Tipston A R – Perspectives on Indians Abroad

Sharma, S. L. “Perspectives on Indians Abroad”. Sociological Bulletin, 38.1. 1-22.   1989. Print.

The article mainly discusses the perspectives of the world on NRIs and diaspora from India living across the world. Also it looks into how in different ways they are explained in the written works about them. The author classifies diasporic writing into three types namely, Historical, Diplomatic and Anthropological (Sharma 4). However the author does not include the literary works of diaspora as a distinguished classification but later refers to them as an analysis of an outcome of close study of history and anthropology of the community.
The article claims that most of the writings are “country specific profiles”. It means that most writings of diaspora deal with either frustration or anxiety about either their homeland or the newly migrated country. As this is a postcolonial concept the writings seem to procure a sense of nationalism from the readers through projecting the problems of diaspora using a colonial lens (Sharma 8). For instance, most of diasporic literary works depict the anxiety of a diaspora community to return to their respective homelands, which is portrayed using the colonial impact which had forced them to move out and lead them to such a state.
Also the article attempts to explain the difference between the “colonial way and the nationalist way” (Sharma 11). As per the colonial way, Indians had to leave the country to meet their economic needs and to find better fortunes to escape the torture and oppression of the colonisers. In other cases were sent in exile as political refugees or taken forcefully as labourers which were no less than a life as a slave. These varied reasons also depend on the economic well-being and the native intelligence of the countrymen. Often, the educated and the well to do moved abroad to settle in Europe during colonisation. Every sixth man in the world population is said to have Indian origin. Such influences also affect the native Indian way of thinking which makes Indian tradition evolve with a blend of colonial elements throughout.
Speaking of adaptation, there are three modes which include, “assimilation” which is to identify themselves among the new country’s traditions as stand outs, “cultural preservation with economic integration” which is to ensure that their cultures from the homeland prevails with the same intensity. In most situations the cultural practises change as per the social institutions and laws of the country. Economic integrity and stability also affects the preservation of culture as the hierarchies within Indian communities based on descents prevail even outside India. “Ethnic politicisation for power cultivation” is to prove the strength of the community in the country as to gain political importance like the Tamils in Malaysia who share equal importance in the country’s politics as the native Malay population. Such external factors have a strong impact on the original Indian way of thinking but leads to different new perspectives and origin of hybrid cultural phenomena which has its own advantages and disadvantages.


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