Why are Indians returning from the U.S. to India

  • What are the reasons and motivations that make Indians residing in the United States of America wish to return to Bharat and challenges faced.

In a world where borders blur and cultures intertwine, the decision to return to one's homeland holds a profound significance for many families. 


The experience of Bharatiyas who are returning to live in India offer a glimpse into the intricate tapestry of motivations, challenges and heartfelt connections that shape such decisions.


For some, like a family who spent over two decades in the United States, the pursuit of economic opportunities initially led them across oceans. However, as their children were growing up, they felt a deep calling to reconnect with their cultural roots.


Reflecting on their journey, they summed it up as, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn." Their decision to return to India was driven by a desire to provide their children with an immersive understanding of their civilizational origins and roots, family customs and traditions.


Similarly, for another family, the decision to return to India was fueled by both emotional and practical considerations. Despite the allure of life in the United States, they were steadfast in their resolve to settle in their homeland. Their daughter's birth served as a catalyst, prompting them to prioritize their cultural identity and familial connections. They do reminisce about their time abroad, acknowledging the invaluable experiences and exposure gained. Despite that, their hearts remained anchored to India.


The motivations behind returning to India are as diverse as the families themselves. For some, it is the longing to be close to relatives and parents, to feel a sense of belonging and respect in their own country. Others are drawn by the desire to contribute to the progress and prosperity of their motherland, channeling their skills and talents for the benefit of India.


Transitioning back to India isn't without its challenges. 


From adjusting to the pace of life to navigating bureaucratic hurdles, each family faces its own set of adjustments. For many, the shift from the way of life abroad to the way of Indian living can be daunting. Yet, amidst the challenges, there's an undeniable sense of fulfillment in being surrounded by familiar sights, sounds, smells and people.


One of the most significant adjustments for returning families is redefining their lifestyle. As one family expressed, life in India offers a sense of luxury akin to being ‘royalty’, with access to various helpers and services that afford them more leisure time. It is in stark contrast to the working-class ethos they experienced in the United States. 


Despite the material comforts, what truly enriches their lives is the sense of community, the warmth of relationships, and the deep-rooted cultural ethos that permeates every aspect of Indian life.


The decision to return to India is not just about geographical relocation but a reaffirmation of identity, belonging, and purpose. It is about embracing the rich tapestry of Indian culture while leveraging the global perspectives gained abroad. As one family eloquently put it, “Ever since we came back, there has not been a single day when we regretted our decision. We are very happy to be back to this country we call home.”


Yet, this journey of repatriation is fraught with financial considerations, career transitions, and the strategic choice of dual citizenship (read as OCI card or Overseas Citizenship of India) for some families. For many, the allure of a luxurious lifestyle in India, coupled with potential benefits of dual citizenship, serves as a compelling pull. The transition from potentially higher income brackets abroad to the economic realities of India requires careful navigation. It demands a recalibration of financial expectations and lifestyle choices, as families adjust to the nuances of everyday life in India.


The differences in career and job environments between India and their host countries present another layer of complexity. While the allure of career advancement abroad may have initially led families away from India, the desire to reconnect with their roots draws them back. This juxtaposition often necessitates a delicate balance between leveraging global expertise and embracing local aspirations. Many families find themselves navigating this terrain with a sense of pragmatism and resilience, leveraging their diverse skill sets to explore entrepreneurial opportunities or contribute to India's burgeoning job market.


For some families, the strategic choice of dual citizenship emerges as a means to maintain strong ties with India while capitalizing on global opportunities. However, navigating the legal and bureaucratic landscape of dual citizenship can be intricate. It requires a nuanced understanding of legal frameworks and a proactive approach to addressing potential challenges. For those who opt for this path, it symbolizes a commitment to preserving their cultural heritage while embracing the opportunities of a globalized world.


At a policy level, the phenomenon of brain-drain underscores the imperative for creating a conducive environment for high-performance individuals to grow and thrive in India. As Indian-origin CEOs lead technology companies worldwide and engineers from India's top institutions drive innovation globally, there is a pressing need to harness this talent pool to fuel India's economic aspirations. Creating a culture of meritocracy is very important and lack of the same has been a key reason for talent in India moving out to other countries - both for higher education and for career opportunities. This calls for a policy framework that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and inclusive growth. 


As we strive towards becoming a 5+ Trillion Dollar economy, retaining and nurturing our talent pool becomes not just a strategic imperative but a moral necessity, rooted in the ethos of nation-building and collective progress.


In the narratives of these families, who have taken the path homeward, we found a testament to the enduring spirit of Bharatiya civilization—a civilization that thrives not just in upholding its ancient traditions but in the resilience and adaptability of its people. 


As they embark on this new journey, returning to their roots, they carry with them the collective wisdom of their experiences abroad, infused with the timeless values of their motherland. In doing so, they contribute to the ongoing saga of India's evolution, enriching it with their unique perspectives and aspirations.


To read all articles by author


Also read

1. Why did I return to India by N Dave

2. My experience of returning to India after spending a decade in USA

3. Six Reasons to return to India


Editor Notes – As infrastructure in India and professional job opportunities improve coupled with liberalization and easy availability of consumer products, the gap with foreign countries reduce. Surely, India cannot match tax free incomes of the Middle East but tax rates are reasonable now.   

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