Can Gujarati Immigrants be Our Role Model?

By Dr.  D. N. S. Dhakal

Gujarati are considered the most successful immigrant community in the US. They constitute direct immigrants from Gujarat and resettled refugees from the Republic of Uganda.

The Gujarati population in the US is 1.5 million. They constitute 20% of Indian origin people in the US and 6% of ethnic Gujarati in India. Despite their minority status in India, it has generated enormous political clout in India and abroad.

Political stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Valabai Patel and Narendra Modi are the products of this community. Gujarat today is the role model of resurgent India. Their role in commerce and industry is growing in India as well as abroad.

The Gujaratis are basically trading class. They are astute business people who know well how to work collectively and engage resources for commercial gain. In India, they are top class traders and industrialists. In the US they control 40% of the motel industry. In Zambia, they are a backbone of finance to political parties.

What is the secret about this community? It is unity and community support to fellow Gujaratis. In the US Gujaratis are seen in corridors of power in Washington DC, in scientific community such as NASA, and have established philanthropic organizations in the line of the Jewish community.

The success of this community should be our inspiration for hard work and unity. Close to 100,000 people of Lhotsampa origin in the US is not a small resource. We should be able to get organized ourselves, focus on areas of our comparative advantages, and has no reason for us not to emerge as one of the successful communities in the US.

Our success in the US will be a great strength for Bhutan as well as Nepal. The greater Nepali Diaspora could also benefit from our success since it is well spread-out around the world.

What we need is a few committed and dynamic individuals who could rally behind the emerging, educated younger generation and chart out a plan of action to make most out of the land of unlimited opportunities (USA).