The Immigrants

The Immigrants

A shrinking community

By Manish Basu

While it is common now with young Kolkatans to scout for better career opportunities elsewhere, the rate of migration is much higher among the people of Chinese origin. “Our hearts sink to see the size of our families shrink, but we must encourage our children to explore better livelihoods," says Liu Kuo-chao, president of Tangra Welfare Society. Read story


Adapting to the Indian lifestyle

By Cordelia Jenkins

“At the end of that year I went to Korea to meet her again," he says. “Then, the next year, we got married and she came to live in Delhi." Sung Bae, small and smiling, hastily interjects: “But we wrote each other letters in between—in Korean and English. He learnt to write the Korean script as soon as I left." Read story


•Struggling with prejudice

By Malia Politzer & Shauvik Ghosh

Nigerians make up an estimated 15,000-20,000 people in India, according to the All India Nigerian Students and Community Association (AINSCA), an organization run out of the Nigerian Embassy and of which Idiong is a co-founder. They make up the largest African population in India, their presence having direct links with the two countries’ shared colonial history. Read story


Longing to return to a free land

By Rahul Chandran

Bylakuppe (Karnataka): Ask Tenzin Chemi what her favourite Indian food is and she will say rava idli. Which is not unusual. After all, a lot of people in this part of the world like the steamed cakes made of broken wheat.

Chemi lives with her parents, grandfather and two brothers in Bylakuppe, a small, largely agricultural settlement, about 9km from the nearest town Kushalnagar, a wayside stop for tourists on their way to Coorg. For a Tibetan colony, the campsites are in an entirely incongruous setting, far from the mountains of the Himalayan range. There isn’t a hill in sight. Read story


Looking for a safe haven

By Tarun Shukla & Appu Esthose Suresh

New Delhi: His long beard and meticulously tied turban make it hard to distinguish Balwan Singh from any other Sikh in the country—until you get to peek into his living room or know that his mother tongue is Pashto, spoken predominantly in southern Afghanistan.

Military service was mandatory for every citizen in Afghanistan at the time. But Sikhs and Hindus, he says, were given jobs only as security guards in the predominantly Muslim country. This meant “you didn’t know if you will return home that day" as chaos reigned in the region following the invasion. “After the invasion it was no longer safe to stay back. We came with what we could bring." Read story


Seeking refuge, finding alienation

By Malia Politzer

New Delhi: Don Bosco Ashalayam is a squat, three-storey concrete building at the end of a potholed road in the heart of Vikaspuri, west Delhi, that serves as a sort of community and job training centre for Myanmarese refugees in the Indian Capital.

Of the roughly 150 refugees working at the centre, Khoi Sian Pau is one of the few willing to talk about the events that led to his exile from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Read story


Fleeing from their own shadows

By Nidhi Misra

New Delhi: Chittaranjan Park in south Delhi, known previously as the East Pakistan Displaced Persons colony, is home to a large Bengali population. The smell of fresh, raw fish in the bustling fish market, where most Bengalis in the area congregate for their daily stock, is overpowering.

“All those men sitting there are from Bangladesh and so is the owner of this shop," he announces, gesturing towards a row of men slicing fish into neat pieces. The shop owner looks up sharply. “He doesn’t know what he’s saying; he’s making it up. We are all from India," the shopkeeper retorts. “I know for a fact that that chap is not from here. Why don’t you tell them where you’re from," butts in another man as he cleans out the scales of the fish. “I have a house in Kolkata, that’s where I live. He’s only joking with you," a worker says over his knife, cleaving a fish’s head in a brisk swipe.Read story


Sri Lankan Tamils anchor island of hope in India

By Anupama Chandrasekaran

Chennai: When Kopalapillai Ratnasingham and his wife Chandramathy set foot in their hometown Trincomalee in north-east Sri Lanka last October for the first time in more than a quarter century, they were greeted by cloudy skies, a light drizzle and a throng of relatives whose sight unleashed an emotional deluge.

The husband and wife landed in Trincomalee a few weeks before the wedding of their eldest son to Chandramathy’s niece, a union allowed in Tamil tradition.Read story