ODI International Conference on 10-11 January 2023. Theme: "Contributions of Indian Diaspora in Freedom Struggles of India and the rise of Global India during Amrit kaal"; Venue: Essentia Luxury Hotel, Near World Cup Square, Pipliyahana, Indore-452016 Phone: 0731672577, Madhya Pradesh; Host University- Devi Ahilya university, Indore.
Conference Announcements
International Conference on �India and its Diaspora Engagement: Comparative Global Practices� organized by Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives, (ODI) New Delhi in Collaboration with Dias
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on "New Indian Migrants' and 'Indentured Diaspora': Emerging opportunity for Indian Foreign Policy" 3-4 November, 2016 Venue: Rabindra Bharti Unversity, Kolkata
Interactive Lecture on "India and Indian Diaspora in East Africa: Past Experiences and Future Challenges by Dr. Gijsbert Oonk, Erasmus University, Holland 2 December 2015 at Conf. Hall 2 at IIC
International Conference organized by ODI on Indian Diaspora in Development of Home and Host Countries: A Comparative Perspective at Kadi University, Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat, 10th-11th January, 2015
OD Conference at Columbia University on A Foot in Each World: South Asian Diaspora Communities in the United States and their Interactions with their Homeland October 17, 2014, 2.00–5.00pm Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building (SIPA)
International Conference on "Women in the Indian Diaspora" organised by ODI in collaboration with IIC and CAS-Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on 10-11 January 2014, at India International Centre, New Delhi
Conference on "Diaspora in India's Foreign Policy and National Security:A Comparative Perspective" on 6-7 November 2013 at New Delhi
International Conference on “India and its Diaspora: A Comparative Perspective” on 29-30 March 2013 at IIC
Books on Diaspora by ODI & its Members
Published in Collaboration with ODI
International conferences of ODI on Diasporas
Organised in India
Interaction and Talks organised by ODI
Collaborations with Academic Institutions
Current Abstract


International Seminar on

India and its Diaspora: A Comparative Perspective

 Concept Note
 organised by Organisation for Diaspora Initiatives (ODI), India International Centre (IIC) and  Jawaharlal Nehru University (CAS/SIS/JNU)
on 29th and 30 the March 2013 at IIC New Delhi
 Sub-themes of  the Technical Sessions
Contingencies and Differences in Indian Diaspora Policies
Ambassador Paramjit S.Sahai
Chandigarh, India
This Paper would look at India’s engagement with its Diaspora, as it gets manifested in ‘Jugalbandi’ – a kind of partnership for mutual benefit, as per the vision of the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, as conveyed at the first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in 2003.  How has this relationship unfolded over a decade?  What is the policy framework and the structures that have been created?  What is the nature and level of Indian government’s involvement with its Diaspora?  What role has been designed for Indian Diplomatic Missions abroad as these connect with the diaspora?
To address the above issues, it would be necessary to understand the role and importance of diaspora in this globalised world? How is Indian diaspora placed in terms of its size, strength and involvement, not only globally, but also in a particular host country? Indian diaspora is globally spread and its size is growing and is around 30 million.  Its role is viewed positively in the host countries, given its involvement in the economic and political structures of the host countries.
In evolving diaspora policies, the states have adopted various approaches, be it as an enabler, a partner or a catalyst. India views its diaspora as a partner, not only as a source of remittances but as a partner in development.  Over the years, the emphasis has shifted towards partnership for mutual benefit, with knowledge-transfer’s, pre eminence, as reflected in the themes of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas.
Like diaspora policies, the states have also adopted different diaspora structures, while engaging with it. These have ranged from the setting up of a separate administrative department of the government or a loose arrangement though a plethora of agencies.  India opted for the setting up of a government department, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) in 2004. Over the years, MOIA has created substructures organizations, such as the NRI Diaspora Advisory Group, Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, International Migration Centre, Overseas Worker’s Resource Centre (OWRC) Annual State level consultations have been held since 2008.  The Paper would touch upon the role and relevance of these institutional structures, in the present day context. Equally important to consider would be the nature and level of India’s engagement and the platforms it uses for such engagement.  The principal platform for engagement is the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) Celebrations. held annually in January every year in India since 2003, alternating between Delhi and a state capital.  PBD 2013 was held at Kochi, while PBD 2012 was held in Delhi. This platform has been supplemented with the holding of Mini-PBD’s abroad, which had been held in Singapore, South Africa, Canada and Mauritius.  The Paper would look at the shifting focus in the PBDs, their inter-connectivity and their relevance.        
Apart from the above structures, Indian Government has evolved a number of programmes to connect with its diaspora. These include, Know India Programme (KIP), Study Indian Programme (SIP), Tracing the Roots etc.  MOIA has also developed Advisories on critical issues such as NRI Marriages, Illegal Migration, Studies Abroad, Indian Diplomatic Missions are now increasingly involved, from the stage of recruitment to the resolution of socio-economic problems faced by the diaspora.  They also connect with the diaspora organizations, such as local chapters of the Global Organization of Peoples of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and other diaspora organizations.
The Paper would look at all the aspects as listed above, in the light of the experience of other countries and make policy recommendations, as to how the existing structures and platforms could be strengthened and an effective communications system developed between the government, states, diplomatic missions and diaspora organizations, which would result in a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.     
By ODI Administrator on 17-Feb-2013


Molly Banerjei
TV Journalist,Toronto, Canada
The Indian Diaspora has developed phenomenally in terms of numerical power, financial prowess and Cultural impact in the international arena. Indian governments under both national  political parties have therefore devised many measures to channel the might of the Indian Diaspora into serving the interests of India, both at home and abroad. The Indian government has tried to bring NRIs closer to India through conventions like Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and by conferring voting rights. The efforts, however well intentioned, have not been able to fully harness the full potential of the Indian diaspora. The NRI community unfortunately is yet to find a fitting advocate of its complaints and issues, in the Indian government. Beyond the sound and space of Indian values and the essence of being Indians, there lies a disenchanted and   disappointed majority among the Indian Diaspora that seeks better recognition from India and a more engaging relationship with the motherland. At the same time, even the Indian government feels quite disheartened by what it perceives as a lackluster response from the other side, hence this potentially powerful relationship finds itself grappling with frustration, disappointment and discontent.This paper seeks to identify the issues from an NRI perspective as well as from the government of India point of view, and provide viable solutions to improve upon the situation to benefit the interests of the Diaspora and India as well.
By ODI Administrator on 17-Feb-2013


Dr.Anita Kiamba
University of Nairobi,Kenya
The Indian diaspora in the East Coast of Africa and more specifically in Kenya has actively participated in the political economy and economic growth of Kenya. Although this phenomena cannot be overemphasized there has been need to understand the participation of the diaspora in the policy formulation and articulation process that has enhanced economic growth. It has been observed that most African countries in the last few decades have directed their attention and cooperation with countries in Asia. Known as the ‘Look East Policy,’ there has been a significant increase in the international relations between for instance, the East African states along the coast of the Indian Ocean with India. However, due to the conservative nature of the diaspora and perceptions held by indigenous and native communities, there has been a gap in the participation of the diaspora community in policy formulation and articulation. Of importance though, is the significant contribution made to the political economy and constitutional development made by the diaspora. The constitutional review, its eventual promulgation and current implementation of the constitution suggests a number of opportunities for the diaspora. The paper argues that he Constitution of Kenya (2010) provides for dual citizenship and equal treatment and non discrimination based on gender, race among other form of discrimination. Consequently, the diaspora who in any case have personal and national links to India have the opportunity maintain more than one national identity. This not only gives them the opportunity for investment among other prospects, it also gives the diaspora the opportunity to influence policy as citizens of Kenya.  Besides, the diaspora has the opportunity to influence policy through affirmative action. Furthermore, due to the marginalisation of minorities, there has been a direct move to ensure that participation and representation in decision making process is achieved. To this extent it would be important to examine the role of the diaspora in the formulation and articulation of policy towards India. The paper concludes and recommends that the dyadic relationship between India and east African states like Kenya will be enhanced through active participation of the diaspora.
By ODI Administrator on 17-Feb-2013

