Co-authored by Wahid Saleh , Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardee & Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau, (Ridder in de Orde vanOranje-Nassau)  and by Ankur Bora

The article is about AFNA volunteers Ankur Bora , Pallav Saikia and Chandan Talukdar who were instrumental in arranging scholarships to a few meritorious students  through Foundation for Excellence (FFE).  The article also highlights the association of Krishanu Kaushik of Detroit, Michigan, USA with North South Foundation ( NSF).



Compared to NRIs/PIOs from other states of India, the number of Assamese who have settled abroad is small. Nevertheless there is a global presence of Assamese Diaspora and most members of this community are doing well. The Assamese Diaspora, on an individual basis are active in supporting people back home, be it by paying the tuition fees of brothers and sisters, medical bills of parents, regular financial support of the family and support of an educational institution. However, the handful of Assamese expatriates, mostly wage-earners in private industry, or in academia, and a few professionals who have done relatively well are hardly in a position to become investors and entrepreneurs in Assam.

When people speak of investment – it’s usually about money, however there has been a shift in perception in the term "investment". In this age of information and technology, what one holds between the ears is as valuable as the traditional monetary investment. Today the educated youth with their degree’s and diploma's have a choice.

The choice is to go away from their home in search of a greener pasture elsewhere. This helps them to enrich their prospects in life in a rich society and to use their capacity fully. This many may term as brain drain. It is considered brain drain for the mother country when persons go abroad and get professionally and financially well established, earning for them and to the country of residence.

The other choice is to stay at home but because of limited number of well paid jobs matching their qualifications and experience they may not be able to contribute substantively to national development. Some scholars call this a brain waste. But why do many of these same people do very well when they go abroad?  A few significant reasons why they excel once they leave India are as follows (in random order):

Disciplined job environment, recognition and reward for good performance, motivation, dignity of labor, reasonable tax structure, defendable property rights, reliable conflict resolution processes, freedom from onerous governmental restrictions, absence of interference and corruption, fair labor laws and regulations, reliable infrastructure and utilities, good transportation, uninterrupted power, water and waste systems, and rule of law for all citizens.

While the scholars still argue about brain drain or brain gain there are two new possibilities have emerged for the Diaspora to contribute towards the development of their motherland.

First, it is brain gain – when the emigrants after their study and a few years experience return to the motherland either to establish their own business or to be employed either in the public or in the private sector. This way their experience and know-how is utilized in their homeland.

The second group is the "brain circulation" - persons who have left the country and are professionally and financially well established in a foreign country. At the same time  they are fully engaged with and are contributing towards development of their motherland. These groups of non residents are vital to the emerging India. Even when they choose not to return home, they are serving their motherland, by linking businesses from their country of residence with India. Movement of talent and skill benefits both the Karmabhumi as well as the Janmabhumi.

The magazine Friends is a success story of Assamese Diaspora who went abroad, have made their mark in a foreign country and also contributing successfully to their motherland.



The magazine Friends is published by Assam Foundation of North America (AFNA) and Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters (FASS), USA.

Scholarship to students

One of the visible achievements of Friends is the awareness campaign among the students about the various institutions of North America offering educational scholarships. Assam Foundation of North America (AFNA) under the program” Support a Child”, has been providing financial support to a number of economically disadvantaged students.

The second volume of the magazine Friends published in January 2011 carried an article about  Mr. Prabhu Goel and his the organization Foundation for Excellence (FFE). It also highlighted the association of Krishanu Kaushik of Detroit, Michigan, USA with North South Foundation ( NSF).

Currently Chandan Talukdar of Los Angeles and Animesh Acharjee of France are the international coordinators for FFE. Students of Engineering and Medical colleges having difficulty financing their education should contact the facilitators to avail the scholarships of Foundation for Excellence.


In the year 2010-2011, Deepjyoti Barua (Assam Engineering College), Sanjib Barman (Gauhati Medical College) and Himangshu Prasad (Jorhat Engineering College) received their first installment of  FFE Scholarship


North South Foundation (NSF www.northsouth,org) provides scholarships to undergraduate students entering into engineering, medicine or 3-year polytechnic (diploma in engineering) based on merit and financial need. NSF also considers BVSc, BSc Ag, and B Pharmacy courses. The scholarship process begins at the chapter level in India with an announcement by the India Chapter Coordinator (ICC). Each India chapter has a volunteer who acts as the ICC, who is responsible for all activities of the chapter – from forming the selection committee, reviewing applications, interviewing applicants and giving the scholarships checks at an awards ceremony. Volunteers who live in USA and are closely associated with a chapter in India act as liaisons. A number of students applied for the scholarship and in the month of November 2010 three students of  Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh , obtained and received the annual scholarship of Rs. 12000 each.

Friends and Career Talk

On 1st May 2011 Mr. Chandra Nath Sarmah of Sakha Sahitya Sabha of Bihaguri, Tezpur (Sonitpur) organized a program on career opportunities at Karmabir Chandra Nath Sarmah HS School, Bihaguri. The program was attended by a large number of students of higher classes along with their teachers and parents. The session was conducted by Professor Jogen Kalita of Gauhati University.  Six resource persons discussed about careers in the area of science and technology, humanities, law and business, military and IAS services etc.

This was followed by another program organized at Thellamara, Sonitpur, Assam on 19th June 2011. The coordinator Dr Jogen Kalita spoke on various career options. Dr. Kalita also shared his experience in London while he was doing his Ph D there and his decision later to return to Assam with the idea of sharing his knowledge and experience in


development projects in Assam. He spoke about the magazine Friends and the role played by the Assamese non residents for the children and youths in Assam