The severity of the issue of immigration has increased gigantically over the past one decade. Immigration at the right place and at the right time has helped both struggling as well as talented individuals in establishing an economically better future for themselves while simultaneously helping in the area of nation building. Complex economic analysis of the money swing caused due to the increasing number of immigrants in western economies might throw up interesting numbers to analyze but what cannot be disputed upon is the fact that immigration is one of the foremost ways through which the foundations of an ideologically liberal state can be laid.
A truly diverse and pluralistic nation needs to have four essential features and the four requirements are that of it being a multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country. Immigration guarantees nearly all the four listed above but the most stubborn challenge in implementing a liberalized immigration policy comes from the regional political satraps and populist protectionists playing the card of votebank politics who don’t want to flirt with the idea of letting the ‘electoral equilibrium’ change as immigration leads to considerable alteration in demographics. What I must make clear is that my support is for immigration achieved through proper diplomatic channels as established by international law and not infiltration into the territory of foreign states by means of dubious tactics.
However, two important things need to be kept in mind while opening the doors of a country to large-scale immigrants. The first one is obviously to screen the populace coming in and put into place a proper checks and balances system to eliminate the threat of population explosion. This is important because no society can benefit economically without having a sustainable population. The second and more important one is to ensure the employment of more than 50% of the domestic workforce in order to prevent the local population from thinking that they are being demoted to the status of second class citizens because of the entry of foreigners. Immigration sets the much required stage for effective competition and anyone shying away from it by demanding bizarre protectionist legislations is sounding overtly possessive and incapable of handling challenges. The world can’t give the phenomena of immigration a miss. As I wrote earlier, immigration is the way towards establishing a diverse country but the journey doesn’t stop at this point. Ours is a diverse and pluralistic country but not a mixed society because society consists of individuals and families and Indian families are fundamentally opposed to the idea of stepping out of their comfort zones. One cannot expect to see many inter-community marriages in a country like ours when even people belonging to the same faith and caste don’t marry each other because of geographical reasons. The key to bringing about a mixed society is by shattering the barriers of faith, culture, language and region through the institution of marriage. Someone quite correctly said that ‘love is the remedy’.