Diaspora as a Resource


Prof. Falendra Kumar Sudan
University of Jammu,India
India’s higher education system now ranks alongside that of United States in terms of scale. As share of GDP, total education spending is lower than in most developed countries. India spends 4.9% of its GDP on education against 5.7% in OECD countries. Besides, non-government spending on education is relatively high proportion of 
total at 25%. Over 12 million students were enrolled in universities and colleges of India in 2009. Roughly 20% of students study commerce, economics or management related courses and tertiary enrolment rates are less than half those in advanced economies such as UK. Thus, while graduate populations are large in terms of absolute numbers, for foreseeable future India’s economies will remain dominated by low skilled labour. By 2030, share of skilled labour in working population will be just 6.2% compared to 14% for world as a whole and 40% in high income countries. This creates a big challenge as India aspires to move up the value chain. While India has made rapid strides in expanding higher education systems, she still faces a number of challenges in terms of effectively utilizing existing supply of talent as well as increasing it sufficiently to meet demands of rapidly growing economy.How to leverage expertise and knowledge of Diasporas for benefit of India is main issue the paper addresses and emphasizes beginning of a new agenda of promoting policy reform and institutional innovation in collaboration with Diasporas networks, which can be crucial bridges between policy, technological and managerial expertise and local scenarios.


By ODI Administrator on 12-Feb-2013


Dr. Amba Pande
JNU/New Delhi, India
Diasporas have emerged as one of the agents of development in today’s world. They are being seen not only as a rich source of funds but also as instruments for human capital formation, philanthropy and sustainable development. The earlier literature on brain drain and loss of skill has given way to the critical role Diasporas can play in retransferring the resources, knowledge and skill back to the home country and enhance its role in the global economy. India’s experience with the IT industry can be cited as one of the best instances of Diaspora induced development. In the unprecedented success story of India’s IT sector a multi- layered gain could be witnessed due to the presence of diaspora, in terms of  direct contribution to the Indian economy; enhancement of  skills;  capital formation (human, social and financial);  inward remittances; FDI flow,  creation of markets and a boost up for India’s image. The presence of Indian Diaspora in advanced countries (as IT professionals and academics) became the turbine to kick start the so called IT revolution in India which proved to be a win-win situation both for the Diaspora and for India.
The paper intends to investigate the role of Indian Diaspora in different phases of the evolution of Indian IT Industry and highlight their role in the developmental process of India.
By ODI Administrator on 17-Feb-2013


Indian Diaspora as a Factor in India-Malaysia Relations
Dr. Amit Singh
Maratime Foundation/New Delhi, India
Diasporas have emerged as a powerful factor in developing relations between nation-states. The Indian Diaspora has notably acted as a catalyst in strengthening bilateral relations between India and the host nations. The India-US Civil Nuclear Deal is a case in point, as ethnic Indians in United States successfully lobbied for clinching of the N-deal. However, the recent incidents of maltreatment of the ethnic Indians in Malaysia seem to have gone against the general trend of strengthening relations between India and the host countries. Relations with Malaysia, which has a significant number of ethnic Indians, too can go either way. As the Diaspora has the potential of further bolstering India-Malaysia relationship to a new height.
The paper aims to study the role of the Indian Diaspora in bridging the gap between India and Malaysia, and enhancing their bilateral ties. It traces the history of Indian immigrants in Malaysia and will examine issues related to the Indian Diaspora in the context of Malaysian multiculturalism. It will also examine the socio-cultural and politico-economic conditions of ethnic Indians in Malaysia. In addition, the study critically analyses India’s Diaspora policy with regard to ethnic Indians in Malaysia.
By ODI Administrator on 17-Feb-2013


Dr.Paokholal Haokip
University of Puducherry, India
The post-Cold War period witnessed a spurt in the study of Diaspora in India and abroad. Indian economic reforms in 1991 and the resultant liberalization and the reshaping of its foreign policy have thrown open the floodgate for Diaspora studies. Dramatic events took place at the global level that brought about one of the most significant changes in the twentieth century and subsequently transformed the nature of international politics. Francis Fukuyama\\\\\\\'s interesting book, The End of History and the Last Man, has garnered an astonishing amount of press. When Fukuyama argues that history is at an end, he means history in the Hegelian or dialectic sense; that is, history as a clash of ideologies. Which subsequently gave a new History called Global/world/transnational History This article will be divided into two main parts. The first section will deal with the historical trajectory of labour migration during the colonial period to the West Indian ocean Island. The second section will made an attempt to trace the transformation of Indian identity from that of labourers to a Global actor in terms of a potential resources for development, wherein the concept of Centre- periphery in historical research will be contextualized. Thus Indian Diasporas who were once unwelcome guest in the host countries, now played a significant role and act as a metaphor of changes in their adopted country.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Prof. Makumi Mwagiru
University of Nairobi, Kenya
Diaspora communities reproduce the social structures of the sending state in the receiving state. Over time, they help to increase the appreciation and understanding of the values of their countries of origin. This reproduction gives them an identity in the receiving state. Existing diasporas in a region – like East Africa – makes it easier for the resident communities to identify with the social and other aspects that are carved by the diaspora. This paper  argues that the exchange of diasporas in the East African region is a way through which regional integration can be buttressed in the region. In essence, making the movement of people easier in the East African region can lead to the emergence of diasporas of East African countries in each other. Once established, these diasporas will help to mitigate the suspicions about regional integration that currently disturb the East African integration project. The paper concludes that the creation and exchange of diasporas in the region is one basis on which a functional East African regional integration should be founded.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Diaspora and Gender


Dr. Bashabi Gupta
Miranda House, Delhi University
The rise of the Indian diaspora across the world has been studied intensively in the past decade as a success story of migration and assimilation with the host nations, making it an important soft power for the Indian state. Widespread globalization processes have demanded migration of larger numbers of skilled labour in the world. Located in this matrix is the new Indian diaspora in Europe. The older diaspora in Western Europe constitute of those who had migrated in the 1950s onwards both as skilled and unskilled labour. The Indian diaspora today is a mixture of the old and the new migrants in Western Europe. Yet within this success story, somewhere missing is mention of the women who are part of the diaspora. They are taken for granted as parts of the families as wives, daughters and sisters. The earlier women migrants are also distinguished by the fact that their mobility was restricted and they only had access to two locations: their place of origin and the place of their destination in the earlier times. They were dependent on their husbands and fathers for migrating to the Western European shores. They were then essentially citizens of the host country to which they had migrated, primarily through marriage related migration patterns, though the linkages that they have maintained over the years with their homelands and host nations are mutilayered and numerous. The women of the diaspora who were born to immigrant parents as well as the single women migrants who are a part of the highly skilled and highly mobile labour force today are however never looked at as independent categories of study in themselves. They are constructed according to the norms of the role that others in the diaspora think that they should play. This makes them the invisible but numerically present part of the Indian diaspora.  This paper looks at the gender relations of these invisible women who form an integral part of the Indian diaspora in Western Europe.
Diaspora and Gender: Discussing gender issues in the Indian Diaspora and the gender deficit in India’s Diaspora policy. Gender is an oft-neglect aspect of the Indian diaspora and India’s policies. Papers may address specific aspects of gender-relations, comparisons between gender-relations in India and among overseas Indian communities, as well as needs to address specific vulnerabilities and needs by policies and Government activities.


