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.
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.
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.