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The “Brain Drain” Syndrome

BANANI DAS CHOWDHURY explores here the intricacies of leaving one’s native place and moving out to favourable destinations in search of better career options ….

“Necessity is the mother of invention”. The very quote rightly justifies why we fly off to far alien lands to establish our identity, learn and earn a better condition of living. And the syndrome called “Brain Drain” is a result of our necessity to create a better niche for our livelihood. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines “Brain Drain” as “the movement of highly skilled and qualified people to a country where they can work in better conditions and earn more money”.

According to the wikipedia sources, the very term “Brain Drain” has been coined by Royal Society, London to describe the emigration of scientists and technologists to North America from post-war Europe. Another source in the wikipedia indicates that this term first used in the UK to describe the influx of Indian scientists and engineers. Brain Drain is a global phenomenon. It may be rural-urban, inter-state, inter-nations. Opportunities drives people, so wherever they get it, they rush in there. India in general and Northeastern region in particular are also not left out from the heat of this syndrome.

What compells us to move out? In the very quest for better learning, earning and living one gets propelled to leave one’s native place. Priyanka, a resident of Guwahati and pursuing her graduation from Delhi University says, “I moved out because the scope for my subject and its study here is limited as compared to Delhi”. When asked will she come back to her home town, she explains, “I think I will stay here only, everyone loves their home town right? But you have to be practical”. In the same line, Manali, a media professional working in Bangalore and a resident of this region adds, “I went for better job prospects”. But on a positive note she further adds, “If I get better resources, better prospects, I will surely come back”. There are some who contradicts the necessity of brain drain phenomenon and feels its an option rather than compulsion. Geetoshree, a teacher by profession argues, “Whatever I wanted for my education were here in my state. No doubt opportunities were more outside and I am restricted with few options.”

The driving force for going out indeed ranges from lack of proper or advanced education and research facilities in our native place, poor infrastructure, lack of jobs or low paying jobs, to sometimes political instability, lack of transport, communication, unsatisfactory living conditions, etc. Whatever be the reasons for the phenomenon of this human capital flight, it affects in the depletion of natural supply of intelluctual talent of that place, threat to its growth and development. Arpan, a Phd scholar and Assistant Professor in a reputed educational organisation of the state feels, “Brain drain is taking the development of the country to a stagnant state. We have to stop this if we are supposed to develop in true sense”.

Some argue that brain drain is beneficial in this globalised world. But some are also there who, out of necessity moves out but finds it tough to survive in alien land in cut throat competition. Somadrita, who worked for an Ahmedabad based NGO, echoes the pain of brain drain in her words, “I moved out after my post graduation, being hired for a suitable position in the development sector for better pay and opportunities. But I personally feel there are immense competition in the metros to survive, there should be enough scope for youth in their native place so that they do not have to struggle hard elsewhere to get a job of their liking”.

In a developing country like ours and northeastern region in particular, the “Brain Drain” is causing more damage than benefit to our native land. Call it as pain, gain, a syndrome or the globalisation impact, it’s a reality, the fact. Be it for whatever reasons or an amalgation of reasons, youths and their native place, both are facing the mixed effects of it. It’s a necessity, ambition to excel, compulsion if not always the better option, to move out owing to insufficient opportunities in our home zone, to create a content niche. Good governance, proper implementation of policies is the need of the time to check brain drain and minimise the ill effects of it.

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