By ODI Administrator on 13-Feb-2013

Dr. Kamini Krishna
University of Zambia, Zambia
The migration of Indians in South Africa and in Zambia had taken place in different time, reasons and route. Gradually, both countries experienced the settlement of Indians, who contributed extensively, in different sectors in their new adopted home. Even the Indian women, along with their men folk actively participated in various local sectors that helped them to make their footing better in a new country. It is interesting to note that, even during the early period in South Africa; Indian women were seen taking active part in politics apart from their involvement in economic sectors but the scenario was very different in Zambia where, no doubt, women were quite vibrant in economic area but remained salient in political arena. The article investigates the different roles played by the Indian women in South Africa and in Zambia. It further, examines the reasons which compelled the Indian women to take interest in political activities in South Africa but what made the Indian women not to fascinate and to ignore the politics, in Zambia.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Gunjan Sondhi
University of Sussex, UK
This paper discusses the motivations and desire of Indian students studying in Toronto, Canada to return ‘home’ to India. This paper draws upon my doctoral work which examines international mobility of Indians for education through a gendered lens,. The  data was collected through multi-sited fieldwork in Toronto, Canada and New Delhi, India. Starting from a gendered analysis of motivations to return ‘home’, this discussion uncovers how gendered social relations influence the decisions of Indian international students to return to India. Men and women both missed home and desired that home. However, what is considered as ‘missing’ home is differentiated along gender lines. Most men expressed a desire to return home, to feel ‘in place’, due to their feeling ‘out-of-place’ during their time abroad, wherein they had a harder time fitting in to the different gender contexts.  Men revealed a desire for familiarity with regards to how they made friends due to their inability to relate with others in Toronto. This narrative appeared to strongly influence the desire of men to return. 
By contrast, women’s narratives revealed they missed elements of home, especially those that related to family interactions during festival times. They missed the liveliness and dynamic nature of life in India.  However, this did not play a significant role in their desire to return. For those women who wanted to return, the narratives were shaped around a sense of responsibility to ageing parents, and a desire to build a life with a new partner. On the other side of the coin, women’s aspirations of career were first and foremost in their decision to stay in Canada.  This paper also draws attention to the impact of the power-geometry between family members in India (parents and spouses) and the students livings abroad on the decision to return.  Overall, the aim of the discussion is to highlight the power relations that are negotiated within the everyday life experiences of Indian students abroad and how those relations impact the decision to return to India. 
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

 Sital Baa
 JNU/New Delhi, India
The paper argues for a need to analyse the cultural dimensions of diasporas through the Indian lens as well as those of the Indian origins located in a foreign land. The purpose is to highlight how movies make use of female bodies for different agendas. How do women of Indian origin in the diasporic region position their identities? What role do films play in this process? Literature suggests that Indian women in films have usually been projected as damsel in distress be it the homeland or the hostland. It’s an attempt to analyse how women is the repository of national culture and honour in the process of construction of India overseas. The work will be aimed to answer how women’s sexuality and her body become sites of the cultural reproduction of the nation in diaspora. It is interesting to know how movies made by Indians and those of the Indian origins like Gurinder Chadha and Meera Nair have a different perspective in gender relations compared those with Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar. Films have been instrumental in determining the women’s status in the society if she can enter the stereotypical roles as homemaker or nursing but alternative fields as sports. Notions of family values, religion, as well as the forms of marriage, are briefly examined. This paper attempts to explores the development of depictions of females in the Indian diaspora in films like Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gam, Bend it like Beckham and Bhaji on the Beach. The narratives of these films are considered cultural translations that expose inter-generational culture-clashes in the spaces between Indian and Western cultures respectively.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013


Indian Diaspora :Comparative Analysis


Prof Dr. Karen L Harris
 University of Pretoria/Pretoria, South Africa


This paper proposes to compare the Indian and Chinese indentured labour systems introduced into colonial South Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Between 1860 and 1911 the Colony of Natal imported 152 184 Indians to work primarily on the sugar plantations and between 1904 to 1910 the Transvaal Colony reverted to the importation of 63 695 Chinese to work exclusively on the gold mines. While both the Indian and Chinese labour schemes have received considerable academic attention in their own right, relatively little work has been done in terms of a comparative dimension. This may partly be ascribed to the inherent differences between the two schemes, despite the fact that the British colonial authorities orchestrated both. It will be shown that to a large extent the experiences of the former Indian labour system informed and determined the nature of the Chinese scheme. It will however be argued that the impact of the one upon the other went far beyond the legal parameters of the indenture contracts and regulations, having ramifications which swept across the  broader societal domain and which impacted on the very different place and perception of these two minorities in subsequent  South African history.


By ODI Administrator on 13-Feb-2013

Prof. Vinesh Y. Hookoomsing
 University of Mauritius,Mauritius
What makes Mauritius a global island? The core of the answer lies in the genesis of how this desert island was brought / born into the world by Western colonization as the latter spread to the Indian Ocean.
Early globalization based on conquest and expansion, slave labour and migration, already under way in the so-called “New World”, set the pattern of imperial dominance, albeit with significant adjustments. The “Ancient World” of Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa, was a world in itself, too vast and resilient to be absorbed. It was present in small Mauritius right from its creation, and flourished under British rule. Independence opened the gateway for Asia – India and China in particular – to participate in and contribute to the rapid process of industrialization and diversification of the Mauritian economy.
Today’s post(-)colonial polycentric world is witnessing an economic and power shift to Asia, with Africa asserting itself as a resourceful continent with growing expectations. It is also witnessing the rise of a growing middle class whose global impact on social and political development is already being felt. These and related global trends of human, natural and technological resource development seem to hold the key to the future of the world and of the Indian Ocean people in particular. Many of these trends are part of the intertwined root ingredients that have shaped the destiny of modern Mauritius now aiming to be a regional transcultural hub on the strength of its diasporic diversity.
This new ambition, showcasing the country’s multilingualism and multiculturalism, raises questions about the relevance and appeal of heritage and tradition in a global context of growing- cultural mix and fluidity.Can regionalization and the power shift to Asia bring forth a forward looking perspective reflecting the dynamic interconnections of roots and multiple identities? With South Africa as a potential challenger, can Mauritius pool together its creative resources, enhanced with mainland input, to offer a branded package of Asian language-culture-philosophy-modernity as part of its transcultural hub ambition?
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Dr.Manish Karmwar
 University of Delhi/New Delhi, India
Today, Africans and their descendents are found on every inhabited continent. African traditions have influenced socio-economic culture. This global presence is due largely to the African Diaspora--a movement of people of African descent to areas outside their homeland. To study the African Diaspora is, indeed, to study the world. This is the first realization to which any scholar of the African Diaspora comes very early in the process, for at least two reasons: (a) Africa is the birthplace of human civilization, and from there human beings migrated to various locations worldwide; and (b) African peoples in our contemporary understandings (continental Africans and African-descended peoples) exist globally, following a series of subsequent migrations. While all migrations do not necessarily create a diaspora, what is particular to diaspora creation includes, first of all, a migration, but second, some historical, emotive, political, economic, and cultural connections to that homeland and a consciousness of that interaction.
 In ancient times Africans traveled across the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the India Ocean as merchants, sailors soldiers adventures, and slaves. Ethiopian traders settled on the Arabian perunsula and in the 
Persian Gulf region long before those areas become part of the Romen Empire. Africans were taken as slaves to Arabia and Persia. People of African slave descent living in Arabia, the Persian Gulf region and India became known as Siddis and Habshis. Africans sometimes rebelled against their lowly status. By the 1500s Europeans were competing with Arabs to trade both goods and slaves in Asia. Arab vessels carried Africans to the farthest reaches of Asia, including Indonesia. China, and Japan. The Europeans began abolishing the slave trade in the 1800s, but Arab traders continued to carry slaves from ports such as Zanzibar in East Africa to Arabian and Asian markets. By 1830 the city of Karachi in present-day Pakistan was importing about 1,500 African slaves each year.
Africans came to India in different circumstances through the ages. They played a vital role in the court- politics of various dynasties. They came as migrants, traders and sometimes, as slaves and were absorbed in the military and administrative services. Their involvement in the court-politics increased so much sometimes that they emerged as king-makers also. In the Janjira and Sachin kingdoms they rose from king-makers to Emperors. The work is devoted to find how African migrants were transported to Asia from different regions of Africa in early days, and how fairly well settled and assimilated with Asian society. The study also tries to convince the fact that Indian culture has been enriched, influenced by the African culture and African Diaspora played a significant role in socio-political and economic condition of India.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

