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Hindus and Muslims at peace in Trinidad and Tobago: Strong need to convey Indian diaspora stories to the world, says Author Aliyyah Eniath

Talking about taking Indian characters abroad, Eniath said no book had earlier focused on the East Indians

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Temples in Trinidad Image Source: Wikimedia

New Delhi, September 1, 2016: Debuting with a book that gives voice to the lives of people of Indian origin in Trinidad and Tobago, author Aliyyah Eniath believes there is a strong need to convey the stories of the diaspora to the world.

People in this Caribbean nation- where nearly 40 percent of the 1.3 million population is of Indian origin- “still tightly hold on to a lot of cultural practices. Diwali is a huge festival which is a week-long celebration in Trinidad. There is no difference between Hindus and Muslims back home. Conflicts between India and Pakistan do not affect our lives”, Eniath stated.

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“It is very important that we get our stories to the world. We have so many stories to tell. It is important that our voices are heard, that the world should know about us too because India has a huge population and is a significant part of the world population. And it is not all about American writing — it should be about Indian writing too,” Eniath, the author of “The Yard” (Speaking Tigers, Rs 350, pp 272) told IANS in an interview during a visit here.

Although Eniath was born and brought up in Trinidad and Tobago, her roots lie in Uttar Pradesh.

As an author, she believes it is “unfortunate” that publishers in Britain and the US are not too keen on stories about the Indian diaspora. But the Indian publishing industry is doing its bit to fill the gaps. “When I got the offer from the Indian publishing house, I could not refuse as I see India as a big platform for diaspora writers,” added Eniath, who is director of a lifestyle magazine.

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For her, the book and its characters are a medium for telling the world how the diaspora has been living in Trinidad and Tobago.

“My book focuses on the experience of one family living in The Yard where the characters are compelled to live together. Many Indians living in Trinidad share similar experiences as well. I think that it does convey the emotional and family bonds as well as the culture, especially the Muslims, about whom I have written and how they have different views on religion,” Eniath explained.

Talking about taking Indian characters abroad, Eniath said no book had earlier focused on the East Indians. “Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri are writing on the immigrants’ experience, but in Trinidad and Tobago, it is different as we really don’t feel like immigrants since we have been there from the start. So it has always been a British-Indian-African community.

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“The writing is a bit different but is sort of trendsetting because I don’t think such a book has been written before with such a strong T&T and Indian connection. So I think it is a bit new as well,” said the author who wanted to become a writer ever since she read “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens.

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Choosing Indian characters was inevitable as it is “easier to relate to characters based on my experience” she said, adding: “I grew up in the close network of an Indian family in Trinidad and Tobago where everyone was involved in everyone’s life. I wanted to write about the extended Indian family.”

And given her fascination with love stories, it was also inevitable that her debut effort is also a love story.

“I am a huge fan of love stories with happy endings, but like them with some layers to it. Mine is a little different; it is mainly a love story but it is also heart-breaking. I do like very much to write about love hoping that it will connect to readers in a big way and it is also what I love to write about,” said the author. (IANS)

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Muslim Assassins Receive More Media Coverage in The US Than Their Non-Muslim Counterparts

Muslims carry out only 12.4 percent of the attacks in the US but comprise of 41.4 percent of media coverage

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Terror attacks receive massive media coverage
Media coverage. Pixabay.
  • Terror attacks by Muslims receive more attention by media
  • Attacks committed by white men are not given much importance
  • People are increasingly becoming fearful of Muslims

New Delhi, July 5, 2017: As per an academic study, the terror attacks committed by Muslims receive greater than approximately five times media coverage as compared to those performed by non-Muslims in America. According to the researchers from Georgia State University, there existed a 449 percent growth in media presentation when the assassin was a Muslim as per the analysis of terrorist attacks in the US between 2011 and 2015.

A survey found that even though Muslims carry out only 12.4 percent of attacks during the period of study, they get 41.4 percent of the news coverage which suggests that the media disproportionately scares people of the Muslim terrorists which builds up an avoidable hatred for Muslims. One way to overcome and prevent this is by covering news more evenly and proportionately as their fears are highly misplaced.

