Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:08

Jaswinder Singh Warah

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Shandy Gone With A Six By Awaaz Jaswinder Singh, better known as Shandy, is no more. The magnificient all-rounder of the Seventies and early eighties passed away last month (Aug) after a short illness. The Simba Union player was well-known for his big hits and some of his Sixers from the Simba pitch had crossed the four-lane Forest Road. He was a regular member of the Kenya National Cricket team. Besides his middle order batting, Shandy was also a useful mediumpace bowler. He led Simba Union for couple of years. During his cricket tenure he had played along and against…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:07

PROVOKED

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By Awaaz When is enough really enough In love, never, in abuse, immediately. Adapted from the autobiography Circle of Light (by Rahila Gupta and Kiranjit Ahluwalia), Provoked is a true story of Kiranjit's trauma. It gives you a stark insight into a woman's incredible tale of abuse and acquittal and compels you to think about this ugly issue prevalent in both modern and traditional societies. Scores of women tolerate harassment at the hands of beastly husbands in order to protect the institution's socalled honour. Some are just uncomfortable exposing the truth, while others are too scared to even try. There…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:07

The Encyclopaedia of the Indian Diaspora.

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By Gijsbert Oonk, www.asiansinafrica.com Singapore: Didier Millet 2006, Brij V. LAL (ed), 416 pp. Euro 45 (paperback) Currently, around 20,000,000 people of Indian origin live outside the borders of India, with the majority located in Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania. Although there are regional variations in their adaptations, in many ways they display a common 'Indian' identity. They may want their children to develop and prosper in their adopted countries, but at the same time they would prefer them to adopt Indian family values, marry other Indians and share their common culture. In other words, many South Asians overseas tend…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:06

Ishq and Mushq

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By Mohamed Jiwa by Priya Basil Doubleday, Transworld Publishers (Random House), London 2007 www.priyabasil.com Upon seeing an over-ripe mango on the cover, little did I suspect that the scar across it forewarns of the alienation of a martial woman who might well have beseeched the author to allow her to lay down her arms. Through a story she cooks and spices up almost recklessly, Priya Basil takes us into the home and hearts of an ordinary Sikh couple in Kenya. Like the ship aboard which Karam Singh brings back home his enigmatic bride, this chronicle of culture, migration and eventual…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:05

SHAPING MEMBERSHIP, DEFINING NATION

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By Awaaz, www.rowmanlittlefield.com The Cultural Politics of African Indians in South Asia. By Pashington Obeng Most writings about interaction between South Asian/African populations focus on the migration of South Asians to Africa. Pashington Obeng, an assistant professor of African Studies in the USA, has made a groundbreaking contribution to the unwritten social politics, religion, and cultural history of Africans in India. The Siddis/Habshis in India are a distinct Afro-Asiatic people who have been part of the Indian landscape for over 500 years. Though most went there as slaves, a minority did go as free traders and achieved prominent status. These…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:05

ASIANS IN EAST AFRICA

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Authro: Gijsbert Oonk By Awaaz This book is an introduction in the history of South Asians in East Africa on the basis of photographs and images. This unique collection of old postcards, paper money - like Indian rupees in German notes - family pictures and cabinet card pictures present a history of a world gone by and which cannot be told in words.
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:04

ANTI-COLONIAL ANGST

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By Atamjit Singh Punjab Centre for Migration Studies has published 5 booklets to "highlight the lives of overseas Punjabis who have either made a substantial contribution to the society in which they have settled or have played a vital role in building Diaspora Punjabi communities' institutional infrastructure". One of the booklets focuses on Gopal Singh Chandan (1898- 1969), a settler in Kenya who ultimately left the country of his choice. But he made significant contribution to the social cause, trade unionism and anticolonialism. An important feature of Gopal Singh Chandan: A Short Biography and Memoirs is that the biographer Amarjit…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:03