African Union and Its Diaspora Policy
Dr.Bijay Ketan Pratihari
 Jamia Millia Islamia/New Delhi,India
Diaspora has become an important factor for the African Union. African Union has decided to consider it as the sixth region of Africa. It has constituted a high level committee to discuss all aspects of its diaspora policy. It has recognized to build sustainable partnerships between the African continent and the African Diaspora through sustainable dialogue. The Africa Union wants an effective collaboration with governments and peoples of different regions of the world in which the diaspora populations are located. There is a need to celebrate and preserve the shared heritage between Africa and peoples if African descent in the diaspora. 
African diaspora represents a historical and evolving experience which calls for an approach that is sensitive to the specificities of the different regions. In this regard African Union has devised various programme of action.
African Union calls for the enhancement of south-south cooperation through closed collaboration between it and all the intergovernmental bodies in regions in which Africa Diaspora population are there. The AU should be the focal point and the coordination hub of all diaspora initiatives in the continent. Therefore diaspora issues should be a standing item on the programmes and agenda of AU summits.    
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013


India and its Diaspora in Asia


Dr. Mahalingam M
Centre For Policy Analysis/New Delhi, India
Malaysia has a substantial number of Indian Diaspora which can be categorized as ‘old Diaspora’ or People of Indian Origin (PIO). Malaysian Indian Diaspora can also be called as ‘labour Diaspora’ as well since large numbers of them had gone as plantation labourers through ‘assisted’ and ‘unassisted migration’ systems. The assisted mechanism was popularly known as ‘kangani’ in the context of Malaysia by which the mass exodus of Indian migrants were outsourced through hassle free transit process with the support from  British government in India as well as in Malaya as it was called earlier. Thus, the formation of Indian Diaspora in Malaysia is a colonial phenomenon. As per the 2003 Census, Indians were around 1.76 million representing 7.5 percent of the Malaysian population. The majority of Indians follow Hinduism as their faith. It can be said that Hinduism was‘re-created’ as a significant minority religion in Malaya as an outcome of the waves of Indian migration during British colonization. Moreover, for the facilitation of labour immigration, the labour agreements were signed in which the colonial authorities of Malaysia lured the labour immigrants by providing three Ts, i.e., Tamil school, Toddy shop and Temple on the plantations. As a result, one could find that many temples were built on the fringes of plantations where the Tamil labour immigrants were settled. Apart from Tamil labour migrants, traders—especially Nattukottai Chettiars of Tamil community, professionals, North Indians and Ceylonese Tamils—also built Hindu temples on various locations. The immigrants were interested in building temples so that the Hindu culture, identity and tradition could be kept alive on the alien soil. Further, there is a strong belief, cultural conviction and practice among Tamils that wherever there is a settlement, either village or town or a small place, there should be a temple, otherwise, for a Hindu, his/her life is incomplete. To support this belief, the researcher would like to cite an old adage by Tamil poetess Avvaiyar, “[D]o not live in a place where there is no temple’ (as in Tamil, ‘kovil ellatha uril kudierukka kudathu’)” and another saying ‘the temple worship will make everything good’ (‘Alayam tholuvathu salavum nandru’). Secondly, it was believed that those who took greater interest in temple construction or maintenance of temples would acquire great merit and be blessed. From the recent past, due to pro-Malay racial policies and Islamisation coupled with Islamic extremism enacted by the long lasting ruling party United Malay National Organization (UMNO), many Hindu temples are being demolished since from recent years by various pretexts without considering the cultural sensibilities of the Malaysian Indian Hindu community. The Malaysian Indian Hindu community has been resisting by waging various forms of struggles to protect their cultural symbols. For instance, the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) organized a massive demonstration in the recent past for the protection of Malaysian Indian Hindu human rights. This paper sheds light on the racist nature of a nation state and patterns of resistance struggle being waged by a minority ethnic community as to protect their identity symbols. The paper analyses the whole social phenomenon through the concepts of racism and resistance with the help of case studies.


By ODI Administrator on 13-Feb-2013


Dr. Saroj Kumar Rath
Hosei University,Japan
Indians in Afghanistan and Pakistan are, although lucky to live in the neglected neighbourhoods, victims of hostile and discriminatory local environs as well as state persecution. Afghanistan, described as one of the cradles of Indian civilization, where once the enlightened Buddha himself had travelled, the conditions of Indians in Afghanistan are palpable and precarious. Once a bustling centre of Hinduism and Buddhism, people of  Indian origin are now dwindling and diminishing in the country. However, incessant civil wars and scant avenues for livelihood never acted as deterrents for the mammoth 45,000 Indians who were living a good life in Afghanistan until 1990. However, gradual and steep rise of violence against the Hindus and Sikhs; the onset of neo-fundamentalist intolerance towards Indians; and the absence of support from any source evaporated the number, which reduced to a mere 1000 in 2001. The decade after 2001 did not witness improvement in the headcount of Indians except the fact that nearly 1500 Indian workers travelled to Afghanistan to work during the past five years. Similarly, Pakistan also holds the dubious distinction of being intolerant to the Indians. Because of the same umbilical root connection, terminologies like ‘Person of Indian Origin’ do not hold meaning for the Indians living in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Due to this, India’s Diaspora in Afghanistan and Pakistan is a contested subject. The topic normally takes religious turn and the persecution of Indian Hindus in Pakistan wrongly viewed as persecution of persons of Indian origin. As of 2012, Pakistan has 2.7 million Hindus in a Muslim-majority population of 180 million. In the event of state or private persecution, the Pakistani Hindus see India as the first destination to flee. But their march into India faces legal intricacies as India does not have a national refugee law. India deals with arrivals from neighboring countries on an ad hoc basis. Thousands of Pakistani Hindus who have come to India since 1990s have still not received Indian citizenship. Nevertheless, such issues have received little scholarly attention.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Prof.Bali Bahadur
Punjab University, India

From centuries Punjabis have been emigration to the different parts of the world, they followed different trends and patterns in different periods to different countries. But a totally new dimension was added in the profile of Punjabi emigrants after the oil boom in the Gulf countries. Large numbers of Punjabis youngsters started emigrating as semi-skilled or unskilled workers to the Gulf region to meet the need of huge construction work in this region. This paper examines the emigration of Punjabi Dalits to the six member countries (UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar) of the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) of Gulf region. It also through some light on the process of dalits emigration to the developed and Gulf countries. Attempts have been made to know the number of Punjabis in this region. This paper also high lights the poor living and working conditions of the dalit emigrants in the host countries by focusing on the problems faced by them.

