Non-Resident Telugus are returning home

HYDERABAD: At 23, Gautam nurtured the common Telugu dream of the 1990’s, to go to the US. And 18 years later, he is among the many Non-Resident Telugus nursing yet another common desire — to head back home.

So as Gautam gets ready to pack his 18 years of life in the US, which included a master’s degree, a cushy job in a multinational IT major and children ‘Born in America’, he says he is sure that familial bonds score over fat pay packets. But then, he is also sure the fat pay packet would come by easily in a flush with opportunities in India.

At the helm of the ‘mera Bharat mahaan’ NRIs are doctors, who were among the first migrants in the post-independence era and are also turning out to be the first to return. More and more of them say they came back sensing a deeper need for their expertise in India than abroad.

Dr P Raghu Ram, a practicing surgeon in the UK, returned to Hyderabad in 2007 after 10 years when he realised that there was no dedicated centre for breast surgeries in the country and hence founded KIMS Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Studies — named after his mother. "I’ve received far greater satisfaction in the three years I’ve spent serving my own people here than the 10 years I spent working in an established UK hospital," says Dr Raghu Ram.

Similarly, Dr Pramati Reddy, a senior consultant physician at Apollo Hospitals, who lived in the us for 13 years gave up her practice in Tampa, Florida and moved to India for a personal cause — to raise her children here. Echoing the sentiments of many NRTs, she wants her children to grow up knowing their extended family and their culture here.

But the ‘reverse migration’ is not exclusive to doctors but people from all walks of life including engineers. Many professionals claim that they are not compromising on much when they move back to India with competitive salaries, better standard of living and a ‘glocal’ work culture pervading across the country today. Vijay, a software engineer recently returned from the Silicon Valley, working in an MNC in Hyderabad, says, "You get to grow faster, learn more and put your skills to much better use here in India. So it makes up for the parity in money."

Not to forget are the number of entrepreneurs who are returning to mana Hyderabad to set shop. These entrepreneurs claim that there’s a saturation point in markets like the US and therefore, its logical for them to tap the immense potential still locked in developing economies like India.

Take for instance, Mamata Banerji who returned to Hyderabad in 2008 after 18 years in the US to start ‘Investment Yogi’ after realising the market for personal finance in India. "There’s no doubt reverse migration is happening. In fact, most of my friends are returning NRIs," she says. Her husband, an IT professional moved seamlessly from his team in Microsoft, Seattle to Microsoft, Hyderabad.

Whatever their motives, personal or professional, the NRTs are agreed that they are happily home and here to stay.


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