Tracing an Indian Diaspora: Contexts, Memories, Representations


Edited by: Parvati Raghuram, Ajaya Kumar Sahoo, Brij Maharaj & Dave Sangha

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

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    List of Tables

    • 2.1 Indian Occupational Categories in Colonial Burma (1931) 37
    • 2.2 Malaysia—Ethnic Groups as a Percentage of the Total Population (2000) 43
    • 2.3 Singapore Residents by Ethnic Group (June 2005) 47
    • 5.1 East Indian Immigration to the Caribbean, 1838–1917 97
    • 7.1 Indian American Election Candidates, 2 November 2004 165
    • 9.1 Languages Spoken by Parents to their Children (in %) (n = 84) 198
    • 9.2 Languages Spoken by Children to their Parents (in %) (n = 84) 199

    List of Plates and Figures

    • 4.1 Fijian Government Soldiers Push Back a Crowd during the Coup in May 2000 86
    • 4.2 Preparing for the Voters at a Polling Station in the General Election, May 2006 89
    • 5.1 Adrian Cola Rienzi 103
    • 5.2 Cheddi Jagan 116
    • 10.1 Hindi Radio at Diwali Festival, Auckland 2006 211
    • 10.2 The New Sikh Gurdwara in Auckland 223
    • 11.1 Hazrat Inayat Khan, the Indian Sufi Master and Musician Who First Brought Sufism to the West 242
    • 11.2 Children's Theatre Programme at the Urs of Hazrat Inayat Khan in New Delhi, 1999 247
    • 11.3 Participants from India, Australia, the US, Canada and Germany in a Retreat at Hazrat Inayat Khan's Dargah in New Delhi, 2003 249
    • 17.1 Amitabh Bachchan in Ram Balram, 1980 351
    • 17.2 Amitabh Bachchan in Naseeb, 1981 351
    • 17.3 A Still from HAHK!359
    • 9.1 Percentage Distribution of the British Indian Population in the UK 195
    • 10.1 New Zealand Residence Visas and Permits Granted to Nationals of India and Fiji, 1982–2005 (March Years) 214
    • 10.2 Birthplace of Indian Population of New Zealand, 2001 215

    List of Abbreviations

    AAHOAAsian-American Hotel Owners Association
    AAPIAmerican Association of Physicians of Indian Origin
    AIWAAsian Indian Women in America
    AFPFLAnti-Fascist People's Freedom League
    ALTAAgricultural Landlord and Tenants Act
    ALTOAgricultural Landlords and Tenants Ordinance
    AMJCAAll-Malayan Council of Joint Action
    ASHAAsian Women's Self-Help Association
    AWACSAirborne Warning and Control System
    BBCBritish Broadcasting Corporation
    BIABoard of Immigration Appeals
    BJPBharatiya Janata Party
    CAIRCouncil on American–Islamic Relations
    CBIConfederation of British Industry
    CIAMCentral Indian Association of Malaya
    CMIOChinese, Malays, Indians and ‘Others’
    CSRColonial Sugar Refining
    DHSDepartment of Homeland Security
    EICEast India Company
    EUEuropean Union
    FABFijian Affairs Board
    FBIFederal Bureau of Investigation
    FIAFederation of Indian American Associations
    FLPFiji Labour Party
    FTUCFiji Trades Union Congress
    GCCGreat Council of Chiefs
    GRCsgroup representation constituencies
    IACPAIndian American Centre for Political Awareness
    IAFPEIndia America Forum for Political Education
    IALIIndian American Leadership Incubator
    IILIndian Independence League
    INAIndian National Army
    INSImmigration and Naturalisation Service
    IOORIndia and Oriental Office Records
    ISKCONInternational Society for Krishna Consciousness
    LAILeague Against Imperialism
    MCAMalayan Chinese Association
    MCPMalayan Communist Party
    MICMalayan Indian Congress
    NEPNew Economic Policy
    NFIANational Federation of Indian American Associations
    NFPNational Federation Party
    NGOsnon-governmental organisations
    NHSNational Health Service
    NLTANative Land Trust Act
    NLTBNative Land Trust Board
    NRIsnon-resident Indians
    NRMnew religious movement
    NSEERSNational Security Entry–Exit Registration System
    NUPWNational Union of Plantation Workers
    OCAOrganisation of Chinese Americans
    OECDOrganisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
    PAPPeople's Action Party
    PIOspeople of Indian origin
    PNCPeople's National Congress
    PNACProject for the New American Century
    PPPPeople's Progressive Party
    RSSRashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
    SDLSoqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua
    SAMTASouth Asian Mentoring and Tutoring Association
    SOASSchool of Oriental and African Studies
    UGCUniversity Grants Commission
    UMNOUnited Malays National Organisation
    USINPACUS India Political Action Committee
    VHPVishwa Hindu Parishad
    WLPWashington Leadership Programme


    Tracing an Indian Diaspora arrives on the scene when disciplinary studies in the humanities and social sciences are in a state of flux. The volume is not only a major contribution to diaspora studies; it is also a pointer to the new directions in which interdisciplinary research could be fruitfully carried out. Indeed, as the editors argue ‘Diaspora has become a key trope in the humanities today’.

