Indian diaspora played a central role in the globalisation of the Omani Economy

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Embassy of India
Press Release

Indian diaspora played a central role in the globalisation of the Omani Economy”

On 12th December 2022, Embassy organized a lecture by Dr. Calvin H. Allen, Jr on the topic 'Beyond the Diaspora: Indian Merchants and the Globalization of Omani Trade in the 19th and 20th Centuries' at the Embassy.

Dr. Calvin H. Allen, Jr is a Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic History and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. His teaching experience includes full-time positions at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, the University of Memphis in Tennessee, and visiting positions at Drury College and the University of Pittsburgh. He is known for his expertise in the history of the Indian Diaspora in Oman and has authored three books on Oman, most recently a survey of Omani history for high school-age students, and more than forty articles. Dr. Allen had played a vital role in the exhibition “India-Oman 50 years diplomatic relations and 5000 years of friendship” at the Bait Al Zubair museum in 2005.

In his lecture, Dr. Allen focussed on the careers of two of Oman’s most famous Indian merchants, Ratansi Purshottam and Gokaldas Khimji Ramdas, as case studies of the globalization of the Omani economy between 1856-1970. Although the success of Indian merchants is often attributed to activities within the great Indian Diaspora, Dr. Allen gave special attention to how Ratansi Purshottam and Gokaldas Khimji Ramdas expanded their commercial networks beyond traditional relationships and connections formed through common ethnicity, religion, and locality to ties based on shared global economic values.

Dr. Allen noted that through its connection with India, Eastern Europe, East and North Africa, the Indian trading diaspora in Oman played a critical role in enabling the globalization of the Omani economy in the late 19th and 20th centuries. From pioneering the export of Omani dates to America and with their role as contractors for important construction projects at the beginning of the Omani renaissance, the Indian diaspora families have been pioneers in the transformation of the Omani economy and its diversification.

His Excellency Jamal Al Moosavi, Secretary General of the National Museum, was the Chief Guest for the event. His Excellency Pankaj Khimji, Foreign Trade and International Cooperation adviser at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, His Excellency Hathim Al Taie, Member of the Council of State of Oman and several other dignitaries graced the occasion with their presence. More than 100 guests, including Omani nationals, members of the Indian diaspora, and media representatives, attended the lecture.

13, December, 2022, Muscat