FROM JHELUM TO TANA

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By John Sibi-Okumu The time is ripe, in Kenyan climes, for Neera Kapur- Dromson's "From Jhelum to Tana," published this year by Penguin Books, India, under the classification of Memoirs and Biography. In one of her introductions to a chapter, Neera Kapur-Dromson quotes the venerable scholar Amadou Hampate Ba: "In Africa, when an old man dies it is as if a library has burnt." Suggesting that in a traditional society where nothing is written down, over time much stands to be forgotten. And with the erosion of memory comes the erosion of identity. In 1984, fifty years after his death…
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:03

First Word

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By: John Sibi-Okumu

A Wind Of Change

John Sibi-Okumu

Rest assured that Zahid Rajan, our Executive Director, is still alive and well and living in the city. However, at a recent editorial team meeting we decided, amongst other resolutions to be evoked further on, to adopt such initiatives as might point to the fact that AWAAZ is, and always has been, a collaborative effort. To this end, having a different spokesperson, from time to time, was deemed to be a good move. So, I'm going first, to sum up and be counted. For one thing, it will allow you to put a face to the regular writer of "Alternative Angle."

I came to AWAAZ three years and eight issues ago. Not merely to add some colour to editorial proceedings but because I was glad of the opportunity to contribute to a project in which I believed viscerally. By way of anecdote, let me recall my very first invitation to an Indian home: On our way back, not that long ago, from a dinner with the family of one of my students in Parklands, Nairobi, I expressed my amazement to my wife that it had taken me about thirty-five years of being in a multi-racial society, coming into contact with South Asians on an almost daily basis, for such an event to take place. I had gone there with prejudices rationally rejected yet emotionally embedded. The more I thought aboutit, the more I realized that almost all of those prejudices were owed to the "What-are-they-upto?" factor. So many deeper friendships, lunches, weddings and, sadly, funerals later, I have realized that "they" are up to pretty much what "we" are upto. Mystery begets suspicion which begets hate. So, it is important to demystify in order to unify. I do believe that AWAAZ is playing a part in that process of demystification and hence my involvement.

You will also have noticed that we have chosen to announce the journal simply as AWAAZ…..Voices, a direct translation from the Hindi, taking a few liberties with grammar, (plural for singular), in the interest of sense. It was felt that our unifying agenda was not being well served by passing judgment on the nomenclature debate: South Asian? Asian African? AfricanAsian? Kenyan Asian? Kenyan Indian? Kenyan Indo-Pakistani? Much like a similar progressionthat saw Negroes become Afro-Americans before it was universally politic to speak of African Americans, why not let social history decide? In the meantime, we have decided that AWAAZ will be unapologetically "diasporacentric but Kenya-focused." Which will recognize its ownroots even as it constantly reaches out to demystify related experiences elsewhere.A case in point has been the raw racism on display lately over the future of a piece of forest land in Uganda. That chilling incident is revisited at some length in this issue and indeed the theme of race relations in general is very much to the fore. Hopefully, those attached to our customary inputson history, literature and the arts will not be disappointed this time round but, above all, our more faithful readers will be the first to register an increasingly "contemporary," as opposed to"archaic" feel to AWAAZ. Talking of the contemporary, between now and the next issue, eligible Kenyans will have been called upon to cast a vote that counts in momentous, general elections. Would that we might be adequately demystified to be unified in our political maturity; neither to use the instruments of prejudice and hate to suffocate each other with tear gas, nor to beat each other senseless, nor to shoot at each other with live bullets, nor to loot each other's shops, nor to rape each other. Good luck to us, one and all.

John Sibi-Okumu, of the Editorial Team

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 10:02

BRIEFS

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By Awaaz Team June 14, 2007 The United Nations General Assembly will declare October 2 -- the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi as 'International Day of Non- Violence' in recognition of his role in promoting the message of peace around the world. The day will be observed for the first time on October 2 next, after which it would become an annual event. South Africa: Durban streets named after Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Yusuf Dadoo February 28, 2007 Roads in Durban are to be renamed after Gandhi and Dadoo within three months by the South African Government. Point Road will…
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