I currently live in the US on H1B with my wife (she is on H4). We got our Canada PR AOR around 16 months ago. I am expecting to receive PR sometime after the COVID situation becomes manageable in US and Canada. This post is to provoke some thoughts from people about moving to India as opposed to Canada, from the US.
My wife is currently pregnant with our first child (we are at end of first trimester). Before we found out about the pregnancy, we were set on moving to Canada (over India) for several reasons. We want to live in a healthy democracy, a liberal society, a place amenable to maintain good health, and good job opportunities. Canada clearly scores above India in most/all of these factors.
Since we found out about the pregnancy few months ago, we seriously started considering moving back to India a few months after baby is born, mostly because we miss family and friends back home. The thought of the baby growing up around a large family circle seems so good. Also, my parents are old and I want to be near them in their old age. They live alone in India. Also, we thought we will give our baby the choice to move to a western country after they are adults (just like our parents did for us).
Now, since the COVID crisis unraveled in India last month, and the way the central government seemingly mismanaged and failed to prepare for it (which is my opinion, based on my own reading/research), I feel really hopeless and have second thoughts again. I feel like India can claim to call itself a democracy only because people can vote. Besides that, if you take 6 dimensions for what makes a healthy democracy, India scores poorly on all of them (again, in my opinion). Note that all of these points are taken from a talk by Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, and they are a concise way to present my thoughts, so using them here:
- Inclusive and tolerant of all races and religions: It is becoming increasingly majoritarian, not only in politics but it is also getting enshrined in law with laws like CAA
- Civil Liberty to Express Yourself: Civil liberty is under enormous threat. You cannot rely on the court to provide habeas corpus (right to get hearing before court of law), use of UAPA (unlawful activities prevention act) against ordinary crimes/transgressions
- Checks and Balances in Governance Structure: Erosion of checks and balances is in full swing. India’s supreme court used to be one of the strongest in the world, now it is one of the most servile supreme courts in the world
- Strong Civil Society: We are increasingly becoming a party-society, somewhat like China. Universities, media, etc are all now dependent on a political structure, for the most part
- Strong Flow of Information/Press Freedom: The government is pulling out all stops to control the information order. TV media is mostly under government control indirectly, for example. You can get arrested for writing something the government doesn’t like on Twitter, Facebook.
- Decency in Political Discourse: A kind of vigilantism in politics has taken hold. Basic decency in political life is gone.
I know this post can provoke strong reactions from people who disagree with me. But I just want to hear from other people who might have had similar thoughts as me, and who also have/had to make a similar decision between moving to India versus Canada. Of course, I welcome thoughts from folks who totally disagree with my opinion on the state of our democracy, but I humbly request that let’s not get into lengthy/heated argument on this topic - that is not the purpose of my post. But I welcome thoughtful critique of my thoughts on the state of democracy in India and if I am wrong to feel so hopeless.