By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Dr.Chhaya Goswami
 University of Warwick,UK
The presence of Kachchhi merchants in Muscat and Zanzibar, since the second half of the eighteenth century, is closely linked with the economic transformations of Oman and the seacoast regions of East Africa. The triangular circumnavigations of ships established the Kachchhi settlements throughout the Omani dominion.  The Hindu merchants’ diasporas generally had similar characteristic of free and ‘porous’ movements. In case of the Muslim merchants, it was less transient and more of a one dimensional movement. But, both the communities showed prodigious flexibility in the settlement and adaptation in the distant spaces. During their transient or permanent stay, they shuttled between the dichotomy of old and new identities and also from ‘rootless-‘ness’ and reconnection to the place of origin. These ‘birds of passage’ used homogeneous business practices strongly built around the support of the family members and kinship ties. By means of the family ties and the posting of relatives to areas as distinct from one another as India, Arabia and Africa, merchants were able to control and to redirect trade to their own advantage. The migratory wave of the Kachchhi “passengers’ also had an essential role in the construction of the status of traders, middlemen and trading minorities they received during their stay. After a successful control over the coastal economy, the Indian trans-nationalisms acquired an added magnitude when they opened new successful migration destinations, and extensively connected trading with the hinterland.Keeping in mind the comparative paradigm and various constructs influencing the Hindu and Islamic diaspora in the Indian Ocean this paper maps the impact of religion and culture on their trading and settlement overseas.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Dr.Chuah Guat Eng
In 1921, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan wrote in The Hindu View of Life, “Half the world moves on independent foundations which Hinduism supplied. China and Japan, Tibet and Siam, Burma and Ceylon look to India as their spiritual home.” Today, many Malaysian descendants of past diaspora from China and Ceylon continue to benefit from Indian Diasporas through the ages. For some, India is also a source of literary inspiration.
This paper examines three Malaysian English-language novels by descendants of non-Indian diaspora – two Chinese and one Ceylonese – that are influenced by Indian literary conventions. The influence goes deeper than surface allusions to Hindu mythology and Indian epics. It affects the novels’ narrative structures, strategies and techniques, to reveal philosophical frameworks based on Buddhist/Hindu theories of fiction and reality, and the convention of using literary fiction to expose the fictional nature of received ideas and ideologies mistaken for reality in and by society.
The novels, published in 1981, 1994, and 2010 respectively, provide an insight into how three generations of non-Indian diaspora descendants (and therefore members of ethnic minorities) address the highly ethnicized policies and ethnocentric rhetoric that have dominated Malaysia’s political, socio-economic, and social life since the 1970s.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013


Indian Diaspora and its issues in India,Europe and the United States of America

 Issues and Challenges of Integrating the ‘Others’: A Study of Diaspora Communities in Europe
Dr. Sheetal Sharma
 JNU/New Delhi,India
From facing issues related to integration of immigrants and minorities to religious fundamentalism, uncertainties and economic slowdown Europe is confronting challenges like never before in past fifty years. Among these, the integration of the ‘others’, the immigrants or the diaspora community, is a major challenge. The process of integration and differentiation of diaspora communities is happening simultaneously in social, cultural, economic and political sphere.With multiculturalism being pronounced as failure by many European countries, policy of interculturalism is seen as an alternative. This paper attempts to explore reasons for contrasting tendencies in social integration of diaspora community in Europe. The paper also intends to explore issue pertaining to multiculturalism and interculturalism as policy options for social integration of the ‘others’ in Europe.


By ODI Administrator on 13-Feb-2013

Dr.Sunil K Choudhary
 University of Delhi/New Delhi,India
The process of globalization has created multiple channels of inter-country migrations making all the societies of the world pluricultural. This phenomenon, which is rather recent for the countries of the North, has necessitated development of multicultural ethos. Countries of the North such as the United Kingdom and France are now becoming homes for the Diasporacommunities. They are now attempting to cope with this trend of ever rising Diasporic presence, particularly represented by the people of their former colonies, particularly from Asian, African and Caribbean subcontinents.
Often characterized as ‘Modern Diaspora’, ‘New Diaspora’ and ‘Transnational Diaspora’, the current phase of migration is characterized by several new features:  there are now multiple destinations; the reasons for such mobility are also varied – people go to other places not only for study or for short sojourns but for better economic prospects and also with a view to permanent settlement.Already studies are being undertaken to investigate this new phenomenon of migration as it affects the economy – both locally and globally.  But very little has been done to see how these “Outsiders-turned-Insiders” are participating in the democratic functioning of the polity.
Britain offers a good research site to investigate this relatively unexplored phenomenon in view of having significant numbers of settlers from her colonies. The growing electoral participation of ethnic groups appears to 
have affected the nature and scope of British polity over the years. In view of their growing participation and increasing representation, multi-ethnic Britain is in the phase of transforming from “ethnic colonization” (Ballard, 1994) to “political colonization”. The paper is a modest attempt to study the role of Indian Diaspora in the political transformation of contemporary Britain.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Different Shades of Castes among Indians in US
Dr.Vivek Kumar
 JNU/New Delhi,India
Social Scientists, baring a few, deny existence of Caste in Indian Diaspora. It is a fact that caste does not exist among Indians in Diaspora as an institution of stratification system per say. However, the empirical reality suggests that caste is not totally absent among the Indians in Diaspora. On the basis of field-work done by the researcher during January 2012 till May 2012 in different States of US at least three different shades of caste can be observed among Indians in US. These three shades are, one, caste can be observed in the form of relationships which gives birth to networks and endogamous grouping. We all know that in terms of endogamy the membership of a caste has to be ascribtive i.e. membership by birth. Hence caste system assumes potential to influence patterns of interaction of its members in Diaspora. Different matrimonial websites and matrimonial columns in the different newspapers in US is testimony to the existence of endogamy and thereby caste in Indian Diaspora. The second shade of caste among Indians in Diaspora is that it exists as an institution of discrimination and exclusion. That means discrimination and exclusion exists in the name of castes in Diaspora. In this Paper I will highlight how caste discrimination and exclusion on the basis of higher and lower status of castes existed among Indian even in US; especially in the States where Indians are in substantial number. The third shade of caste among Indian in Diaspora in US can be observed when different castes cutting across their regional, religious and linguistic .etc. boundaries transcend to form a community. In this context the paper will analyse how different castes among the Dalits of India have formed a formidable group cutting across their religion, region and linguistic boundary to unite under one Dalit identity. And now they are using it to as a symbol of assertion and emancipation. To conclude we can safely argue that these three shades of castes will grow stronger and stronger as the time pass by and have potential to create a caste conflict as it is happening in UK.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013


