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
Chancery House (Room 202)
St Nicholas Way
T 020 3823 8082
Registered Charity 1002270
India: Pray for political stability and communal harmony following India’s recent elections. Pray for the Christians who are harassed, intimidated or persecuted by Hindu radicals, that they will know God’s protection. prayermate.net/feeds…
Pakistan: Starfish Asia supports homes around Lahore for children and young people who are blind, orphaned or who have disabilities. Pray that their care will introduce God’s love and compassion to them. prayermate.net/feeds…
Pakistan: Starfish Asia will hold a teacher training course from 10th-19th June. It is hoped that 100 teachers will attend. Pray that new ways of teaching will benefit the children in Starfish supported schools. prayermate.net/feeds…
Sri Lanka: Pray that politicians will take responsibility for good governance and not provoke division. Pray that Christians and other faith communities will be able to meet without armed forces guarding them, and worship peacefully. prayermate.net/feeds…
Sri Lanka: Remember Christians who are grieving the loss of loved ones and fearing further violence. Pray for lasting healing from physical injuries and from emotional trauma through God’s comfort. prayermate.net/feeds…
Sri Lanka: Following the attacks on Easter Day, pray for peace and for the authorities to act justly to apprehend militants and prevent violence. Pray for wise and godly Church leadership to prevent retaliation against Muslims and promote peace. prayermate.net/feeds…