Saturday, March 24, 2007

About Me

I am originally from India and a U.S. citizen. I feel alarmed by the changes taking place in the IT industry as a result of entire categories of jobs being outsourced or offshored. I am a graduate of I.I.T., the elite Indian educational institution that became famous thanks to the CBS 60 Minutes segment a few years ago. I think it would be fair to say that I am just the type of "best and brightest", that Bill Gates and others of his ilk, say they want to welcome under this visa program.

Yet, I have personally experienced discrimination -- at the hands of other Indians, no less -- as a result of these changes. I have been told by, people who turned out to be H-1B recruiters, that I am not the right type of candidate as I am not a "young guy" and I am not "technical enough". When an agent acts as (or, is allowed to act as) the gatekeeper and does so by flouting the equal employment opportunity laws that prior generations fought hard to win, it adds insult to injury.

And yet, the decision to speak out about this issue has not been an easy one to make.

Some people -- the lazy liberals (as I call them) and the corporate fundamentalists ("free trade" above all) -- have a knee-jerk reaction when this issue is debated. Charges of racism fly about as do charges of protectionism. This has the unfortunate effect of creating a corrosive atmosphere and results in a de facto shutting down of a meaningful dialogue. Classic "divide and rule" tactics.

On this background, as an Indian and an American, I feel it is my dharma (duty) to stand up and be counted.

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