The South Asian Diaspora numbers just under 30 million people worldwide, and it is recognized as the most widely dispersed diaspora. It is, moreover, one which of late has seen phenomenal growth, both due to natural increase and the result of a continued movement of professionals and labourers in the late 20th and early 21st century from the subcontinent to countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Singapore.
This book uses the concept of transnational networks as a means to understand the South Asian diaspora. Taking into account diverse aspects of formation and development, the concept breaks down the artificial boundaries that have been dominating the literature between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ era of migration. Thereby the continued connectedness of most historic South Asian settlements is shown, and the fluid nature of South Asian identities is explored.
Offering a unique and original insight into the South Asian diaspora, this book will be of interest to academics working in the field of South Asian Studies, Diaspora and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Transnationalism and Globalisation.
Table of Contents
Introduction Rajesh Rai and Peter Reeves Part 1: Transnational Networks 1. Ethnicity, locality and circulation in two diasporic merchant networks from South Asia Claude Markovits 2. The social world of Gujarati merchants and their Indian Ocean networks in the seventeenth century Murari Kumar Jha 3. Subaltern networks in a colonial diaspora: a study of Indian migrants and Mauritius Marina Carter 4. An entrepreneurial diaspora? Transnational space and India’s international economic expansion Peter Reeves Part 2: Socio-economic Identities & Change 5. Indians in Southeast Asia: migrant labour, knowledge workers and the new India Amarjit Kaur 6. Indo-Fijians: roots and routes Brij V. Lal 7. From Bharat to Sri Ram Desh: the emigration of Indian indentured labourers to Suriname Chan E.S. Choenni 8. Sociological reflections on the diasporic Bangladeshis in Singapore and USA Habibul Haque Khondker Part 3: Culture & Changing Diasporic Identities 9. The attrition and survival of minor South Asian languages in Singapore Rajesh Rai 10. Forging kinship with food: the experience of South Indians in Malaysia Theresa W. Devasahayam 11. Bhai Maharaj Singh and the making of a ‘model minority’: Sikhs in Singapore Tan Li Jen 12. ‘The familiar temporariness’: Naipaul, diaspora and the literary imagination: a personal narrative Vijay Mishra
Rajesh Rai is Assistant Professor at the South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore. His research interests are in the fields of diaspora studies and transnational identities, nationalism and the post-colonial history and politics of South Asia. He is assistant editor of The Encyclopedia of the Indian Diaspora (2006), and has published several articles on various aspects of the South Asian Diaspora particularly in Southeast Asia.
Peter Reeves, Emeritus Professor of South Asian History at Curtin University (Perth, Western Australia), was Visiting Professor and Head of the South Asian Studies Programme (SASP) at the National University of Singapore from 1999 to 2006. His research interests include the history of the South Asian diaspora, the history of fisheries in colonial South Asia and the maritime history of the Indian Ocean since 1800. He was executive editor of The Encyclopedia of the Indian Diaspora (2006).