    Central to the book is the premise that diaspora involves the ‘re imagining of territoriality’. For, traditional political paradigms always recognised the territoriality of nation states. As the editors cogently argue, the Indian diaspora today typifies ‘locations of resistance and locations of belonging’. In the wake of 9/11, we find that questions of belonging are increasingly ‘being territorialised, scrutinised and penalised’. There are ‘multiple identifications and contested affiliations’ in the era of global capital. Based on this framework, the volume arranges chapters into four main sections. Each section is preceded by a brief introduction.

    What precisely is achieved in the shift of the study from ‘immigrants’ to that of the ‘diaspora’? Parvati Raghuram, Ajaya Kumar Sahoo, Brij Maharaj and Dave Sangha, editors of this volume, focus on ‘contexts, memories and representations’. They contend that ‘reading the diaspora is most politically productive when embedded in the reality of its production, circulation and appropriation’.

    Straddling several disciplines and knowledgeable systems such as sociology, political science, ethnography, literature, anthropology, geography, history, international relations, women's studies, Tracing an Indian Diaspora is a testimony to the power of this cutting-edge discipline to generate thinking about the diaspora. The volume does not intend to be all comprehensive. Indeed, the editors, in a self-reflexive manner, highlight several areas such as the interface between newer modes of knowledge like digital technology and transnational affiliation that call for a more detailed enquiry.

    Written for the most part in a lucid, jargon-free language, the volume is truly international in character. It seeks out scholars from various parts of the world who offer original thinking on the issue of the (Indian) diaspora in the age of global capital. There is a common thread that runs through the volume, although the editors admit that their effort represents ‘an assemblage’ and not ‘a narrative’.

    Tracing an Indian Diaspora is a landmark volume. It signals the arrival of the new discipline.

    SachidanandaMohanty Professor, Department of English University of Hyderabad


    The editors would like to acknowledge the authors for their contributions to the book. Ajaya would particularly like to thank them for responding swiftly to his often urgent requests during the editorial process.

    Parvati would like to thank the Geography Department at The Open University for providing an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment. Dave would like to acknowledge the support of his colleagues in the Social Work Programme at the University of Northern British Columbia. Brij would like to acknowledge the support received from the Geography Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

    Finally, the editors would like to thank Dr Sugata Ghosh of SAGE Publications for his kind interest and support in bringing out the book in time.

  • About the Editors and Contributors

    Ravinder Barn is Professor of Social Policy and Social Work at Royal Holloway, University of London.

    Sahadeo Basdeo is Professor of History and International Relations, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus in Kelowna, Canada.

    Carl Vadivella Belle is the Inaugural Hindu Chaplain at Flinders University, Adelaide.

    Nandini Bhattacharya is Associate Professor, and Chair, Department of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Toledo, USA.

    Geoffrey Burkhart is Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at American University, Washington, DC, USA.

    Esha Niyogi De teaches Women's Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

    Wardlow Friesen is Senior Lecturer, School of Geography and Environmental Science, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

    Celia A. Genn is Lecturer in Asian Studies at Griffith University and in Religious Studies at the University of Queensland.

    Pierre Gottschlich is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Chair of International Politics, University of Rostock, Germany.

    Robin A. Kearns is Associate Professor, School of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

    Karen Isaksen Leonard is a Historian and Anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine, USA.

    Brij Maharaj is Professor of Geography, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

    Sunaina Maira is Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California, Davis, USA.

    Brinda Mehta is Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Mills College, Oakland, California, USA.

    Cynthia J. Miller is a Faculty Member in the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emerson College, USA.

    Sam Naidu is Lecturer at the Department of English, Rhodes University, South Africa.

    Mala Pandurang is Associate Professor, Department of English, Dr B.M.N. College of Home Science, SNDT University, Mumbai, India.

    Parvati Raghuram is Lecturer in Geography at the Open University, United Kingdom.

    Rajesh Rai is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore.

    Ajaya Kumar Sahoo is Lecturer, Centre for Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad, India.

    Brinsley Samaroo is Professor of History, University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad.

    Dave Sangha is Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada.

    Jaspal Kaur Singh is Assistant Professor, English Department, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, USA.

    Henry Srebrnik is Professor of Political Studies, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Canada.

    Bernard Wilson is Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo.

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