Chanakya Thoughts: Is reverse migration the right thing to do in a crisis?

"I have done it all, and I have a lot more to do. These are the two stages in career a person goes through."

First category is the one who has achieved a lot in the career — big fat salaries, good positions, world travels, saved enough money for the future, and doesn’t have to struggle for money anymore. These are the achievers.

The second category includes people who are either starting their careers or in the middle of their careers. They still have to earn more money, have family, and financial responsibilities, loans to pay off and higher positions to achieve. These are the strugglers.

Even though both these types of people have different set of problems, they have always considered something similar: Should I go back home and settle back there?

Usually, in search of better opportunities, rural people migrate to towns and cities. The ones from cities migrate to foreign countries, and settle there for obvious growth and financial reasons.

And, despite financial positions they are in — as a strugglers or achievers — they silently think about reverse migration. Going back to their places of origin, or connecting back to their roots. So, what should one do?

For such dilemmas, here is what Chanakya advises: “Wealth and power comes from the countryside, which is the source of all activities.” (7.14.19)

He is telling us that real wealth is always in the country side (villages) — Power also comes from there. Plus, it is the source of all activities. Let us understand what it really means.

When Mahatma Gandhi migrated back to India after living in South Africa for 21 long years, his political guru Gopal Krishna Gokhale advised him to tour India to get a real sense of what the country is all about. And, while travelling through the rural and deeper parts of the country he discovered a completely new side, which he was not aware of. The six lakh villages and its villagers were its true strength. This insight made Gandhi work for the freedom movement from a very different dimension. “India lives in its villages,” Gandhi had said about his visit.

Gandhi tried to revive the village economy through the Chakra or Khadi movement. He got mass following, and these villagers made him the most powerful person, ultimately leading him to become the Father of the Nation.

Now, such an example may look old, and in today’s age and times, one might question: Do villages still hold that power? Remember, rural areas have the power that many do not understand. The politicians know the real vote bank is there; the farm produce comes from villages, and mines and factories exist there. This is not about a traditional approach; it is a practical approach.

So, how does this principle apply in choosing our decision to move back? Let us consider this step by step.

Look at your economics

Chanakya was an economist, and he realised that people will always take decisions based on financial viability. When people migrate to cities and developed nations, it is always in search of bigger opportunities and better income. But, it a flip side, too.

Along with income, expenses also shoot up. You work for money, but in reality, money makes you work. So do a financial calculation. Earn, save and make sure you have enough to take care of yourself and your families. Once the financial part is taken care of, your mind will be free.

Create your own opportunities

Just reverse migration is not enough. What will you do after going back to a village? You will enjoy the sunrise, sunset and clean air for a few days. But that is not enough. You will need some productive activities to sustain.

Hence, create your own opportunities. Start something new — become a modern-day farmer, start or contribute to some social activities like education and health. Or some business or commercial activities that will contribute to others too. Keep yourself busy.

World is flat

A few decades ago, the best was available only in cities. But, today the world is flat. Technology and other developments have bridged the gap. What is available in New York will be easily available in an Indian village. There are no boundaries at all.

In fact, you can make money in villages and tour the world as well. So, one can have the best of both worlds. Local and global at the same time. Chanakya knew the time will come when people will understand that both wealth and power come from the countryside. So, finally if you are thinking of reverse migration… Go for it…

(The writer is Founder Director of Chanakya Aanvikshiki Pvt Ltd, a best-selling author and an expert on Chanakya’s teachings. He can be followed on his twitter @rchanakyapillai)

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