Remarks by Ambassador Shri Amit Narang on “Mandvi to Muscat” Indian community and the shared history of India and Oman - Seventh Lecture at Mahajan Recreation Center, Wadi Kabir, Muscat - 01 May 2024

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“Mandvi to Muscat”
Indian community and the shared history of India and Oman
Seventh Lecture

Mahajan Recreation Center, Wadi Kabir, Muscat
May 01, 2024

Remarks by Ambassador Shri Amit Narang

Secretary-General of the National Museum of Oman His Excellency Jamal Al Moosawi,

Chairman of the Oman Historical Association, His Excellency Sayyid Nooh Al Busaidi

Director-General of the National Museum of India, Dr. B.R. Mani ji,

Head of the Hindu Mahajan community Sheikh Anil Khimji,

Distinguished members of the Indian and Hindu Mahajan community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening, Namaskar, Assalamu Alaykum,

Jai Shri Krishna!

I'm delighted to extend a warm welcome to you for the seventh and the concluding lecture in our iconic lecture series ‘Mandvi to Muscat - Indian community and the Shared History of Oman’.

I'm delighted that with today's event we are completing a journey of over eight months.

A journey of exploring and showcasing the rich history of the Indian community in Oman and by doing so bringing out the best of the India-Oman shared history and heritage.

The idea for this lecture series stemmed from my interactions with many of the distinguished people present in the audience who made me aware, since my arrival in Oman over two years ago, of the rich tapestry of the history of the Indian community in Oman and its unique contributions to the development of the India-Oman bilateral relationship.

As these discussions progressed, the contours of this lecture series took shape. The idea was to bring together experts from world over who have worked on the history of the Indian community in an attempt at collating the different perspectives of this journey, reinvigorating an interest in this heritage by the younger generation - both Omani as well as Indian - and bringing the spotlight back at this unique diaspora narrative.

The lecture series was inaugurated by the Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Shri V. Muraleedharan ji in October last year.

The endeavor thereafter was to have one event every month. The series was conceptualized such that at every event, there was to be one academic presentation, followed by a presentation on the family history of the notable families of the Indian community.

A clarification about the title of the series will also be apposite.

The usage of the two place names - Mandvi and Muscat - are not to be taken in the literal sense. This is just a figurative way of framing the narrative of this journey from across the Arabian sea.

The title could just as well have been ‘Saurashtra to Sur’, ‘Kutch to Khabura’ or for that matter ‘Meluhha to Majan’. The title is therefore just a lyrical way of capturing the essence of this history.

Of course both Mandvi and Muscat are not incidental. They are rather central to this narrative, Mandvi being the place where much of the journey begins and Muscat being the place of residence of most of the migratory Indian community in Oman.

Be that as it may, the lecture series is really about the history of the Indian community in general, in all its diversity and splendor.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are going to listen today to Professor Calvin Allen, who is the noted authority on the subject.

We have so far heard had six excellent academic presentations by Professor Redha Bhacker of Oman, Dr. Chhaya Goswami from India, Professor James Onley from Sharjah, Mr. Swagath Pani from the US, Dr. Sandhya Rao Mehta from Oman and Dr. Sanjeev Sanyal also from India.

We have also seen very interesting presentations of family histories by the Ratansi Purushottam family, Khimji Ramdas family, Naranjee Hirjee family, Shah Nagardas family, the family of Dr. Akbar Rafay and the Toprani family.

Today we will bear witness to the family history of the Lakhoo Ved family and also the memories of Dr. Mohamed Ali, one of the early Indian pioneers during the modern Omani renaissance.

We will also have presentations today about the history of the Indian temple in Oman as also a presentation on the history of the Indian schools in Oman.


As we conclude the lecture series today, it is my bounden duty to convey grateful thanks to those who have helped make this initiative a success.

First and foremost I would like to express my gratitude to H.E. Jamal Al-Moosawi, Secretary-General of the National Museum of Oman and H.E. Sayyid Nooh Al Busaidi, the Chairman of the Oman Historical Association for partnering with this project and extending their full support.

This initiative would not have been possible without the generous support, both moral as well as financial, from the Hindu Mahajan community. I thank the community for their wholehearted participation and support.

I would like to particularly thank Sheikh Anil Khimji, Rajubhai Ved and Shri Kiran Asher for being ready supporters and partners for this project. I also thank Shri Vimal Purecha and Dr. Sandhya Rao Mehta for their support as members of our editorial board.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The completion of the Lecture series brings to a conclusion the first part of this project. The next step is to collate all the rich material presented over the past eight months and compile it into a book. I am happy to inform to the audience that the work on the book has already commenced and we hope to unveil it shortly.

A conclusion, however, must always be a new beginning.

I am happy to share that the Embassy of India is soon going to undertake another important project for the Indian community in Oman.

The rich history of the community means that there is a wealth of documentary records available with the families. This could be in the form of old letters, correspondences, ferry and flight tickets, old ID cards, contracts, agreements and even the old account books.

This rich collection of documents must be preserved and digitized for posterity. We are working with the National Archives of India (NAI) to undertake a first-of-its-kind project for the digitization of diaspora documents in Oman.

We hope to carry this out in late-May 2024 for which experts from the NAI will be Muscat. We will reach out to each family who will in turn hopefully cooperate in bringing out as much information and as many documents as possible. The documents will be digitized and physical copies returned to the owners.

I firmly believe that this is a once in life time opportunity that hopefully will be embraced energetically by the Indian diaspora community.

In conclusion, I would like to convey my appreciation to my own team in the Embassy for their efforts in putting together this lecture series and for the work that will be done for the publication of the book as well as the digitization project.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Taken together, I firmly believe that the lecture series has made a meaningful contribution not just to a better understanding of the rich history and heritage of the Indian community but has also enabled bringing the public spotlight back on this unique facet of Indian diaspora history.

In doing so this initiative is firmly in line with vision and actions of the government of India under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, which has taken as its mission, a better and more sustained engagement with the Indian diaspora community worldwide.

I am confident that the future of the Indian community will be even better than its history.

Thank you.

Namaskar. Jai Hind!