The early roots of the Indian diaspora in the UK are not about the storied success of the Hinduja brothers or celebrated economist Lord Meghnad Desai. Rather it lies in Indian sailors – the lascars – and the soldiers – faujis – of the World Wars, and the many hardworking labourers attracted to jobs in post-war Britain. These are very much the profile of most irregular Indian migrants in the UK today, many of them Sikh youth.
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The new Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) is now in place between India and the UK since 4 May 2021. It is critical to address the issue of illegal immigration between the countries. However, New Delhi must do so with a human-centric approach, keeping outward migration safe while economically integrating the returned migrants.
From the window of the earliest paper currencies issued by private banks in Calcutta, to the evolution of contemporary banknotes, The Conjuror’s Trick: An Interpretive History of Paper Money in India, deftly tackles political imperatives, monetary policy, global disruptions, schools of currency thought and even the science and art of printed paper money in India.
The Dawoodi Bohra diaspora is present in over 40 countries that are home to 500 sizeable communities. From a predominantly Indian Ocean merchant diaspora in the past, today, its young prefer to seek educational and professional opportunities in developed countries, like the United States. What remains unchanged is the Bohras' traditional way of life, as lived through its rich and composite cuisine and its unique, ever-evolving language – Lisan-ul-Dawat – both of which connect the community across continents.
The Mumbai-headquartered Dawoodi Bohra community has a rich legacy of business, overseas maritime trade, and, today, a strong global community network that connects its 1 million faithful, wherever they are, in real time. The community's strength is its network, even 1,000 years ago, even without technology.
On 21 January, the Bombay Stock Exchange index crossed the 50,000 mark – the first-ever in its 146-year history. A similar stock market boom occurred in 1863. It was led by the city’s legendary stock-bullion-cotton broker, Premchund Roychand. Unlike today’s Bad Boy Billionaires, Roychand settled all his dues after which he earned back his fortune. Well-known as the sole donor of Mumbai University’s Rajabai Clock Tower, he not only met all pending philanthropic commitments made before the 1865 crash but continued giving more.
Five days before World Maritime Day last week, the former Flag Ship of India’s Western Fleet headquartered in Mumbai – the Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat or R 22 – was towed away to the ship-breaking yard in Alang, Gujarat. This brought down the curtains on Viraat’s glorious career of 58 years at sea. The Indian Navy is awaiting the commissioning of a new aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’, named after the Indian Navy’s first carrier. Just as it will one day induct another new carrier and name it after the Viraat.
The 20th century’s worst pandemic – Spanish Flu – erupted in March 1918 in Camp Funston (Kansas, U.S.) during the Great War. Much like Covid-19 it spread globally at an astonishing pace. Its Second Autumnal Wave took about 30 million lives in four months, half of those in India. It’s sheer virulence and high mortality makes this virus the correct analogy for Covid-19
The sister cities of Mumbai and Shanghai have a shared history, population size, and economic significance. On 29 May, a roundtable between the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and Gateway House encouraged discussion on strategies to battle COVID-19, and kick-start city economies after a lockdown. Here are some workable solutions.
Pankaj Joshi, Executive Director, Urban Design Research Institute, and Nitai Mehta, Founder, Praja, in discussion with Sifra Lentin, Bombay History Fellow, Gateway House, on the immediate and long-term steps Mumbai can take to combat COVID-19 and future emergencies.