Future of Indian Americans remains as bright as ever: Mayank Chhaya

By Meenakshi Iyer

Prolific Indian American writer, commentator and journalist Mayank Chhaya says India needs to dramatically upgrade its scientific R&D to stop brain drain and help transform the world.

When Indian Americans succeed professionally here, it is like they are succeeding across the world, says Chicago-based writer, commentator, and journalist Mayank Chhaya.

“America remains a major draw as a land of opportunity for the rest of the world. Its glamor, significantly fueled by Hollywood, gives it a shine that no other country can rival yet. All that brightness lights up any success, including by Indian Americans, beyond the normal celebration,” Chhaya tells The South Asian Times in an email interview.

“Having been the leader in many walks of life, especially science and technology, when Indian American professionals succeed here it is like they are succeeding across the world,” Chhaya, a widely published commentator on South Asian and Sino-Tibetan affairs, says.

Ahmedabad-born Chhaya is one of the contributors in the recently released book, ‘Kamala Harris and the rise of Indian Americans’, which chronicles the rise of the Indians in the US across domains.

His work in the book gives an overview of how Indian American scientists have excelled in a wide variety of sciences, both pure and applied.

“In many ways, the success of Indian Americans in science and technology is both a testament to their natural talents for the fields, as well a reflection on how India needs to dramatically upgrade its scientific R&D in order to not just retain brain within the country but even flourish and help transform the world,” explains Chhaya.

According to UNESCO’s recently released ‘Science Report’, India reported an increase of 24% in terms of spending on R&D between 2014 to 2018. However, the R&D spending by India is “still less than 15 percent of what the USA and China spend individually”.

The election of Kamala Harris – whose mother was from Chennai and father from Kingston – as the Vice President of the United States has brought the spotlight on the Indian-American community.

“The future of Indian Americans remains as bright as ever, especially because they continue to remain focused on pursuing professions that not just demand excellence but even reward them handsomely. The new generation of Indian Americans have been assimilating even more into the mainstream even while retaining some of the core features of Indian civilization,” Chhaya, who has been living in the US for the past 23 years, says.

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