Dr. Shinder S. Thandi
 Conventry University,UK
Punjabi diaspora is one of the oldest of the ‘free’ Indian regional diasporas with a history of over 125 years. Given this long history it would not be surprising to learn that it is economically, socially and politically well positioned in its host countries. Further, although globally dispersed, it is predominantly located in the three economically advanced countries of USA, UK and Canada, thereby enhancing its potential to play a significant role in homeland development. Yet despite this, compared to other regional diasporas, it continues to have a troubled, almost Janus-type relationship, with the Punjab state. This is reflected in the lack of a constructive engagement between them, with both diaspora communities and state governments continuing to make hollow promises.  The paper will seek to explore the reasons behind the failure in developing a constructive engagement, focusing on the socio-economic characteristics of the Punjabi diaspora and the nature of Punjab’s as well as India’s outreach policies. It is argued that recent trends in the evolution of overseas Punjabi communities and nature of the economic and political environment in Punjab act as formidable barriers towards building a partnership for development. It does seem paradoxical, especially in the context of current debates on the diaspora-development nexus, that despite being once the most prosperous state in India with a rich and vibrant diaspora, Punjab should still continue to slide down the economic league table of Indian states.     
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Dr. Harpreet Kaur
 Guru Nanak Dev University/Punjab,India
The paper would study the Sikh diaspora in the California in the USA and studies the queer mix of connect and disconnect with Punjab. This paper exclusively deals with the political arena of diasporic interaction and based on 100 interviews presents a case of ‘romanticization of homeland’- a characteristic feature of the diaspora communities.  The paper examines their views on the 2012 Assembly elections and analyzes the same.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013


Indian Diaspora in Eastern and Central Africa

Dr. Rajneesh Kumar Gupta
Delhi University,India
The Indian Diaspora today constitutes an important, and in some respects unique, force in world culture. Over 24 million Indians have their presence in all corners of the world. It will not be an exaggeration to say that ‘sun never sets in Indian Diaspora’. Latest available estimates on overseas Indians indicate that current Diasporic strength of India in Africa is about 2.7 million and they are spread in. 46 countries of Africa covering all linguistic, cultural or geographical regions.
There is an obvious question of the role of Indian Diaspora in the promotion of Indio-African partnership? Indian Diaspora has been an important non-state actor in promotion of social and economic ties between their host-land and motherland. Indian socio-cultural organization such as Arya Samaj, Sikh Councils etc. are not only acting as a tool to link Indian communities with their motherland but also engaged in various philanthropic activities in African countries. Similarly, business tycoon like Chandaria, Madhvani, Mehta families etc. who holds substantial shares in the economy of their respective countries are heavily reliant on their offices based in India to run their businesses.
Another fact which has been largely ignored is role of Indian Diaspora in state level political relations. There is a general belief that strength of Indian Diaspora in African countries (except in Mauritius) is so negligible need not to even discuss this aspect. However, it is a matter of fact that, Indian Diaspora has been an important driver in bilateral political relations of India with African countries. India has distinct political and economic ties with Anglophonic African countries rather than Francophone or Lusophone Africa, largely due to presence of large number of Indian communities in Anglophone Africa. Even within Anglophone countries India’s relations varies according to treatment with PIOs in host countries. Having distinct relations with Mauritius (including several high level political visits and special kind of arrangement in bilateral trade relations) and for the several years after 1970’s Idi Amin’s expulsion episode, disserted relations with Uganda could be best example to cite in this regard. On the other hand, India has almost lost her Diaspora in South Africa, as India rejected any kind of bilateral relations of Apartheid regime.
In short, Indian Diaspora has an important role in promotion of India-Africa partnership. As a non-state actor they are vital force in the ‘track two diplomacy’ to promote socio-cultural and economic ties. At the same time they also influence state level political relations. They are an asset to India needs to be explored their potential for the promotion of our age old partnership with Africa. This paper would envisage above mention aspects.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Ruchi Verma
 JNU/New Delhi,India
With the beginning of 21st century the process of global economic, social and cultural integration has received a stimulus from the presence of transnational communities. In such circumstances study of the Diaspora has gained momentum. In fact, Indian Diaspora is playing a very significant role in international affairs due to its presence in large numbers in almost all parts of the World.This study will look into the India and Africa relations. This study will particularly focus on Indian Diaspora in Tanzania and Kenya and thus, taking Indian Diaspora into account will try to look into India- Africa relations. Indians have a long history in Tanzania and Kenya starting with the arrival of traders. Indian Diaspora has contributed in political, social and economic sphere of these countries. Indians have also contributed immensely in the freedom struggle of Tanzania and Kenya. In fact, they fought together with the native people against the colonial rule. This study will look into their contribution. To contribute in the freedom struggle of Tanzania many Indian associations came up like East African Indian National Congress (EAINC) or Kenyan Indian Congress and Tanganyikan Indians established the Asian Association. In case of Kenya, Mombassa Indian Association, East African Indian National Congress, Kikuyu Central Association, and similar associations were formed by the Indians for joint action against the colonial powers.  Though, after independence experiments in socialism and Ujamma village life led to discrimination against Indians. Same as in Tanzania, the history of Kenyan politics for Indians since independence has also been punctuated by vitriolic outbursts against Indians. This study will thus also look into what was the nature of policy followed by the Indian government during that time and how it has impacted India and Africa relations. Thus, this study will try to look into the various aspects of India-Africa relations by taking into context Indian Diaspora as a heritage resource. 
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Dr. Sophia Thubauville
 Goethe University/Frankfurt,Germany
While under the socialist DERG Regime before 1991 most Indians had left Ethiopia, currently, Ethiopia’s Indian community is rapidly growing. The Ethiopian economy develops at a rapid pace and attracts many foreign investors and business men. But it is above all the country’s ambitious university boom (from 2 to 32 in less than a decade), which has led to a high demand in foreign academics, that attracts Indian nationals.
Therefore, the Indian diaspora in Ethiopia is a community with a very high educational background.The paper wants to show its’ gender divide concerning employment and career possibilities. While mostly male academics migrate to Ethiopia to accept jobs as university lecturers, they often take their wives along as “tied migrants”. Having often no lower educational status than their husbands, these women find few career possibilities in their new country of residence.
Based on qualitative research at Haramaya University - where currently about 100 Indian academics are employed - and its adjunct town Harar– where most Indian academics reside - the paper wants to take a closer look at the mentioned gender divide in this distinctive Indian community.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Prof.Richard Agbor Ayukndang Enoh 
University of Beau,South West Cameroon
This paper titled “Interacting with the Diaspora: Government Communications, Platforms and Structures, A neglected ingredient for development: The West African case of Cameroon” gives a fillips of some countries across the globe and the negative manner in which they deal with their Diaspora. Most of these issues come up due to the challenges being posed positively by most Diaspora which are more observatories for development and change with the political, economic and social situations in most African countries; where democracy have refused to take its course and leadership structures have become an inherited phenomenon. 
Positive criticisms cannot come from within their respective communities for fear of being arrested and asulted, those in the Diaspora are the “power force” to objectively denounce the political, social and the economic injustices going within their respective countries. The paper further emphasized on the neglect if not refusal for the government to allow communities strategies in open platforms/symposia’s or conferences for Diaspora to come home for a roundtable ..which would have an impact on change, prospects and developmental strategies for their respective home-countries. Significantly enough, the paper will x-ray much and direct examples on West African political, social, and economic situations which her Diasporas have been demanding an opportunity for government proposals to be involved in its change and developments strategies.
In specific terms, the Cameroon government has not shown interest or has refused/ neglected its interaction with her Diaspora due to their challenging ideas of change and growth. In summary, the paper will elaborate on some solutions that if meted by the government could actually give a positive drive for Diaspora integration and developments in Cameroon.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Dr Nirmala Gopal
University of Kwazulu Natal,South Africa

