IPL attracts visiting overseas Indian youth

New Delhi: Over 30 overseas youth of Indian origin are on a three-week visit here to know about their parents’ and grandparents’ homeland, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket has been the greatest attraction for them.

But their dream to watch an IPL match live may remain unfulfilled.

32 youth, in the age group of 18-26, are from Australia, Fiji, South Africa, Suriname, Malaysia, Myanmar, Peru, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Israel, Canada and Zimbabwe. They have been in Delhi since April 24.

They are here under the Know India Programme (KIP) of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs.

“The IPL is a phenomenon and we are amazed by its success. We want to watch a match between any two teams and get to feel the mood in a stadium. But I don’t think we would get to do so due to security reasons,” Vishayne Vikar Harichand, a 20-year-old youth from South Africa, said.

Harichand is one of the 14 male and 18 female visitors who are here for the programme held three times annually.

His views were echoed by other youngsters from South Africa, Canada and Zimbabwe, all cricket-playing nations.

Harichand and his friends got an opportunity to meet Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vyalar Ravi here, when they expressed their desire.

IPL is in its fifth edition this year and is considered to be one of the most successful cricketing event in sporting, entertainment and commercial terms.

“The KIP programme is for youth of Indian origin from around the world to see India, know India and mingle with families in India and reinvent the idea of India and Indian culture,” Ravi told the group at a reception hosted for them.

Among the visitors is Gayatri Vikramasinghe from Colombo in Sri Lanka. What she liked best during this visit to Delhi was the performances by Indian musicians and artistes.

“This is my first visit to Delhi. I have been to Chennai earlier on a personal visit. This experience of meeting people of Indian origin from other parts of the world in India’s capital has enabled expanding my idea of India and the Indian identity,” Kumaresan Arumugam, who works in the social sector in Malaysia, said.

The programme for the overseas youth will take them to Goa later this week when they will get to live in homes to experience a day in the life of an Indian family.

During the stay in Delhi, the group was also exposed to India’s progress in economic, industrial, education, science and technology, communication and information technology fields, apart from culture, through interactions with personalities in these sectors.

They were also given presentations on the country’s political structure, the constitution and parliamentary democracy.

The group showed interest in visiting a call centre to understand the expansion of the business process outsourcing sector.