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Indian Diaspora in Malaysia

Malaysian Indians account 7.3% of the total population of Malaysia

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Sri Mahamariamman Temple Malaysia , Wikimedia Commons

By Akanksha Sharma

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia, cleaved into two lands by the South China Sea. One part is located on a peninsula of Asian mainland which flaunts bustling cities, colonial architecture, tea- plantations and islands. Another part is located on the northern third island of Borneo which comprises of wild jungles orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes.

India Malaysia locator. Wikimedia Commons
India Malaysia locator. Wikimedia Commons

Indian migration towards Malaysia

  • First Wave: Indians firstly arrived at Malaysia during the pre-colonial period, when Rajaraja Chola launched an attack via naval expedition conquering several Malay kingdoms.
  • Second Wave: In the second half 19th century, mainly Tamil and Telugu Indians were brought to Malaysia to work as laborers on plantation, ports, railway lines and ports.
  • Third Wave: After the 1990s, many Indians migrated to work as professionals mainly in IT sector and unskilled labor. There are also foreign spouses from the Indian subcontinent who married local Indians.

Today, Indian community consists of mostly Tamils (80%), followed by Keralites, Andhrites, Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis and Gujaratis. Malaysian Indians account 7.3% of the total population of Malaysia. A major portion of Indian community is engaged in rubber and palm plantation and a smaller section works in services like railways, police and food business.

Malaysian India Congress is the largest and oldest Indian political party in Malaysia. According to www.indiandiaspora.nic.in, at present, it has got 14 seats in Malaysian parliament which include one Cabinet Post, two Deputy Minister’s post and two Parliamentary secretary’s post.

Related Article: Ramli Ibrahim: A Malaysian steeped in Indian classical dances

Indian community has contributed enormously towards Malaysian cuisine

  • Indian Muslim restaurants and stalls are referred to as ‘Mamak’. The word ‘Mamak’ is a Tamil term for maternal uncle or ‘Maa-ma’. These restaurants are popular for dishes like Roti Canai (flattened bread) , Nasi kendar (steamed rice) and Posembur (Malaysian Salad).

    Roti Canai , Wikimedia Commons
  • Indian cuisine in Malaysia is mostly based on South Indian cuisine. Dishes like Idli, Vada and Dosa are very common for breakfast.
  • Snacks like Murrukku and Banana chips are made to mark on Deepavali.
  • Sweets like pasayum, halva and ghee balls are also very popular.

 Indian Malaysian Festivals

  • Thaipusam– the biggest Hindu festival is celebrated every year. It falls in the Tamil month of Thai ( January-February). It is devoted to Lord ‘Murugan’ and ‘Kartikeya’, the son of Shiva and Paravati. The celebration takes place on a huge scale at the Batu Caves. Devotees carry Kavadi , a wooden arc , as an act of atonement on this festival.
Devotes celebrating Thaipusam at Batu Caves, Malaysia. Wikimedia Commons
  • The popular Hindu festival ‘Festival of Lights’ – Deepavali is also celebrated by Hindu communities.
  • Pongal the Harvest festival is celebrated among Tamils and Onam is most popular among  the Malayalee community.
  • Other festivals like Makar Sankranti and Lohri are also celebrated.
  • Indian Muslims celebrate Ramadan.

Akanksha is a student of journalism in New Delhi. Twitter @Akanksha4117

 

 

 

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India will soon ask Malaysia to extradite Preacher Zakir Naik

India will soon approach Malaysia with a request to extradite hardline Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

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India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik
India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik. wikimedia commons
  • India will seek the Malaysian government’s help in extraditing televangelist Zakir Naik who faces charges of money laundering and inciting hatred through his sermons broadcast on Peace TV, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Zakir Naik obtained permanent residency in Malaysia 

Officials will approach their Malaysian counterparts with the extradition request sometime within the next two weeks, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told a weekly news briefing in New Delhi.

“Any formal request seeking the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition requires a completion of the internal legal process involving consultation with other ministries involved in the case,” Kumar said.

“At this stage, we are nearing the completion of this process and as soon as this process is complete we will be making an official request to the Malaysian government in this matter,” Kumar said. “It could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. But it would be soon and the nature of our request would also be clear.”

Naik fled India a month before terrorist carried out a massacre at a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in July 2016. This week, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said the Islamic preacher legally obtained permanent residency in the country, and that Malaysian authorities would arrest him only if he broke local laws or was found to be involved in terrorist activities.

Naik’s speeches allegedly inspired some of the militants who carried out the siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka, where 29 people, including 20 hostages and five gunmen, were killed.

In November 2016, the Indian government banned Naik’s Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation, which partly funded the Peace TV channel that is banned in India, Bangladesh and several other countries.

Kumar said because the Indian government had knowledge of Naik’s whereabouts, the legal procedures would be tailored to requirements between the two countries in their extradition treaty.

