Seminar on the presence of Indian communities in GCC countries during the British rule (Feb. 2017)

The Center organized a history seminar titled "Introduction of some Indian trading communities and their presence in the GCC countries during the British rule". Dr. Sahibe Alam Azami Nadwai delivered the lecture and introduced the origins of some Indian communities which have been mentioned in the Arabic sources during Islamic period, as well as in the archival British documents related to trade activities in the Gulf. He shed lights on those Indian communities which played a crucial role in the international trade such as Banyans, Khojas, Bohras and Memons who belong to Islamic sects. These Indian communities established a thriving trade network between the littorals of Gujarat and Sind as well as between the southern Indian coastal regions; the Arabian Gulf States, Zanzibar and East African regions and therefore they secured a prime position among the mercantile communities of these commercial coastal areas. He looked into the origins of these Indian communities pointing out that many Arabic sources and Archival documents use the word "Banyans" to mean the all Indian traders without distinguishing between other Indian Muslim communities though the term " Banyans" refers to a certain class of Hindu social group in India. And due to the limited use of the term " Banyans" to the whole Indian traders in the Archival documents and Arabic sources, it is, therefore, understood that all Indian traders and merchants were belonging to this Hindu social group, but the fact is that the other Hindu and Muslim communities also had significant contribution to the trade activities in GCC countries during the age of sail. He concluded his lecture by saying that it is, therefore, necessary to look into the origins of these Indian trading communities as well as to review of their relationship with other Arab trading communities which had settled in the main Indian trading cities in that time. 


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