Indian Diaspora

If we look at the world culture, one thing we can notice is the Indian Diaspora that constitutes an important and unique force in some reverences. The incorporation of the British Empire in India can be linked to the existence of modern Indian Diaspora all over the world. Dating back to nineteenth century, Indian indentured labor was taken over to the British colonies in different parts of the world.

Places like Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, Surinam, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka... leave the foot prints of Indian immigration in a peculiar way. Over two million Indian men fought on behalf of the empire in several series of wars fought abroad, including the Boer War and the two World Wars, and some remained behind to claim the land on which they had fought as their own. In the early part of 20th century many Gujarati traders left for East Africa in large numbers as if it's an emulation of their ancestors.
In the post World War II period, most of the Indian labor and professionals scattered and it was a worldwide phenomenon. The reconstruction of Europe after the war was provided by Indian and other South Asians, particularly in United Kingdom and Netherlands. In the more recent years the physical landscape of much of the Middle East is transformed by unskilled labours from South Asia. Indians have made their presence visibly felt in professions in countries like the United States, Canada and Australia.

The fact is that the Indian community constitutes such diverse elements as South Asian Hong Kong Muslims, Canadian Sikhs, Punjabi Mexican Californians, Gujarati East Africans now settled in the U.S. by way of England, South African Hindus, and so forth. The question now is who is an Indian? How can we distinguish the Indian Diasporic community as 'Indian'? When we look at the term 'Indian Diaspora' at least in America, the Indian community has occupied a place of considerable privilege that many Indians could sidetrack the moment of recognition that 'Indianness' as opposed to 'American'. In the wake of declining economy and the separation of Indians in clusters for varied reasons has resulted for targets of racial attacks. The 'native dress' of Indian women with the vermillion dot on the forehead is easily considered as the embodiment of a otherness which has made gang of white teenagers to commit crime, who have done in New Jersey. The native Indian costume has been scrutinized and discussed in North America and the U.K in a different perspective. Sikhs in these areas have insisted that they should be exempted from the law that restricts bicyclists and motorcyclists to wear helmets, because such helmets cannot be worn on the turbans. In Californian schools Kirpan has been an issue of disputation.

However, in general the Indian communities who are settled down in any part of the globe maintain some sort of fragile link with the motherland. Of all the things, the most likely bonding to the Indian Diaspora is the 'Bollywood'. What Hollywood is the Western Europe, the Bollywood is to the Middle East and East Africa. It is worthy to note that the Hindi films are found in the grocery and video stores in the United States. They often carry subtitles in Arabic or other language that the Indian Diaspora does not understand in the U.S! Indian 'arranged marriage' can give another dimension to the 'otherness' of the Indian Communities in the USA. The newspapers published by Indian communities will have a section for matrimonial ads. Though it help Indians to locate their community it once again exhibits the 'otherness' in relation to 'Americans'.

There are many elements that can be debatable as we start dwelling on the issues that are related to religion and religious practices of Indians. The religious faith of Indians living in India and Indian Diaspora are rather discussed with the background of religious practices that they carry out. The religious practices of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in the U.S and other foreign countries might have acted as a catalyst in transforming the religious faith in India itself. While pointing out the Indian Diaspora the other question that appears to the fore is the relations between parents and children, food habits and music of Indians abroad... All these diverse elements are constantly altering as the world is growing every second with new perspectives and creativity.
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