NRIs emerging as major economic, social force:President

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Sao Paulo, Apr 14 (UNI) Visiting President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has told the Indian community in Brazil that work has begun on establishing a "Diaspora Knowledge Network" - an electronic platform to facilitate transformation of ideas into community action in India.

Pointing out that the Indian Diaspora estimated at about 25 million was emerging as a major economic, social and cultural force, she said an "India Development Foundation" was also on the anvil which would allow the NRIs to contribute to social development causes in India.

Ms Patil was addressing a gathering of Indians at Sao Paulo university here, which was her first official engegment after arrival in Brazil yesterday.

The president said the Indian community in Brazil, though limited in numbers, had done well, and she was happy that most of them were contributing in building bridges of understanding between the two countries.

''Most of you have not only been able to assimilate yourselves in the Brazilian way of life but are also maintaining close cultural and economic connection with India. It is important that you provide a place in your lives and hearts to both the country of your origin as well as the country of adoption,'' the President said.

She said it was only fitting that her visit to Brazil should begin from the large metropolis of Sao Paulo which enjoys the honour of being the economic and commercial capital of the country.

Observing that both India and Brazil were large democracies and major countries in their respective regions, she said their emergence as leading players in the global arena had been propelled by their large and qualified manpower resources, big land mass, vibrant trillion dollar economies and the spirit of entrepreneurship.

''Our warm and friendly ties have been bolstered by our shared perceptions and endeavours,'' she added.

She said the friendship between India and Brazil dated centuries back. The Portuguese presence in Goa as well as in Brazil, during the 17th and 18th centuries, provided a common historical bond which facilitated interaction at the popular level. This was reflected in the food, linguistic vocabulary and the folk music traditions of the two countries, she said.

India and Brazil share folk traditions such as the stories of Panchatantra, Poikal Kudhirai of Southern India and Boi-Bumba of Northern Brazil. Indian philosophy has influenced Brazilian intellectual tradition and is reflected in the works of philosophers such as Farias Brito, and poets Cruz e Souza and Cecilia Meireles, the President pointed out.

She said Sao Paulo was unique as it has the world's only university of Yoga.

The footprint of Yoga schools is visible all over Brazil. It is also interesting that two Brazilian floats participated in Goa's Carnival this year depicting Portuguese exploration of Brazil.

The President said she was also told that nearly 80 per cent of Brazilian cattle stock derived its origin from India's Nellore variety, which is known in Brazil as Zebu. The year 2006 marked the 100th anniversary of the import of first cow from India to North-East Brazil.

UNI AU/NAZ KD HT1447

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