Advocate challenges charges

“Naik is being hounded because he hails from a minority community. The charges that the investigating agencies are trying to frame are all stale and are hardly incriminating,” advocate S. Hariharan told BenarNews in a phone interview from Delhi.

“The charges lack veracity and would not stand scrutiny in the court of law. We will be challenging the extradition and deportation.”

Last week, the Indian government filed a 61-page charge sheet against Naik alleging he was involved in a criminal conspiracy by lauding terrorist organizations. In April, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him in an alleged case of money laundering through his NGO and a shell company.

In Malaysia meanwhile, the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has urged the government to ignore any request from India to extradite Zakir Naik, Reuters reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang wrote last week in an opinion piece published in Harakah Daily.(BenarNews)

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Asia Cup : India Emerge Champions for third time, Beat Malaysia in Asia Cup Hockey Championship

India emerged victorious for the third time

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(representational Image) India vs Malaysia Hockey Match wikimedia

Dhaka, October 22, 2017 : India overcame Malaysia 2-1 in the final on Sunday to win the Asia Cup hockey championship for the third time.

Ramandeep Singh (3rd minute) and Lalit Upadhyay (29th) scored for India. Shahril Saabah (50th minute) scored the reducer for Malaysia. (IANS)

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Recent Trends among the Indian Diaspora and its Increasing Significance

As the Indian diaspora is increasingly organizing itself in the host countries by accumulating the resources, it may have potential impact on the economic, social and political landscape in India.

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Indian Diaspora
Indian Diaspora organizing community identity in the host country

The Indian diaspora is a generic term representing the people who migrated from the Indian territories to the other parts of the world. It includes the descendants of these groups. Today, over twenty million Indians which include Non-Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin are residing outside the Indian territory as Indian diaspora. According to a UN survey report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world. In 2005, Indians formed the world’s third-largest diaspora. The Indians who settled overseas in the 1960s for more developed countries such as US, UK, Canada, Australia and Western Europe formulate the category of the New Diaspora.

What are the popular host countries for the Indian Diaspora:

The 2010 estimates of Census data of US, UK and Canada suggest that Indian diaspora constitutes three million people in US, 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom and one million in Canada. Indians are the fourth largest immigrant group in the United States. Also, five million emigrants from India residing in the Gulf region at present.

The History of Indian Diaspora:

A brief overview of the history of Indian diaspora suggests that the first group of Indians immigrated to Eastern Europe in the 1st century AD from Rajasthan during the reign of Kanishka. Yet another evidence of migration was witnessed in 500 AD when a group immigrated to Southeast Asia as the Cholas extended their empire to Indonesia and Malaysia thereby spreading the Indian culture in these states. Thus the early evidence of the diaspora was found during ancient times. The medieval period witnessed the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism during the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms. Mughals took Indians as traders, scholars, artists, musicians, and emissaries to the other parts of the country.

Old Diaspora:

The first wave of the Modern Indian Diaspora, also called the Old Diaspora, began in the early 19th century and continued until the end of the British rule. The Dutch and French colonizers followed the suit. Indians were sent in large numbers to become the bonded labourers for sugar and rubber plantation in their colonies.

Indians in Caribbean, Africa, and Asia:

By the end of World War 1, there were 1.5 million Indian laborers in the colonies in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. At present, around 60% of Indian diaspora is constituted of this Old Diaspora.

Impact of Immigration policies on Migration from India:

After the Indian independence, a large number of unskilled and some skilled Punjabi male Sikhs migrated to the UK from India due to favorable immigration policies in the United Kingdom. Similarly, the 1990s onwards, due to software boom and its rising economy, H-1B was introduced in the US immigration policy that allowed the entry of highly skilled IT specialists, doctors, scientists and engineers in the US. Further, the 1970s witnessed oil boom in the Middle East that led to significant growth of Indian diaspora in the Gulf region.

While the low skilled and semi-skilled workers are moving to the Gulf region for better economic opportunities, highly skilled labor is moving from India to US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Has Indian Diaspora started impacting the economies and societies:

With the growing rate of international migration since the beginning of millennia, there is a significant impact of diaspora on the economies and societies of the world. In recent years, the diaspora is influencing the economic, political and cultural affairs in their homeland. It is so because the influence of the diaspora communities increases as they organize themselves and accumulate resources in their host countries for several years. The mobilized diaspora are now influencing the affairs of the homeland countries. A common form of exchange is the financial remittances provided to the relatives by the diaspora community. Overseas family networks of the political elites in India are shaping the political landscape as well. Culturally, the diaspora is influencing the music and literature trends in India as the content is consciously structured to cater to the tastes of the diaspora.

What actions have been taken by the government of India to tap the potential of Indian Diaspora:

The first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was organized in 2003 by the Government of India to expand and reshape the state of India’s economy by the use of the potential human capital which the Indian diaspora reflects. Clearly, Indian diaspora has a larger role to play in the Indian economy over the coming years as the efforts to mobilize them increase in the homeland.