

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