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Expatriate exposes pathetic condition of Indian Muslims living in Middle East

They are no better than their counterparts back home, he says, wants from the govt. to rip off their NRI status

Sunday March 31, 2013 04:59:41 PM, Hena Farhat,

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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 added.


"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 added.


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 psychological problems."


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 writes.


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 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."


Title: Expat Ride

Author: Mohammed Saifuddin

Publisher: YaHind News Network

Pages: 100

Price: Rs.150/-







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