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   The Harjis who returned from the Gulf in the special Air India plane... (August 16, 1990)

The Harjis who returned from the Gulf in the special Air India plane yesterday and were interviewed at the airport by Doordarshan are a lesson for all of us.

One of them invoked the blessings of Allah on the Indian government's representative in Baghdad, in Amman, and on the government at home for lookin gafter them and taking such good cate of them. Others talked of the help that the government had rendered and the kindness shown by everybody at the Sahar airport. All of them were happy to be home.

Compare them with some of our other people who return, not from a Haj, but after shopping. (Fly-Buy-Dubai, I am glad all that is going to end, once and for all.) They are all the time complaining. The Indian consual in Hong Kong treated them like dirt, the customs in Bombay wanted to check every little bag of their, the immigration people were so rude, not at all like the immigration people at Healthrow immigration quite clear that you are not the sport of people England wants in England wants in England, even as a tourist.

The best part is that the Hajis gave their unrehearsed interviews on Independence Day, probably at the very time that whoever may have been the prime minister finally was unfurling the national flag over the Red Fort and politicians of various hues were making their mealy-mouthed speeches on the greatness of the national from their respective rain-drenched capitals.

Not many people seem to realise the tremendous progress that we have made in 44 years in spite of a succession of bad governments. Almost all our young population can read and write and goes to schools; there are jobs far all those who are prepared to work; and though not all of us can be phenomenally successful, the opportunaity is there fal all of us, considering the number of individuals who started the number of individuals who started with nothing and have become millionaires.

Our cities have grown to immense proportions; our buildings have risen from a maximum of four floors to multi-storeyed apartments and office blocks; most people have TV sets when, at the beginning of the 44 years, only a few in the upper bracket had radios and radiograms; there are at least a half-dozen varieties of automobiles being manufactured in the country, when once all we used to do is assemble Hercules bicycles.

I would advise all our people in the Gulf to come back home. If necessary, we will send them more special planes.

 
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