Scientists considered US newspaper coverage of all terrorist attacks in America and computed the articles committed to each attack. It was found that the Boston Marathon bombing which took place in 2013 committed by two Muslim attackers and killed three people, comprised of almost 20 percent of all the news coverage relating to terror attacks in the US during a period of five years. In a sharp contrast to this, a massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012 that killed six people and was undertaken by a white man received only 3.8 percent of coverage.

Also read: Unless Pakistan Curbs “high-profile terrorist attack” towards India, ties will Worsen: US

A mass shooting carried out by Dylan Roof who is a white man, at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, which left nine people dead got it hands on just 7.4 per cent of media coverage. Moreover, an attack by Frazier Glenn Miller in 2014 on a Kansas synagogue killed three but received a share in just 3.3 percent of reports.

The claim made by President Donald Trump in February that the attacks committed by Muslims receive less coverage is unsupported but he was right in saying that the media fails to provide enough coverage to some terrorist attacks.

Prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter: @Hkaur1025

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Australia to abolish 457 existing Visa programmes, Changes won’t affect Indians much: Harinder Sidhu

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Harinder Sidhu said that the number of India-born Australians has tripled in the last one decade providing relief by ousting fears over the new visa regime

New Delhi, May 9, 2017: After Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced last month that he will be abolishing the existing 457 Visa programme, currently used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment, the country’s High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said on Tuesday that she did not expect the move to affect Indians much.

Speaking at a media interaction organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps here, Sidhu said the move to abolish the 457 Visa programme was aimed to ensure that people who come to Australia should be properly qualified.

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The 457 Visa programme is used mainly to hire foreign workers in the restaurant, IT and medical industries and the majority of such visa holders came from India, Britain and China. Turnbull’s statement, coming days after he visited New Delhi, caused a lot of consternation in India.

According to government statistics, 95,758 people were living in Australia under 457 Visa programme last year, with the highest proportion coming from India (24.6 per cent), followed by Britain (19.5 per cent) and China (5.8 per cent).

Sidhu said that most of the Indian 457 Visa holders work in the IT sector and, given the “great shortage” of IT workers in her country, “we expect Indians to continue to qualify” for Australian visas.

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“This (457 Visa) is just a temporary visa that allowed people to come and work for a week to four years,” she said.

She said that the number of student visas issued to Indians has also continued to rise over the last three years.

From 46,000 student visas issued in 2014, the number rose to 53,000 in 2015 and to over 60,000 in 2017, the High Commissioner said.

As for incidents of racism in Australia, Sidhu, who is a person of Indian origin, said that Australia was “one of the most successful multicultural societies” with people from 120 countries.

“There is a policy of zero tolerance at all levels of government (on racism),” she said.

In this connection, she also pointed out that 48 per cent of Australia’s total population of 24 million are first and second generation migrants.

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As for India-Australia ties, the High Commissioner said that both countries shared “a fairly strong bilateral relationship”.

She said that during Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to India last month, he and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed to “add fresh momentum” to the bilateral ties.

Stating that both countries shared common strategic and security interests, Sidhu said that military ties were growing in numbers, “notably bilateral naval exercises”.

She also said that both countries shared a “strong economic relationship” while mentioning that Modi and Turnbull have agreed to “move forward” on the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

Later this year, the largest ever Australian trade delegation will visit India for the Australia Trade Week.

According to the High Commissioner, the personal relationship between Modi and Turbull is very important for growth of businesses in both countries. (IANS)

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101-year-old Indian Woman Man Kaur bags Gold in 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games in New Zealand

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101-year-old Man Kaur , Twitter

Auckland, April 24, 2017: Indian Man Kaur, 101, won the 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games here on Monday. Hailing from Chandigarh, Man Kaur was the lone contender in the 100-years-and-over event which she completed in a minute and 14 seconds.

She will also compete in the 200m race on Wednesday, and has registered to take part in the shot put and javelin throw events.

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Man Kaur has raced her way to glory in many championships with training from son Gurdev Singh, who lives in Canada and is also a runner. She took to running at the age of 93 on encouragement of her son.

She has won more than 20 medals in the Masters Games across the globe.

“I follow whatever my son does. I train every day with my son. I like to keep myself fit and healthy. I will continue running till the death,” she was quoted as saying by tvnz.co.nz. (IANS)