January 9th is a very special day for Indians whether they are resident, nonresident or ethnic Indians. It is the day that commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa in Bombay in the year 1915. It is often said that Gandhi left India as Mohandas Karamchand and returned home as the Mahatma. Fighting off racial arrogance and plunging into causes more humanitarian than political, he emerged as a messiah for the masses.
It is indeed appropriate that the Indian Government has decided to honor this day as Pravasi Bharatiya divas celebrating the Indian diaspora and welcoming them home on this day. Each year 7th to 9th January, a celebratory event called the Pravasi Bharatiya conference is held in any Indian city by rotation. It is rightly said you can take an Indian out of India but not India from the heart of any Indian. The country with its ancient heritage and culture shows the way to everyone in the world and it is to reaffirm one’s roots to this ancient country that Indians gather home during this time.