Beyond work: The Indian diaspora

Beyond work: The Indian diaspora

India is hosting an elaborate ‘Incredible India@60’ campaign in New York this week to celebrate 60 years of independent India and to engage Americans and the Indian diaspora there. Mint brings you a special photo essay by photojournalist Steve Raymer from his book, Images of a Journey: India in Diaspora.

Published this month by Indiana University Press, Steve Raymer’s book is a tribute to Indians abroad. Raymer, who was named Magazine Photographer of the Year in 1976, is a journalism professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and has been a National Geographic magazine staff photographer for over two decades.

Images of a Journey: India in Diaspora

Indiana University Press, 2007

Pages: 228, Price: $44.95

Rooted in tradition:

1) One of the largest Hindu temples outside of India, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in the London suburb of Neasden is often called Britain’s Taj Mahal and serves a prosperous Gujarati community. Devotees in Britain largely paid for and built the temple, which is made of 26,300 pieces of hand-carved Italian marble.

2) From Devon Avenue in Chicago to Madison Avenue in New York, Indian- Americans celebrate India’s Independence Day with Punjabi bhangra music and its throbbing drum beats. Half a world away in India, the prime minister customarily addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort in the old city of Delhi.

3) Gazing across Silicon Valley, a turbaned devotee waits for Sunday prayers to begin at the San Jose Sikh Gurdwara, one of six temples in the South San Francisco Bay area that caters to some of the estimated 50,000 Sikhs in northern California.

4) Maintaining their ties to India in the English countryside, on the eve of a wedding, relatives of a Hindu bridegroom dress in their best saris and carry earthenware pots on their heads in a religious ceremony called Ghari Puja.

5) Sharing streets with Somali asylum seekers and Caribbean immigrants, Sikhs in the Punjabi enclave of Southall near London’s Heathrow Airport are making room for newcomers. Even so, Southall’s main street, called The Broadway, contains the largest number of South Asian-run shops in metropolitan London and was featured in the film, Bend It Like Beckham.

6)Juma Masjid, the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, dominates Grey Street in Durban, South Africa’s second-largest city with more than 600,000 people of Indian ancestry among its 3.2 million residents.