As they shivered in the cold, and security officials refused to relent, the grumbling began. "All these politicians want is our dollars," shouted one delegate. "They don’t want us." Among the grumbling brigade of NRIs was Pawan Kaushik, an exporter of yarn from Taiwan, where there are an estimated 1,800 People of Indian Origin (PIOs). Pawan harangued, "On January 9, 1915, Mahatma Gandhi came back to India. Today, on January 9, we are being denied access to a conference in our honour. What’s the logic?"
Obviously, these men didn’t know India’s peculiar partiality to the privileged. One man waved a red (diplomatic) passport and was ushered inside. Howls of protests greeted this desi double standard. "Let’s break the barricade and gatecrash," a delegate from France suggested, quickly untying the rope that was the barricade. The grumbling was on its way of becoming a protest of the prodigals chafing at yet another instance of precisely what had driven them away.