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The UAE vibe: There are more tourists coming to Dubai with the Expo 2020 going on in full swing Image Credit: Gulf News

Diwali is a perfect time to reflect. While sitting in a Dubai hotel room, I was thinking of my experiences here since my second visit in less than a month. During the last year or so the COVID-19 pandemic had restricted everybody’s travel. But now Dubai is getting its tourists back.

There are more tourists coming to Dubai as the Expo 2020 is going on in full swing. With pavilions from 190 countries, this is perhaps one of the biggest global gatherings on the planet.

As temperatures go down — and as we head towards the winter season — hotels in the emirate are filling up fast with guests coming from all over the world. In my hotel’s breakfast corner, it has been a daily enriching experience.

A world of security

I have already exchanged my social media coordinates with two Nigerians who are cleaners and a Bangladeshi cook whose confidence is better than Gaggan Anand, the Michelin star executive chef. I met a Palestinian doctor and lots of Indians who work in a variety of businesses — from the medical field to the diamond trade.

I also met two Pakistanis who sell textiles here and feel Dubai is a home away from their home in Lahore. I bumped into an Egyptian, who is here for medical treatment, and who told me he will pray for my well-being.

Then I came across a handsome Lebanese pizza-maker, who promised to make a ‘strict vegetarian’ pizza for me. A lady nurse from the Ivory Coast has a blissful life in Dubai because she is better off than her relatives back home.

Expo 2020 Dubai visitors Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

It is absolutely thrilling — a first-hand experience of living in the 21st century urban global village — in a hotel where I am putting up (so that I can often visit a sick relative in a Dubai hospital). I am reminded of my visits to New York and London during the early 80s.

Both great cities in their own ways, they have migrants from all over the world but Dubai has something more. We Indians call it ‘security’. It is a multilayered word, but it is true: Dubai offers you a sense of security that every citizen of the world hankers for.

A safe place for all

During a dinner table discussion at Niko Romito, an ultra luxurious restaurant at Bvlgari, I overheard my host talking to another guest about what Dubai has that Singapore, Hong Kong and London lack.

The two highly successful globe-trotters talked about how Dubai has successfully sent across a message, without putting it in words, that all citizens of the world are welcome here. Take the opportunities if you are talented and hardworking or both. The unspoken rule is — harmony and peace in this society is non-negotiable.

A big time investor from Mumbai added, “The Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Indians and Bangladesis work in perfect harmony here at hotels, malls, hospitals, restaurants, building sites. This is possible because Dubai affords equal opportunity to all and people come together to appreciate this quality."

This investor says, “The rule is simple: while in Dubai, make your living, educate children and dream big."

My wealthy host at Bvgari was speaking in the same tune that the waiters, nurses, managers, doctors and cleaners have been talking to me in since my arrival.

The Indian example

I think this idea of security is universal. All over the world people want safety for their families and peace so they can carry on with their businesses and professions.

In India, the Narendra Modi-led government and all other regional and national leaders know this well. At the core of any Indian leader’s electoral victory is the voter’s inner feeling that he or she will be safer under the leader and the party that he or she is voting for.

Nearly a decade back, Mayawati had understood the plank of security. She came to power in Uttar Pradesh (UP) because she gave an impression that she could make people safer than the Mulayam Singh Yadav led government. In UP, the last assembly election (2017) and Lok Sabha (2019) were lost by Samajwadi Party and BSP badly because they couldn’t build a better perception of their capabilities in giving security to families.

The current UP Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has created a buzz around the voters universal urge to keep their families and assets secured.

The task before political leaders like Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav is uncomplicated, actually. They should vie for and try to portray a strong image of themselves to convince the public that under their leadership people of UP will have better security, and their children will be more safe.

The impression that must go out is that law and order in the bazaars will improve so that people are able to to carry on their businesses. That’s the only way to beat Yogi.

In short - take a leaf from the Dubai success story. Provide safety and create equal opportunities for all.