Advertisement
Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
Outlook.com
gujarat: diaspora

Those Nights In Nairobi

From early seafarers to a globalised people, overseas Gujaratis are etched as a distinct type

Those Nights In Nairobi
Getty Images (From Outlook 02 June 2014)
Those Nights In Nairobi
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Seafaring Gujaratis are known to have engaged with the outside world for centuries. Gujaratis have had trade links with the ancient Romans, Persians, Chinese and Egyptians. It may have been a Kutchi sailor, by the name of Kanji Malam, who escorted Vasco da Gama from the Kenyan coast to India.  So, as the era of colonialism began, a Gujarati was best qualified to be there at the inauguration. This zeal for outbound trade has taken them, in recent times, to far ends of the world. Even so, it might make eyes pop, in India and beyond, when we are told that rock star Freddie Mercury, actor Ben Kingsley, conductor Zubin Mehta, Pakistani wri­ter Bapsi Sidhwa, the statuesque Persis Khambatta and acid-jazz singer Asha Puthli are Gujaratis or have some links with Gujarat. An impressive diasporic roster, yes—but you do not expect it, even in a jocular aside, to be stretched up to the doorstep of the British royal family. If reports from June 2013 are to be believed, Prince William and his brother, Andrew, have links to Gujarat.

Here’s the back story. Trace William’s matriliny, via Lady Di, all the way to seven generations back, and you reach Eliza Kewark. Of Armenian-Indian origin, Eliza was the hou­sekeeper of Theo­dore Forbes, a Scottish merchant who worked for the East India Company in Surat. Thus, dna research has offered reason for Diana and her sons to be smuggled into the bulging pantheon of Non-Resident Gujaratis (NRGS)!

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Omicron Variant Surge Not Significant In Countries Where It Was Spotted Early

Omicron Variant Surge Not Significant In Countries Where It Was Spotted Early

The Omicron variant was first spotted in Botswana on November 9. Since then, the variant has spread to several countries but has not yet impacted Covid-19 numbers.

Beasts Of Burden: Why Maharashtra Farmers Are Abandoning Their Cattle

Beasts Of Burden: Why Maharashtra Farmers Are Abandoning Their Cattle

With farmers in Maharashtra reeling under crop failures and mounting debts, rearing milch cattle has not remained a profitable option.

Mumbai Test: Who Will Kohli Replace In IND's XI Vs NZ?

Mumbai Test: Who Will Kohli Replace In IND's XI Vs NZ?

With Virat Kohli making a return and rain forecast in Mumbai, India will be forced to make changes. Here's a look at India's likely XI.

Maharashtra Farmers Look For 'Love' Amid Continued Woes And Degrading Social Status

Maharashtra Farmers Look For 'Love' Amid Continued Woes And Degrading Social Status

Maharashtra’s social fabric is undergoing a tough change. While the sons of farmers are finding it an uphill task to get brides, their sisters do not want farmers as husbands.

Advertisement