The family is considered to be the social structure that is most effective in passing on traditions, beliefs, and values from one generation to thenext. This paper is based on research that is aimed at identifying the links between religion and family life, and to ascertain the opinions of parents and youth about their religious identity. This article examines the process by which two generations of people of Indian origin viz. parent and child, [re]construct their religious identity. The primary research question asks how these two generations of South African Indians construct andunderstand religious identity and religious diversity in the 21st century. The sample consisted of married couples and their children from the threemain Indian faith groups i.e. Hindu, Muslim and Christians in Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa. Data for this article was utilised from personallyadministered questionnaires with families around the Durban area.  In a country of religious plurality, it is imperative for parents and children to understand their own identity both in terms of their own unique characteristics, and to compare and contrast this to their religious identities and practices. Such identity constructions could vary between the generations but also show certain similarities as ‘differences within identity’.

By ODI Administrator on 28-Feb-2013


India-Africa: Harnessing Diaspora Resources
Dr Nivedita Ray
Fellow, iCWA
Diasporas have begun to play an increasingly important role in the domain of international economy and politics, being contemporary global forces shaping the direction and trends of international development in the 21st century. Many countries also have come to recognize their Diasporas as repositories of tremendous ‘soft power’. Both India and Africa see their diaspora as a strategic resource available to contribute to their country’s development. They are proactively engaging their diaspora for increasing their sphere of influence and building effective partnerships for their socio-economic development.  
The Indian diaspora in Africa has a substantial presence and diverse spread in Africa. Individually and collectively Indians in Africa have grown in stature today. They are occupying important positions and are contributing substantially to the development and prosperity of their host country. They have played the role of unofficial ambassadors for India, as investors and facilitators- exporting and importing goods, and facilitating better economic relations. This huge Indian Diaspora in Africa can be asset for both regions, as they occupy a vital strategic position that links India and Africa in a meaningful way. If they are galvanized they can play a role as valuable strategic actors in strengthening India- Africa Partnership. Both India and Africa should try to reap maximum benefits from the strategic bridge building potential of the Indian Diaspora
However there are challenges. In several countries in Africa, Indian diaspora have gone through numerous experiences and challenges on issues related to loyalties to the host country, official and non- official discriminatory policies and most importantly racial hatred. Being economically prosperous but a minority, they have been the easy target of the government as well as majority groups. This poses immense challenge for India’s policy making and thus its engagement with its diaspora in Africa in the context of strengthening bilateral relations.
In this context the paper would like to address the key questions as to how should India navigate its policies to harness the potential of its diaspora, so as to maximize country’s strategic and development goals? How can India and Africa partner not only to effectively use the Indian diaspora as strategic resource for strengthening their relationship, but also to build capacity of their government to transform their Diasporas into an effective resource.


By ODI Administrator on 13-Feb-2013


Indian Diaspora in Southern Africa

Prof.Goolam Vahed
 University of Kwazulu Natal,South Africa
International sports sanctions against the apartheid government resulted in the isolation of South African cricket from the rest of the world for 21 years - from 1970 to 1991. When the country was readmitted to world cricket, India was the first to welcome the \\\'new\\\' South Africa onto the international scene and the team played three one-day internationals to much fanfare and capacity crowds. The game of cricket has changed considerably since South Africa was readmitted to international cricket. These changes have included the emergence of powerful television stations and mega-dollar payments, which has shifted the power away from administrators, the ‘invention’ of a shorter version of the game (Twenty/20 cricket), and the formation of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which attests to the power of India in world cricket. As a result of television, cricket is now a global game that can be watched all year round. This growth has been accompanied by seedier developments, with betting scandals involving some of the great names of international cricket being one example. All though this period, India and South Africa enjoyed a “special relationship”, one that culminated in the sacking of Gerald Majola, the Chief Executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), and Lalit Modi, chairman of the IPL. Race, class, globalisation, and neo-liberalism for the backdrop to this story.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013



 Prof. Anand Singh
University of Kwazulu Natal,South Africa

South Africans voted for their first democratically elected government in 1994, with the belief that economic opportunities, accessibility to political office as well as to educational facilities would no longer be based upon racialised entry patterns.  The hope was grounded in the African National Congress’s (ANC) Freedom Charter that was devised as a working framework for post-apartheid South Africa.  Couched in the most non-racialised language, the Freedom Charter served as a beacon of hope for a discrimination free South Africa. Amidst all the euphoria and enthusiasm there lay ahead of its re-visited policies a plethora of machinations that has given rise to the crudest forms of Africanisation through the marginalisation of other racial categories, including the Indian and Coloured minorities. These two population categories were inclusively referred to as “Black” during the struggle against apartheid.  “Equity”, “affirmative action” and “Black economic empowerment” – have become the buzz words for entry into educational institutional institutions, employment - especially in government departments, and assistance for small and medium businesses. While the necessity of privileging the most discriminated (Africans) amongst the previously disadvantaged is understood, the cost at which it is being carried out is extensively viewed as being more damaging than constructive to the post-apartheid economy.  Increasingly marginalised, people of Indian origin (PIOs) and Whites are frantically reassessing their future options for both inside and outside South Africa.  This paper will discuss the options from especially Indian medical respondents whose exhaustion with the new realities are turning them against their own commitments to remain and serve their country.  The data will be more descriptive and ecclesiastic and will avoid a theoretical leaning in order to portray it as closely to the perceptions and experiences of the respondents themselves. 
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013


