Born to Sikh Parents Interview with Nikki Haley Governor of South Carolina, USA
What are those memories and anecdotes like?
I heard about how they went to school in their villages, got married in a ceremony at a gurdwara. My eldest brother was born there. Punjab is a very magical place.
How do you look at being Punjabi?
I am proud to be part of Jat Sikh family. I was always brought up with a very strong faith. Always taught to be humble and respectful. More importantly, I was taught that the way to appreciate God’s blessings is to give it back. It’s nice to come back to the place my parents belong to. It’s an emotional and heart-warming.
What would you like to take back from your trip?
Being able to converse with parents about what Punjab is all about. And the second is the business with Punjab. I am a proud governor of a state in the US. It’s really moving business and bringing jobs. And the idea is to open up doors and have relationship with Punjab.
How do you look at the Indian diaspora, especially the Punjabis in the US?
It’s probably less than 1 per cent, but we always brag that it’s the highest educated minority in our country. A minority with the highest per capita. It’s a minority that is least dependent on the government. If you look at those qualities, who wouldn’t want that? They would love to see more of this community.
How do you look at the new Indian government?
I got to meet PM Narendra Modi in New York. It was extremely exciting. It is interesting to see him do what we have been doing in South Carolina. We cut regulations. We cut taxes. We made it a business-friendly environment. We opened up tourism like he did in Gujarat. Energy was electric at Madison Square because they are so proud of the hope and possibility of what can happen between the two nations. What we hope is that when we come here in India, they will be proud of what we have done there.
What sort of relationship are you looking at with India and Punjab?
You see, in South Carolina we are building planes, tyres, cars. We are very diverse because we are very committed. Workforce is loyal to the product that they are making. What we want to tell Punjab is that it’s not just business for our personal gain. I want to take care of Indian business there. I want to start a relationship that we keep coming back to Punjab
Is there any particular sector of industry?
Automotives, tractors, agriculture, tourism. We want investment in these sectors from Punjab. Pharmaceuticals and IT are other areas. We have just begun some good conversation with business czars here. It will be the first phase. After this trip, I would want to start the next phase where they can allow me to host them.