Mangalore, January 31: The concerns of the Beary community fuelled by the uneasy political situation in West Asia were articulated at a discussion held here recently.
It highlighted that the Arab spring has left the expat population in these countries worried about their jobs and safety although the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council countries, barring Bahrain, have remained relatively unaffected amidst the recent wave of uprising.
The process of indigenisation in the GCC countries, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, which is home to the biggest Indian expat segment in the Gulf region, has resulted in thousands of job-losses, it was stated.
The families dependent on the remittances of expats back home will feel the heat, said Y. Mahammad Beary, the president of the Mangalore Air crash Victims' Families Association. Since Dakshina Kannadigas constitute the largest chunk of the migrant population in the Gulf countries, the impact will be severe on the coastal district, he said.
Sulagna Mustafi, who is doing PhD on the subject in Mangalore,said the Beary community has benefited immensely by the philanthropic activities being carried out by the expats over the last two decades .
But Mr. Beary sought to highlight the sense of insecurity felt by the Beary migrants who are predominantly semi-skilled or unskilled workers.
He also said that the Government and the community would have to think about the rehabilitation of the Gulf-returnees if the situation becomes worse. Umer U.H. a social activist said, “Even before the Beary community could come up with a strategy to tackle the fallout of the death of the beedi rolling industry, it is confronted with the lurking threat of semi-skilled and unskilled workers in the Gulf returning home.”
He also said that increasing communalism was a major concern for the Beary NRIs who experience anxiety and anguish in a greater way than the people living here. “There had been several anxious calls to me from people in the Gulf wanting to know about the situation in Uppinangady following the recent untoward incidents,” he said.
“Many affluent NRIs are using their income to buy properties in India and increase their wealth in order to be able to lead a happy life in the Gulf,” said Junaida Sultana, a teacher from Malpe.
Issues like increasing conservatism among the Beary community, the widening gulf between the rich and the poor, the imbalance in the educational qualification of Beary girls and boys were also discussed.
Programme co-directors Mario Rutten (University of Amsterdam) and Carol Upadhya (National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore) were present.