Beyond Western Union: Gulf Migrants Matter

Diaspora writing from South Asia has a rich legacy. From Jhumpa Lahiri to Zia Haider to Abeer Hoque to Mohsin Hamid to Nayomi Munaweera to Brij Lal writing on Fijian Indian History, and the last reference would be Guyanese Indian Queer Poet Rajiv Mohabir .

The swathe was however missing a voice from the Malayali/Indian Diaspora in the Gulf, the millions of them sending remittances and building cities.

Abu Dhabi bred Deepak Unnikrishnan, a NYU academic captures the Gulf Migrant experience beautifully in ‘Temporary People’, a factual work in a body of fiction. This phenomenal book has won The Hindu Literary Prize for 2017. We are more than statistics in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs roster, and more important than our Anglo Saxon immigrant cousins as ultimately we head home to our villages in Mallapuram and Malda. Now, it is time to claim our voices in the intellectual discourse too. History is dignity as Lulu’s matter more than Wal Mart in the scheme of things.


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