Maulana Azad Road
New Delhi, Delhi

Rooting for the roots

The venue for the inaugural session with the Prime Minister of India and the valedictory session with the President of India is Talkatora Stadium. Centrally located, close to the President's Estate, the Stadium hosted the Asian Games in 1982. Talkatora Stadium has sufficient accommodation capacity, with modern facilities.

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Added by santanupal on December 8, 2006



Migration and the making of a citizen

When the nation thinks of South Asian diaspora, it thinks the UK, the US, Sunita Williams, Jhumpa Lahiri, Brick Lane. But a new book charts the several Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan diasporas, from Malaysia to the Caribbeans, from indentured labour to the IT people.

Last week, British Council organised the visit of Judith Brown, Beit Professor of Commonwealth History at Oxford, to the city, to launch her book Global South Asians, Introducing the Modern Diaspora. It is the first of the series New Approaches to Asian History from Cambridge University Press.

Brown, whose work on Gandhi and Nehru (Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope, 1989, and Nehru: A Political Life, 2003) has established her as a leading historian of South Asia, says the book wants to focus on migration as not one journey, but several tasks over generations: making a home, reconstruction of sacred space, becoming a citizen, learning the politics and use of the goods of civil society.

Malaysia hosts the biggest South Asian diaspora. The UK comes second — there are four million South Asians in Britain, which has a population of 60 million.

“The idea of the book,” says Brown, “is to show the diaspora is part of South Asia’s own history as well as the places where they are.”

Brown says Indians are at greater advantage over the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. “Indians have done better. They are fluent in English and Indian women are educated and work. Indian children get a headstart,” says Brown. Fewer Pakistani and Bangladeshi women go out to work or speak English.

There is also some resentment when white people have to move out to accommodate Pakistanis. Pakistani families tend to live close to each other, “and large families in one flat and cooking smells are thought to lower the tone of the neighbourhood”, says Brown. Indian neighbours are better thought of.

But marriage rules bind all South Asians together. They hardly marry outside the community, often sub-community. NRI Gujaratis marry Gujaratis. According to figures from ’90, 91per cent of the spouses of married Indian men were Indian and 93 per cent of female spouses of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis were from the same community.

It’s the same elsewhere. “In the Caribbean, the indigenous black Caribbeans look down upon Indians and Indians look down upon black peoples.”

It’s slightly different in the US, because the South Asians who migrated there were more educated.


NEW DELHI: Union minister for Overseas affairs Vayalar Ravi on Sunday announced that overseas Indian doctors would now be allowed to practise in the medical arena in India.

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