Monday, December 13, 2010

Migrants cause increase in crime. Hold on!

My dream to work in a research organization took me to a job in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. I never felt more UPian than when I used to catch a train back to Lucknow. I still remember horrific scenes at railway platforms. Direct trains from Ahmedabad to UP neither got any respect nor did its passengers. I used to rent a place in Gandhinagar - a relatively clean and an organized city. I once heard someone complain of increase in theft since the influx of migrant laborers from UP and Bihar. No it was not a Police report but one native's perceptions. BTW, during those days we also used to see roadside colonies of native tribes that even some of my Gujarati friends were skeptical of. Safety is a major social concern and migrants often bear the brunt. All my friends from UP and Bihar were Engineers and Scientists some with degrees from USA. I could have trusted them with my wallet full of cash. As I could not afford flight tickets I traveled by trains where I met regular hard working families. People who were more concerned of the money they saved and taking it back than stealing someone else's. Even though I did not travel in general compartments but the train itself used to make me feel a migrant laborer. I have never stolen a thing.
Then one day I decided to migrate again. Mumbai consulate had a huge line waiting to get Visas to US. I was astonished to find that the majority names ended up in Patels. Gujarati is a hard working community and mostly business owners in United States. Likewise laborers from UP and Bihar is a hard working lot. Migrants chase a better life. A life that is safer and prosperous for their children. Be it leaving stark poverty of eastern UP or a dream to own a motel and restaurants in United States. There are and will always be gray elements in any part of the world. The recent economic depression has proved bigger thieves in white collars than those sweaty laborers. Migrants don't increase crime, they increase competition.

PS: The blog is in response to Chidambaram's derogatory remarks against migrant workers in Delhi. I used Gujaratis to showcase a trend and my experiences from the days I worked in Ahmedabad.

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