Philip Li Ching Hum
 Organisation for Diaspora Initiative,.Mauritus
The Indian Diaspora is one of the most dynamic, spanning over the four corners of the globe from Alaska to Azerbaizan  with over 27 millions souls sharing a common invaluable heritage of Indianness . Mother India is the rising elephant and a magnet for investment- a young nation and an ancient civilization embracing economic globalization..Gone were the days when the Western World looked upon India with a mixture of pity and contempt. But now the West looks upon it with fear and admiration. The Indian peninsula, a land stretching from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean is the cradle of millennial and prestigious civilization of Indus Valley,the land of spirituality, of Mahabarata,of Ramayana,the Vedas and Upanishads,of great religions like Hinduism,Buddhism and Jainism, a land with the largest democracy in the world and of satyagraha ( philosophy of non-violence and truth) engineered by Mahatma Gandhi.India remains a fascinating country  of paradoxes : the rickshaw plying its way while the BMW whizzes  amidst dire and abject poverty with glittering wealth.It is also one of the few countries to have bagged Miss World Beauty Contest several times.The  ubiquitous children of Girmytia have carried in their luggage their rich legacy of Indianness .From massala dosa to chapatti the India cuisine has become global. Little India will never miss the sights,sound and smells of India .Bollywood films transcend all barriers in the West .Rabindranath Tagore sang the praises of India in his poem Bharat
The Indian diaspora has known different waves of migrations and the first catalytic one was in Mauritius and other  sugar plantation countries .Under British colonial rule after the abolition of slavery an organized mass exodus of indentured labourers started: they were shipped across the kalapani to plantations overseas like Mauritius,South Africa,Trinidad,Guyana and Surinam in the Carribean and Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. It was a distorted form of slavery with same humiliations, cruelty and atrocities-- a tale of sweat,tears and blood.They were lured away from different parts of India and sometimes by force to the plantation islands and were made to believe  that Mauritius was an El dorado.From scratch they have nevertheless under adversity of unimaginable inhuman hardships toiled day and night to irrigate the soil with their tears , sweat and blood and transform the arid rocky soil of the island into a paradise island.Untold misery was buried in their heart and their saga was heart-rending.The Chinese shops played a major role in this context with the credit system .The memory of the Indian indentured forbears will always inspire us to work hard.In the Indian diaspora Mauritius is an exception and the children of Girmitya have climbed the social ladder from a hoe to a pen  under the salvation of education on the path to liberation .It took them only two generations to strive hard to break away from the shackles of tyranny. They have started from ox-cart and now drive in duty-free BMW. They have resisted the onslaughts of proselytism and  have preserved their culture jealously .Mauritius has become an offshore banking centre for investors who channel their investments in India through the island.The ties between India and Mauritius are cemented with years on solid rocks.India is even prepared to protect the maritime economic zone of the island with the help of its navy.
Indian diaspora has taken a new dimension.The Netherlands became the target of mass exodus of Indians from Surinam after that colony qained independence in 1975.The Dutch granted citizenship to the people of Surinam.We have a similar exodus of Indians from Uganda under the tyranny of Idi Amin in 1971 to Great Britain.The Persian Gulf countries recruited Indian labour with their petro-dollars It was of  recent origin and this diaspora has no second or third generation members born in the country of residence.India benefited much from its economic effects of its remittances especially Kerala,Their mantra was to make money and return home to enjoy the fruits of their sacrifices. Among the Indian diaspora the most prominent one is in the USA .Initially it was decried vehemently as a brain drain to India and a brain gain to USA .But recent statistics have revealed that these apprehensions are no longer justified.They have become the ambassadors of  India to USA.If all the Indian doctors left USA  one day the American health system would collapse. The 50s and 60s witnessed an influx of Indian white-collar job-seekers into the States Some research  institutes are almost totally manned by Indian staff.Graduates of the  five Indian Institutes of Technology (I.I.T) produce annually 100,000 graduates, one fifth work and live in USA as evidenced by Alumni Registers.Many though settled in USA and Canada find their attachment to Mother India  indissolubly strengthened.<Phir bhi dil hai Hindustan >,vibrate in their souls.The success-story of Bobby Jinda in the American political arena cannot be left untold  The Silicone Valley and NASA are mainly occupied by Indians. Unlike early emigrants the Indians in USA torn between 2 cultures  seriously consider of returning home one day.Their Indian values  are deeply embedded in their souls.Among the more than 2 millions Indians in the USA there are about  200,000 dollar millionaires and  inculcated with the Indian philosophy of keeping money for rainy days they repatriate it to India.They repay their debt to India for having been made what they are today.They support economic development of Bharat.They never forget the India they have left behind.Today we have global Indians in different parts of the world .We have NRI (Non –residents Indians and PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) who amount to 25 millions across the universe and are Indian citizens  with their passports but live more or less permanently abroad and PIO are Indians by birth or parentage who have acquired citizenship of another country.The issuing of PIO cards is a token of recognition of their contribution.In many ways the Indians are model immigrants.Conscentious,diligent and focused on merit-based and education-dependent advance, their human skills are much sought after.Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft rightly pointed out<It seems to me that the Indian miracle demonstrates the wisdom of sustained investment in the primary asset of any modern economy—people>There is the recognition of Indian labour and talent across the world.
 President George Bush said in Red Fort Delhi on March 2006 "At the heart of a civilization that helped to give the world mathematics, cutting-edge businesses now give us the technology of to-morrow.In the birthplace of great religions, a billion souls of varied faiths now live side by side in freedom and peace.When you come to India in the 21st century you are inspired by the past, and you can see the future"


By ODI Administrator on 13-Feb-2013

Contributions and Emerging Role of South African Indians in Strengthening India-South Africa Relations
Dr.Vidhan Pathak
University of Mumbai,India
The South African Indian origin community numbers around 1.2 million and constitutes about 2.5 percent of South Africa’s total population. The majority of the Indian community came to South Africa during 1860 – 1911 as indentured labour to serve as field hands and mill operatives in the sugar and other agricultural plantations. South African Indians played an important role in the anti-apartheid struggle beginning with Mahatma Gandhi and followed by leaders like Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Dr Monty Naicker and others. It was in South Africa thatbarrister M.K. Gandhi, as the leader of a Diasporic community born and subsequently changed into Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Indian nation.
While Indian settlers in South Africa began their life on the lowest rank of the social and occupational hierarchy, today they are one the most economically advanced South Africans. They are among South Africa’s highly successful businessmen, professionals, civil servants, academics, corporate managers and even politicians. The Indian community has made its way through its tremendous input and contribution to the 
economic and political life of the country. In the post- apartheid South Africa also, there has been a scope for South African Indians to rise up with the structural changes in the South African society, polity and economy and contribute for the development of the country. On account of their illustrious political, cultural and economic achievements over the years, they can play a constructive role in the development and transformation of South Africa.
People of Indian origin are extremely important sources of support for the Indian Government in the execution of its policies through the influence and respect they command in the countries in which they live. Indian Diaspora has help India raise its standing abroad and has spread Indian influence. While India has emphasized its cultural and civilizational links with Africa for decades, its soft power diplomacy has received a boost with the new initiative to rope in its Diaspora in strengthening relations with Africa. Indian Diaspora is certainly an important factor in India’s relations with the South Africa. It played a prime and crucial role in bringing South Africa and India closer during the struggle against apartheid. Their contributions to South Africa as a political group during apartheid period and now as the most advance educational and professional ethnic group is one of the important driver of Indo-South African relations. They provide familial and trading links between the two countries and have remained instrumental in increasing exports from India. They are also responsible for strengthening cultural understanding between the two countries. South African Indians with their entrepreneurial skills and capital can play a direct and an intermediary role in promoting India’s relations with South Africa.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

Bobby Luthra Sinha
 Basel University,Switzerland
Is the Indian Diaspora in South Africa a cultural as well as a political asset to India? How have Indian South Africans been influenced by social and political changes in India and vice-versa?  Can India play a broader political role in South Africa's ongoing quest for the democratic deliverance of services to its people?  Relevant examples from the old as well as the new social movements amongst the Durban Indians in South Africa will be used to provide some answers to the above posed questions. Voices of actors from the field will be juxtaposed alongside archival evidence. The paper seeks to discover how some symbols and frames centred around 'non-territorial Indianess' are lifted by these actors and used for three purposes. Firstly, for gaining contextual legitimacy in the process of nation building as South Africans . Secondly, for operating as a credible 
diaspora and keeping their historical ties and legacies with India alive. Thirdly, for re-confirming time and again that only when seen as an indispensable asset by South Africa, can they open up and build their mutual relations with India to newer heights.
By ODI Administrator on 18-Feb-2013

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