Over 1.75 billion people in the world are South Asian, with over 20 million of them living outside South Asia. These are the diaspora.
The countries which make up South Asia are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Sometimes Myanmar (Burma) is also included. They are linked by the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation.
The term ‘diaspora’ refers to a dispersion of a people from their original homeland. Until fairly recently, it was used to refer to Jews living outside of modern day Israel. Now it is used more widely for all the movements of peoples away from their homelands so the South Asian diaspora are people of South Asian descent who are not living in their original homeland – some of them may never have set foot in their original ‘homeland’. It is estimated that there are about 20 million members of the South Asian diaspora.
The British Empire was the main force for spreading South Asians abroad in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They went as indentured labourers for the expanding plantations in Fiji, Malaya, South Africa, the Caribbean and South America, or worked on the railways of East and Central Africa. The 1947 violent partition of India resulted in the movement of hundreds of thousands of people both within South Asia and beyond. Later, the need for professional and manual workers in post-war Britain, and then in the United States, resulted in the period of mass immigration in the 1950s and 60s. In the early 1970s, the expulsion of Asians from East Africa brought many entrepreneurs and professionals to the West.
Since then, South Asians have continued to move around the globe. The diaspora have made increasingly significant contributions to the countries they now live in. The economy, health, arts, media and culture have all been affected in some way.
Find out more about South Asians, their cultures and beliefs
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India: Praise God for Dr Chering who has settled in well at KCH. Pray for more needed staff: ophthalmologist, gynaecologist, lab and x-ray technicians. Pray for the proposed construction of an Intensive Care Unit, for funds both for building and equipping. prayermate.net/praye…
Bangladesh: Open Doors provides lay leadership training for believers in remote areas where persecution is more intense. Pray for wisdom in teaching and encouragement to press on in the life of faith. prayermate.net/praye…
Bangladesh: LAMB Hospital thank the Lord that an expatriate couple has offered their medical skills from next year. Pray for additional staff so that the full range of services can bring God’s healing, wholeness and love to local people. prayermate.net/praye…
Sri Lanka: In October a pastor was attacked by a mob of 500 Buddhists. Believers are suffering persecution from both Buddhists and Hindus. They are the only community with both these people groups represented. Pray for wisdom, courage and faith. prayermate.net/praye…
Sri Lanka: Pray that no adverse international pressure will be enforced following the recent political crisis. Pray that just leaders will be raised up from all ethnic groups. prayermate.net/praye…
Sri Lanka: In October the President removed the elected PM, installing the ex-president in his place.This was overturned in parliament. Pray for peace and order to be restored and if elections are called, these will be done in a transparent and legal way. prayermate.net/praye…