Thoughts on Moving to India versus Canada

Hello All

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.

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Never saw such a post asking for suggestions on any forum till now criticizing India on that level with those points and blaming government for a decision regarding Immigration :slight_smile:
Too much news either way impacts anybody’s thinking…

If your plan is to live in India till 2024 then you should not go (because of your opinions above). It seems some people think that every thing has happened in last 7 years when you were outside India and will be fine again after 2024 (not my opinion but some say current govt will be gone so it will become best place on earch again like it was earlier before 2014)…

  • CAA - How does it impact common people like you and me? Many bills got passed in USA. Did you track those and got worried about any?
  • Civil liberty to express - Do you know anyone in your circle having any problems other than hearing just political people in power or in news?
  • Checks and Balances - How does supreme court being strongest or servile impacts an ordinary law abiding citizen’s life? In my opinion it is more political, and problem is always there with system.
  • Strong civil society - This is a problem in India, when Police is considered gundas and not friendly like western countries… No body likes to show actual income to save taxes in India… and there are political problems always when previous govts wowed minorities and present govt wowing majority… all governments are same actual for a common man…
  • Strong flow of information - Do you write anything like that? or Do you follow anything or plan to like that in US or Canada… If that’s not your field in US or Canada then why does it bother you in India?
  • Decency in Political discourse: Politicians are not for any body in any party… Continue doing your karma… why do you worry about politicians… when people like us vote based on religion, region, and favoritism then politicians are tend to mis-use power.

It is people in my opinion… Slowly Indians (actually south asians) dominating communities are converting Canadian cities to India too… droogs* are prevalent in western countries now… lack of culture, less respect towards elders, bad language all are slowly more prevalent in countries like Canada… This all worries me… It is just a different culture which some like and some of us worry about it… You don’t know what would be Canada after 20years…

I am trying to say that there are problems in any society and country.
But you don’t generalize the entire country based on some events happening at few places… We don’t do it for USA and Canada then why would we do for India…

I know many who are happy in India and don’t want to leave India… and I know many who want to go back to India despite known problems…

So, Compare the pros and cons of places today…
If you don’t like current situation in India, then don’t go… come to Canada or stay in USA…

Think how you will live and behave as a family in your surroundings…

In short, If you like better lifestyle, better laws, corruption free (at lower level) environment, pollution free, free schooling, free health care (don’t believe its very bad system though even if free), better work-life balance then you can choose Canada or USA…

But, if you like better with extended family, relatives, less restrictions and rules, cheap labour, helping labour for any work like household chores etc. then India is better…

It looks like a personal decision to me depending on what are your priorities…


Thanks for the response. I appreciate it. You are right, it is entirely a personal decision.

My intention was not to have a back-and-forth on each of my criticisms. I feel I should probably have framed my question differently w/o including all of the criticism in specifics.

I just want to make 1 point to clarify my thought process and I hope we can leave it at that. All of your rebuttals to my criticism make sense, if and only if, I was only thinking about myself and my friends and family.

When I have a kid and he/she is old enough, more than anything else, I am going to try to instill the values of good citizenship in them, and care much more widely than herself/friends/family. It takes a lot of work to be a good citizen. That means developing a strong knowledge of various aspects of social sciences - history, economics, psychology, human anthropology, etc., thinking critically, and keeping a close eye on current affairs. That also means keeping the political representatives on their toes by writing criticisms on social media, participating in town hall meetings, organizing and participating in peaceful protests.

I am worried that in India, today and probably for near future, the state is going to come down hard on you for voicing any criticism and probably throw you in jail (it is already doing that). That is what worries me. I don’t know the future of course and Canada/US can also become like this in future, but given where things stand today, I feel there is more hope for future here in the West compared to India.

Anyways, thanks again for the response.

I’m not going to take the bait dear troll.

The only reason I’m even taking the time to pen this is because sometimes people make foolish comments and when people don’t engage with them, they assume what they said was true.
You should join r/india and you’ll find like minded folks there and get internet validation points along with that as well.

And best of luck with the baby, they’re a true blessing.


I would never ever move to India based on the points that you listed along with zillion other reasons. These folks showing India in good will never ever settle there but still can’t read bad things about India. I am pretty sure they criticize the Canadian/US governments who gave them the right to live here. They’ll only understand when bad things happen with them and not just with someone else back in India.

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@arjun-humain May be contrasting your previous actions may help you make the decision. Here is one way to look at it:
Not sure if you know but if a foreigner living in the US criticizes the US government publicly you could get deported (may be jail too?) . Its real, they do take your social media user/pass for processing visa or at the port of entry. There are well documented cases of this happening. I am sure you disagreed with some of the US policies/politicians (think previous admin) but if you were not publicly vocal about US gov/politicians I think your concerns about Indian government/civil liberties won’t be an issue for you either, because you prioritized personal progress in the US over government policies, civil liberties etc, not to mention life on H1B is pretty restricted (think drivers license renewal). You would do the same again in my humble opinion.


@arjun-humain I am going to completely ignore the debate here.

If you want your kid to be a good citizen, the best way is for you to be a good citizen of whichever country you are citizen of, I am assuming India in your case.

But by leaving India to take your manpower, skills and talent to benefit some other country for several years have you been a good citizen of India as per your definition? Time to introspect and ask yourself that question. Do some critical thinking instead of just reading things online.

One more point: Of course all citizens have the right to comment about their country wherever they may be but I am of the opinion that citizens of India who are physically present in India know India far better on a variety of topics than citizens of India who aren’t physically present in India.


I have enough humility to admit that I haven’t been a good citizen of India. I was in India until I was 25 and I never voted. Forget voting, I literally knew nothing about Indian current affairs, our history, etc. I still regret it. It was after I moved abroad, that I started developing the required knowledge and practicing critical thinking about various aspects of sociology (both Indian and Western). Whatever I wrote in my initial post is not a blind regurgitation, but was reasonably well thought out to the best of my ability and credit was given to the original source of the points I made (nothing wrong in taking aid of someone else’s writing in making your point as long as you give due credit).

The question is the future. I want to be a good, decent, productive citizen of whichever country I settle down. The debate in my mind is which one. And I realize how incredibly privileged I am to even have that possibility.

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I can give you 10 solid reasons to move to Canada and 10 solid reasons to move to India and one can easily be convinced. It’s about where your heart is - where you enjoy your life, You moved to the united states for a reason. For me and my spouse, India was and is never a place to be happy. It’s not about escapism from the problems which we face in India - it’s about where we can enjoy our life and focus on the career. If there is a need, parents can easily migrate to Canada because of its relaxed immigration policies. Hope this helps - I am little biased towards not moving back to India :wink:


A lot of good points in this thread. On a related note I’d highly recommend this to everyone - please, please stop watching the news (including commentary on social media). My mental health and well being has improved a lot since I stopped giving news media my attention. Most of it is sensationalized garbage and plays to your own political leanings. If an event is important and actually “newsworthy”, it will definitely reach you - without having to keep an eye out.

Even if you end up moving to Canada you can still do you civic duty to India. People do donate and volunteer from abroad all the time. The bigger factor should be your personal well being, as well as that of your family. Getting the bigger, more philosophical things right wouldn’t improve your quality of life if you aren’t happy in the first place.


Thanks for the responses everyone! It’s good food for thought.