Legacy of Indian diaspora captured in ‘Singapore Indian Heritage’ book

The history of the Indian community in the island nation of Singapore starting from their arrival in pre-colonial British times, exceptional role in nation building and the present-day dynamics have been beautifully captured in the book titled, 'Singapore Indian Heritage'. It also gives a peep into the plight of Indian community during the Japanese occupation. Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran launched the book at a glittering function at the Indian Heritage Centre in Singapore.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) of Singapore S Iswaran (second from right) launching the book 'Singapore Indian Heritage' at Indian Heritage Centre. (From left) IHC curator Nalina Gopal, Professor A Mani, Associate Professor Rajesh Rai and Chairman IHC Advisory Board Ambassador Gopinath Pillai (extreme right) welcoming the Minister on the occasion.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) of Singapore S Iswaran (second from right) launching the book 'Singapore Indian Heritage' at Indian Heritage Centre. (From left) IHC curator Nalina Gopal, Professor A Mani, Associate Professor Rajesh Rai and Chairman IHC Advisory Board Ambassador Gopinath Pillai (extreme right) welcoming the Minister on the occasion. Photo courtesy: Indian Heritage Centre

Indian Heritage Centre has put in a lot of effort in compiling the 556-page book containing a series of essays and photos encapsulating the Indian heritage in Singapore. The book combines academic research with catalogue entries of the centre's collection of over 300 artifacts, photographs and documents. Incidentally, this is the first book released by the centre. This  publication also highlights India Heritage Centre's role as a leading heritage institution and a focal point for the South Asian community.

The book has been edited by Associate Professor Rajesh Rai of the National University of Singapore and Professor A. Mani of Ritsumeikan Asia-Pacific University in Japan.

Cover of 'Singapore Indian Heritage' book.
Cover of 'Singapore Indian Heritage' book. Photo courtesy: Indian Heritage Centre

Speaking at the book launch, Prof Rajesh Rai said, “The Japanese Occupation is not often thought of in terms of the Indian experience. While the Indian National Army (INA), formed by Indian nationalists in South East Asia forged an alliance with the Japanese in their fight against British rule, Indians also suffered at the hands of the Japanese.”

He added, “Often overlooked are the large numbers of Indian labourers involved in Japanese projects, the prisoners-of-war who did not join the INA, and their fates.

Ambassador-at-large Gopinath Pillai, chairman of IHC's advisory board, said “The book was a collaboration between respected members of the academia and the centre's museum professionals.

He added, “The IHC is invested in the long-term study of Indian history and heritage in Singapore and the wider South East Asia region.”

The book is available for SGD53.50 at Museum Label shops at the Indian Heritage Centre, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum of Singapore and Malay Heritage Centre.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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