Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A place called home

Indian writer and publisher Urvashi Butalia says there's nothing wrong with bringing the diaspora home. All over the world, immigrants have wanted to maintain contact with the land of their birth: sometimes this takes a cultural form, and sometimes it's economic. Sometimes it can be as fleeting as the memories of a holiday in a ‘place I call home’. For me - recollections of a recent visit to India: the twisting alleyways; the quaint little shops bedecked with the most exquisite threads and tapestries; the sights and sounds of wedding season (December) in Mumbai, these always have me pining for more. Am I in love with the real India, or do I just dream of an ideal ‘homeland’ that doesn’t exist?

Today, it is Tuesday. I rush out to the gate to fetch my copy of the Eastern Express. The headline grabs my attention: India opens its door to SA professionals. Bharat bulaya hai, mere dost! (India is calling, my friend!) Problem yeh hain I've got a piece of my heart in Africa too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Satisfied and serene: how SA Indians see themselves

In August-September 2008, the Sunday Times Extra carried a three-part series on the findings of a TNS Research Survey study which polled a sample of 115 South African Indians. The survey tried to establish where Indians fit in South African society, looking at aspects such as their life circumstances and how they feel about the country, its future, moral issues and the economy.

Some of the findings include:
· Nearly half of those polled said they were satisfied with what they had achieved so far in their lives.
· Indians generally feel that jobs in South Africa are hard to find.
· Some 14% were “quite happy” to buy pirated CDs and DVDs, and a quarter of those surveyed said that if a teller or cashier gave them “R50 too much change, they would keep it”.
· Few agreed that levels of crime were declining, and most believed corruption in government needed to be eliminated.

For more on the study, see Part 1 - Satisfied and serene: how SA Indians see themselves, Part 2 - An appetite for the good life — despite the economic pinch, and Part 3 - 14% of Indians ‘happy’ to buy pirated DVDs.

It would be interesting to gain further insights into South African Indians’ political involvement and voting behaviour.