Twelve well researched papers
THE SOUTH ASIAN DIASPORA
(TRANSNATIONAL NETWORKS AND CHANGING IDENTITIES)
1.With the guidance of two editors, twelve well researched papers written by different authors present the south asian diaspora. This is the eleventh book of Routledge contemporary South Asia series, edited by Rajesh Rai and Peter Reeves. 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. Peter Reeves, Emeritus Professor of South Asian History at Curtin University at Perth, Western Australia. His research interests include history of the South Asian diaspora, the history of fisheries in colonial South Asia and the maritime history of the Indian Ocean.
2. This book uses the concept of transnational networks and changing identities as means to understand the South Asian diaspora. It starts from the definition of diaspora with special reference to South Asian diaspora. Taking into diverse aspects of formation and development, the concept breaks down the artificial boundaries that have been dominating the literature between the old and new era of migration. In this way the continued connectedness of most historic South Asian settlements is shown. And the fluid nature of South Asian identities is explored. This book has three parts consisting of four papers each.
3. The first part of the book looks at the role of transnational networks in providing space and context for building of the economic and social features of the diaspora communities. The four chapter in this part discuss four very different situations in which it is possible to observe the networks of various kinds. In the first paper, Claude Markovits discusses the nature of trading relations within firms, within the mercantile life of the cities and between the far flung trading regions. He also examines the popular perception of a correlation between certain ethnic groups and their areas of business success. Murari Jha's paper elucidates upon the interlinked social worlds amongst different groups of traders which led to Gujarati diasporic movements to various parts of the Indian Ocean. Marina Carter examines subaltern networks in Indian labour diaspora of Mauritius. Peter Reeves' paper is concerned with merger and acquisition in the globalised world economy.
4. The chapters of Part II deal with the social and economic issues and circumstances in different regions. Amarjit Kaur's paper shows the changes manifested by Indians communities in Burma, Singapore and Malaysia as impacted by social, economic and political matters. Brij Lal reflects the the changing identities of three generations of Indo-Fijians with indian root and Filian experiences. Chan ES Choenni in his paper elucidates upon the journey of Indian labours to the Dutch colony of Suriname under the British empire and its emigration process. In his paper, Habibul Khondker describes the daily lives and routine of diasporic Bangladeshis in Singapore and USA.
5. The last part of the book is concerned with the questions of identity in a cultural context. In his paper, Rajesh Rai studies the development of minor South Asian languages in Singapore and role of transnational media. Theresa Devasahayam in her paper argues the South Asian women Malaysia about change in type of food but continuation with traditional concerns. Tan Li Jen's paper studies the the Singaporean Sikh community of colonial era still remembers Bhai Maharaj Singh - a prominent historical and religious figure. In the last paper Vijay Mishra talks about the ruptured identity of old Indian plantation diaspora.
6. The book has been laid out logically and most of the issues have been explained in a lucid manner. This book is worth reading by persons in uniform as well as others, both because of the pain taking research and the well articulated thoughts. The print quality is good and reader friendly. The book is priced slightly at a higher price and could have been ideal at Rs 350/-.Maj Deepak Bora, ENGRS.