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Traditional festivals such as Deepavali help bind NRIs to their roots.

Food, films and festivals top NRIs' love list

Kuwait, November 10, 2012

Indian food, Bollywood films and festivals are the three 'great loves' that connect overseas Indians most to their roots, revealed an international survey released today by Western Union.

Western Union’s “Great loves that binds overseas Indians back home” survey conducted by Nielsen asked Indians by birth or descent across major regions of the world with large Indian diaspora, the top three things that connected them most to India.

Over a fifth (21 per cent) said it was Indian cuisine, 15 per cent named Bollywood films and music and seven per cent said traditional festivals such as Deepavali. Rounding out the top five were the sporting game cricket at 6 per cent and Ayurveda herbal healing at five per cent.

Indian food and Bollywood were more easily accessible in their current country of residence than Festival celebrations, Cricket and Ayurveda. It confirms that the cultural spirit and characteristics of India have spread globally just as Indians have crossed borders to live and work across every major region in the world.

The Ministry of Overseas Indians estimates that over 25 million Indians live overseas in 194 countries based on documented statistics representing Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian origin.

Western Union in 2011 remitted money from 196 countries into India via its network of more than 110,000 agent locations located in 6000 towns, 497 cities across all 28 states in India as of September 30, 2012.

The ranking of the top three “Great Loves” was similar for respondents originally from India and those with Indian descent. However, those with Indian descent were more enthusiastic over Bollywood and festivals, versus those emigrants from India who favoured Indian cuisine and Ayurveda more.

"The millions of Indians living overseas have not only proven to be extremely adaptive but also at the same time have played a big role in introducing their culture and traditions in the different countries they live in," remarked Sobia Rahman, Western Union’s VP (Gulf, Pakistan & Afghanistan).

"Western Union has been providing money transfer solutions to overseas Indian for nearly two decades and hence we are familiar with their adaptation as global citizens. Similarly, Indian’s brought with them their rich culture and heritage when they moved into the Gulf region receiving widespread acceptance over the years," Rahman noted.

"Indian food and Bollywood movies for instance have been widely appreciated by the different communities that live in the GCC countries and hence the Western Union’s survey rather expectedly, ascertains the fact that the culture of India has truly transcended global borders," she added.

According to the survey, classical music & dance, places of worship, handicrafts, Indian traditional wear and yoga got greater rankings than Indian weddings, superstitions / myths, palaces and heritage places.

“What is really encouraging to see is that Indian culture and the different icons of culture which define their national identity have been passed down effectively from parents to their children including those born overseas. Naturally, what binds Indians overseas and India together most of all is family and friends, no matter where they are spread in the world,” said Rahman.

“With next week being Diwali, the most important and auspicious festival of lights which is celebrated by Indian families by performing traditional activities, this study which formally documents the great loves of Indians living or working overseas is a great reminder of traditional values," she added.

The 12-country survey conducted by Nielsen covered over 600 respondents. Thirty per cent were overseas born and those born in India had a median length of stay of nine years.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bollywood | Western Union | festival | films | overseas |

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