India: East Africa’s 21st century ally?

– The pioneers in the early migration from Kutch Kathiawar in Gujarat to the East African coast – present day Zanzibar, Tanzania Kenya and Mozambique and later S Africa were Ismailis in the 1830’s – many who became very prominent pioneers such as Allidina Visram and Tharia Topan and so on.

– This migration later accelerated in the 1880’s when Zanzibar’s Sultan encouraged skilled immigrants of that time from Bombay and Gujarat to settle in Zanzibar – what is referred to as Globalization today actually started then!! – infact, this marked the beginnings of the Ismaili community going global and the widespread diaspora it is today in over 30 countries!!

– The article alludes to many connections between India and Africa – to just analyse a few – for example, the impact of food on the palate of East Africans today – samosas, biriyani and chapatis – these are part and parcel of Ismaili food culture– they were introduced in East Africa by Ismailis in their small dukas – and now are “mainstream” in East Africa –also movies from India – Ismailis ran many cinemas in East Africa and these now appeal to the masses.

– The economic connections the Ismailis built in East Africa – Ismailis were a very strong force economically and after independence Imamat institutions such as IPS, the Nation Media Group, Jubilee Insurance Company and Diamond Trust and Bank have had their impact – it sets the stage for further growth as India- African trade and economic links increase

– The article is very informative and will be interesting to many who have roots in both India and East Africa.

Article in the East African by Manish Chand

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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