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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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More Than 150,000 Indians in UAE Register to Return to India

150,000 Indians in UAE register to fly home

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UAE Indians aeroplane
More than 150,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have registered to fly home during the coronavirus pandemic, as per the latest figures with the e-registration launched by the Indian missions. Pixabay

More than 150,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have registered to fly home during the coronavirus pandemic, as per the latest figures with the e-registration launched by the Indian missions.

“As of 6 p.m. on Saturday, we received more than 150,000 registrations,” Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul told Gulf News on Saturday.

A quarter of them want to return after losing their jobs, he said.

“About 40 per cent of the applicants are workers and 20 per cent are professionals. Overall, 25 per cent have cited job-loss as the reason for leaving the country.”

UAE Indians aeroplane
Keralites comprise more than one million of the 3.4 million Indians in the UAE and they have registered to fly back home. Pixabay

About 10 per cent of the applicants are visit/tourist visa holders who were stranded after the flight suspension and lockdown in India. The rest of the applicants include those with medical emergencies, pregnant women and students, Vipul said.

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The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Wednesday night began the e-registration for forming the database of their citizens wishing to fly home.

While there are Indians registering to return to various states, the Consul-General told Gulf News that 50 per cent of the applicants were from the state of Kerala.

Keralites comprise more than one million of the 3.4 million Indians in the UAE.

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Vipul however, said the missions have not yet received intimations from the Indian government about the mode of transporting the stranded citizens, the pricing of the tickets or how the COVID-19 test results of applicants would be assessed for their journey.

“There are high-level discussions going on regarding these things,” he said, adding that the e-registration would be open “till the time the issue (of repatriating Indians wishing to return home) stablilises”. (IANS)

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More Than 32k Indians in UAE Register to Fly Back Home

Over 32,000 Indians in UAE register to fly home

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UAE Indians
"Workers in acute distress, medical cases, pregnant women, the elderly and the group Indians stranded in Dubai Airport," are likely to get first priority when the government resumes services for repatriation, he said. (Representational Image). Pixabay

More than 32,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wishing to fly home during the COVID-19 pandemic registered their details after the Indian missions in the country launched the e-registration of expats, it was reported on Friday.

“As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, we received more than 32,000 registrations,” Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul told Gulf News.

UAE Indians
More than 32,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wishing to fly home during the COVID-19 pandemic registered their details after the Indian missions in the country launched the e-registration of expats. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Wednesday night announced they were accepting the registration.

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Within minutes of announcing the launch of the registration process, the site faced technical issues prompting the missions to delete the tweet about it and repost it hours later on Thursday morning.

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The Consul General however, reiterated that the registration in the databank does not guarantee a seat on the initial flights that would be arranged to repatriate the most deserving categories of people.

“Workers in acute distress, medical cases, pregnant women, the elderly and the group Indians stranded in Dubai Airport,” are likely to get first priority when the government resumes services for repatriation, he said. (IANS)

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Indian Missions in UAE Begin E-Registrations for Expats Wishing to Travel Back Home

UAE Indian missions open e-registration for expats wanting to go home

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India UAE
In the notice, the mission stated: "All Indian nationals in the UAE are hereby informed that the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of India, Dubai, have uploaded a form for (the) collection of data to create a database of Indians who wish to travel back to India under COVID-19 situation." Pixabay

Indian missions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have opened e-registration for expats wishing to travel back home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported on Thursday.

In a Wednesday nigh night tweet, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi announced the details of data collection through the website of the Indian Consulate in Dubai, reports Gulf News.

In the notice, the mission stated: “All Indian nationals in the UAE are hereby informed that the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of India, Dubai, have uploaded a form for (the) collection of data to create a database of Indians who wish to travel back to India under COVID-19 situation.”

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But Minutes after posting the tweet, the mission deleted it citing “technical issues” as some users were having trouble accessing the page.

India UAE
Indian missions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have opened e-registration for expats wishing to travel back home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the Consulate General of India in Dubai reposted the link, warning that it may take “some time for the page to load due to high traffic”.

Several Indians in the UAE, including pregnant women, elderly patients, stranded visit visa holders and those who lost jobs, have been requesting their government to help them fly back home during the travel restrictions and lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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As first reported by Gulf News on Monday, the Indian missions were readying to compile the details of those wishing to return home following reports from India that the Indian government was making preparations to receive its citizens from abroad.

The missions were awaiting more clarifications from New Delhi regarding the details that need to be collected and “some more issues” that needed to be clarified, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor had told Gulf News on Monday. (IANS)