Tuesday 17 November 2009

Maybe we can teach them a few things

Most Western nations have small immigrant from third-world countries, often their former colonies. In quite a few cases, the immigrants are highly qualified. More often though, they are not.

Sometimes, it gets very messy with second and third generation immigrants - racially different, economically backward, politically weak and educationally unemployable in all but the worst paying jobs.

Yet, these immigrants form far smaller fractions of the Western nation’s populations than refugees did in India’s and Pakistan right after Partition.

1 in 6 Pakistani was a refugee, and 1 in 72 Indians was one.

The latter number is somewhat misleading, because those who came to India weren’t uniformly spread. Most came from from what had become East Pakistan and West Punjab, and came to West Bengal, East Punjab, Delhi and Bombay.

Anyway, as the West stood aside and licked its Second World War wounds, the two new and extremely poor nations had to deal with gigantic refugee populations besides all their other problems.

Neither covered itself with glory; neither could have. Yet, when compared to what the West has done, with a much smaller number of immigrants, coming over a far longer time, and with infinitely more resources at its disposal, India and Pakistan’s efforts are most creditworthy.

Perhaps instead of giving us uninvited advise all the time, the West can seek a lesson or two there.

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