With the news that
Saudi Arabia has started implementing its new labour law reserving
10 percent of jobs for locals consequently endangering the
"career" and "livelihood" of thousands of Indians of different
religions and communities including Muslims working there, the
focus is again on the Middle East "Non Resident Indians" who are
said to be well off and earning handsomely, sending millions of
rupees back home.
However, a book written by Mohammed
Saifuddin - a young expatriate who is also a journalist, exposes
the pathetic condition in which these "Non Resident Indians"
especially the Muslims are actually living in the Middle East
including Saudi Arabia.
He also exposes with the help of
various survey reports and research studies a seemingly
unconvincing fact that the Muslim expatriates are actually poorer
than the expatriates of other religions, and are living literally
under inhuman condition to save a miniscule amount which can be
sent back home for the education, marriage and medical aid of
their near and dear ones.
"Generally it is thought that the
earnings of expatriates in the Gulf countries have changed the
lives of Indian Muslims in a big way. It is undoubtedly true that
the economic and financial condition of Muslims in several parts
of India has improved after the Gulf‟s petrol boom. But it is not
correct to say that Gulf countries became pasturing land for the
Muslims only", Mohammed Saifuddin wrote in his book published by
YaHind News Network.
"The non Muslim Indians in the six
GCC countries may be lesser in number compared to their Muslim
counterparts but, it is irrefutable fact that even in Gulf
countries the non-Muslims are much better-off than Muslims when
compared to their living conditions and standard of living", he
"Majority of the poor workers lives
in bad conditions. More than 70 percent of the workers interviewed
live in “overcrowded, unsafe, or unsanitary conditions,” the
author writes quoting from a report prepared by the Middle East
Regional office of the Inspector General of US Department of State
and the Broadcasting Board of Governors on the Indian expatriates
working at different consulates.
"The criticality of the situation
could be understood by the most shocking fact that the among 77
workers interviewed, 20 workers are provided with the quarters
having a personal living space lesser than the space provided to
the inmates at the security prisons in the United States", he
Highlighting that the poor working
condition is adding stress to the expatriates, more often creating
health problems for them, the author writes, "Seventy percent of
those who commit suicide in Dubai are Indians. Indians in Gulf
countries are more prone to heart diseases. Higher cost and poor
standard of living coupled with the financial crisis, leads the
poor Indian labors and blue collar employees in the Gulf countries
to the situation of uncertainty leading to mental and
At the same time, the book also
highlights some of Indian achievers especially women who excelled
brilliantly in the Middle East. "It may tend some readers to
surprisingly raise eyebrows but Indian women proved their prowess
even in the deserts of Arabia. Five women became the part of the
powerful Indians list. They represent Healthcare, Media and
Marketing sectors", the author writes giving details of some of
them including Dr. Zulekha Daud, Shobha Menon, Gulshan Kavarana
and few others.
A very interesting phenomenon which
the author has highlighted is of the 'Hindu Maulvis'. This is the
term he used for non Muslims who after learning Arabic language
and graduating from the Madrasas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, are
now working in the Middle East on plum posts.
Another very surprising thing the
author writes is that the Indians in the Middle East are actually
demanding from the government to rip of their NRI status. This
because, the author writes, there is a lot of difference between
the lifestyle and standard of living of those in the Middle East
and the others who have migrated to other parts of the world.
"The major benefit to those who
migrated to other countries is that they can get the citizenship
of the country after spending a specific time there. But, the
situation of Indians in Gulf is different. Their condition is
similar to that of the transit passengers; irrespective of the
length of stay, they have to finally return home one day or the
other", he writes.
The author also writes in details
about the poor wages the Indian workers are paid. He comes out
with a little know fact about the expatriate who instead of
sending money back home, survive on the money sent from India.
"The poor economic and financial condition of these workers in
Gulf countries was revealed in the recently published news stories
about the emerging trend of Reverse Hawala", he writes.
"According to these reports the
Indian workers in the Gulf countries are facing such a hard time
that instead of sending remittances to their families, many of
them are forced to seek financial support from their families and
friends back home, in India. Their families and friends are
sending them money from India to ensure their survival", he adds.
"The shocking trend of Reverse
Hawala is another indicator of pitiable condition of the Indian
labors and blue collar employees in the Gulf countries", he
The book also educate the
expatriates on various rules and acts including the importance and
effectiveness of Right to Information (RTI) Act, and also schemes
announced by the government
Though the books is a collection of
articles by the author published in YaHind.com and some local
newspapers, and relies more on survey reports and research studies
which can be debatable, it gives a good insight of the Indians
especially the Muslims living in the Middle East. As Sameera Aziz,
Int'l Editor Saudi Gazette puts it, "It is easily legible and
well-presented. It can stand on its own merits and I can rate it
on a scale leading up to "Must Read". The book can be certainly
useful for NRIs as well as other expatriates living in the
Middle-East to come away with some very vivid images in mind."
YaHind News Network